Working under his last name, LA-based DJ/producer, Leo Maymind’s varied life experiences come together with the full album release of “June.” Embodying a restless spirit, his downtempo otherworldly electro tracks paint a picture of travels off the beaten path. If you know Leo for his work with Spanish Prisoners, Maymind is a whole new realm. Get ready for an adventure. You can read more about his influences in a Q&A followed by the album below.
You’ve moved around a bit, and experienced different cultures. How does this album reflect your journey?
I think growing up as a kid when you’re moving around a lot, you’re forced to go into your own head a bit and really use your own creativity to survive and get you through situations. This was definitely true for me as a kid who stuttered and was picked on, bullied, etc, and very early on I gravitated towards music as a sort of “safe zone” to retreat into. I particularly got into music that used a lot of spatial effects like delay and reverb because to me, those things were quite literally creating worlds to get lost in. I loved hearing something echoing off in a delay line and imagining that space in my head, what it looked like, what it felt like. I think on June a lot of that comes through, albeit in a subconscious way, because a lot of the tracks explore things like dub and heavy use of reverb but through a filtered lens.
Has this project grounded you in any way?
It’s tough to say if its grounded me because this project is quite literally my whole life. It’s kind of like asking, has your life grounded your life? I am literally always working on something, and I’ve grown to the point that I don’t try to filter ideas as they happen, I just record things and file them away for later. But because of that, I am basically always working, always recording something, always fiddling on something, much to the chagrin of my partner. Its both a blessing and a curse because I see people out on the weekends doing things in a carefree way and I have a really hard time disconnecting from my work. If I take a weekend off from the studio and not touch a single musical object, by Monday morning I’m going nuts to make some music, even if its just playing some piano chords. But I can say that this project has given my life a lot of personal meaning, because I’ve been able to see myself grow as a producer and a musician over the course of doing Maymind and that has given me faith in my ability to grow and progress in other areas of my life that I’ve felt stagnant in for a long time.
Are there any aspects of your post-Soviet upbringing that carry through musically?
My family left the USSR when I was three so I don’t really have any memories of it unfortunately. We have also only gone back to visit one time so it barely even feels like I have any relation to it at this point. At the same time, I’ve never felt like the US was my true home so I’m sort of always dealing with this feeling of being in between places and things. I think that feeling carries into my music moreso than any Soviet influence. That being said, shout-out to Erica Synths who are from Riga (where I’m from) and are doing some amazing things with hardware drum machines and synths.
Throughout your life, where have you felt most free?
I felt a freedom as a kid that I’ve longed for in this social media age, but it really seems truly gone. I lived in Morgantown, West Virginia for a few years as a kid and this was pre-cell phone era, pre-internet in your pocket and that was definitely a time of great freedom for me. I remember being able to just get on my bike and go places without really thinking twice about the consequences. Looking back on it now I was quite a fearless kid!
Do you have any upcoming collaborations worth mentioning?
I’ve been in the studio with a few folks, which after a long time of solitary recording, has been a real breath of fresh air. The thing I’m most excited about is I have a collaborative album with Jon Natchez of the War on Drugs that is totally done, mixed, ready to go. We met up a few times last year and clicked immediately and just started working on music right away. I’m very excited for that to come out, hopefully sometime in 2022. I’m also just now wrapping up the third Spanish Prisoners album with my bandmate Mike. Spanish Prisoners was my main focus before I decided to start the Maymind project and we took a hiatus for a bit but its been really great to reconnect with that side of myself, sing more, pursue that side of songwriting after taking a few years away from it. I think people are going to be a bit surprised when they hear it, both fans of Maymind and old SP fans. It’s a bit more soulful and more drum-machine driven, with a lot less guitars than our previous work. And I really want to start doing more production and mixing work, which I’ve done some of when I’ve had the time during this pandemic. I think I’ve learned a lot these past few years and I’ve grown to trust myself much more than when I was younger and that’s a really good feeling.