Gig Seeker Pro


New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Band Alternative Indie




"mahayla electricspaceagesweetheart"

Electricspaceagesweetheart (Serial Lover Records)

Dave Fera is one of New Orleans' best pop songwriters. The unassuming frontman for Big Blue Marble regrouped Mahayla, a band modeled after '90s earworming, unabashed pop from bands like Ash and Archers of Loaf. Fera is in better-than-ever electric form on Mahayla's impressive "return" album, Electricspaceagesweetheart, the first release on the band's label. ("If I can get some sleep, I can turn this world around," Fera sings on standout track "Wilderness.") The album — recorded at the Living Room Studio and at Fudge with Better Than Ezra's Tom Drummond — marries jangly guitar-pop and oversized anthemic rock, all unpacking Fera's nostalgic themes (in his instantly recognizable nasal, earnest bubblegum voice). Though dormant for nearly a decade, Mahayla still displays killer songwriting chops ("What if she came to me, would she be kind/ and if she stayed with me, do you think that she'd want to do anything I would, or would she leave me?" Fera sings on "If I Could Have Her Tonight"). - gambit

"mahayla by any other name"

A Farfisa organ plays a circus melody behind an aggressively strummed acoustic guitar as Dave Fera and Yanti Turang sing, “I was a tosser / I nearly lost her” to open “Bestie,” the lead track on Mahayla’s new album, electricspaceagesweetheart. Like so many of his songs, “Bestie” is a bit of a highwire trick as it flirts with silly, ephemeral pop, but lines scattered through the song give it subtle gravity, and the hook obliterates the wince reflex the title tickles. It’s bouncy with roots in British pop, but there’s nothing fey or posed in the performance. He sings every word with the earnestness of a valedictory address, which only adds to its musical richness.

Mahayla plays a CD-release party at Gasa Gasa Saturday night, and it’s the culmination of his resurrection of the band name he used in the early 2000s. Then, a Mahayla show could go a number of directions. You could get a night of Neil Young-like riff-based songs, or an evening of songs influenced by Teenage Fanclub and Billy Bragg, or a folk night better suited to the Neutral Grounds Coffee House. As a result, loving Mahayla required patience since you couldn’t anticipate what you were going to get. Or, you might get all of them in a night, which was a different kind of frustrating.

The saving grace was that Fera could write well in each of those styles, so the songs were always good. He has always written songs quickly and well, and that led to his dissatisfaction with his label when his first major band, The Seymores, cut three albums in the mid-1990s. They were signed after their third show, which was at an indie rock festival that also featured Superchunk, Polvo, and Archers of Loaf. But everything took too long for Fera.

“The worst thing about The Seymores was we had all this energy and all these songs and we couldn’t put them out,” he says. “The label slowed things down. The industry just creeps along.”

His writing continues to border on compulsive. “Since January, I’ve written three albums,” he says. “I wrote three songs last week.” - my spilt milk


Mahayla’s first release, 2003’s
Powerlines, was a monumental
album, especially by New Orleans’
standards. With Mahayla, Dave Fera
immediately established himself
as one of the vanguard songwriters
of his adopted hometown. Tight,
punchy pop songs with shades
of Virginia-bred country and a
uniquely strained-but-contained
voice made songs like “I-10” and
“Phone Call” instant radio classics—
at least on stations flexible enough
to play a self-produced CD-R with
a shoddy insert and what Fera
himself has referred to as a halfassed
attempt. Since then, Fera has
gone on to start other bands, most
notably Big Blue Marble, which
produced several albums of great
musical complexity and emotional
depth. For a minute there, it seemed
like Mahayla might be a footnote
on Big Blue Marble’s legacy, a proto
version of future achievements. But
what a difference a decade makes.
And this time around, Fera isn’t
cutting any corners. Lead off track
“Bestie” is a definitive statement
of revival, a sunshiny blast-off
with the addition of Yanti Turang
on vocals; she provides a capable
rival for Fera’s bittersweet voice.
Electric… also finds tension in its
pace, which starts as a sprint but
slows to a crawl soon enough, with
lush slow jams like “Sitting at the
Table” and “Silence Equals Power,”
proving that Fera and gang are not
afraid to tackle a ballad amidst all
the rock excitement. As I listen
to Electricspageagesweetheart
on vinyl, it’s impressive to see
Mahayla reincarnated with vigor
and purpose—and past mistakes
capitalized on—as if some long,
lingering unfinished business had
finally been attended to. —Dan Fox
SHA - antigravity


Still working on that hot first release.



Mahayla is a ba from multiple collapses. Front man Dave Fera was prematurely plucked from the Richmond indie scene by an over eager record industry still drunk off the flannel-filtered wine squeezed from Nirvanas golden teat. His band, The Seymores were handed a major label deal after their first show (an indie-music fest with Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Labradford, Versus and Small Factory). They had a video on Alternative Nation, a national tour schedule and even a cotton Dockers ad in which they preformed their single, Arcade Boy. Then came the collapse. Labels folded, the record stores disappeared like a creative commerce rapture. Dave and his late 90s signing swoop peers were left weeping gently with their guitars without a home.


In 1999 Fera relocated to New Orleans where he formed Mahayla with drummer, Mark Davis. Mahayla enjoyed local success in a vibrant indie scene that blossomed under the shade of more traditional New Orleans music. They recorded their debut EP, Songs to Stalk To with producer, Brian Paulson. The EP found its way into heavy rotation in the college radio circuit. They followed that up with, Powerlines, a full-length recorded at the Living Room Studio with Offbeat Magazines engineer of the year winner, Chris George. The single, I-10 drew rave reviews from Antigravity Magazine editor Dan Fox who described it as, a real rib-sticker of a song-- and an instant mix tape classic. He went on to say, It not only stoked my ears but my regional pride as well. Theres something truly unique and accessible about Feras brand of faster-than-it-should-be folk rock and that dark, weighty voice of his which holds its form even in a scream. As a relative newcomer to New Orleans he also has the eye to capture the daily poetry of life here without any preconception, gimmick or pretension, turning a simple Westbank fishing trip or a bike ride through the city into a treasured snapshot. Its an approach to songwriting earned over a monks life in music.



The familiarity and comfort with his bandmates spurned a writing spree. In December of 2013 Mahayla released the first leg of this melodic marathon, Electricspaceagesweetheart. The album was recorded in parts by Chris George at the Living Room Studio and with Better Than Ezras Tom Drummond at Fudge. These two settings and engineers helped create Mahaylas psychedelic Americana sound, which should be the soundtrack to ever teenaged make-out session. Dave explained the importance of the two studios and engineers to capturing their signature sound, I wanted to go over to the Living Room to get that big room and analog vibe that you get there. Thats really important to me and half of the record has that rich analog drums and bass. The record needed it. Even though it was recorded in two studios, it still feels like it has continuity. It all fits together. It needed the meat-and-potatoes real analog feel. Tom is awesome at editing and his biggest gift to me is his work with my vocals. Instantly he knows the right take. Hes also a genius with ProTools. I wanted his editing acumen on this record, so that its competitive with big budget records, but it had to still have that feel and warmth you get at the Living Room. This new burst of creative energy has already lead to enough material to fill the next Mahayla record and another side project, The Grasshoppers a bluegrass outlet whose first album is currently being recorded at the legendary Studio in the Country.


Mahaylas resurgence has seen them share the stage with the likes of the Meat Puppets, the Breeders, Sebadoh, Cracker and Camper van Beethoven. They have also taken their show on the road, including a very successful showcase at SXSW. They have fully committed to their craft divesting every resource they have into not only songwriting, but also packaging and promotion. They started their own label, Serial Lover Records to serve as a vehicle for not only Feras output, but also the projects of the satellite musicians and collaborators Mahalya and its members work with. As Fera has said, I had to make my mind up that I wasnt going to have money for anything else other than this. Thats the attitude I have. Music is the most important thing in my life and that is where all of my finances are going. Im going to do it right. Im not going to half-ass it, because I have half-assed it in the past. I want to roll out a complete product, do it right: make videos, do publicity, do radio, go all the way with it. A reignited passion, a new maturity, an understanding of past mistakes and an album loaded with their own recipe of indie-pop has ushered in a exciting new chapter to one of New Orleans longest tenured alternatives to its brass and jazz heritage.




Band Members