OKP Premiere: Eric Mayson Pushes The Prog-Soul Envelope On "Capital"
It’s time we all got much better acquainted with Eric Mayson. The Minneapolis-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer has been steadily emerging as one of the Midwest’s greatest sidemen, having backed both Caroline Smith and Big Cats on countless occasions. Mayson has also been working tirelessly to stake out his own territory, and now a bit of that work has reached fruition. Okayplayer is very proud to premiere “Capital,” the latest solo single from Mayson and his first on the newly-minted RiverRock Music Group label.
A gleaming three minutes of self-examination, “Capital” puts Mayson’s full talents on display–his deft keyboard playing is only topped by the sky-high soar of his voice. Everything heard on the winding, progressive-soul track was played by Mayson himself, save the live drums, which were laid down by Big Cats in the studio (Cats also handled production work on the entire track). The inspiration for “Capital” came out of no where. “I was messing around with some synth sounds and it came out almost fully-formed,” Mayson told Okayplayer. “The past few days have been a process of figuring out what the tune means to me.”
Which means that listeners have a right to speculate, as well. As the song hits its peak and he screams “I spent it all on you,” everything about Mayson that’s great happens all at once. Big Cats drums cut a sharp groove while synthesizers veer off at wild angles and in its closing seconds “Capital” channels the unhinged side of artists like Bilal and Kimbra. It’s a prog-soul track with a hip-hop spine wearing the knowing grin of great pop music. It’s surprising and satisfying and never stops building and was produced at a quality that we rarely hear from the snowy land of 10,000 lakes.
The excellence is born out of Mayson’s vast experience. “I’ve been playing piano my whole life, self taught. Music is definitely my first language,” he said. ” I grew up in a creative, musical family and I make my living playing for theatre and dance in Minneapolis, as well as playing in many bands at night.” Even with his full schedule, Mayson plans to release a proper EP in the spring through RiverRock, with a full-length to follow. If you already want to hear more of his chops, you can revisit Toki Wright & Big Cats’s Pangaea LP, which features numerous samples of Mayson’s live keys playing. Listen to “Capital” below.