“I’m outta here,” Brian Mayhall tells me as we enjoy a mid-morning chat in his garden. We’re outside because the rest of his house in various stages of being packed up for his upcoming move to Mexico in October. “At least for a little while,” he continues, “but I’ll be around, we’ll see how it goes, I just want to be clear to people that this will not be the last D Numbers show.”
Mayhall refers to his band’s appearance at the upcoming album release for GRYGRDNS’ Interwoven at Meow Wolf, a show that will also feature Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand. And yeah, both of those other bands are great and all, but let’s be honest here—D Numbers’ final performance for the foreseeable future is the most important reason to be there. The trio has cultivated a sizeable following in their 14-ish years of existence. This could be because they play rarely (five times a year would even be more than usual), but also because they’ve found a brilliant intersection between the danceable bits of techno/electronic music, funk and—I’ll just say it even though I think they might hate the term—experimental rock. At least, “experimental” insofar as the band’s complicated stage plot is the stuff of sound guy nightmares, and fans of most styles tend to love ’em. “We’ve been working on this new format that’s a little more electronic, and I think we might try to incorporate some of that into the older material,” he says. “We’re still developing a new batch of material.” See? It isn’t goodbye so much as it’s “Smell you later.”
I wouldn’t even normally write about events at the same venue twice in a row, but from the moment I learned that Mayhall would be leaving town to work at his uncle’s B&B across the border, it definitely took precedence over whatever stupid other thing I was writing. See, Mayhall is a legend as far as I’m concerned, and this may be our last chance to see him perform for some time. As a multi-instrumentalist, electronic musician and a composer, Mayhall never seems to get quite as much credit as his D Numbers counterparts, Paul Feathericci and Ben Wright (both of whom are also fantastic musicians).
Not that he’d even particularly want it. Mayhall has a certain grace that’s hard to come by around here, or even in music performance in general. And it’s served him well in his DJ efforts, with his two-piece featuring Feathericci, Ray Charles Ives (RIP), as co-founder of local record label, Mesa Recordings, and as a co-sound designer of Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return.
Of the exhibit, Mayhall says he appreciated the opportunity to create and execute sound-as-experience, especially since it sounds like his days of techno might be behind him in favor of more compositional efforts. “Some people are so dedicated to the art form, and techno or house has a definite power, but I was never a great DJ,” he says. “I like compositional elements in my music, and that’s kind of what I’ve been focused on for the last three years, the live sets, and that’s not as common.” For now, however, he’s excited to have more time in Mexico where, he says, he can zero in on new types of music and “play my instruments just for the enjoyment of it.”
These are wise words, indeed. According to Mayhall, he finds himself wishing he’d played more low-playing music gigs rather than worrying about whatever restaurant job he was holding down at the time. “It was easy and comforting in a lot of ways,” he says, “but I can look back on a lot of decisions I made and maybe things would have been a little better for me had I made different decisions. … That’s something I’d say to young people: Play your music.” That ease also translated into some of his reason to leave town. “It’s hard to peel away from this place and the music and my boys, and it’s been an emotional summer,” Mayhall says, “but I think this is a real shuffle-the-deck moment for me; I’m going to see what comes up next.”
Say goodbye to Brian this Saturday at Meow Wolf. The man does not disappoint.
Interwoven CD Release
Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand
and D Numbers
8 pm Saturday Sept. 3. $10-$13.
1352 Rufina Circle,