The Material has been quiet for the better part of five years. But the Los Angeles rock troupe comes back with the May 18 release of a new EP, Gray States, whose track “The One That Got Away” is premiering exclusively below.
“We’re really excited about it,” singer Colleen D’Agostino tells Billboard, adding that “it wasn’t like a big falling out or anything” that dry-docked the quintet after its last tour during 2013.
“It just kind of fizzled into everyone being really burnt out,” D’Agostino explains. “We did it for a really long time, and I remember we played the House of Blues in December of 2013 after coming off the road touring our last album (Everything I Want To Say). Everybody was just tired and wanted to do the holidays and chilled out, and then January rolled around and no one called the next practice. It was sad, but I think we all needed a minute.”
D’Agostino made the most of her time away, doing voiceover work and joining forces with deadmau5 on songs such as “Stay” and “Seeya” as well as guesting on tracks by some of the other mau5trap label artists. She also released a solo EP, Collide, on the label. “It was definitely different,” she says, “but everyone in that scene was extremely cool and friendly towards me. I wasn’t, like, a huge fan of that kind of music; I just kind of fell into it and then I really ended up liking it, I think, because it was such a different departure from what I was doing before. It was like a breath of fresh air.”
Material, meanwhile, beckoned again last year, as the 10-year anniversary of the group’s first EP, Tomorrow, approached. “Jon (Moreaux) and I and Jordan (Meckley) were itching to just, like, jam again, and I was thinking, ‘Man, we should do something for the 10-year,'” D’Agostino says. There were some complications, too: guitarist Roy Elam was opening a new vegan restaurant in San Diego; and Kevin Pintado was working as a drum tech with Christina Aguilera and the Eagles, where he remains. But D’Agostino, Moreaux and Meckley “just started jamming with different friends,” which inevitably led to new music.
“We’re not good at just jamming for the fun of it,” D’Agostino says. “It eventually turned into, ‘Let’s get together and play some covers and we started writing music just naturally.’ Pretty soon we had a whole set list of new music and I was like, ‘Well, maybe this is the time to record it’ and we went into the studio and just kind of knocked all this stuff out.” D’Agostino estimates that the Material had 15-20 songs ready and narrowed the list down to five, feeling that an EP was more expedient as well as more in keeping with the times. Her work outside the band, meanwhile, had some effect on the new music.
“I wanted to bring some of the electronic element into it because I had been doing that for the last few years,” she says. “So there’s a little bit of an echo of electronic stuff and vocal production and sampling in some of the songs. But as much as we first were trying to steer into a new direction, we all just love playing rock music. We knew even if we called it something else, people would be like, ‘Why don’t they just call it the Material? It sounds like the Material?'”
The Material hasn’t scheduled any live shows yet, but D’Agostino is confident those will be coming. And the abundance of additional material as well as a resolve to keep creating makes another hiatus seem unlikely. “We’re just ready to do it again. We just missed it,” D’Agostino says. “I’m sure we’ll be back in the studio this summer. We’re never gonna stop writing music, so it’s safe to say there’s more music on the horizon — I can’t say when yet, but I’m sure it’ll happen.”