Maps Need Reading
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Maps Need Reading

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Art Rock




"Maps Need Reading brings 'art rock' to Knoxville"

Knoxville’s local music scene has very quickly become something to marvel at.
Venues are acquiring more foot traffic, making it more competitive for artists to get a slot, and Knoxville even has its own music festivals like Big Ears and Rhythm N' Blooms. The growth of Knoxville music has made it possible for local artists to be more daring and experimental with their music, allowing artists to develop their own sound as well as influence other local artists.
Artists have started to create new genres to fit their music instead of writing their music to fit a genre in the hopes of discovering a sound that makes them unique. Local band Maps Need Reading has done exactly that.
Chris Burgess, Nathan Patterson, David Webb and DJ Young are the creative minds behind the quirky, jazzy-progressive-indie-rock sound that is exclusive to Maps.
Maps Need Reading has officially been together since 2011, but their music dates back to their high school days.
“Me and David used to jam in high school after class, just the two of us, guitar and drums, and then me and Chris lived together for a year in an apartment in the Fort right behind the Pickle Mansion, which is the name of one of our songs,” Young said.
At the same time, Burgess and Patterson played in a cover band together which Webb occasionally joined in on before he became a staple of the band.
As the band continued to progress, Young filled in for their drummer periodically before he ultimately replaced him to complete the group.
“We played a lot but didn’t really take it that seriously, just for fun,” said Webb, “but when we got DJ last year, we started to get a different sound and started trying to take it somewhere.”
The name Maps Need Reading came from a list of dozens of band names the group compiled.
“We just thought that Maps Need Reading was the catchiest and also was the easiest to attach some sort of meaning to, even though there wasn’t a real specific meaning to it initially,” said Webb.
Young added, “That’s art.”
Maps Need Reading draws influence from artists like Radiohead and David Bowie. Their influences evolve as their musical career progresses, as they are continually trying new things and developing their sound into something fresh and exciting.
“I think that’s what we are always striving for, is to not settle for a sound,” Young said. “And I think that’s why it’s hard to label ourselves because we are constantly changing or trying new things.”
While their genre is difficult to categorize, Young describes it as “art rock.” This indicates their masterful ability to combine a variety of genres while maintaining a solid sound—accurately noting that the Maps sound is art.
“Other bands are just really straightforward, and we’re constantly trying to push the envelope, constantly trying to just do something different,” Patterson said.
Maps’ effort at continually evolving is what sets them apart from other artists. Not only are they trying to make something cool and different, but they also try to change it and make it better. Their commitment to their art is how they are going to make their name outside of the local music scene.
“We’ve come to the point in our lives specifically that we look at the band and if we don’t go any further then it’s just a waste of time,” said Patterson. “So, I would say yeah we are trying to make it, but at the same time we’re not trying to sell out. We’re trying to still have a really, really good time.”
While they work hard, Webb suggests that people shouldn’t take the group too seriously.
“We take what we do very seriously, but we’re also very relaxed in nature about it,” said Young. “It’s about having a good time as much as it is (work).”
Maps Need Reading is currently getting ready to record a single which will be part of an EP to be released in the spring. They are also preparing to shoot a music video for the single and plan to release a full-length album sometime next year.
Maps Need Reading will be performing at Preservation Pub at 10 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 5. - The Daily Beacon

"Local Music Review: Maps Need Reading"

Maps Need Reading
Hopes for Chemistry
“Morning haze, one hit more,” Maps Need Reading sing on their debut EP. It’s a pertinent tagline for Hopes for Chemistry, four tracks of psychedelic emo-jazz well-suited for a post-midnight munchies run. The quartet has been a staple of Knoxville’s progressive music scene for the past four years, building a faithful following based on the quirkiness and intensity of their live shows. But by revamping their lineup (with new drummer DJ Young) and hitting the studio (with Lines Taking Shape’s Paul Seguna), Maps sound like an entirely new band in 2015—harnessing that early potential with electrifying results.

“My Sister’s Husband” opens the EP with a storm cloud of jazz-rock elegance, bolstered by the call-and-response melodic accents of guest players Hunter Smith (saxophone) and Tylar Bullion (trombone). That sultry atmosphere trickles throughout the set—lurching into heavier prog rock on the epic, nearly instrumental “Pickle Mansion” (inspired by a 100-year-old house) and Zappa-esque funk-fusion on “Speak in Beeps,” which channels the angst of watching a close friend morph into a robot, figuratively speaking.

Seguna’s lush, live-sounding production gives Maps muscle and clarity, highlighting the band’s bold dynamic shifts. And it’s a trip surveying their continued sophistication—compare the scrappy early demo version of live staple “Two Yellows” with the jazzier, more nuanced version that appears here. As individual players, their changes are startling: Guitarist David Webb flaunts his jazz-guitar training throughout the EP, like on the trippy mid-section of “Pickle Mansion,” and Young’s textured drumming, captured by Seguna in a stereo-panned mix, is the sonic glue holding it all together.

Maps have already started working on their debut LP, a wacky-sounding concept album about “personified machines and appliances.” Until then, we’ve got Hopes for Chemistry—an alluring tease that reveals new depths with each listen. - Knoxville Mercury

"Maps Need Reading Come Out Strong With Debut EP"

Prog is not for everyone. Like a fine bleu cheese, it's an acquired taste that can very specifically satisfy a discerning pallet. Those who appreciate it, can appreciate the level of difficulty while getting lost in the wandering melodies.

Knoxville's Maps Need Reading put out what was, according to their Bandcamp, their "first release that isn't just a demo." At times on the EP, Maps sound like a jazzier Umphrey's McGee. Other times, they sound more like Perpetual Groove, but with less cooky sound effects. Good company to be in. And while there are lengthy instrumental breaks in these songs, the interludes feel a little more too on purpose to consider them a jamband.

There are intermittent moments of grooving greatness. The whole EP breaks wide open about midway through "Two Yellows," when the listener can feel the energy rise. At that point, resisting movement is futile. Dancing and/or foot-tapping is inevitable. That momentum carries through the final track "Speak in Beeps," which feels like the band throws everything they can think of at you, much like an athlete leaving everything on the field in the final minutes of a game. That last song has so much going on in it, and for a brief moment, everything drops out leaving you alone with deep, rasping keys. It's a nice moment with an intense riff, and when the rest of the band joins in it'll get you going. Then everything peaks, and we're left with a denouement and a cool-down of reverberated vocals.

You can get your copy of Hopes For Chemistry on Bandcamp, or you could always pick up a physical copy of the EP at a Maps show. We recommend the latter. Maps mentioned to expect more music from them in the "semi-near future," so be on the lookout for the quick follow up. - Knoxville Music Warehouse

"Local Prog Quartet Maps Need Reading Regroups and Finds New Direction"

Maps Need Reading has been an integral part of Knoxville’s progressive-music community for the past four years, developing an early style that guitarist David Webb labels “punk meets indie rock meets prog.” Armed with only a quirky Bandcamp demo, the quartet developed their high-energy live show at venues like Preservation Pub—but their momentum gradually dwindled, leading to a critical turning point last summer, when Webb told his bandmates he was quitting.

It turns out that the band’s real problem was chemistry. After parting ways with their original drummer, they found an immediate spark with childhood friend/percussionist D.J. Young, and it’s given Maps a second life.

“It felt like this magical thing was happening,” Webb says.

Webb, guitarist/keyboardist Chris Burgess, and bassist Nathan Patterson started collaborating during high school in Seymour under the name the Renaissance. When they hit their crossroads, they were skeptical about recruiting another person from their circle. But Young’s zest gave the band a fresh perspective. They started reworking their entire set list, adding elements of jazz and soul to their caffeinated jams.

“A lot of our stuff’s still pretty high-energy, but there’s a lot more dynamic range,” Webb says. “We’re going for a little more of an accessible sound, in general, without sacrificing the integrity of the music.”

After having been out of the Knoxville circuit for six months, Maps 2.0 reintroduced themselves in December with a show at Scruffy City Hall. In March, the band took a bolder step, recruiting a pair of horn players from the University of Tennessee jazz department for the Volapalooza Battle of the Bands.

“It gave the music a more danceable, fun vibe,” Webb says. “One of the things we’re doing now that we didn’t really do before is think of ways to change the material and fit it to different situations.”

The original version of Maps Need Reading was one of Knoxville’s most promising young bands, but some of the early material felt one-dimensional and overly scrappy, as if the members’ chops hadn’t caught up with their creativity. Now the band’s operating on a different plane. Compare that rough early demo with the maturity of their recent Bandcamp rehearsal set; new tracks like “Lightning Horse” and “Out of the Sea, Into Circuitry” stretch out to eight or 10 minutes, weaving psychedelic guitar harmonies over jazzy rhythm sections.

The jazzier approach makes sense—before switching majors, Young studied jazz at UT. Webb, meanwhile, will graduate from the university in December with a degree in studio music and jazz. Playing in the department has helped him regain “an appreciation for music and life”—and given him a reality check about his own musical abilities.

“I went into the school feeling like I was hot shit,” Webb says. “I thought I was this great guitar player. But I remember the first time I had a class with the other guitar players. I saw all of them play, and I was just blown away—I instantly felt like I was two inches tall.

“There was a long time when I had a cynical view on things, and I recognize that there’s a lot of corruption and terrible things going on in the world and America,” he continues. “But jazz was the first thing that ever made me proud to be American, as totally lame as that sounds. It’s just this beautiful, beautiful art form that came out of African-American culture, and it’s America personified through music. It’s more or less the foundation of all the music we listen to. I feel like it’s helped connect me to my roots, even if they’re roots I was formerly unaware of.”

The old Maps had trouble taking their grand ideas past the conceptual stage, but Webb and company don’t have that problem these days. They’re currently recording their debut EP with Paul Seguna of Lines Taking Shape, with release planned for July. The set will feature a mix of reworked older songs and new material that showcases the band’s new direction.

And their next move is even more ambitious. The group is currently strategizing a concept album about “personified machines and appliances,” with a goal to hunker down and write this fall.

“The subject matter of our songs is often about humans doing things that go against our own nature,” Webb says. “We get locked into a routine because we have to go to work, and we have to do all these things just to survive. We end up becoming depressed sometimes and losing the essence of what it actually means to be alive.”

There’s an irony in that theme—for Maps Need Reading, after years of uncertainty and tentativeness, their essence has finally become clear. - Knoxville Mercury


Hopes for Chemistry EP (2015)

  1. My Sister's Husband
  2. Two Yellows
  3. Pickle Mansion
  4. Speak in Beeps



Maps Need Reading is a three-piece art rock band based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The band fuses elements of jazz, indie, and post rock, creating a hybrid sound that equally satisfies the tastes of both progressive rock and pop fans alike.

Guitarist David Webb, bassist Nathan Patterson, and guitarist/keyboardist Chris Burgess formed The Renaissants during their high school years, creating nifty indie pop music that slowly drifted toward more odd time signatures and dynamic arrangements. The three musicians formed Maps Need Reading in 2011 by adding drummer Jordan Sexton, whose style allowed the band to further develop a more progressive, post-rock-influenced sound. In 2014, Sexton left the band and was replaced by childhood friend and University of Tennessee music school companion DJ Young.

Moving forward with Young, the band has further diversified its sound while continuing to refine the core audible elements that have kept fans coming back - long, dynamic orchestrations that combine deep, dissonant noise and danceable indie pop aesthetics. Each member of the band contributes their own respective influences to the writing process, and that diversity allows for songs that span all across the musical spectrum. The band released its Hopes for Chemistry EP in August, 2015, and has used the positive momentum the album has received to begin pushing their sound outside Knoxville.

Band Members