The Macks Strike Back with Sophomore LP

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  • YUP album art

  • The Macks Rocking out mid-performance

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Garret Gravink

The Macks “YUP” has been highly anticipated by DIY fans from Eugene to Portland. The 4-piece rock and roll band from Portland, Oregon has been making waves all over the Pacific Northwest since 2015, and more recently, all over the country from Boise, ID to Atlantic City, NJ. The Macks consists of brothers Ben and Joe Windheim, Sam Fulwiler, and Payden Sternkopf. The Macks have performed in a multitude of different environments, from live on the radio on KWVA, live on KBVR TV, or in the middle of Eastern Oregon.

            The band’s upcoming album “YUP” releases November 6th. Guitarist for the Macks, Ben Windheim says that the band is very proud of the album and compared to their previous album, Camp Poppa, “Every song… has a lot more effort put into it”

            I talked with Windheim about the writing process for the new album, he told me that often times either he or Joe would write the guitar riffs and Fulwiler would write the lyrics for all the songs. They began the writing process back in summer of 2018, and finalized all the songs in January 2019, as they were in the studio recording them. One of the songs was written and recorded entirely while they were in the studio. However, there is one song that was unique, Boulder. Windheim told me that Fulwiler wrote the whole song on his own, “straight up about his landlord, from Boulder.” Don’t worry, it’s not a true story, just based off one. The song evolved from “a bubbly acoustic song complaining about [Fulwiler’s] landlord” into the dark rock ballad as it appears on the record. Windheim said that this change didn’t take place until they were in the studio, only taking one or two takes for the song to become what it is.

            We also talked about the differences in playing the music live as opposed to how it appears on the record. Soon after The Macks’ previous bassist Bailey Sauls departed the band in July to continue school, they began playing with Sternkopf. Windheim said that the experience playing live with Sternkopf is just different, no better, no worse. “Bailey learned bass in The Macks, so his style was entirely formed around the band.” Whereas, “Payden came to the band with a style” that makes the songs a little slower and a little groovier compared to how Bailey played them on the record. Ben added, “Obviously we miss playing with Bailey, but there [are] benefits to playing with Payden too.”

            “YUP” is a terrific blend of traditional distorted guitar sounds and rocking drum beats with Fulwiler’s distinct vocals floating over top; experimenting with new styles and sounds. My personal favorites include “I Meant To Ask” and “Tried My Best.” Both deliver driving rhythms and skillful guitar solos. As for the band’s personal favorites? “I think The Minimalist and King Hell Freaks are probably the collective favorites,” says Windheim.

“YUP” releases on November 6th on most major streaming platforms. New this release: Vinyl! Keep an eye on The Macks’ Instagram @themacksband for the process for procuring said vinyl. The Macks are playing the Interzone Halloween cover show (10/31, 7pm) and two release shows: 11/7 in Portland at Post 134 and 11/9 in Eugene at The Dream Pad.

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