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Q&A with Hard Maybe

Hard Maybe is a dynamic 7-piece band hailing from Seattle with a sound that’s been described as “a fusion style completely their own.” With three-part harmony punctuated by horns, they seamlessly blend ingredients from back-beat driven funk, soul, and more to create an effortlessly cohesive and rich sound.

The band formed in 2017 while living in Bellingham, where many of the members had begun collaborating several years earlier. Hard Maybe has since become a staple in Seattle's music scene, performing at some of the city’s biggest events including Capitol Hill Block Party, Bite of Seattle, and Belltown Bloom.

Hard Maybe is an independent band with a democratic approach. From recording in their part-home, part-rehearsal space and studio in Kenmore, WA to composing parts for new songs, each member has a say in the band and brings something unique to the table.

Who are all the band members and what are their roles?

Monica Parshotam (vocals/keys)

Troy Bohman (vocals/bass)

Kaeli Earle (vocals)

Sam Jaeger (guitar)

Daniel Lombard (trumpet)

Rebekah Way (saxophone)

Alex Roemmele (drums)

What is the inspiration behind “Porch Debacle”?

The song is about Troy seeing his ex get dropped off by her new man at a gathering with some mutual friends. Seeing the new guy caused all these old feelings to rear their head, even though he thought he was over the situation. Sitting on his friend’s porch, feeling jealous and apathetic, he strummed out some chords on a guitar and came up with part of the chorus line. That’s the “porch” part of "Porch Debacle." The song has a happy vibe but the lyrics are pretty angry – sort of an "F you" to her and the new guy.

I really enjoyed the music video for “The Docks.” Do you have a video coming out for “Porch Debacle”?

Thank you, we had such a blast making that music video! We don't currently have plans to release one for "Porch Debacle," but who knows! We definitely plan to release more music videos in the future.

How did you find your sound as a group?

Our sound has evolved and morphed over the years. We started out as a five piece – keyboard, bass, guitar, two vocals, & trumpet – before adding in a third vocalist and saxophonist early on. We pretty much knew we wanted horns and three part vocal harmony from the get go. From there we just messed around with different song ideas, incorporating the musical perspectives and interests of each member during the composition process. Several of our members have a background playing jazz and/or studied music in college, and that has played a role in shaping our sound as well. Our music is a reflection of the combination and crossover of each of our unique and varying musical tastes and experiences. As we continue to grow as musicians and listeners, our sound also continues to grow and change.

What is your writing process like with so many members? How have you settled differences of opinions under your democratic approach?

Typically Troy or Monica will bring an idea to the group, and at that point the song will be at various stages of the writing process. That draft can range from only having the lead vocal and chords of the song to a nearly full arrangement of the tune. From there, we'll workshop the song as a full band or in small groups as each member writes, expands, and/or adjusts their parts. Sometimes we alter the arrangement, form, and chords until we arrive at the sound we want. As far as bridging the gap between differing opinions, we'll usually try different options and decide as a group what we like best. We record our rehearsals to listen back to ideas and sometimes we record a demo of the song so we can move things around in a DAW and listen from a different perspective.

Do you have a favorite song you’ve written? If you do, why is it your favorite?

From Monica: I really enjoy a newer song we’ve written called “Palace.” I love the way we drop into the groove of the song after the slow intro. It's an uplifting, cathartic song reminding us not to settle for circumstances that aren't fulfilling our souls, regardless of how glamorous they may appear from the outside.

From Troy: I also like one of the newer songs we’ve finished called “Bad Thing.” I’m really happy with the first verse, it might be the best verse I've ever written. The chords are also different from the way I usually write.

Who, or what, has most influenced your music and artistic style?

Some of our shared musical influences include Hiatus Kaiyote, D'Angelo, Jordan Rekai, Erykah Badu, J Dilla, and Roy Hargrove. We’re drawn to the many artists and songs that hit home. Experiencing the power a song can have on our emotions, healing, community, and connection with others is one of our main sources of inspiration. It's why we do what we do.

What are you listening to currently?

A few songs we’re currently loving include “Seconds” by August Rosenbaum, “Niassam” by Zoe’s Shanghai, and “You Work for Me” by Laura Mvula. One of our favorite pastimes is sharing and discovering new music with each other. We recently made individual playlists for our Spotify profile of the songs we’ve had on repeat lately – it’s been a lot of fun exploring the variety of our different mixes and seeing the common threads we share.

Listen to Hard Maybe's single "Porch Debacle" now.

Photo Credit: Graeme Aegerter

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