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Maniac is the musical collaboration between singers Jake Grigg (Sydney, Australia) and Shawn Harris (Oakland, California), two friends who initially began writing together in 2008 when they were living on opposite sides of the world. At the time, they were both also otherwise occupied with separate bands — Grigg in Something with Numbers and Harris in the Matches — so their musical partnership was largely limited to online Skype meet-ups and sporadic vacations. Quickly enough, however, Maniac became each of their main focuses, and they enthusiastically worked to craft pop music that came seemingly straight out of the '80s. They drew influence from the Beatles and duos like Hall & Oates and Crowded House, in addition to more contemporary acts like Washed Out, MGMT, Blur, and the Sleepy Jackson. Yet, it wasn't until Harris' move to Australia in March 2010 that the two were able to finally record together and play live. They released the EP Extended Play on Stop Start Records in Australia that June and spent the rest of the year performing around Sydney. To pull off their sound in a live setting, Harris' sister Vanessa became a permanent gig member, contributing on keys and backup vocals. Maniac eventually made its way back to the United States, with multiple shows around their new home base of California. The band released its full-length LP Mania in May 2011, which had been preceded by an appearance at the South by Southwest music festival. Positive press followed from magazines like Alternative Press and Rolling Stone Australia; over time, they found themselves sharing bills with acts like Atomic Tom, Family of the Year, Kevin Devine, Voxhaul Broadcast, and Rooney. Visual artists in addition to musicians, Harris and Grigg held fast to the D.I.Y method of working and creating; they designed their albums and merchandise, and used their personal printing press to completely fund the band's pursuits once landing back in the U.S. Harris also created low budget videos for several of Maniac's tracks, like "Thank Each Mistake," which was created using an iPad app. In the spring of 2011, the duo filmed and self-produced a documentary that followed them as they played house parties and hitchhiked the 3000 miles from Barstow, California to New York City, using music as their only currency. Meanwhile, they raised funds for their sophomore full-length, Sons of Summer, by selling four limited-edition EPs throughout 2012 as they were creating the record. Maniac supported Foxy Shazam on dates in the early spring and aimed to release the finished album that fall.
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