Different Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Leo and the Maydays to host Halloween album release show

Monika Lis
Leo and the Maydays will release their new album, "Freshman," on Oct. 31

This Halloween will be a true “treat” for Leo and the Maydays, as the Ithaca alternative-rock band will mark the release of its new album, “Freshman,” Sunday night at the Dock.

To mark the occasion, they’ll be dressed up as Star Trek characters, with Leo rocking a “goth version” of Seven of Nine, portrayed by Jeri Ryan in “Star Trek: Voyager.”

“I’m a huge Trekkie,” said Leo said in a recent interview. “I grew up watching the show with my family.”

Tijuana Danger Dogs and Metasequoia’s Roo Earthling will open the 7 p.m. show. Admission is $5, and costumes are welcome.

The 22-year-old Leo, whose real name is Hannah Madl, is excited to release the new album after several years of songwriting and recording.

“This album is called ‘Freshman’ because it’s like an evolution piece for me, but also because most of the material was written when I was in high school, and I just held on to it for this time,” she said. “My newer stuff I’m writing now, I would say, is much more centered. I’m pretty proud of the songs on ‘Freshman,’ but it’s definitely immature compared to where I am now. But it’s also a very important record to me for that reason. It’s very nostalgic for me – all the things I wrote about were things I felt during my adolescence, and were very real to me, and, I think, a lot of other people.”

She cites Reliant K, Owl City, and Taylor Swift as songwriting influences on the new album, along with musical inspirations such as Paramore and Death Cab for Cutie, which she described as “my all-time favorite band.”

“I love the way that their songs don’t have a normal structure most of the time," she said. "They’re very feel-based, which I love.”

Leo and the Maydays will release their album "Freshman" on Halloween night

The current lineup of the Maydays – Mike Parker, John Carter, and Tyler Flewelling – all played on the new album, which was recorded and produced by Carter with assistance from Flewelling at New Vine Studio in Freeville, just outside of Ithaca.

Carter, in fact, is Leo’s father, and she considers herself “lucky” to play in a band with him

“When I was a teenager I had different feelings about it,” she said, “I didn’t want to listen to him at all, I was very immature, and would say, ‘I just want to do by myself.’ But as I’ve grown older, I realize I’m lucky to have him in the group because he really knows what he’s talking about as far as arrangement and feeling on songs. And also he’s a really good guitarist and bass player, and I can always count on him to do well at our shows. So he’s a big asset to the group.”

Carter and Leo also run New Vine Records, a non-profit organization that aids and develops emerging artists in the area.

This month also marked another milestone for Leo: on Oct. 1, she announced on her personal Facebook page that she has alopecia, an auto-immune disease that causes complete hair loss, and posted several photos of herself without one of the many wigs that have covered her head for a decade.

“It was a very heavy weight I carried around for my whole adolescence and it really contributed to a lot of my mental health problems and affected my whole well-being,” she said. “It’s definitely interesting because it’s just hair – I wasn’t sick, and it wasn’t like anything serious, but it felt so serious. I think it was just not having control at all was the thing that was so hard for me. But that ended up being the biggest lesson to me –letting it go and letting things sit as they are, and being okay with not being in control of everything and accepting that I can’t be in charge and can’t control everything.”

“I’m a big Type A personality – I really like accomplishing things, really like getting stuff done, and really like being in charge,” she added. “So that was a really big growth point for me. Since I’ve been able to let that go, I’ve been a lot happier and felt a lot freer. There was always this slight fear, or sometimes overwhelming fear, that people would not accept me for it. Which, if I really thought about it, was somewhat ridiculous – it’s not something I have control over, and anyone who would do that is an a**hole, But it was still a very real fear. So it’s been so encouraging to have an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone I know. And I’m much happier – it was such a weight for me for so long, and I just don’t feel it anymore.”

To learn more about Leo and the Maydays, go here.

Monika Lis
Leo and the Maydays play an album release show at the Dock Oct. 31.

Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, WITHradio.org) and its affiliates.