Here Come The Asymptomatics
Arts & CultureMusic

Here Come The Asymptomatics

The mostly-Jewish, up & coming rock band has carved out their niche in the local music scene with their unique brand of upbeat party rock.

Sasha Heller is the Web Editor and Copy Editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times

Nikki Shotz and Maxwell Mahieu perform at The Masquerade on Feb. 24 // Photo by Sasha Heller
Nikki Shotz and Maxwell Mahieu perform at The Masquerade on Feb. 24 // Photo by Sasha Heller

If you haven’t heard of The Asymptomatics, then you’ve been missing out on a world of fun.

The harmonious noise collective, comprised primarily of Jewish members, has garnered a reputation in Athens and Atlanta for boisterous, exuberant shows that engage the crowd via the band’s high-octane “sweaty” energy.

Attempting to categorize The Asymptomatics into a single, defined genre is a fool’s errand. In essence, they are a maximalist indie rock band that fuses elements of ska, funk, and punk and blends the manic energy of The Violent Femmes with the frenetic whimsy of The B-52s. In short, they’re a symphony of stereophonic fire and fury.

The Asymptomatics released their newest single, “Take It Slowly,” on April 12 // Photo by Sasha Heller

The Asymptomatics are set to play a pair of upcoming shows in Athens at the Twilight Festival on April 26 and AthFest 2024 the weekend of June 21. And curious readers can follow the band on Instagram (@asymptomatics) and listen to their music on Spotify (The Asymptomatics).

In coordination with the band having just released their newest single, “Take It Slowly,” on April 12, the AJT sat down with keyboardist and lead singer, Maxwell Mahieu, to discuss the band’s origins, its influences, and its future.

Harris Greenbaum and Sebastian Betancur of The Asymptomatics at The Masquerade // Photo by Sasha Heller

AJT: How did you all meet? How did the band form?
MM: All of us were friends (some meeting as far back as elementary school and some in college) that had all been musicians for a while. Over the pandemic, we sort of realized this common love for music and performing and put our spare time in isolation to good use. At that point, it was only four people and my mom on drums, but as soon as we got back to Athens — after the pandemic started to settle down — we realized we wanted to make this more than just a hobby, aptly naming ourselves The Asymptomatics.
We had our debut show at a hole-in-the-wall dive called Cozy Bar, and that was exactly three years ago. Our payout was a crisp $50 bill split between the seven of us and a sake bomb for every member. We soon decided to add trumpet, saxophone, congas, and any other instrument that we could get our hands on. Soon enough, we had 10 members (sometimes 13 if the space on stage allowed for it) and realized The Asymptomatics had turned into more of a collective than a band. The size of our group directly relates to the type of music and performance we want to curate — an inclusive, sweaty, dancey, crazy fun experience that is open to anyone to be a part of.

AJT: How would you describe your sound? Do you have plans to experiment with new styles?
MM: With the large number of members and a wide range of musical influences and tastes, we are always experimenting with new styles. The one constant we try to hold in our music is to keep it fun and danceable for the live performance, but that does not limit us from exploring different beats, rhythms, and tones while practicing and recording. I think as a still relatively new band, we don’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into one genre.
Also, as we continue to grow and evolve not only as musicians, but as young humans, our tastes and interests change every day. We are just moving with our own flow, polishing our instrumental craft, and taking in the inspiration around us, which will ultimately become a consistent sound. I’ve also got to say — with half of the band members working part-time at the flagship that is Wuxtry Records (in Athens), there is never a lack of exposure to new sounds that span decades and geographies.

The Asymptomatics offer a unique stage presence that often engages the crowd in fun ways // Photo by Sasha Heller

AJT: What are some of the band’s musical influences?
MM: With a large number of members and a wide range of styles, our influences are all over the place, which definitely makes every day sonically exciting when you walk into our band house and listen to what new album is blaring from the living room. Although our listening habits are always fluctuating, I can say that the band started being musically influenced by indie rock, folk, funk, and punk. Performance-wise, we love putting on our own convoluted interpretation of the energy and aesthetics — and antics — of The B-52s and Talking Heads.
To sum it up neatly, here is a list of what we are listening to right now:
• Essential ’60s groups, specifically Crosby, Stills & Nash, and The Velvet Underground
• ’80s obsessions like The B-52s, Talking Heads, and Devo
• ’90s/2000s indie staples including Stereolab, Silver Jews, Wilco, Fleet Foxes, Yo La Tengo, Parquet Courts, and Deerhunter
This decade-spanning influence also comes with a love and spotlight of the Athens music scene of then and now, ranging from Pylon to the Glands to the Olivia Tremor Control.

AJT: I know this is unlikely, but since this is a Jewish newspaper, I must ask … does Judaism factor in the band in any way with eight of the 11 members being Jewish? Maybe in the form of lyrics? Or borrowing inspiration for new tunes from old Jewish melodies?
MM: Currently, I can’t say there’s a direct influence creatively. However, the ongoing encouragement and support we’ve received from our friends, family, and fans in our Jewish circle cultivates a strong sense of community at every show. UGA’s Tau Epsilon Phi, the Jewish fraternity that half of The Asymptomatics’ founding members were a part of, built that initial fanbase. We love that everyone in our circle shows up and contributes to the sweaty dance party experience the band has created … especially when we’re playing “Hava Nagila” at a family wedding!

The Asymptomatics are comprised primarily of Jewish band members // Photo Credit: Nicole Allario

The Asymptomatics

Maxwell Mahieu: Keys & Lead Vocals
Nick Bonell: Drums
Harris Greenbaum: Saxophone
Zach Negin: Guitar
Chris Natale: Guitar
Justin Janowitz: Guitar
Grant Chernau: Back-up vocals, Synth, and Percussion
Nikki Shotz: Back-up & Lead Vocals
Farida Igbadume: Back-up & Lead Vocals
Sebastian Betancur: Bass
Deb Wall: Percussion

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