Boasting a sound that straddles the border of alternative rock and emo-pop, Mae (an acronym for Multisensory Aesthetic Experience) emerged out of Norfolk, Virginia in 2005 with their breakout sophomore album The Everglow, which made a strong showing on the Billboard Top 200 and eventually helped them jump from Tooth & Nail to Capitol Records in 2007. Following the release of a series of three EPs in 2009 and 2010, Mae effectively went on hiatus, re-forming for occasional reunion tours and returning for good in 2018 with their fourth album, Multisensory Aesthetic Experience.
Mae was formed in early 2001 by guitarist Matt Beck, drummer Jacob Marshall, bassist Mark Padgett, keyboardist Rob Sweitzer, and vocalist Dave Elkins. The band initially started out as the project of Elkins and Marshall, students at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Recording sessions were booked at Padgett's home studio, and the duo quickly grew into a quintet as the co-founders rubbed shoulders with other local musicians. Nearly eight months later, Mae had cemented its sound and landed local shows with the likes of the Movielife, River City High, and the Exit. In the process, the group also recorded songs for a debut album, Destination: Beautiful, which was released in early 2003 by Tooth & Nail.
While touring to support Destination: Beautiful, guitarist Matt Beck stepped down from his post and was replaced by former Unsung Zeroes guitarist Zach Gehring. Destination: B-Sides surfaced near the end of 2004. Mae's second proper studio album, The Everglow, followed in 2005, and the band's dedicated audience (not to mention its coveted spot on the Warped Tour that summer) helped the album peak at number 51 on the Billboard 200. Mae joined the Virgin College Mega Tour in early 2006 alongside Over It and Yellowcard, and an expanded edition of The Everglow appeared that April with additional tracks and a bonus DVD. The musicians' contract with Tooth & Nail ran out later that year, and they went on to sign a deal with Capitol. Both Sweitzer and Padgett left the band prior to the release of their major-label debut, Singularity, which was released during the summer of 2007 and cracked the Top 40, selling roughly 17,000 copies during its first week. It proved to be Mae's only release for Capitol, however, as the band left the label's roster in 2008 and forged ahead as an independent act. Early the following year, the (m)orning EP became Mae's first independently released disc, although it received a widespread release in September courtesy of Cell Records. They followed up quickly with (a)fternoon, and completed the cycle in 2010 with (e)vening. Not long after, it was announced that both Sweitzer and Padgett would be rejoining Mae to take part in their lengthy Goodbye, Goodnight tour which would extend to both Europe and Japan. Aside from a brief reunion in early 2013 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of their debut, the band remained on hiatus until 2015 when they again reunited to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their second album. In 2017, Mae's cycle of EPs was compiled into the full-length release, (M)(A)(E) and released by Cell Records. A year later, they rejoined Tooth & Nail's roster to release their fourth studio album, Multisensory Aesthetic Experience. ~ MacKenzie Wilson & Andrew Leahey