Sound Scene Express caught up with Jordan Topf lead singer of Mainland. The quartet are making a lot of noise in the indie music scene and will not be long before they are headlining shows themselves. The band will be in town this Saturday opening up for Marianas Trench at Mr. Smalls Theater. Doors open at 7pm for this all ages show with Mainland taking the stage at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at
Interview conducted by Paige Suvick
Sound Scene Express: For those new to Mainland, who are you? What are your names, who plays what, and where are you all from?
Jordan Topf: We’re Mainland, a 4 piece rock and roll band from New York City. We are influenced by 70s New York punk, 80s British New Wave, and through that we write heartfelt anthems of love lost and challenges overcome in the big city. Jordan Topf on vocals and guitar, Corey Mullee on Guitar/Keys, Alex Pitta on Bass, Joey Sulkowski on Drums. We just released the brand new “Outcast EP” on 300 Entertainment.
SSE: Your lineup has gone through a few changes over the years. How did Mainland eventually become Jordan, Corey, Alex, and Joey?
JT: It can be hard to get a band together early on when you’re just starting in a city like New York where everyone’s in a band or doing something on the side. This is the most solid we’ve been lineup wise however and I don’t foresee lineup changes any time soon. We’re also best friends so that’s a huge bonus. I met Corey at a party in 2010 and we started the band together. I met Alex on the job. Joey joined later through mutual friends after we parted ways with our old drummer Dylan Longstreet.
SSE: Most of you are originally from California but the band is based in Brooklyn. What does it mean to be hitting both California and New York in the same tour?
JT: It’s an epic homecoming! I was in California writing new material for the past couple weeks when we got word of the tour so it was a wild transition knowing that I didn’t get a chance to go back to New York and wound up hitting the road right after the new year. We weren’t playing NYC so it didn’t exactly feel like a homecoming on that front, but being around our families when we played the sold out Troubadour show was definitely
SSE: Recently you’ve toured with Atlas Genius and Arkells. How has touring with Marianas Trench been any different, if at all?
JT: These are the biggest crowds we’ve played for. A highlight was playing to a thousand screaming fans at House of Blues Orlando. Touring with Atlas and Arkells was super rad and the fans were very responsive towards us, but this audience has been so great to us as well. They love supporting young bands like us who are cutting our teeth on their first full US tour. They cheer when you first hit the stage, buy merch, and are always down to take a squad photo after the show. So we are very grateful for the opportunity
to show em what we’re made of.
SSE: What are the most troubling parts of touring extensively? And while we’re at it, how’s Bertha?
JT: The southern jaunt of this tour was rough because the van broke down and we had our longest drives between cities. Bertha is great and in good health now. She broke down in El Paso but we persevered and made it to our show in Dallas with time to spare.
SSE: Between your 2013, 2014, and 2015 EPs and the unreleased full length, has anything changed in terms of the recording and writing process? Do you enjoy recording and writing?
JT: Outcast is the name of the new EP we just released on December 4th. We’ve released three EPs thus far: Girls Unknown EP (2013), Shiner EP (2014), Outcast EP (2015). The LP will be out soon, we promise. We’ve matured as songwriters and in the studio. We’re writing more to the point and more truthfully and personally. The EP and album are our best works to date, and we’re pumped to show the world what we recorded under the California sun.
SSE: For ‘Shiner EP’ (2014), you guys got to work with Jim Eno from Spoon. How did he get involved in the project? What did you learn from Eno?
JT: We met Jim Eno in Austin on a tour we booked ourselves after we put out Girls Unknown on the Internet. He gave us a tour of Public Hi-Fi his beautiful analog studio and we struck up a deal. After he heard demos for the 4 songs he expressed a lot of excitement in the project.
SSE: In December you released a cover album of Elliott Smith’s ‘Either/Or’ on SoundCloud. What significance does Elliott Smith hold for Mainland, and why ‘Either/Or’?
JT: Elliott Smith was one of the best songwriters of the 90s/2000s and I’ve always loved Either/Or since I was a teenager. We had some spare time post Atlas Genius tour and it started with a cover of Between the Bars and led to tracking a song a day in my studio in Brooklyn. Recording the whole cover record was a way to refresh the songwriting senses by doing something completely different and out of character/genre for the band. We like challenging ourselves with art projects and recording experiments, because it keeps our fans on their toes and our creativity extra sharp.
SSE: After Pittsburgh, you’ll be three-quarters into this 24-show tour. Has this tour been anything like what you anticipated? Is there anything you’ll miss?
JT: You never know what tour entails but this has been the best touring experience for the band. The crowds and band have been so welcoming. Josh and the rest of Marianas Trench guys are so genuine to us the first night of tour they gifted us a bottle of champagne and since then many various bottles of grey goose and tequila. I’m gonna miss them and their crew, we’ve learned so many tour tricks from vocal warm ups to stage show. It’s been a wild ride for sure.
SSE: Any final message for current/potential Mainland fans?
JT: Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.