LA-based indie rock band Hand Drawn Maps have really found their niche, bringing a distinct mix of indie-pop and surf rock to the LA scene.
Comprising Charles Gregory Schwartz (Greg) on Bass, Percussionist Mercedes Cruz, and Stewart James on Guitar and Vox (Stewart is also the songwriter) the trio come from a wide range of locations and musical influences.
Greg grew up playing worship music with his church band in his hometown of Texarkana, Texas; his heart however always resided in the spirit of Blues, Folk, and Rock’n’Roll, and his bass lines are so alluring and methodical they could stand alone as their own songs.
Mercedes meanwhile is a good old fashioned Midwest girl with big city dreams – hailing originally from Minnesota, she picked up a set of sticks as a young girl and started banging on stuff, and it wasn’t long before her school orchestra pointed her in the right direction, showing her that her true calling was not in notes and chords, but rather in beats and time signatures.
Stewart is the only native Los Angeleno, and was born and raised in Manhattan Beach. He first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 10, and immediately started writing and imitating his idols, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.In his earlier years, he fell victim to harsh life problems involving anxiety and depression. To this day the only thing that takes away the fear and anxiety, is writing and performing music. The themes of isolation and fear appear in his lyrics, only shadowed by lyrics of hope, love, and perseverance.
Meeting up in Los Angeles the three immediately started writing and recording their debut EP, ‘Kites’. They’ve been spending a lot of time honing their craft, playing live, filling up local clubs and bars around LA, as well as featuring in local blogs, and performing a live session for Jam in the Van, at their HQ in Downtown LA.
“We are just 3 people who found a common bond in the music, and I don’t think any of us would ever change that.”
‘Kites’ has a really grungy, yet upbeat 60s style pop feel to it: it’s Seattle married and settling down in the Westcoast; it’s Nirvana shacking up with The Doors with The Beach Boys living in the next block.
‘Kites’ reminds us of Irish band Penrose (who in turn remind us of fellow Dubs The Thrills), even though it’s highly unlikely Hand Drawn Maps have ever heard of either band. ‘Kites’ is a great debut EP, with every song a winner – our personal fave is the title track ‘Kites’, with ‘Cast Away The Night’ a close second.