The State Of Music: Part 42 : North Dakota - Shane Maland

Just last night my partner Anna and I were both discussing how much we loved the film Fargo, which has perhaps promoted me to post this interview with Shane Maland, who lives in the town made famous by the Cohen brothers. A singer song-writer with a great voice, reminiscent of Ben Harper or even a little Michael Kiwanuka, but you know - more American sounding.

The fact I have found anyone making music in North Dakota is surprising enough, let alone someone this good.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is where in the world would we find Shane Maland

Fargo, ND. The Great Northern Prairie.

CMM: For people like myself who have never been to North Dakota how would you best describe your state? Very cold. Very Norwegian.

CMM: How long have you been writing and recording music as a solo artist and how did it all start?

I've been writing and recording for about 5 years. I grew up in a very small town and writing was a great way to spend my time.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

I hope it's reflective of the state I am in right now. I know that's hard to describe to others, but that's what I hope my music is. I hope it conveys the cold, harsh, lonesome part of the country. I hope people relate to it. But, if not, that's ok. I write for myself. I sing for myself. I'm just lucky that other people enjoy listening.

CMM: What is the music scene like in North Dakoata right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

Fargo has always seemed to be more metal than anything. Read Chuck Klosterman's books. He'll tell you all about it. Recently, there has been a surge of singer-songwriter types. I play a funny form of folk and alternative country type music. It changes every show.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as a group you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

Without question. I was raised by my grandfather's voice and his guitar style. He would play Williams and Cash when I was a kid. It wasn't until I moved out here until I realized what lonesome was all about and how much that music prepared me to deal with it.

CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?

The band that I play with is called Little Winter. 3/4 of the band are siblings from a small town in Minnesota. They really helped me come out of my shell, mainly because I could relate with their emotions and small-town lifestyle. I would say that the biggest influence outside of music is our landscape. The lack of hills, the rising rivers and freezing prairies... Musically, we all gain influence from very different sources. For me, it would be Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and The Beach Boys.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

So far, I have done plenty of in-home recording. And by home, I mean apartment. My main release was a split-EP with the local band Little Winter.

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

We usually play a few times a month. The best place to play in town would be this little place called The Aquarium. Great crowd, great sound, cheap brews and minimal boo's.

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?

I am currently working on a full length. I am going to try a bit more on the electric. Cross your fingers for me.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

You can head over to or