Solo no more: Gabe Maas embraces group approach with the Bruins



After years of building a solo career under Gabe Maas & the Bruins, the soul-pop singer from St. Mary’s is embracing a group approach. The two-time finalist in the Dayton Battle of the Bands at The Brightside dropped his own name from the project. Maas is now working with Austin Labig (bass, drums) and Tre Reed (guitar) as the Bruins, which released its debut single, “Devil’s Reject,” on Aug. 24.

Maas was home in Dayton, Labig in Troy and Reed in Columbus when they recently logged onto Zoom to discuss the transition.

Maas: “We’re kind of starting over with this whole rebrand. It was me and a drummer forever but once I finally found Austin and Tre, I had the pieces that fit. I was ready to move in a direction that’s more of a band and less a solo project. The hard part will be rebuilding all the work we’d done on the streaming platforms. I have over 1,000 followers on Spotify, and I have a decent amount on Apple Music as well. Starting back at zero is our biggest challenge as the Bruins but we’ll see.”

Labig: “Gabe asked me to fill in for a couple of shows for him. The Battle of the Bands was the first show we played together. Rehearsals went so well, Gabe goes, ‘Oh, this is a no-brainer. This is the lineup now, isn’t it?’ It was so easy and smooth.”

Maas: “Absolutely, we work well together. We can all improvise off each other. They’re two solid dudes that can hold it down, so we mesh well.”

Reed: “Playing funky, hip-hop-ish, soul-inspired music was a stretch for me. It’s not what I was used to, but it’s been great. It’s a lot of fun to write licks and guitar parts for the ideas Gabe comes up with. Like Gabe was saying, the pieces came together and they’re continuing to come together. We continue to solidify our sound as we develop as a band, so I’m excited for the future.”

Maas: “I’ve been writing music and getting as many demos together as I can. We have about an EPs worth ready to go. I’m not putting a lot of pressure on it. There’s no specific timeline. We’re trying to get people reacquainted or newly acquainted. I’m treating the Bruins as a new thing. I’m super excited for that and I’m ready to play more shows. Getting to play live music is something I’ve really missed. We’re working on a Dayton show at Yellow Cab for the fall.”

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