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Biography

Aggressively catchy melodies pair with soul-filled lyrics in MESSMAKER’s refreshing take on indie rock. Lighting up stages as a power duo, musical architect Michael McFarland and versatile percussionist Freja McNeal bring the energy of an arena show to every performance. Garnering comparisons ranging from modern rock acts such as Panic At the Disco and Bastille, McFarland’s songwriting is frank, expressive, and clever, and joined by McNeal the Cleveland, Ohio-based act elevates the material on stage with a seemingly inexhaustible energy. Showing a maturity of style and sound that has developed through years of travel, relationships, heartbreaks, and reinventions, MESSMAKER’s music contains talent, passion, and lyrics that come from the heart. The result? A big, bright, and lovestruck slice of anthemic indie rock.

Michael’s amiable yet commanding presence on stage arose from years of experience paired with diligent study. He began performing with bands at age 14, accumulating ample experience under stage lights while still a teenager. Later, while pursuing his degree in Visual Communication at Kent State University, McFarland spent countless hours studying performance footage from any source he could find, from classic rock acts to modern pop stars. When it comes to songwriting, McFarland shows the same attention to his craft. “I listen to a lot of music I don’t necessarily like,” says McFarland, “because I want to understand why the songs connect with their audience.” A lifetime of attentiveness and continued learning has taught McFarland how to use MESSMAKER’s lyrics to tug at your emotions and leave you feeling like you’ve found a kindred spirit.

When taking the stage by himself, McFarland’s beatboxing, percussion on the body of his guitar, and layered vocal harmonies give MESSMAKER’s performance a rich depth not usually found in a solo act. When joined by the full band, those same songs expand seamlessly to fill concert halls. Whether you see MESSMAKER as a solo act or full band, you can expect the lights, sounds, and raw energy of a rock show.