It was a pleasure for Rock The Cam to talk to Max. He is Canadian and the singer, songwriter and guitarist of the punk band Sonic Avenues. I met him for a little conversation (come on let’s call it interview!) before the gig at the Kafe Kult in Munich.
Max; from a no name to the pin-up boy
RTC: You are?
Max: I’m Max.
RTC: Your job in the band (Sonic Avenues)?
Max: Singer and guitarist and songwriter
RTC: And not the pin-up boy?
Max: Especially the pin-up boy (laughs).
RTC: What other bands were or are you in?
Max: I started in a band called The Kamikazes, we were from Montreal and released a 7” on Alien Snatch Records, that was a while ago, early 2000 (it was SNATCH!006) and I was just the guitarist in this band, not the songwriter, nor the pin-up boy, I was just a no name. Right now I’m just in Sonic Avenues, I sometimes fill in for Steve (Steve Adamyk) when he needs a guitarist.
The Sonic Ramones Avenues Clash
RTC: What made you start making music?
Max: It started with the Ramones, I thought how easy it looked with the guitar.
RTC: How did you discover the Ramones?
MAX: My mom’s boyfriend bought a boxset – a compilation of rock songs when I was 12 or 13 and there was Blitzkrieg Bop on it and I was just wow (yeah dear reader, think about a wow-face, cause this was I was seeing). I could not stop listen to that song. I came to Punk Rock at that point but I didn’t start playing the guitar until 3 years after when I realized how easy it was to play the Ramones, I could use two fingers and move them around and keep that shape, so me and my friends set up a Ramones cover band.
RTC: So your mother’s boyfriend is to blame that your life goes down so much?
Max: Yeah (laughs), that complication, it had the Clash on it too. Rock The Casbah I was really impressed by that song, too, not their best song but a groovy one.
About spies and DIY
RTC: Can you make a living out of your music? What else do you do?
Max: No I work for the government. I’m a spy. Yeah, I’m a spy and I trick the weather, I make it like we want. I studied oceanography and weather forecasting, so this job allows me to do what I really wanne do. The genre music that we play is really hard to live off it, it is really for dedicated people – it is really DIY, we do everything ourselves: we write, we record, we play shows, we organize the shows, we do everything on top of the 40 hours week job, so I’m in it cause I like it!
RTC: What was the best song in which you were involved?
Max: Oh, I think it is a song that we never ever released, because it is really different, it is called “Rebirth Of A Dying Day”. It never got released cause it is really Beach Boys style but it is dark. A lot of key changes and I remember this is the song that taught me to do key changes and to do multilayer harmonies, it was a very powerful, pivotal point (for me).
get a taste of REBIRTH OF A DYING DAY
RTC: The song you wished to have written?
Max: There are so many. Right now I go for Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys. That song got everything I like, it is catchy, it’s got complexity, it’s beautiful and it’s smart.
About Punk Rock and music labels
RTC: Are the Sonic Avenues Punk Rock?
Max: Definitely, in our blood!
RTC: You’re definition of Punk Rock?
Max: DIY, intensity, fun and without obligation!
Max: No, not necessary, it sometimes spices up songs but I am not gonna include that in my songs for now.
RTC: How does your mother/father describes your music to their neighbors?
Max: I taught them what to say: Beatles speed up, dirtier and a little shittier! Hahaha
RTC: How do you pick your labels (Sabotage / Taken By Surprise…)?
Max: Actually we are first on “Going Gaga” records, we talked to Ian about it cause we were looking around for a label and then we decided to keep it in our group of friends, so I asked him. I knew he released his own records and he is doing a really good job at it, so I trusted him with my heart. It was „do our record if you want“ and he was into it, luckily. And he knew Michael and Franz and this is how the connection was.
RTC: What do you expect from a label?
Max: I expect them to do a good production; I want the record to sound as good as possible and to do as much promotion as they can. Honestly my mind has been blown away by the work of Michael and Franz. They are the best, like Michael just drove us for 1 ½ week through Europe, that’s way over my expectations. He is the best and I hope we keep working with them in the future. I feel right now Sonic Avenues has a really good cruising attitude like we have Dirtnap in the states that we trust with our hearts and then we have people here in Germany that are the best at what they do.
Vinyl and show time
RTC: You still remember you 1st record?
Max: It was a tape of Faith No More – The Real Thing.
RTC: And the last one?
Max: Digital Leather – Modern Problems, the new one which I think is excellent on FDH and on LP (as well on P.Trash)
RTC: Are you a record collector?
Max: Yes, but not like a freak, I don’t go and smell the record like lot of people do. I am in for the music but not for the piece of material, I don’t mind if my records are beaten up or I drop them – I don’t care.
RTC: How do you sort them?
Max: Organized chaos (laughs loud). I have a feeling were I put them last time and just go there and it is always plus/minus 10 records.
RTC: OK, now imagine you are god and you could choose the 5 headliners for a festival (even dead people or dissolved bands), gimme the names?
Max: 1) Dictators
2) Exploding Hearts
5) Zombies, cause it is the best show I have ever seen. They did the reunion concert in Ottawa two years ago – the best!!! It was same singer Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent on keyboards just like on “Odessey And Oracle“
That’s all, the Steve Adamyk Band / Sonic Avenues concert was about to start and here you can find pictures of it and if you want to know more, go to their next show and ask yourself!