Interview x Sounds: Maxwell Drummey

I’m sharing while I’m in the mood to share, which isn’t every day. Cloistering myself can feel selfish, so I’m compensating for that by putting some stuff out. I make loads of music, so I don’t need to be stingy. Interpret the music however you like. I’m grateful that you’re even thinking about it. Thank you.

Let’s just be very frank with each other- there’s nothing much that Maxwell Drummey can’t do. Formally in Chester French, he’s released his first solo album “10 Perfect Songs” in August, followed by another album released in September, and another coming out 10/31. Which is actually insane (thinks to self: what have I done in that same amount of time).

We chatted with Max on what it was like working on solo stuff outside of Chester French, his inspiration for music, and a few other things in between. Really enjoyable interview – hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed chatting.

First off, congrats on your first solo album! Overall what has the reception been and is it what you expected?

Max: Thank you. Some humans like it. Some have been confused by it. I’m not surprised by the reactions. My friend told me it inspired him to make his own music sound more how thought it should sound and less how he thought other people thought it should sound. That made me feel like the music had begun to have its intended effect. 

How were the recording and production process different from your Chester French days?

Max: Back then there was a lot of back and forth. For these tunes, it was just me by myself in my studio. I recorded a song a day and made many songs. It was less about manufacturing, reconsidering, and belaboring and more about capturing a moment, idea, or feeling. Less artifice, more art. 

What directly influenced this album?

Max: New Mexico, peanut butter, relationships, musical instruments, and plenty of things that are none of your business. 

And what about the song “Anything Can Happen” … did something happen (or not happen) that influenced this song? 

Max: Yes. Something very serious. Something to remain a mystery. 

Fair enough. How long had you wanted to put out a solo album, and what changed that allowed you to take the plunge?

Max: I’ve made music by myself for a long time and vacillated on the subject of sharing it. For me, putting out some of the music now is the best way to make mental space so I can make more music. 

Any track on the album that you love above the others? and why (or why not)

Max: I’m not sure I have more love for one than the others. That said, the song “Mean” and I have had the longest journey together. I recorded it before as more of a piano and orchestra thing. I’m glad it came together on guitar. Plus I like the message: “don’t be mean.”

Favorite lyrics from the album?

Max: I’m not a favorites guy, but I like “Vacation.” It goes…

Yeah, when you say “it’s amazing,” that’s a typical thing

Sensation

In almost every nation, it’s a popular thing

Vacation

Take me away

I’ve got a friend in Hawai’i, one in Canada too 

Location

I’m gonna swim in the ocean in a positive mood

Vacation

Take me away

If we could go anywhere at any time you like, 

I think I’d take you on vacation

What are you listening to these days?

Popular Electronics: Early Dutch Electronic Music from Phillips Research Laboratories (1956-1963). That and various soundtracks by Shankar-Jaikishan.

If you could play anywhere in the world,n where would it be?

Max: Maccu Picchu, obviously. 

Any advice for musicians just starting out?

Max: Try hard to be good at music. Measure success in creative progress. 

And my personal favorite question- If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Max: I’d probably be miserable and homeless. Maybe I’d be bear food, lost and dead in a forest, having failed as a vegan survivalist. Maybe I’d be food for something (or many things) smaller than a bear. I don’t have a good answer for this question. I’d be lost though. That’s for sure. wondering why the close release between the first and second solo albums? and if they should be listen to (and interpreted) as a continuation from one to the other, or taken as two individual, mutually exclusive releases?

(p.s. this song is amazing)