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INTERVIEW: Maxwell Powers

Hi, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Never been better!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Money”?

“Money (More)” tackles the age-old question of Money and Fame, and whether to strive for them, or GTF in the opposite direction. Living in the midst of the tech scene in San Francisco, it’s a question we’re still grappling with. Everyone wants to become a tech millionaire, but also wants to spend their time off at burning man. More personally, the song mirrors my own journey chasing (and questioning) Money and Fame through music and technology.

The song was recorded entirely in the corner of my living room in Oakland, and the final mix was produced by the illustrious Mikael Eldridge (Tycho, DJ Shadow).

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The original melody came to me after listening to “Gold” by Chet Faker too many times (if you listen closely you might hear a slight resemblance in the verse).

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Not yet, but you can watch this gif while you play the song to get the basic idea

Inline image 2

The single comes off your new album 6 Things – what’s the story behind the title?

The album is definitely my most personal work so far. It explores some heavier material than my typical repertoire of chasing women and/or becoming a robot. In addition to “Money (More),” songs titles include “Death (It Feels Alright)” and “Time (Mostly Waiting).” I guess I could have called the album 6 Philosophical Treatises, but that sounds heady, doesn’t it? Hence 6 Things.

How was the recording and writing process?

The entire album was recorded in my living room in Oakland, California. The thing I love about working in a home studio is that the creation process is entirely fluid—there are no boundaries between inception of an idea and the final product. I can continue to iterate on the parts, the arrangement, and even the lyrics until everything feels right.

The downside, of course, is that if you’re a perfectionist you can spend years working on a track. Over the course of 2016 I committed to releasing a song every month, which taught me a lot about how to get things done. Perfection is the enemy of good-enough.

What was it like to work with Mikael Eldridge and Sean Beresford? How did those relationships develop?

It’s both inspiring and humbling to work with folks like Mikael and Sean that have been in the industry for years.

Mikael, who I’ve only been recently introduced to, has an uncanny ability to take my rough-around-the-edges tracks and turn them into electro-pop gold.

I’ve learned a ton from Sean about audio plugin hacks and old-school routing techniques. I’ve known Sean for years… he recorded my previous band Roosevelt Radio in Third Eye Blind’s private studio in the early 2010s.

How did they influence the album?

They are like the polish on a wood floor. I’ve got the groove figured out, but they make it shiny.

What existential crisis did you get to explore on this record?

Ah so many! In a way each song is a mini existential crisis. Maybe I should start a very small hotline?

Any plans to hit the road?

I’m riding the information superhighway this summer, promoting this album and working on new music!

What else is happening next in Maxwell Powers’ world?

“New dollar, new day”.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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