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INTERVIEW: Max Lockwood

Hi Max, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me! I’m doing well, currently on tour in the UK backing my friend May Erlewine and having a great time. My first time over here.

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

Tried Love is one of those songs that sort of dropped out of the sky and landed in my lap one day when I was strumming on a lap dulcimer that was gifted to me by a friend. Once I brought it into the studio it got a big infusion of energy in Julian Allen’s drum parts, then Lindsay Lou and Sam Cooper added their angelic vocals, my friends from The Appleseed Collective, Brandon Smith and Eric O’Daly, contributed beautiful violin and tabla parts, and finally, May Erlewine helped me reconfigure some things musically to better fit the emotional landscape that the lyrics were asking for.

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

This song was written in the vacuum that we often fall into after a romantic relationship ends. The song reflects the process of trying to understand what went wrong, why it didn’t work out, and that bittersweet time of reconnecting with your inner self and growing through the pain of that loss.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes – I’m excited to release the video soon.

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

Actually, the album is just self-titled, so it’s Max Lockwood.

How was the recording and writing process?

The songs were all written during a period about 2-3 years ago. All the recording and mixing took place at Third Coast Recording in Grand Haven, MI, a beautiful new studio. My engineer Joe Hettinga played a huge part in making this record what it is sonically. I tracked drums with Julian Allen, did most of the guitars, bass, and keys myself, and then brought in Sam Cooper and Lindsay Lou for backing vocals, Brandon Smith on violin, Justin Dore for some lead guitar stuff, and Eric O’Daly on backing vocals and percussion. Much of the time was spent one-on-one with Joe behind the board, and we were able to get a great work flow and connection going that made the record a real joy to make. Everyone at Third Coast really made it feel like home.

It took a while to get the record finished because I’ve been busy doing so many other things and participating in other projects, so it’s exciting to finally have it in hand and ready to get out into the world.

How Tom Petty has influence your writing?

Tom Petty’s songs have been a part of my being since a very young age when my mom would listen to his albums while working out in the basement of our home. I sort of fell into starting a Tom Petty tribute band in the last year, so I think that process of more deeply studying his work will probably influence my own writing even more in the future.

How did you go on blending together all your different influences?

I think the blending of influences is something that happens mostly subconsciously. There were certain artists and records that I kept in mind as guideposts during the making of this record, but for the most part their influence showed up organically.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?

Making a solo record is inherently different than more collaborative projects in that ultimately, all the decisions come down to one person. That said, I very intentionally sought out the opinions and creative energy of certain friends whose musicality I knew would add something important to the sound of the record and augment the power of the songs.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

Looking back, I believe I was really exploring themes of transformation, rebirth, and growth in these songs. It was during a challenging but potent and powerful time in my life when I wrote them and I continued to allow those ideas inform the making of the record as time went on. There’s also an exploration of love and what it means to me, dealing with the loss of love, and really asking what we are looking for in love, and finding the strength of love inside of ourselves. And through that there is a grieving process as well. And the hope in putting these songs out is that others can find something meaningful in their own lives through connecting to these songs.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I always draw inspiration from my connection with the natural world, particularly in my home state of Michigan with all the sources of fresh water and the deep woods here. Aside from that, my lifelong interest in studying poetry and other songwriters as well.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! I’ll be playing a series of release shows in Michigan all through February. People can get more info about the shows at maxlockwoodmusic.com or my Facebook page as well. I’ll be doing most of these shows with a 6-piece band featuring members of my rock band Big Dudee Roo and The Appleseed Collective. I’m also excited that May Erlewine will be doing a solo opening set for a handful of these shows and joining us for my set as well.

What else is happening next in Max Lockwood’s world?

My plans for the next year are to keep going with the solo project, and I’ll also be performing a lot with May Erlewine and my Tom Petty Tribute Band, The Insiders. Big Dudee Roo also just put out a new EP, Dudee Bound, that we’re very excited about. So the plan is just to keep the music rolling.

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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