As the members of Maxband trickled into the packed Bushwick café, their group dynamic was obvious.
Guitarist Tim Nelson and singer and guitarist Max Savage of Parquet Courts arrived first. The two were supremely comfortable with each other and had an obvious bond.
Drummer Eric Read of Bob Dylan Deathwatch rolled in next. The coffee connoisseur and resident band jokester immediately got everyone cracking smiles. The four of us chatted about coffee and how most of them used to live in the neighborhood while we waited for the last member, bassist Patrick Smith.
Smith, from A Beacon School, sweaty from the bike ride over, was last. While he’s quiet in person, he’s a major influence on the band’s music
“Patrick had to put in a lot more work than we were all expecting on this one, poor guy,” Read says about the making of their most recent release Perfect Strangers. “[He] definitely deserves a lot of credit,” Nelson adds.
Perfect Strangers, released on tape by Gentle Reminder Records was recorded quickly in the bassist’s home studio so the band would have songs to book shows. Despite its hasty creation, the eight-track album is impressively smooth.
“We have mean songs, and nice songs and funny songs,” Savage says. “I think you can attribute that to the way we act.” Read adds that most of the songs on Perfect Strangers were written by individual members of the band, making each track “in its own separate world.”
Savage says living in New York has greatly influenced a lot of his writing—notably in “Underground,” a song about the busy subways and the classic New Yorker’s struggle with the day-to-day grind.
The melodies and relatable lyrics on Perfect Strangers will grab a hold of your heart in seconds. But the band says the best is yet to come. “If you think this tape was good, then you’ll really like the next one,” Smith says. “If you think this tape was bad, then… [this] next one will be better.”
“They’re more collaborative,” Savage says about the new material, explaining that they’ve now mostly been writing together, going off riffs and improvised lyrics they make while in the studio. “I would say that they might be easier to sing along with.”
On Sept. 14 at Union Pool, Maxband will be having their tape release show. They’ll play songs off Perfect Strangers, but plan to also play some new ones as well. The only thing they suggest before going to the show is to listen to the tape on tape. “And shout out to Sky, Max’s dog,” Read adds. “Closest thing we have to a mascot.”
Hear the entire interview with Maxband at Variety Coffee on this week’s The Music Meetup along with Perfect Strangers in its entirety.