New Music Monday: An Interview With Beat’em Max

I’m going to warn you ahead of time, if you’ve not heard the new Out With the Old EP from Beat’em Max prepare to become hopelessly addicted to the pop perfection within. If you’re already a fan then you know what you’re in for. Regardless, in a sea of artists reaching out for that 1980’s sound, few stand out like Beat’em Max does. Don’t believe me? Check it out now over at Bandcamp!

He’s got it. He’s tapped into the sound, the feel, the emotion, but does so with a modern flair that ends up being the downfall of most new artists. They just can’t balance the two. A perfect example is at close to the two minute mark in Party in the Streets where the 80’s gloss sinks into darkwave seamlessly, only to find you right back in the saccharine sweet glow of the neon seconds later. It’s this subtle sleight of hand that shows the level of talent and songwriting understanding that Beat’em Max has infused into Out With the Old.

Reviewing this new EP wasn’t enough for me. I just had to shout this out from the rooftops. What better way to do that than a full interview with the artist behind the music! Let’s dig in:

Thanks so much for talking to us! For new listeners, can you tell us a little bit about Beat’em Max?

Beat’em Max – I should be thanking you guys! I’ve been waiting to release this EP in the hope we would finally get to talk so I’m really glad you agreed to have me. Well I’m Beat’em Max! A solo Vocal-Synthwave artist from England in the UK & i started this project last year when I was in Ibiza. My girlfriend at the time was in the pool and I shamelessly got very sunburnt on our first day, so would spent most of my days chilling under a sunbrella with my mac. I wrote a song that captured how I felt in that exact moment but I didn’t realise that the song I wrote would turn out to be the first Beat’em Max Music video – Ocean Speaker. It was only after watching Stranger Things last October I decided that I needed to do something. So from there I’ve just been writing hard and doing my research on the other artists in the scene, making friends along the way and of course writing!

You’ve got new music! How do you feel about Out With the Old?

I do have new music! Everyone should check it out aha. It’s the first collection of songs I’ve put together for a release and it’s honestly been such a rewarding experience putting this together throughout the year. I’ve teased a lot of it through videos on my social media pages as I didn’t really have enough hype with the first song as it was instrumental and I wanted to sing on the tracks. The response so far has been great and I’m honestly just glad that I was able to release it this year, because I have SO MUCH MORE to come and I didn’t want to do 2 releases in 2018. The EP is an emotional rollercoaster, for the main part it’s fun, that’s something I wanted to portray with this EP, I’m a fun guy and I know how to have a good time. But as always when capturing the past, we only seem to remember the good times. With that in mind I made a conscious effort to touch on some of the more sombre elements of my past including a track about losing my nan. All in all though it’s a journey, and I feel I left it at a point where people can’t really tell what’s coming next and in my eyes anticipation and curiosity are both good things!

How long have you been writing music?

I’ve been writing music for 13 years now, I started out making electronic music at some media club that had a Mac G4 computer with garageband. The music I was making then was terrible haha. Shortly after I swayed more into the whole band thing and pursued that for 9 years. My last band actually did alright, we toured, played festivals and released a few high quality music videos. But whilst I was doing all this I got into producing for other bands and artists which is where I learnt my trade so to speak. Not many vocalists in the metal scene write the music, a lot of them just turn up and sing/shout but my favourite part was the studio process of writing. The transition back into Electronic music was easy because of that and here we are 13 years on, not quite on a G4 system (or using garageband) but I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had with music right now!

What pulled you into synthwave?

I’ll always say Stranger Things (I’m sorry its not Kavinsky) but you have to remember whilst you all got to discover the scene as it evolved I was trying to be relevant in the Metal scene and it just completely went under my radar. But thanks to that amazing show, I was addicted to the soundtrack on youtube and the suggestion panel became my best friend as I travelled back in time to discover all of the wonderful music that I know have come to know as Synthwave.

What’s your recording setup?

Oh boy, I should really do a video on this (I love making YouTube videos). So I’ve got a Macbook Pro, an Alesis v49 Midi Keyboard and a Tubular amount of Soft-synths. I sing into a Rode NT1a microphone and cross reference my mixes between my Yamaha HS7 monitors and my KRK cans. The DAW I use is Logic-X which i think only 1/5 seem to use it for Synthwave, but I know it inside out and all of my Plugins are integrated there.

What have you been listening to lately?

Other than my own songs that I’m writing, I’ve been listening to Post Malone way too much and Blackbear. It’s not Synthwave but boy do those guys know how to write! As for Synthwave I’ve been jamming the new Stranger Things 2 soundtrack for obvious reasons, The Midnight’s Nocturnal, Timecop1983 Lovers pt2 & some Michael Oakley. Really excited for the new FM-84 release as well.

I also love to zone out to some of those Simpsonwave YouTube compilations when it’s late at night, I love to get lost in my imagination and that stuff is absolutely perfect for it.

As 2017 is getting close to an end, what do you have in store for the new year?

Well now that you mention it, I actually have one last thing in store for this year, I can’t say what it is yet, but watch this space because we’re nearly out of time 😉

For 2018 I have a lot planned, far too much to mention all of it, but the important ones are that I will be doing another EP in the spring – In with the New – It’ll be the second season if you like with a slightly darker take than the first EP, with some more guests featuring and I might possibly be introducing a concept track which is going to set up a much bigger plan I have for the albums that will be conceptual, all Exciting stuff! I’m looking at taking my music live later in the year. I’m working out exactly how to pull off the live show at the moment as my background in live music has such a high standard I really want to make sure I get it right – Lighting show, Projector, Full band etc.

Anyone you’d like to thank before we go?

I’d like to thank you first and foremost for this interview, It’s been a pleasure to work with you and hopefully you’ll have me back when we have something new to talk about! Also to my Mum for being my rock and supporting me always through thick and thin. Then to the guests that featured on my EP – Ryan Leslie & Jessica Haines, to Michael Duffy by best friend, for helping me with the music videos, Jake last for being my muse & graphic designer & of course all of the friends I’ve made along the way that have supported my music in one way or another, you guys are just as important to me. Cya bye!

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