The word ‘unique’ is horribly overused and frankly meaningless – I mean, we’re all inherently unique right? – but, putting the philosophical debate to one side, ‘uniqueness’ is horribly overused in music (and we don’t mind admitting we’ve been guilty of using it ourselves).
But it’s important, in this world of multi-genres dominated by truly terrible popular music, to keep discovering bands that do what they want to do, free from the shackles of musical expectations and genre limitations.
Case in point is South London rockers Maxdmyz, who have been on the scene since around 2000 but have only been in their current format for a couple of years. Their music is dark, intense and furious but there’s a certain brilliant edge to it that, thankfully, makes them impossible to typecast or pigeon-hole.
The five-piece – consisting of Twister (vocals), Roger (guitars), Jay (drums), A’Zedd (bass) and Vortex (keyboards) – go from moments of brooding darkness to hardcore bursts of metallic madness and a whole lot more inbetween, with consistently brilliant guitar riffs, intense vocals and utterly brutal drum beats throughout.
I tried to give examples of bands that you could fuse together to summarise the sound of Maxdmyz, and struggled so I gave up. The point is, this band plays whatever they feel like playing, they’re different to anything we’ve ever heard and, moreover, we bloody love it. Their sound is summed up by the great track Grieve, which you can listen to below:
But, to give you real insight into what Maxdmyz is all about, we thought it would be best to get it from the band themselves. So here is our Q&A with Maxdmyz:
Thanks a lot for speaking to us, guys. Your music is pretty epic, but how would you define yourselves as a band?
“I think what sets us apart is a weird kind of fire – it’s all very intense. None of us really likes anyone not taking themselves too seriously – plenty of people can laugh at you through life and I’m not inclined to join in.
“We’re a kind of strange mix of focus and abandon, control and chaos – and we don’t – thankfully – fit into any category – we’re not death quite, not thrash – and if you try to label us, of course, you’ll deny us. All I can say is with Maxdmyz once seen, never forgotten.”
So how would you describe it in three words, if such a thing is possible?
“Passionate, visceral, heavy.”
What influences you to write music? Are there any key themes or topics that you write about?
“Inner compulsion, twisted narcissism, deep shock, anger, resentment at the state of the world – and a sense of personal insufficiency at our capacity to respond to such. We write about just how difficult it is to be human – that pretty much covers it – specifically, anything from anorexia and suicide to sexuality, war – you know, the usual stuff.”
What are you working on right now, and what do you have coming up?
“New material for a forthcoming album – we’re really going to get into the swing of that in November and December where we’ve tried to minimise our live work just to give us some space to write.
“We have an EP coming up, Alchemical Metal, which should be out in the next month or so – then an album coming up for the middle of next year – also very busy gig-wise including abroad – we’re really looking forward to that.
What are your goals as a band / musically?
Easy – to write and play brilliant music, brilliantly. Live it’s where it’s at for us – sure, there’s a pleasure and satisfaction in getting down some theoretically definitive version of a tune in a studio – but nothing compares with the hit you get playing a truly insane gig.”
What made you want to get involved in music / being in a band?
“Nothing for me comes anywhere near the excitement and allure of heavy music – apart from sex, of course. It’s better thinking about it the other way round – why would you not want to be? There is something childlike – you know like a kid who loves to be watched by his mum and dad dancing around to the radio, that kind of ‘look at me’ thing, but it’s not as shallow as that. You want to perform to connect with people, to generate meaning and make authentic contact with people, it’s an organic thing, man.
“In terms of how we got together, well that’s a dry tale – the usual stuff about ads and talking to friends of friends – musicians joining and musicians leaving. Back story? Well, Twister is the only founding member left in the band – he gives so many different versions of how Maxdmyz formed I’ve kind of stopped listening.
There’s a lot of people out there who will either want to be in a band, or are dreaming of making it. So tell us what’s the best thing about being in a band?
“Everything! It’s a deep privilege to have the talent, and then the opportunity, to do this stuff. It’s our art – maybe good or bad – but it’s ours. I have buddies who are loaded (we ain’t) who envy the fuck out of us – you know, the kind of guys who buy themselves an expensive guitar for Christmas and then it sits there and never gets played.
“If the night is right, when we play, there’s this immense feeling of togetherness – not just for the band, but for the audience as well. For a time, we can all be in communion and congress – it’s love and coming together – it’s quasi-religious but without the dogma, guilt and control.”
And to counter that, what’s the worst / most challenging thing about being in a band?
“Not being able to do it 24/7 – life just gets in the way.”
What’s your record label situation – Signed / unsigned / don’t care etc…?
“We’re signed to our own label Renegade Records London – and, yes you’re right, we don’t care. Pure Power/Darkside Management look after us on the gig-getting front, etc.
Are you touring / playing gigs? And can we see you soon? If so, where and when?
“We are, and you can. Gigs coming up are at the Redrock Festival with Redwire on Sunday 2 October, the Albany Theatre in Deptford with Anta on Saturday 8 October, Saturday 15 October, at an industrial metal festival in France – then a break to work on the new album – then an appearance at Club Antichrist in London in January and Retribution Live with Die Kur at The Lounge in Archway with Die Kur on Friday 27 January.”
Is there anything you’d want music fans out there to know about your creative process?
“Yes, it’s 90% perspiration, 190% inspiration – it’s invigorating and a total buzz when you get a new tune together and you’re kind of feeding off one another – it’s amazing.”
Given the nature of your music I’m intrigued as to which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
“That’s a very long list – let’s just pick one for each of the band – prizes for guessing who likes what – Nile, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin.”
An interesting mix, no doubt! With that in mind, what was the last song you listened to? And what’s your favourite song and/or album of all time?
“Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden. And personally it’s a toss-up between October Rust by Type O Negative and Hejira by Joni Mitchell – what do you think?
Yup, that’s pretty eclectic, but pretty damn good choices! What’s the best gig you’ve been to?
“Slayer at Alexandra Palace in North London a couple of years back – just bloody mind-blowing.”
Sounds awesome, we’re still shamefully yet to tick Slayer off the gig bucket list. What’s the best gig you’ve played?
“At the Aquarium, a club venue in London. I was wearing a steel helmet, razorblade rings and we ended up in a swimming pool with most of the other bands and some of the audience – we were just on fucking fire, really tearing it up – broody and moody. I remember transvestites, chainsaw, bondage bunnies – well, you get the picture – oh, and we played a blinder as well – remember kids, it’s all about the music.”
That sounds pretty intense! How do you feel about the music industry as a whole? Is it easy to make a living in music, or do things need to change to help new bands? If so, how?
“We’re all indifferent to it – and it was never easy for bands to make money from music – didn’t Hendrix die with only a couple of pounds to his name, and doesn’t anyone remember John Lennon complaining that he’d gotten down to his last £50,000?
“I don’t want anything to change to help new bands – the thought of state-sponsored rock’n’roll, or tax breaks like they have or used to have in Ireland runs counter utterly to the spirit of what we do – which is on the margins and the boundary of things. But we do need more women in metal – it’s an incredibly sexist industry – and that really has to change.”
We couldn’t agree more. One last question, what do you get up to outside of music?
“Kung Fu, church organs, do-it-yourself, software development and meditation – again, can you match each of the above pursuits to the correct Maxdmyz band member? Go!”
Thanks a lot to Maxdmyz for speaking to us, and we hope you feel as excited, energised and engaged by their music as we do. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the new album and let you know our thoughts on it upon its release.
You can buy and listen to Maxdmyz’s music on their Bandcamp profile and watch them in action on YouTube. And we’d encourage you to get out there and check them out in person, a full list of upcoming gigs is on their website.