Max's current group, Recs Of The Flesh, has already released two full length albums (the second of which I've reviewed here) and is set to release their third, entitled Fear, Lies and Collapsing Comets, within the next month. They've already set up a pre-order page where you can listen to and purchase their first single from the album, "You Kill". A video for it has been made for it, which you'll see below. Since I didn't really know much about the new album, I thought it'd be great to interview Max and discover more about the band, the album, and their future to share with all of you.
The video below is an audio interview I did with Max, but I've transcribed it as well.
Interview with Max (1/3/2013)
Max: Well, it was late 2003, early 2004, and my buddy, Emilio Bellu, made this gift for me. It was [a book called] The Soft Machine by William Burroughs. I came down with the fever shortly after that, in early January 2004, and the fever got me delirious – I mean, some real deep stuff – and I kept on reading the book. For some reason, I got up one day all crazy, hot, and shivering, got my guitar and started to play random stuff. And I thought, it'd be great to record the flesh. I know it doesn't mean anything specific, but I had this vision of this device that could record the flesh. That thought stuck with me, and I started to write some songs with this concept in mind that I would record my flesh through this fever. I created this six-song demo that never saw the light of day. I did this small CD that a couple of friends have, but those songs I never touched again. They were done with a very experimental type of tuning with the guitar. I was very into Sonic Youth at the time. And they do share something in common with what I still do, but those six songs never saw the light of day again.
B#: For both of your previous albums, the band line-up consisted of members who lived in various countries – sometimes even various continents! Tell us about some of the challenges you faced because of this.
Max: All of our friends know that it was tough for us to get to know peculiar musicians, and people who enjoy the kind of stuff we play, which apparently is not the most common kind of rock. We like some bands more than others. It was all just a matter of finding somebody who would be into that kind of stuff. In particular, the drummers have always been very hard to come by – very hard to find. So we went everywhere to find them, and we ended up on Youtube in 2008 when I was writing for Illusory Fields Of Unconsciousness, and that led us to Xavier Dilme, aka Xevifoo. I saw his covers with Sara (Melis - keyboards), who was incredibly impressed, as was I, and decided to send him an email. That's how he made it on the album. And we got Justin Wood to work with us on those tracks - Justin is amazing. We've been close friends since 2005. We met on the Sonic Youth forums and we've been in touch ever since. His band Small White is one of my fave acts ever and he just rocks man. He was there for us when we needed low end action on the album, he was the perfect fit, and he saved us just in time... I would love to work with him again since he's also an incredibly skilled recording engineer! It's all a matter of taste, and you know, that was challenging. It is challenging to find people who are like-minded. We got lucky with Xavier. We got even luckier with Petr (Studihrad), because when I was in Prague, working at Faust Studios, a session that came by with Visací Zámek, this incredible punk band from the Czech Republic. He was luckily playing a session of a couple of songs on their new album. That was around 2010, and that's how we made The Threat Remains And Is Very Real. By sheer luck we found this amazing drummer and he liked what we did. It's really hard to find someone who is willing to commit, like I always did, and like Sara has always done since she joined the band.
Max: Well, the group is complete now. That's something I feel strongly about. Sara and I got together with Federico Loche in 2010, at the end of it. When we came back from Prague, we started to record stuff [for The Threat Remains...] on top of the drums that we did with Petr in Prague. We were already in touch with Federico. We had common grounds. He was into the stuff we played, and he was an instant mesh. He was enthusiastic about the project and everything was going great from the start. We had a problem when Petr had to say goodbye, because with Federico, Sara, and I being in Sardinia, and Petr being in the Czech Republic, it was just not going to work in the long distance. So it took us a lot to find Edoardo Musiu – our current drummer. The three of us kept looking everywhere, and he came up with a Facebook ad. Once again, Facebook to the rescue. It's different in a sense that we're all together now, and it feels more like building a true relationship on a daily basis. We go out all the time when we can. We rehearse every week. We have a good time together. I mean, I consider these people friends; I consider these people my brothers and my sister. These are the people who I want Recs Of The Flesh to be. This is it. This is the band.
We hope to be touring this year in 2013. We'll try our best to make it happen. It's not going to be easy, because of all the financial problems linked to coming up with a tour plan, actually finding the shows, gigs, and venues who will have us. We'd love to go to the U.S., but it's going to cost a lot of money. We're going to see what happens and we'll keep our fingers crossed. Probably Europe. Hopefully Prague, maybe northern Italy. I don't know, Spain, Germany...Germany would be great! We'll have to see what happens.
"There is one person, particularly, that this album is aimed at..."
Max: Fear, Lies and Collapsing Comets is about fear, of course! I'm always very afraid of something. It's the way I've been programmed. I'm a man who is afraid of making mistakes all the time – I still do – and I keep on doing it. 2012 was a year chocked full of fuckin' mistakes – lots of mistakes. You hope to learn from everything you come across, but sometimes some of those mistakes could not be avoided. There are lies in trying to tell yourself that you do not fear as much as you actually do. There are lies everywhere. It's the end of times, someone says. And fear is something people make a living on. This is a concept we explored with The Threat Remains... and it's very dear to me. It's the teachings of George Romero and the lies, and I think it's true. You can see it everywhere. Especially in a political way, it is used constantly by the media to project fear on every corner of the TV set, or whenever you take a look at the news. And it keeps you down. It keeps you wondering. You know, it's a dual thing. And I like this approach, because there's a personal side of it, my own fear. Then there's fear coming from the outside. There are the lies I tell myself when I look into the mirror. And there's the lies that you get from society itself. And collapsing comets, because in a way, much of this album revolves around the fact that we get this unbelievable conspiracy theory about the end of the world with the Mayans in 2012. So, falling stars...I'm going kind of crazy here, but I thought, “The world is ending and all there is, is fear, and lies, and we see the stars falling on us.” And we can only come up with wishes, because when you see a falling star you're supposed to make a wish. So that's where it came from, and that's as far as the title goes. It's my most personal album. All the songs are filled with personal history. We all went through a very hard year, but also, personally, the most intense I've ever had. I think it's kind of a confession of sorts.
There is one person, particularly, that this album is aimed at...and I can tell you she knows about it. And that's it.
B#: The first track from your upcoming album is called “You Kill”, which just had its music video world premiere on FEARnet. Tell us more about the experience of making that video and how you got connected with FEARnet.
Max: I can't tell you exactly where we went to shoot the video because...I'm not even sure we should put this in the interview, but it's a huge building that's abandoned right now. It's a sea hotel by the beach for children, and somehow the company which had it went bankrupt and they left it abandoned at the end of the 1980s. So it's been standing there for about twenty years of corruption and destruction. It was awesome and really a lot of fun. Edoardo actually found the place, and I had a concept in mind, and everything worked perfect. We got there and shot for a full day. Got there about 10'o clock in the morning and finished about 5pm – about 7 hours worth of shooting. It was very intense, but well worth it. I did the editing myself, which was a lot of trouble, but also very, very interesting to make. I hope you enjoy it!
There's also one thing I'd like to say about the video, is that we're getting awesome support from people on Facebook. And of course, the people from FEARnet are awesome. We got connected through Gregory Burkart, who is a writer on the website, and is an incredible musician. We got in touch because of a Prong remix we did around 2009 for their remix album, Power of the Damn Mixxxer. Tommy Victor of Prong wanted us on there, which is how we were discovered. And I kept in touch with Greg, who really appreciated the remix I did with Sara. He ran an incredible review of our [previous] two albums last year in 2011. When I told him we had this video and we wanted to get it a world premiere on FEARnet, he was really enthusiastic, so that's what we did. So the FEARnet people, we really owe them a lot, and Gregory is awesome. The man is awesome.
B#: In December, RECS previewed the new album by playing it live at the Bohemien in Cagliari, IT. What was the feedback like from the crowd?
Max: Yeah, we did a couple of shows actually. We actually did another show to preview the tracks. We play the full album right now – the whole thing. The crowd was surprisingly reactive. We had a really good time. Especially at the Bohemien, everyone was really digging it. I had a blast. It was a super fun concert! We were really taking no prisoners, going full throttle. And the way the tracklist has been done, it really feels like it's meant to be played live.
This is really something we got our main influences from, you know, from the start of this project. The new album has been influenced by four main acts. I think I told you – the Foo Fighters, Megadeth, Michael Jackson, and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. It's kind of a crazy mix, but it works! So yeah, we can't wait to get the CDs. As soon as I get the mix done, we'll order the albums, and hopefully by the next show we play we'll have the albums to sell to the crowd. We hope it'll get a good reaction.
Max: We're hoping to get some of our close friends. I would only name Darren Travis [of Sadus]. The others, I'm not sure if they're still on, but I'm trying to pitch it in to see if they'd still like to be a part of it. But, I can't really say what's going to happen, because right now I'm in the mixing stages and time is running out day by day. So, we'll see. I hope Darren can make it though. That'd be awesome.
B#: Obviously, all of the hysteria over the Mayan calendar and the apocalypse was unnecessary. As the world's not ending, what does the future hold for Recs Of The Flesh?
Max: Well, I hope I can get this mix done before the end of January. Hopefully a release around early February. We hope to play as much as we can, and to play to bigger crowds. We hope to see more people on Facebook. We're going to try our best to push this thing around. And we're going to promote the hell out of “You Kill” – it's something we're all very proud of. We're hopefully going to tour around, as aforementioned. Germany would be in the plans, maybe Czech Republic, maybe northern Italy. We'll see what happens really.
And that's it, Barry. Again, I can't stress how much I have to thank you for your ongoing support. Take care! BYE!