Infidel Interview #128: Maxwell Powers

First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. I’m Maxwell Powers, currently residing and making stuff in lovely Oakland California.

What would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to art and music? Are there any bands that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?

When the project began, I was inspired by bands that were combining great songwriting with electronic instrumentation. Postal Service or Miike Snow to name a couple.

Now that “everything is more-or-less EDM” that’s less interesting to me. Recently I’ve found the neo psychedelic bands (eg Tame Impala) doing some amazing stuff. It’s reminiscent of the 60s, but it’s actually a very new sound. I’m inspired by stuff that combines guitars, synthesizers, and effects in an organic way.

What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?

Short term: new singles coming this year!

Further future: world tour, giant bottles of champagne, money fights, yada yada.

Interview continues after this video an all further streaming content...

When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?

I think every song I’ve ever written has started as a little gem coming from that magical muse in the sky. Could be a chorus or a verse or a single phrase. I try to let that gem be whatever it wants to be. And then the hard work starts: making the rest of the song.

I’ll share 3 tricks that have helped me when feeling blocked

  • When searching for the perfect lyric or part: instead of trying to come up with 1 part, come up with 10. Don’t worry about them being good, just get some shit down. Quality comes from quantity.

  • Listen to other music, especially instrumental music. It can inspire melodies and rhythms, and what you create will likely not sound anything like the original source.

  • Mary Jane can be a fantastic muse (if legal in your part of the multi-verse, of course)

Musical composition nowadays can be aided by so many different tools and devices. Do you favor a complex approach of using lots of different instruments, or are you in the keep it simple until you have to boat of refining certain elements to their maximum potential? Or would you say your philosophy lays in between?

I generally keep adding stuff until it feels like there is too much, and then start carving away until there is only what needs to be there. Most songs I produce have 20+ tracks in the scrap pile that didn’t make it.

So essentially the Middle Way. But you only know what the middle is when you have tried both extremes of minimal and maximal.