(Photo Credit: Brandon Keith Osborn, http://www.sayanythingmusic.com/)
During this years Slam Dunk Midlands festival we sat down with Max Bemis of Say Anything to talk about his time at the festival, his role behind the scenes in Say Anything, and to needle him for news on any new music.
Noizze: So thanks for taking the time to speak to us, How are you finding the festival so far?
Max Bemis: Incredible, it’s one of my most favourite show ever, and definitely my favourite in the UK we’ve ever done.
N: So who are you most excited to see on the bill this weekend?
MB: There’s so many good bands, I always look out for Jimmy Eat World, I love Jimmy Eat World if I had to pick a band, but I love all the bands that have played. I have had such a good time being on our stage, a lot of friends, and people inspired by each others music, which is always a trip experience.
N: So Say Anything has had quite a few line up changes this year, do you find that effects the sound of the band much?
MB: No because, I do most of the recording, so.... that being said the live thing is as close as you can get to the actual band Say Anything if we recorded what was being done live, to me that almost might be a more accurate way to sum up Say Anything as a band. That being said, I’m an album guy, I like recording; I just think that it’s like the art forms are so very different.
N: You’re listed as a producer on a few of the Say Anything yourself right?
MB: Yeah I’m involved, I’ve never actually never officially produced a Say Anything record by myself
except for the early demos.
N: What was behind your decision to get involved in that side?
MB: At that time? I was just a kid with like a 16 track recorder, just wanted to make music, and y’know and I just had to pursue my dream. It was the most intuitive thing to do. At the time it was just the easiest method possible that was recording... it was really simple.
N: You chose to release the last record by streaming it on Equal Visions Youtube page; compared to at the beginning with the 16 track recorder, how has the way your music reaches your fans changed, and what’s your perspective on that?
MB: That’s a really good question, let me see... how has it changed? In every way possible, the radio was a thing, music videos were more of a thing, social media was more of a thing. I think now we’re back to real organic shit. Because there is so many options out there, that for me with Spotify as a listener, or whatever service you choose to use, I think with the advent of that, it just puts it in your hands, I think that’s a beautiful thing, you can control it.
N: The lyrics you write are quite personal, discussing topics like your religious upbringing, drug use, etc... is that something that was an active choice?
MB: It wasn’t an active choice, I think it was the only thing I could ever be good a writing about, so it just came out that way, and even when it was very uncool and dorky music, which it still could be classified as, it’s just I came from a background of jewish comedy, that’s where it came from, all that making fun of yourself, the darkest things and making light of it and finding hope you know?
N: Did you try to blend the dark topics with the more humorous ones?
MB: Exactly, kind of like “Seinfeld" thing.
N: So why’d you name the band Say Anything I assume in homage to the movie?
MB: It was the film, and only the film, and it was because I had a crush on a girl who liked the movie a lot, so I thought it might impress her by calling the band Say Anything, and only later did it become obvious that, that’s what we do? I think it only really hit me half way through our career, I never had the thought, it was funny, until someone pointed out to me.
N: Was the girl impressed that you named the band Say Anything? Did the plan work?
MB: It worked for a time (laughs) for a bit.
N: So your last album was released in 2016, what can you tell me about any new music?
MB: It’s... it’s full length, that’s already out there.... and it’s produced by Will Yip.
N: Am I right in thinking he produced your last record?
MB: He mixed our last one, but this is the first time we’ve worked together in a real capacity, and he owned it. He created it. With me, and Karl (Editors note: Karl Kuehn, of Museum Mouth) who plays drums on it, who’s like a new member, who inspired the record himself actually... it’s based on a record that he created... and I was such a big fan, it changed my life. So if you want a clue to the new Say Anything record I’d check out Museum Mouth’s discography, specifically the record “Alex, I am Nothing” because that was the record that inspired it.
Interview edited for length & clarity.