Interview: Maxxwell

In September the Swiss metallers of Maxxwell released Metalized. Below you can read the interview DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen had with Maxxwell.

Hey, how are you?

Hi, I’m fine, thanx for asking. How are you?

I’m fine, thanks. Congratulations with your new album, Metalized. I really like it!

Thanx again. We also like it very much because it’s an album full of passion, heartblood, emotions, a lot of time and much more beer, hahaha. We definitely ripped our asses off for this record.

You’ve been working on Metalized for four years, what made that it took four years?

In fact it wasn’t four years as we released an EP in 2016. Beside that we toured a lot and played almost 100 shows all over Europe. We toured with bands like Rage, Lee Aaron, Kissin’ Dynamite, Doro, Shakra and opened for acts like Extreme, Within Temptation. We also played our own “headliner”-shows. During this we also wrote the new songs or let me say the basics for it. In May 2017 we started working with our producer and got into the details. The recordings took place during November 17 and May 18. As we all have to work we had to do that during the nights so it took a little bit longer. And we were also on tour with Shakra in Spring ’18. So we were really busy on all sides 😉

How are the responses you get on it so far?

I would say that almost all reviews and reactions for Metalized are really, really good. The people like what they hear and a lot of them tell us that we have now more this kind of “live feeling”. With the old records we always got the response that we sound harder, more metallic on stage than on the record. And this was our clear goal – we wanted this live energy on the record. That’s also the reason why we called it Metalized. As we finally started with songwriting and then recording all was suddenly very clear.

Metalized announces a new musical direction for Maxxwell, can you tell us something about that new musical direction?

I think the whole sound has become more compact. It has this live power and a lot more of energy than before (on disc). We tried to act with more groove, our guitars are a bit deeper and Gilbi, the singer acts more variable. He has a voice with a lot of possibilities, so we wanted to find out how much he can sing 😉 We know that some people and fans are maybe surprised or even disappointed as it is not that traditional as before. But we wanted to break this stylistic chains and also keep it interesting for ourselves as a band and as musicians.

What was the reason for wanting to change your musical direction?

As I already said one reason was the live feeling we wanted to catch. The other thing was that we were not bored on our “old style” but we wanted to do something new. Or probably better: we wanted to make the music we also hear a lot in our private lifes. So the idea was to write songs without any compromise and without any stylistic boundaries. And so this is the result. As Hef and I did a lot of the songwriting you could also say that this happens when you let two guitar player do their thing… 😉

Even before reading your press release, in which you also mention them, Five Finger Death Punch came to mind while listening to Metalized, although I also hear some other styles mixed in your music. Is Maxxwell influenced by them? Who are Maxxwell’s musical influences?

Probably we shouldn’t have mentioned FFDP as it may sound trendy. But hey, also this band has its roots in the eighties and they obviously write a lot of good songs. In Maxxwell we have a lot of influences which reach from Queen/Pink Floyd/pop acts to fast and hard metal like Machine Head/Stone Sour/Killswitch Engage just to name the hard and also new ones. But of course our roots are also based in the past as we’re all 40 and more 😉 So of course AC/CD, Accept, W.A.S.P., Priest and a lot of these bands are our heroes. Personally I’m more into the hard tunes and really love In Flames, Machine Head, Annihilator, Stuck Mojo and Evergrey. Everthing that has a hard, loud and choppin’ guitar is good for me, hahaha.

Where do you get inspiration from lyric-wise?

I can only speak for myself. My inspiration is this world and my personal experiences. I try to write lyrics with sense and in a ideal case some people read them and make their own thoughts. I like writing lyrics as it helps me a lot to handle the things which happen on this planet and in the society worldwide. Otherwise I probably would get nuts, hahaha. So for me it’s like kinda therapy. I try to be critical and also to name some points which are wrong in my point of view.

You renounced management and labels to do things yourselves, what made you decide this?

On one point we were forced to decide this way. As we exist since ten years and did most of the things by ourselves already before we have some expectations what a management or label has to do for a band. I own a booking company in Switzerland which is my fulltime job. So I know quite well which are the needs of a band and where we have to work. This makes it a lot easier as we can do a lot of the work inhouse. In the end we thought that it would be better to do mostly (or at the moment) all by ourselves as we know what to do, when to do and how to do. We had three offers for our new album but I don’t see any sense in giving away our product just to have it distributed. This is a thing we can do ourselves. What a band like Maxxwell really needs is support in promotion, marketing and touring. And this wasn’t the fact in all offers. So we keep it simple, near and easy. And we’re also faster in acting as we don’t have to wait for anyone.

Besides having fun while changing tires (video), what does Maxxwell’s life looks like while travelling between shows?

Indeed mostly of the time we have fun. That’s one of the main reasons we do this. Maxxwell is more than just a band for us. It’s a bunch of friends. It’s family. So we really enjoy being on the road as this is really important for us. Normally we drive with our own van so a normal touring day is quite boring. Driving, reading, stopping by for a smoke, working with the laptop on your knees as some of us work on the road and then do set up, soundcheck and rock like a hurricane. And so this goes on and on and on, every day. And we like drinking beer. This is probably the main reason we do this, hahaha!!!!

You recently toured with Threshold and The Silent Wedding, how did this tour go?

It was a really cool tour as it was very familiar very soon. All wanted the same: having a good time, making music, do good shows. There were no egos or complicated behaviours. It was a totally smooth tour with great people and thankful fans on every show. Every tour could be like that.

You also already announced some upcoming shows, some headlining and some with Gus G. Looking forward to those shows?

Sure. It’s also an honour for us to play with such great musicians like Threshold and now Gus G. We all know his work of the last years, also the thing he did with Nightrage and Firewind. I mean in the end he’s one of these guitar heroes you can listen and look every damn night. And then burn your own guitar, haha. For us it’s important to play as much as possible so if there’s electricity we do the show 😉 We think that this is more or less the only way to reach new fans for a band like Maxxwell. And as I already said, playing live is the essence of making music.

Will these be the only shows in the near future of can we expect more of them? Any plans for other Dutch shows, besides the Gus G. show in Boerderij, Zoetermeer on November 20th?

Unfortunately actually there are now further planned Dutch shows in the future. But we hope to come back very soon as the Dutch fans were always very nice to us. And we also think that you folks know how to party. Even if it’s Sunday evening. And of course some of us like the “herbal” cigarettes you can smoke here. We are now in various negotiations for other touring activities so the chance that Maxxwell will be back European-wide is very good.

Any other future Maxxwell plans you can already tell us something about?

We will play as much as we can the next two years and try to do some more tours. Beside we will work on the new record as we don’t want to wait another four years. At the same time we’re also on a special project with Maxxwell so the next years will be full of work. Hopefully this makes it a bit easier to get more shows as we think that there are a lot of stages we will and have to play before we stop this band. But this won’t happen before 2040 anyway, hahaha 😉

Thanks for your questions! Is there anything you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

Thank you. To all DutchMetalManiac’s readers: thanx for taking your time and reading this interview. Hopefully you like what you read and get Maxxwellized. We really appreciate every single fan. Add us on Facebook, Instagram and all this shit. We hope to see you on the road very soon. And don’t forget: it’s you who make bands happen when you go out, visit the concerts and clubs and let this scene be alive. This is really important and we can’t be thankful enough to have you before the stage. Thanx for that.

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