Interview: Max Bemis of Say Anything
Los Angeles, CA indie rock band, Say Anything, return with their 2009 self titled record, “Say Anything” following months of anticipation by their legion of fans. Lead singer, Max Bemis describes the record as, “literally defines everything about the band we’ve built so far.”
We had the opportunity to speak with Max Bemis recently to discuss in length the forthcoming record, their current headlining tour and a recap of Warped Tour 2008.
SoCalMusicToday.com: Tell me what the band has been up to recently?
Max: We’e been very busy, very stressed but as a band we’re very excited for the new record coming out in a few weeks along with our new tour.
SCMT : Speaking of the new tour, it starts this week at HOB Anaheim correct?
Max: Yep, I’m very excited to get on the road with this new tour. We’ve been off tour since last summer and this is going to be the first time we’re playing songs off our new record along with some songs that we’ve never played from our last record. We’ve played scatter shows here and there but there’s something about headlining tours that never match up to them. They are always so intense and it being the first show of tour it’s going to be extremely sweaty, angry and nuts.
SCMT: Yeah I remember your performance last summer at Warped Tour in Carson and how intense it was.
Max: Yeah we love Warped Tour. To me, Warped Tour is the best tour we’ve done besides our headliner tours when it comes to crowd participation and being able to enjoy it. We were one of the headlining bands which were weird to us since we weren’t sure how we would fit in since we weren’t a hardcore band or pop. We were the odd band out and we went against our intuition which helped us bridge the gap between those types of bands like Against Me, All Time Low and Every Time I Die. Having fans of those bands at that show that also happened to be fans of our band at the same time made it awesome seeing everyone come together.
SCMT: Your new record, “Say Anything” is set to be released on November 3rd. Briefly tell me about it.
Max: It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done by far and not because it’s our new album. I would think every band would be proud of their new record but this one is really special to me. It feels even more special then our last record we put out. This one I’m even more attached to then that one since I put a lot of work into making it the best thing we ever do.
SCMT: How long did the production take on the album from the writing to recording of it?
Max: I believe it was 3-4 months along with a month of mixing. We really did work hard since it was the first time we’d ever sat down with a producer and picked apart the songs without sacrificing what Say Anything was about. We wanted to say how we can communicate this really intense idea or thought. We cut the fat and tried to take things over the top.
SCMT: What brought the delay in releasing the album?
Max: To me I had a call from our manager who was like we talked to the label and we thought this was the best idea since I trust our manager a lot. Everyone at the label was thinking that this week was really crowded for releases and they really wanted more time to promote it for how hard we worked on our record. They were working their asses off for this record and wanted to make sure they had time to setup everything properly. Maybe these two weeks in the long run won’t seem like much but for us will help.
SCMT: You also went ahead and released two songs in advance of the street date of the record. How have they been received so far by your fans?
Max: It’s been amazing so far. All of people who I expected to freak out over it have while the people I expected to be weird about it have been. We made this record to really show our fans who we are. It might turn off people who are really full of shit as well you know? When Green Day put out “Dookie” they were one of the most hated bands. West Coast punk mentality really. When I grew up listening to NOFX, Lagwagon along with the rest of these West Coast hardcore pop mentality bands, yet when Green Day hit it big the thing that happened was to call them sell outs. To me the people who have increasingly to say it’s amazing is more encouraging to me compared to those who are saying, “f@#k these guys they sold out.” To me it’s one of those records compared to bands that have put out more mediocre records to please everyone and then fizzled out. You might hate our record the first time you hear it and the second time you like it you will instantly like it which is like the case with a lot of my favorite bands including Green Day and Weezer. They try to come out of left field with a lot of the things that they do, that’s something we want to do. I don’t mind taking the slack being the band that wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afraid to take it to the next level.
SCMT: One thing that really stands out to me is the personal recordings that you’ve done over the past year for fans of your music. What type of reception has that received?
Max: It was really amazing but I’ve had to take breaks because of writing the new record taking up all my time. It was cool since it’s depressing to everyone in the music industry that it’s falling asleep. Even those who are selling huge amounts of records are selling less then usual but in reality there are things you can do to advert that plus its also causing fans to become closer with the bands. In a way it’s taking all these rock stars off their pedestal a little bit. I see it as an opportunity to do something positive and I’m glad that it brought me closer to my fans and making their day with these songs.