Max Gardener, 5 years between dreams and reality
By Robin Ecoeur
Max Gardener is insanely optimistic. The 18 year-old now based in San Francisco has got it all. The tripped out, glammed-up melodic vibe of Smith Westerns, the coolness of Mac Demarco and the dreaminess of Real Estate all rolled into one. His latest record, Memory Lounge, came out in February via Sports Day Records and Citrus City Records and it's very much the personal kind of record which has the potential to echo through so many people's ears. For Gardener, a massive David Bowie fan, the aim is to do the best he can; always. The result is an album somewhere between bedroom Pop ballad and experimental madness. Reverb and delay play a large role in the American's sound, making you feel trapped somewhere between dreams and reality. You're floating in the air and it feels like everything's gonna be alright. The album is Memory Lounge and the star is Max Gardener. Here's our interview with the man behind this dreamy gem...
Hello Max! First question, the Max Gardener autobiography so far would be titled?
I would call it Five Years. I am a big Bowie fan but there’s another reason for the title, which is that my friend Joe and I have said that we hope that five years from now we are laughing at the worries we had today. I always wonder what I will be doing in five years and I hope it’s something good, so I am doing my best to get there. Five years is a good amount of time to make a change or at least go through changes.
5 years is plenty! Let's start with the record. On the cover, it's you right? Explain it?
Well, Memory Lounge to me was a very themed record. I had the idea for the cover in my head the entire time I was writing and recording the record. I was about to be done with it and needed to take the cover photo so my friend Mick and I went to Cal State Long Beach, took some photos and ended up using my favorite out of all of them. I designed the rest of it from there and I am happy with how it came out.
What inspires you to create this kind of music then?
I'm really inspired by all of the people I listen to of course, but I am even more inspired to try and get up to par with where they are with their writing or instrumentation. I'm not trying to be better than them or anything, I just love the challenge of trying to play the instruments as best as I can and write the best lyrics that I can. I just try to make music that could make people happy, or nostalgic, or even to just get them through their day. Music has done that for me and I would love to return the favour.
Other tracks that really stand out for us are Home Alone and Space For The Memories. Could you tell us more about these songs?
I was trying to write poppy songs to flood people with feelings and memories. I was writing lyrics that I loved constantly so I tried to fit them on these riffs that I was coming up with. Those songs all have very meaningful lyrics to me and they are some of the happiest songs on the record. Home Alone is just me glorifying the idea of having my house to myself, I love having some alone time once in a while, as anyone does. Space For The Memories is like saying our minds are hard drives and there is room to save memories, so I am saying that I want to make the best memories I can with the one that I love.
How do you escape from your everyday life?
Music, new scenery, a good mindset. I just moved to San Francisco and everything is still fairly fresh on a daily basis so that’s nice. I don't necessarily need to escape from my everyday life right now, but music is always my way of doing that usually.
When you're about to record what kind of atmosphere do you try to create?
I always love waking up and going straight to recording with a big cup of coffee early in the morning. Working all day, drinking coffee with every instrument and every necessity within reach. I just close my door and go crazy. It's just me in there when I record so the atmosphere is all in my head and coming off the instruments. I would like to say the atmosphere is great.