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10 Quick Ones with MAX ATER – September 2018

| 27 September 2018 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Born and raised on the coast of Southern Maine, 25 year-old pop/country phenomenon Max Ater has quickly taken New England by storm with his powerful voice and lyrics. No stranger to the stage, Max spent his teenage years honing his skills at open mics, community theatre, and at fairs and festivals throughout the state. In 2012, he gained state-wide attention for his performance at “Maine’s Got Talent!” scoring first place with an original song. With the support of friends and family, Max took his original music throughout New England and quickly built a loyal fanbase. In 2013, he released a self-produced EP Up ‘Till Now, debuting his talents not only as a songwriter but for production as well. A few years later, Max was grand champion of Maine’s Soundoff 2016 competition.”  We get Max to discuss new music, influences, and much more in our 10 Quick Ones…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Small Town is my first release with Prudential Records. I worked with Karl Anderson on this EP, an extremely talented producer out of Anchour Studio right here in Maine. Karl and I worked together before I signed with Prudential but once they heard our work together, they wanted to keep it going! There are a couple not-so-hidden gems in all these tunes and it’s renowned drummer Jason Hartless (Ted Nugent, Joe Lynn Turner, Mitch Ryder) and bassist Greg Smith (Billy Joel, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper). Their talent took my tunes to an entirely new level. I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish with this record and the final product is a dream come true!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I first realized I wanted to create my own music when I found recording software on a computer in high school. I got obsessed with it. I took over an entire bay of my parent’s garage and started producing music. Of course I needed something to record, so I started to write music. My family pushed me to play music live and I remember my first open mic at a now closed restaurant in Brunswick, Maine called Lion’s Pride. I was 15 and terrified. There were a couple dozen people in the restaurant and I played an original song called “Satellite” (a tune I still cringe over). I got my first taste of the rush that comes from connecting with others through music and I knew that was something I wanted to chase.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, Thomas Rhett — also the producer of my new record Karl Anderson. Spending weeks and weeks with Karl at the studio has really helped me shape the direction I’m taking my songs these days.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Jamie Cullum. He’s from the U.K. and is an absolute master behind the piano and a phenomenal songwriter. We don’t share the same genre but he is hands-down the artist I admired the most growing up and someone who’s mind I think would be the most interesting to collaborate with.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

The roots of this latest release are pop/country but the way we approached this record gives it a fresh twist! Before this, I spent years all over the spectrum writing everything from Jazz to Folk but this EP feels like my most authentic work yet. I’ve co-produced with Karl Anderson for over three years now and it’s been a gift to watch him shape my ideas into a mold that’s both unique and connectable. I don’t think that’s an easy task and it’s another reason I’m so excited about this EP.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Being “in the flow” on stage and connecting with the audience in a way that only music let’s you do. It’s the same reason I write music. I lose myself. Music let’s us connect to something bigger and sharing that feeling with others is a real gift.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

The team and I are currently readying a band for the road but for now, that’s all on me! In Maine, I’ve had the honor of playing with some seriously talented musicians who are as excited as I am to be playing original tunes.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I’d have to stay in the arts. I was committed to the idea of being an playwright and actor when I was in high school until I found music. I’d still be able to following my obsession with crafting stories and performing!

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Songwriting has taught me a lot about how to deal with doubt as an artist and the importance of having a lot of faith in the decisions I make. I don’t think there’s anything I would do over. A lot of “missteps” from my past have ended up bringing me to exactly where I am now and I love where I am!

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

It would have to be Jamie Cullum’s album Catching Tales. It was the first album I ever obsessed over as a teen and I still listen to it all the time. My first piano teacher gave me the album and to be honest, it sat on a shelf for years but when I finally gave it a listen, I fell in love. The album sparked my interest in what it meant to record, produce, and write music. I’d love to watch Jamie work the tunes that have became fundamental to me as an artist.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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