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A Dirty Dozen with MAX KELLY from BANTAMWEIGHT – July 2021

| 26 July 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Los Angeles synth-rock duo BANTAMWEIGHT have emerged from their practice studio after nearly a decade of close-quarters collaboration with their groundbreaking new EP Sounds + Haptics, which sees them blending modern prog-rock and EDM sensibilities with freakish, one-of-a-kind hybrid-instrumental talent that leaves listeners wondering how a twosome can create such an impressive wall of sound.”  We get drummer / keyboardist Max Kelly to discuss new music, influences, and more…

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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our new EP Sounds + Haptics is densely layered with thousands of unique instruments, samples, and synthesizers. The final track alone – “Fall Away” – has over 400 different sounds, each meticulously placed and layered to create a unique listening experience for anyone willing to listen back multiple times!

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

My father was a drummer, and it was his influence that led me to picking up the drumsticks at age 13. Moving away from my home state at 15 – and the period of isolation that followed – drove me to dive head-first into drumming, and it was in those long after-school practice sessions that I found my passion for playing music.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Seeing The Dillinger Escape Plan live in NYC circa 2009 was transformative. Their relentless energy and aggressive performance style made me want to figure out a way to do exactly what they’re doing for the rest of my life.

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

It would be a dream come true to collaborate with a European film composer by the name of Aeph.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I recently picked up JiuJitsu and Muay Thai.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I generally categorize us as ‘synth rock,’ or “Nine Inch Nails meets Foals meets Animals As Leaders meets Three Trapped Tigers.” Being told that we sound like Disturbed was befuddling.

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

Keith is absolutely the better cook. Max is probably off chugging a water somewhere. Unfortunately singalongs make both of us cringe.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I can only remember being starstruck one time – at a Baha Men concert around 2004. Meeting the Baha Men after the show was more than my 10-year-old heart could handle at the time.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Connecting with other musicians has been so gratifying, and relatively easy – there’s automatically common ground between us, and conversation tends to flow easily from that. If not for music, I’d like to be a professional son-of-a-billionaire.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

1. Why are you so damn handsome? 2. What does your band name mean?

11. 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,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Thankfully, my career has hardly begun, and most of my major missteps are still ahead of me!

12. 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?

So many to choose from… Bon Iver’s 22, A Million would have been fascinating to witness, though I feel I’d be misusing my time-travel powers by only rewinding to 2016.





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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