Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Featured Interview

Chris McCarvil of Maxx Explosion
Interview by The Dedicated Rocker Society

The east coast breakthrough Rock band Maxx Explosion, Chris McCarvil, Jimi Bell and Bj Zampa, are a powerhouse trio who have worked on their skills  and paid their dues for a very long time. Now, stepping away from playing back up, Maxx Explosion are primed and ready to step in the forefront and write their own chapter in the "Book Of Rock".  

Maxx Explosion is a band that channels pure rock grooves that are tight, explosive and wired. The band explodes (no pun intended) on the rock music scene with their fiery full-length debut, 'Forever', a stunning recording that captures Maxx Explosion at their rocking best!

The Rocker and I asked Maxx Explosion's  frontman, Chris McCarvil about his band and why rock music fans should check out them out. Here is what he shared with us.

Q: What is Maxx Explosion all about?

Bj and I were just talking about this the other day. We are about taking the time to craft everything we do (Music, Videos, Art, etc) to a really high level of coolness. We're about taking all our experiences as sidemen for other acts and welding it into one really solid band that we have creative control of. We all write, we all play everything, we like fashion. Maxx Explosion shoots for making music that lasts.

Q: Your debut release, 'Forever' was released earlier this year on Kivel Records. Are you satisfied with response you've received so far?

We love Kivel Records. John (Kivel) combines old school artist development with new school economics. He's definitely opened the door for us. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. So YES!

Q: How long did it take to record?

The album "Forever" took about a year. When we started, it wasn't serious. We jammed and had a few originals. These came out so good, we decided to do more, push farther. Again, we got more and more excited as more got recorded. I was pretty unproven as a lead singer before this record, so I was nervous what people would think of my voice. We recorded everything but the drums at my studio (Skypod). Bj recorded the drums at his place. I mixed and mastered with a lot of help from Bj.

Q: Talk about the other players in the band; Guitarist, Jimi Bell and drummer Bj Zampa. 

Well, I'm lucky to be working with two other very headstrong, very creative people. Jimi is excitable and impulsive. He wants to post EVERYTHING on Facebook RIGHT NOW. Haha. He comes up with hundreds of guitar riffs. Literally. Most of the heavy, crunch driven material comes from Jimi. He's got a very magnetic personality.

 Bj is quieter, more thoughtful, but a total stickler for attention to detail. He often has brilliant ideas for every facet of what we do. Bj's feet are on the ground. He keeps us realistic and protects us with his killer street smarts. Both of them are very different, but the combination more than works.

Q: Any memorable moments, good or bad, in the making of "Forever" you'd care to share?

Probably the funniest moment for me was recording vocals of the title track "Forever", which is a big emotional epic type song. The last vocal line needed this one long crazy note, like, really long. At the time, I found it was coming out best if I was singing on my knees with my arms outstretched. Don't ask. It just worked. Whatever it takes. I have a big window in my studio and it looks out over my backyard, and it's at ground level, so there I am, going for it, screaming my head off, shaking, etc. I finish, hit stop, turn around, and there's my 11 year old son and a bunch of his friends looking through the window at me going like "What's wrong with your dad?"

Q: How many songs did you actually write for the album?

We were pretty efficient with this one. We probably had 14, but we narrowed a few down. Coming up with songs doesn't seem to be very hard for us. Making them into something we like is what takes time.

Q: Speaking of writing. As far as the writing process goes, do you write the songs or is it a group effort?

On 'Forever', it was a bit pieced together. Jimi and Bj came to me with quite a few finished musical demos. "Devil's Locomotive," "Love is a Nightmare", "Rise and Famous" were all Jimi/Bj music demos that we took and turned into finished songs. Bj wrote the music for "Can't Stop Falling" and "Don't Wanna Break"(Our two ballads), and I wrote the music for "Falling Away" and "Forever". End of the line and beat Around the Bush were real band efforts with all of us writing together. I'm our lyrics and melody guy, but I work really closely w/ Bj on melodies and harmonies. We try just about everything until it sounds "right" to us.

Q: The music videos for, "Devil's Locomotive" and "Famous" (both powerhouse songs by the way). Where were they shot and how long did each video take to shoot?

Much thanks on the videos. I do the artwork for MX, like our album cover,website and promotional materials. I also decided that after doing a lot of researching I would try shooting our videos. I'm a full time graphic artist at a T shirt company and my boss was cool enough to let us shoot both videos at our shop. (Experience in Design in West Haven, CT). I have an inexpensive handheld videocamera, and got a few friends to help. "Devil's Locomotive" took about 10 hours to setup and shoot. "Famous" was filmed in our back warehouse and there happened to be a scaffold in there, so we threw that together, got a few more friends (including John Kivel) to help film and about the same. 8-10 hours to set up and shoot. 

The hard part is editing, which I do on my son's gaming computer when he lets me. I don't have incredible software. It's a basic off the shelf video editor. I think it was like $70. I don't think technology is what makes a good video or album for that matter. We're a very in-house band.

Q: What can we expect from Maxx Explosion in 2014?

A lot more. We're making more videos, playing more shows, making more merch, advancing our live act, of course another album eventually. MX is a very active band. We're all hungry for more.Also, we're opening up for House Of Lords on the 2nd leg of their European tour in the spring.  Then in the fall we're playing Melodic Rock Fest 4 in Chicago and the Wolf Fest in Colorado.

Q: Complete this sentence...You check out Maxx Explosion because....

.....We don't take the easy way out of creating music. A lot of times in music stupid is cool. We're like the opposite. We've worked on our skills for a long time. We're stirring up a huge rock and roll party over here and you're invited!

For more information on Maxx Explosion:
@ FB: https://www.facebook.com/maxxexplosion

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