It's time to start getting excited, Dear Reader. We're less than a month away from the unofficial start of our 2019 festival season. That May Day Bank Holiday weekend means one thing - Live At Leeds. Packed with (literally) hundreds of the best new bands on the planet, it sees one of the country's most vibrant creative cities turned into a mecca of buzz, hype and awesome live music.
To celebrate, we're holding a special Live At Leeds takeover. Over the course of the day (11th April 2019, in case you're coming to this late - Ed), we'll be bringing you all kinds of stuff from and about the acts playing this year's event. If you're going, it'll help you plan out those all-important spreadsheets. If you've not yet picked up your tickets - well, what are you waiting for? You can grab 'em here, right now.
Rising producer and songwriter MAX RAD has picked up praise for a top string of thoroughly seductive singles - ‘Carousel’, ‘Rumours’ and ‘Flesh & Blood’ - as well as a handful of super-buzzy live sets. It’s still early days for the London-based artist, but he’s already gearing up for a headliner at Camden Assembly, and a must-see set at Live at Leeds. He’s one to watch, for sure.
Hey MAX RAD, how’s it going? What are you up to at the mo?
Hello Dork, I’m very good thanks, things are going well. Been pretty busy - working on a lot of new music and I’m also playing a headline show in London in a couple of weeks time, so been rehearsing for that.
When did you realise you wanted to make music?
I think pretty early on - I always wanted to play guitar, so I started really young. I loved singing and making up songs.
I was about 7 when my brother and I made our first (and only) album: he would press record on this old 8-track we had, and start playing the drums, while I’d make up a song on the spot, singing with my guitar. Then we’d move on to the next. I’ve still got the original tapes lying around. My brother lost interest after a little while, but I got more and more into it. I started writing proper lyrics and stuff at about 14 and became really interested in the production and recording side of things a few years after that.
What was the first record you bought, and how old were you?
The first record I remember buying was The Offspring - 'Americana' and I was six years old.
What’s been the highlight of your time as a musician so far?
I think maybe playing my first show under the name MAX RAD; it was a secret show in London late last year. The atmosphere was amazing; we had no clue how many people were gonna turn up - walking out the dressing room to a totally packed room was so good.
How did you develop your particular music style?
It’s come together over time. There are a few bits of gear that I use that really help, like some old synthesisers. I make everything in my bedroom, so that’s influenced things - using drum machines is easier than recording live drums right now, for example.
You’re playing Live At Leeds soon, have you spent much time at festivals yet?
I have done yeah, but Live At Leeds will be the first festival I’m playing with this project, so I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully, I’ll be able to watch a few other things too, the line up’s looking good.
What’s the best live set you’ve ever seen, be it a festival or a gig?
That’s a hard question, I was at the Maccabees' last ever show at Ally Pally, they’re a band that I grew up listening to, so I think it would probably be that.
Who do you think is the most exciting band or musician around right now?
That’s another hard question. There’s a lot out there. I love this guy called Kiefer he’s an incredible jazz pianist and beat maker. Really into Steve Lacy, Nick Hakim, all of Jon Hopkins’ stuff too, Kaytranada, there’s also this guy called Töth that I recently found, I’m absolutely obsessed with him at the moment.
Music aside, what do you do for fun?
I love surfing, and to be honest with you I’m not that good, but that doesn’t stop me.
Anything else we should know?
I’ve got a new single coming out in the next month or so, called ‘String On Me’. I’m excited for that to be out in the world. Keep an eye out for that.
MAX RAD plays Live at Leeds (4th May).