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Oct. 31, 2022

Interview with WAAX

We had the pleasure of interviewing WAAX over Zoom video!

The beating heart of the Australian post-punk scene, WAAX, have released their highly anticipated second studio album, At Least I’m Free, via Dew Process. The band have also shared the music...

We had the pleasure of interviewing WAAX over Zoom video!

The beating heart of the Australian post-punk scene, WAAX, have released their highly anticipated second studio album, At Least I’m Free, via Dew Process. The band have also shared the music video for the k.flay co-written, high octane LP standout “No Doz,” which follows on the heels of the biting, incendiary singles already released from the album: the QMA Award winning “Most Hated Girl,” the Linda Perry co-written “Dangerous” and “Read Receipts.”

Speaking on the Phoebe Faye-directed video for “No Doz,” the band’s singer Maz DeVita had this to say: “‘No Doz’ is about control. More specifically it's about losing it. In the video I have no control in the shopping trolley. I am at the mercy of the band who is pushing me around. The video reflects the newer, fresher vibe that we were going for when writing ‘No Doz.’ It's filled with energy, reckless abandon and bursts of color.”

On At Least I’m Free, WAAX teamed up with the production team behind their debut breakout album Big Grief - Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger) and Grammy winner Nick DiDia (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine). The result is an honest and indignant album laden with raw vulnerability and contrasted by the high octane energy WAAX is renowned for.

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Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to Bringing it Backwards, a podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we hung out with James and Maz of the band Waax Over Zoom video. James and Maz met in Brisbane, but not originally from there. James was actually born in Belgium and then moved to Brisbane. Maz grew up just outside Brisbane, but we hear about how they both got into music. The band was going for quite some time before James ended up joining the band. So we hear about kind of how the band formed and then how James was included into the band or joined the band, which all falls into this brand new record. 2 (1m 54s): Ma talked about working with KfFlay and Linda Perry on some songs on the album, and Ma also said how much working with James has contributed to the sound and just the vibe of the band. But we talk all about that new record, which is called, At least I'm free. You can watch our interview with Ma and James on our Facebook page, in YouTube channel at Bringing it backwards. It'd be amazing if you subscribe to our channel, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at Bringing Back Pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Podcast would be incredible If you follow us there as well and hook us up with a five star review, 3 (2m 37s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, 2 (2m 42s): We're bringing it backwards with Waax. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you both doing this. Thank you so much. 4 (2m 49s): Thank you. Thank you. 2 (2m 51s): Cool. I'm Adam and this podcast is about the two of you and your journey music. I wanna talk about the, the band forming and then obviously the new album that's out as well. 5 (3m 1s): Awesome. 2 (3m 3s): Sweet. Amazing. Sounds good. Did you guys both grow up in the same area? Did you grow up together or No, 6 (3m 11s): No, I, I met Ma only like three and a half years ago. 2 (3m 16s): Oh, okay. We both 6 (3m 17s): Were from Brisbane, but Mazz wasn't originally from Brisbane at all. Where'd you 5 (3m 22s): Grow up now? I was, I grew up in South Australia, which is yeah, pretty much the, the bottom of Australia in the middle. And, but yeah, we met in Brisbane, which is in Queensland. So I, I moved up to Queensland when I was about 13 years old and I, I didn't like move straight to Brisbane either. Like we, we went to my family and I moved to the Gold Coast, which is like a regional area in Queensland. And then to start the band I moved to Brisbane cuz it was a bigger city. But yeah, James was, wasn't even born in this country. 2 (4m 4s): Oh, okay. Well I wanna get your story too, but I'm just curious, did you move to Brisbane to join this band? Or you just moved there for music and eventually this 6 (4m 13s): Band? Yeah, 5 (4m 13s): I moved, I, I moved there to, to start something. I knew that I wanted to like, make music and I wanted to pursue a project and I'd been riding a little bit by myself and things and I'd been playing in bands, not as a vocalist, but like as a bass player in things. And I just felt like I had a better chance of finding my people if I moved to a bigger city. And it proved to be true because obviously I met some incredible people that I started the band with. And yeah, gold coasters are very like barren place for creatives. 5 (4m 56s): Like it's getting a bit better like now, like years have gone by and it's slowly picking up. But yeah, it's a very small coastal time. Like it's, yeah, it's quite, it's, yeah, it can be quite isolating I suppose, 6 (5m 15s): But if you wanna start like a yoga place, then you're probably the place to go, you know? Yeah. 2 (5m 19s): Oh, that's a spot. Okay. Laid back like that? 5 (5m 23s): Yeah. Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. It's like very touristy. Lots of tourists around, well, not recently cuz of Covid, but it's generally known to be a tourist place. 2 (5m 33s): Okay. I'm from San Diego, which is similar in the sense that it's more of like a, I don't live there now, but I moved to Nashville. But like, it's that same vibe where it's like, it'd be a good spot to, to open up a yoga studio or something like that. Yeah, absolutely. It's not quite LA and it's not, obviously. Yeah, it's, that's interesting that you, you, you describe it that way. Well how did you get into music then? Maz? 5 (6m 1s): I, well I just grew, I grew up with it all around me. My, my dad's a musician himself. Oh, cool. And my grad Mars a musician as well, so I, it was just kind of normal. I grew up like going to my dad's sound checks and stuff like that and I probably, I, I started playing a bit of piano when I was like five or six and then I got bored and just did kids stuff for a couple of years and then I, I picked up bass when I was like 11 and then started to teach myself guitar after that. 5 (6m 42s): And then, yeah, just kind of went from there. And I'd always been writing songs like since I was like 12 or something. But I, I didn't really take it very seriously. I didn't really see myself as a songwriter or anything. I just did it for fun and I like never wrote anything down cuz I never had the patience for it. I'd like get home from school, I'd pick up a guitar, write a song, and I'd be like, eh, that was cool. Anyway, I'm gonna go eat dinner now. And I would just like let it all go. Like it was just kind of just like, I didn't take it seriously at all until I started this bad. Really 2 (7m 18s): Interesting. And you said your dad's a musician. Does he like, I mean the songwriter as well? 5 (7m 25s): No, no, he's just a drummer. Oh, that's cool. Not not just a drummer. 2 (7m 29s): He's a good drummer. 5 (7m 31s): He's, he's a drummer. Yeah, he's, he's, and he's, you know, he's been playing in bed since I was a kid and so yeah, it was, it was really cool like growing up that way cuz it was just very normal, very art. Like, it's strange that like my, my family are very like, you know, they're tradespeople, you know, they, they, you know, they work in like, hands on activities. Like my dad was a cabinet maker, so it's like carpentry sort of thing. But then like there's always this massive like creative like musical side to us as well. So it's kind of like a mixture of, it's a mixed bag of things. 5 (8m 14s): Yeah. 2 (8m 14s): Well, building is creative, right? I mean, to be able to build the, the cabinets and do all that is pretty, takes a certain mindset. That's 5 (8m 23s): It. 2 (8m 24s): So what, at what point, I'm gonna get you James, I promise. I'm just curious like, so we can pull the, pull the pull the both together here with, with music. Was there a moment or something that kind of clicked for you when you knew that you wanted to pursue it? Obviously you moved to Brisbane to, to pursue music for a, a reason or another. 5 (8m 44s): Yeah, so like growing up music was just in my life and I just did it. It was, I didn't think about it much. It was just something I did and I enjoyed. And then I kind of flicked a switch in my head when I was about 19 i, 1920. I was at a music festival here in Australia and I remember I saw it, it's, it's a festival called Splendor of Splendor in the Grass. And I'm not sure if you've heard of that before, but 2 (9m 17s): It sounds familiar, but I don't, I don't, I don't know the festival, 5 (9m 20s): Like yeah, it's quite a big festival in Australia and it goes for three days anyway. Wow. I was there and I was just watching a band play and I don't know what kind of happened in my brain, but I kind of, my head just said to me I could do that. Like I wanna do that, I wanna be on that stage and I wanna be on that stage in five years time. And I actually ended up doing that, which was really cool. Wow. In that, I dunno, it was really strange. And from that moment on I decided to pursue music really seriously because I was, I just, I then, I just had a voice in my head, just tell me that it's what I had to do. So it's just kind of, I just followed that feeling and then the more I followed it, the more passionate I got and, and here we are almost 10 years later doing the same thing. 2 (10m 11s): Do you remember what, do you remember the band that you were watching? 5 (10m 16s): I think it was a bear called Husky, which I'm not really sure. They, they were from Australia. I don't know if they did much overseas at that point, but they were, they're kind of like, like a folk pop band, which is very different to what I do, but 2 (10m 33s): Guys are, 5 (10m 35s): Well, yeah, well I was just like, also he was just kind of standing there playing guitar. I was like, I could entertain these people. Like sure. You know? Sure. And then, yeah, just from, just from then on I just got really obsessed with it. It was really good. 2 (10m 50s): Cool. Well, okay, so James, you weren't born in Australia, is 6 (10m 54s): That what I heard? No, and I lemme just say straightaway that Husky are a great band. They're fantastic. 5 (10m 59s): They are a great band. 2 (10m 60s): You have to look 'em up. 6 (11m 2s): I was actually born in Belgium. Okay. Cuz I was youngest of eight kids and we Wow. And they were like English Irish parents and we just moved around a lot and apparently we were in Belgium and I was born, I was there for like nine months and then moved to Island for, until I was like four I think. And then moved to Australia and I've been in Brisbane ever since. Yeah. So I was kind of a bit of, a bit of traveling in my first like five years and I've got like splatters of memories of, of that time. But yeah, settled into Brisbane and have been here ever since. Okay. 2 (11m 37s): Wow. Where, where do you come in, in line with the, your eight siblings? 6 (11m 42s): Oh, I'm the youngest. I'm the baby. 2 (11m 44s): Oh my 6 (11m 45s): Little baby boy. Yeah. Absolutely. 2 (11m 47s): Okay. What's the difference between you and your oldest bro, brother, sister? 6 (11m 52s): My oldest sister's Annie, she actually lives in Ireland. She's 16 years older than me. It's basically like every two years like regiment. 2 (12m 1s): That's amazing. My, 6 (12m 2s): There's like time for another Oh, 2 (12m 4s): Two years is time. 6 (12m 7s): Yeah. Pretty 2 (12m 8s): Brilliant though. Cause once, once your, your sister's 16 when you're around and then it kind of, they can, she can kind of tick over and like you guys rotate through watching each other. Yeah. 6 (12m 18s): Like a perpetual motion machine or something. Like there's like Yeah, I think that that's the thing is that the, I think raising me and probably like the siblings close to me as well was, was more of like a community thing cuz the older, the older siblings had to do it as well. Not just the parents, you know. Sure. So it, it was great cuz like, you know, when you, when you grow up and these people are like, you are kind of pseudo kind of guardians and then you're like, you grow up and you become their friends or even before that point you become their siblings where you kind of hate each other. Right. 2 (12m 56s): You 6 (12m 56s): Go through all those like different sort of like amalgamations of, of that relationship. 2 (13m 1s): That's interesting. So you guys, so basically at five is when you land in Brisbane, you said you've been there ever since. What about music in your household? Does, do you have any musicians or any of your siblings play music at all? 6 (13m 14s): Yeah, I mean I think it all stems from like, my mom's dad was a, was a pianist and Okay. And, and he, he sold his grand piano to pay for my parents' wedding. Wow. Which is like really nice. And then they, and then they, they bought a kind of crappy, like upright piano that bit of a honky tonk kind of one just to kind of like, you know, appease 2 (13m 39s): Him. Have something, Yeah. 6 (13m 40s): Have something to play. And then we had that piano up until this year when we recorded a music video and we kind of destroyed it in the, we in the purpose of art, obviously not in the you guys. 2 (13m 53s): Oh, you destroyed the piano. That was, 6 (13m 55s): We kind of like ripped it apart. Well we got donated by my family, like lovingly and we kind of were like, Hey, this piano's outta tune and it, and it's like, the string's really old and cuz it's so bad you can't actually, we can't actually do it up and make it sound good anymore. And the parents were just like, we'll donate it to you for this film clip. It'll be forever immortalized in this, in this piece of thing. And I was like, that is actually a really beautiful thing. 2 (14m 20s): Yeah, I was gonna say now you have, you have it forever, digitally. 6 (14m 23s): Yeah, exactly. And it's always gonna be a part of the story of, of, of this album and this band. So that's, I mean, to me it's better than just kind of rusting not getting played in the, in the bottom of their house. 2 (14m 34s): You could sell it back to him as an nft. 6 (14m 36s): Unfortunately, it's in the dump at the moment. It got, it got taken to the, to the heat. The, 2 (14m 44s): Well, no, the photo, the nft of it anyway. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so the pianos in, in the house. What, where did you start off 6 (14m 53s): As far as you music? Yeah, my father, my father was a key musician, so he, like, he always played guitar. His actual main instrument was the clarinet and he was clarinet four piece in, in Southampton and in, back in, back in England. And so he just always had, he played piano, he played clarinet, he played guitar. And then just at an early age, he tried to get me to play piano and it wasn't really for me. And then I picked up the guitar and yeah, I, it was definitely my instrument. It was the one that I wanted. I was destined to play, I think. Yeah. 2 (15m 30s): How long, how long or how, not how long, but how old were you when you started playing guitar? 6 (15m 36s): I must have been like eight or nine maybe, maybe something like that. And it was just like my, the oldest brother in the family, second in line Thomas, he was like a, he was like a kind of a hippie kind of guy. He was living in this suburb called West End in, in Brisbane, which is just like filled with these kind of bohemian type people. And he played guitar and he taught me all these like, like, like folk and like, like, what do you call it? Like rebel songs kind of things like, you know, and he taught me how to play all the chords and sing and all that kind of stuff together. 6 (16m 17s): So they, it basically from lots of people in my life, I've just been surrounded by music and surrounded by different types of music. Yeah. From that, from that age. 2 (16m 27s): Did you play in any band? I mean, you were already in Brisbane, so you didn't move to pursue a career in, in the industry. So did you play in bands and stuff growing up? 6 (16m 37s): Yeah, I, yeah, I absolutely, I was in, I was in like my kind of, you know, high school bands and all that kind of stuff. And then after graduating I, I was at, you know, at any given point of time I was in like four or five bands. It was pretty quiet. Wow. All of them, like, you know, doing lots of different stuff and it was really fun and I was definitely like cutting my teeth in the scene. No, none of them particularly doing very well, if I can be completely honest. But yeah, just played in, played in lots and lots of bands until one of them that I was in ma came and saw and they needed a guitarist and she was like, That is the guy. 6 (17m 18s): And I was like, Yes. 2 (17m 20s): Oh, interesting. Cause yeah. Cause you joined the band just a couple years ago, right? 6 (17m 24s): Yeah, I think it's like three and a half years ago now. But which feels, it feels like it's been forever. Which is, I mean, in a bad way, in a good way. 2 (17m 32s): It's 6 (17m 34s): Hasn't, it feels like family and it feels like my life, you know? But yeah, it's only been three and a half years, which 2 (17m 40s): Is 6 (17m 41s): Short in the scheme of things. 2 (17m 43s): Sure. I mean, well a pandemic doesn't help, right? 6 (17m 46s): Absolutely not. 2 (17m 50s): I'm curious, so once you make it to Brisbane and, and you have this dream of, of pursuing music, how, how does the band end up forming? Like what, what's kind of the, the steps that led to that? And then I'll, I want, you know, we'll talk about how then James joined the band. 5 (18m 7s): Yeah. So I moved, when I moved to Brisbane, I was already studying at an art school and I was doing like graphic design and I knew that through university I'd be able to find people and especially like being around a lot of artists and you know, creatives at, you know, at the uni I would be able to find people. So when I moved to Brisbane, I started jamming with a university friend and we like started working on songs and things like that and we decided to start a band. 5 (18m 53s): And then we got Tom involved, who's our drummer, who's still our drummer to this day. We started, we, we met him at a rehearsal studio and the drummer that was supposed to rock up decided to cancel on us last minute because he wanted to go to a toga party for uni. And, and yeah. And then Tom was there behind the like cash register thing, you know, and, and we were like, Well, do you wanna come jam with us? Because like 2 (19m 29s): Our drum was a 5 (19m 30s): Target party. Yeah. He's at a toga party. What a mistake might I ask? Like what 2 (19m 36s): I say? I was just about that better, better the best damn toga party he's ever been to. Yeah, 5 (19m 40s): It 2 (19m 40s): Better have, honestly, he missed the quite an opportunity. Yeah, Yeah. 5 (19m 48s): And so we just started jamming from there. And then we had, so my friend from Uni's friend also jammed with us for a while, for about six months. And things were like going pretty well, Like, we started playing gigs around, you know, just around Brisbane every weekend we were doing something and we were just obsessed with playing and honestly drinking. We loved to drink and we loved to play and we didn't, we, we knew that we were getting better, but there's just, you know, I found that over the years, especially in the early days, we went through a lot of members to get the R formula because I feel that because we had no, like we, we were so green, we, we weren't really sure what what it is that we wanted to be musically. 5 (20m 46s): All we knew is that we wanted to play. And me in particular, what motivated me the most was performing. Like I, like I said, at that point I still didn't consider myself a songwriter or anything like that. I wrote songs so that I could play them live. Like I didn't have any, any idea of what I was doing. And so when I'd find people to play in the band, I wasn't really thinking straight, I don't think. I just kind of would just be like, Oh yeah, you come join the band or you come join the band. And like, it just kind of was a bit of a revolving door for a while because I wasn't really being quite strategic at what I was doing. But yeah, the, the eventually, you know, probably about four, like three or four years in, I kind of started to work, find my feet a bit more and we were a bit more established and we'd started, you know, dipping our toes in touring a bit. 5 (21m 44s): And that's kind of when we started getting, we'd already canned a record that we made. There is a record that has never seen the light of day and then we started to get a bit more serious. And then, yeah, Yuen, who other guitarist joined the band about a year in, and he's still in the band. And then obviously Tom, then we had, yeah, like I said, a few members come and go, which is, you know, just kind of naturally happens. I think it's rare when you find parents that have been together since high school or something like that. Like that's actually 2 (22m 20s): Oh yeah. 5 (22m 21s): And then, but that, but that tends to be the story that you mostly hear, like people like, yeah, we've met in high school and then yeah, we just like do those, It's like most bands I know, like generally, you know, it takes a bit to get the right, the right balance, you know? 2 (22m 38s): Yeah. I mean, and it's one of those things too, it's like, is everybody all in, right? I mean, if you wanna be in a band and some guys kind of got his foot out, foot out thinking, oh you know, maybe I want to get a regular job and have a fam or you know, there's all these things that could kind of come along with it. You need five people that are like, this is it. I don't care about anything else. Like all I wanna do is make this band work. Exactly. And then you all have to get along right, which is another whole thing to it. 5 (23m 6s): A hundred percent. To have a shared goal between four people of something so uncertain as a band, especially coming out of Australia, which of course is quite hard. It's difficult putting a band together in Australia because there's only, you know, a, a select number of places you can play. And also there's not that much of a population here. So, and especially there's not much of a population that listened to guitar music. So it, it is really, really hard and it has been very hard for us. You know, we're really lucky that we just have had the stamina and the tenacity to keep going and luckily we've had people support us along the way. 5 (23m 46s): But yeah, it has been difficult and it's difficult to find people that are on the same page as you. And it could go either way. Some people try to control the project and you can't, you, you need to be able to have a democratic attitude. You can't have, you know, like there's definitely a centralized creative direction, but you gotta be able to get along and you gotta be able to have, you know, understanding of, you know, other people and where they come from and all that sort of thing. And that's definitely a lot of lessons that I've learned over the years. And I think probably the toughest part about being at a band this long has been learning about relationships with other people. 5 (24m 27s): That's definitely been a huge learning curve. But yeah. And then so yeah, people came and go. We, we made our first, so we made our first album in 2018 and I had been my, my primary creative partner in the band and I had written two records together and we just finished this album. Then he and I had a massive blow up and it was both on a professional at a personal level and at that point with, we were just about to release Big grief and I wasn't sure what to do. 5 (25m 13s): And I knew I wanted to put out the record because we'd already made it and he was out of the picture. Everybody was really deflated and we had to go to America to do south by. Oh wow. And also, and then also then go to New York after that. And 2 (25m 36s): Had you played South by, or have you, had you came to the States before that? 5 (25m 41s): No, no we haven't. That was 2 (25m 42s): A big, that was probably, I mean that's a big moment, right? I mean coming to play, especially a big thing like South by Southwest and yeah. Kind of have that all, you know, up in the air. 5 (25m 55s): A hundred percent. And he and I have had a falling out literally a week before we were supposed to go to South by, we couldn't find another guitarist. So we awkwardly all got on a plane and went and played south by. And it was literally one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, to be honest with you. But we ended up doing really well and we won a competition, which we didn't know that we were in. And basically we were like the most mo the most voted for Act out of Australia. So then we were, we were given this opportunity to play Central Park in New York a few weeks later. So we all came home and I was like, okay, right. 5 (26m 38s): Well this guy's not in the band anymore. We've got this great opportunity. This must be the universe. Universe saying we've got, we've gotta keep going. Right? And the first person that came to my head to at least come play the show with us was James. And I'd seen him play in his other band. 1 (27m 0s): This episode is brought to you by Smart Food. There are a bunch of ways to be smart during the holiday season, getting the shopping done early, not sitting your aunt next to your mom and snacking on smart food popcorn. It's air pop, popcorn toss and delicious white cheddar cheese or sweet and salty kettle corn. You are what you eat. Welcome to the smart club. Shop 5 (27m 28s): Twice before. And I just really loved the way he played. I just thought his energy would be incredible in our band. And I literally had only spoken a sentence to him. I literally, after his gig, I was like, Hey man, that was great. And he was like, Thank you so much. And I was like, What a legend. And I walked out and 2 (27m 49s): I was like, 5 (27m 52s): And anyway, I like messaged him on Instagram out of nowhere, literally nowhere. And I was like, Hey, so do you, do you wanna like play guitar with my band? We're about to go to New York, what do you record? And he was like, What I, 6 (28m 9s): The answer was obviously yes. 5 (28m 11s): Yeah, yeah. 2 (28m 12s): So you were in another band at this point, James, I'm just curious how for you was, did you know about Wax at the time? Like were you aware of what they were doing? Or was, was this like, oh this person's just talking to me about, you know, or did you have no idea? 6 (28m 30s): No, I'd seen wax many times. Like okay, they're like, they just testament to what Ma was saying about them playing heaps. Like, you know, there was, yeah, I was going to like all the festivals around Brisbane and so I was like the bigger ones and I saw, I saw wax play at Spinner and the Grass, the, the same sort of performance ma was talking about earlier. And I saw 'em at like all these different leather shows and I was just like, okay. I was like, this band's really cool and they had their, their second EP Wild Week was just, was, you know, I was like, I was like, this is amazing sort of ep. And then, yeah, then I met Ma really briefly after one of my shows. But I was like, I was like, Thank you so much, I'm gonna go pack up stage because not the band's gonna go on stage. 6 (29m 14s): And then yeah, to receive that message from Ma it was like, do you want to come jam with my bands? We're going to New York in like a month. And I was like, Oh yeah, of of course. When do you need me? And, and it was like Wednesday and she was like, tomorrow night. And I was like, Oh, okay. Right. And then like I, like I met MAs and you and the guitarist and, and then they'll like come to rehearsal on Saturday morning and then by Saturday morning I'd like learn every single one of the songs cuz I would be 2 (29m 46s): Like, you just stayed up all night learning arm. 6 (29m 48s): Yeah. I was like, don't get anyone else for the job cause it's mine. And then, yeah. And I, I guess, I guess that's also, we got on really well. So it was just like, I don't know right place, right time in that situation, 2 (30m 1s): To be honest. Yeah. Were you just playing mu, were you, like, did you just have a bunch of bands going or was that band like, was it hard to leave the band that you were in? Or what was that conversation like? Was it awkward, like, oh hey guys? 6 (30m 13s): Well yeah, like, it was weird. I was in like, I was probably in four bands at that time. Oh wow. And then as soon as I sort of went with Wax, I, I said to two of them and was like, Sorry I can't play anymore. You know, I was playing Sy one and the other one was like a, a band that's still on and off in my life. But, but you know, it was always just a bit of a fun thing. But then the other major band that I was in, we were like, started to do well, released a couple of singles and people were liking us and I tried to keep them both going at the same time. And then basically it came to a point where it was like, I have to choose and the obvious choice Wax, you know, to be honest, not only because of like, you know, career trajectory or anything like that, just in terms of, you know, the, the, the space of the band creatively and personality wise was way more fitted to where I was at the time and, and could see myself wanting to be. 6 (31m 14s): And for a long period of time there was no, there was no, there was no toxicity and there was no resentment and there was no ego. It was just like a, a really nice sort of beautiful community of musicians trying, striving for a common goal. And I was like, well that's the one that I want to be with. So, you know, the other ones kind of fell by the wayside. 2 (31m 37s): And was the first gig that you played with them at in New York at that show? 6 (31m 42s): Yeah, technically it was. I was, I begged before we went there. I was like, Please can we do like another show? So we did like a really, we did a secret show underneath another under like 1:00 AM underneath a like a like a fake band name, ma Oh, that's awesome. The 6 66. And we did like a tight 30 minute set at one in the morning and I was like, okay, this is good. And then like, you know, a week later we flew out to New York and I was on like a big stage seeing like the New York City skyline and I was like, what the hell is my life? 2 (32m 22s): What is going on? That's crazy. That's so crazy. Were there like, was there Buzz after that show? Like people were like, Oh my gosh, like they, that's that's not Master 6 66 or whatever. He said like, you know, that's actually wax like, what's going on? 6 (32m 40s): We're not very good at keeping secrets. Oh. So 2 (32m 43s): We like, it was leaked pretty quickly. 6 (32m 45s): Yeah, I think it leaked cause it was like, there was a lot of people there and we played after like a friend of, of waxes, like, like a band called Clowns, like played before us, like headlining. And so I think that they knew and lots of their fans like us, so I think people just stuck around. It ended up being a pretty wild gig and that's crazy. Yeah. 2 (33m 9s): So you joined the band and Good Grief had been released, is that what you said Maz? Or was recorded? 5 (33m 15s): It was recorded and it was, yeah, it was recorded and ready to go. It was being pressed at that point and we, yeah, after New York we got ready to take it on tour. So I think we were in the middle of a tour when the album dropped. Is that right? It was, I remember we were on the road, we were on touring 6 (33m 39s): Tour for I Am it was the I Am tour. 5 (33m 43s): Yeah. And yeah, The grief came out in the middle of it and it was, it was really, it was really hard. It was hard because it had a lot of memory attached to it and a lot of hard memories as well because of the previous relationships that were within the band. But I felt like it had to come out, like it just had to, and it kind of felt like it was a bitter a sweet day. I was like very proud, but I also felt like I was warning a loss because I'd lost someone who I'd worked very closely with for a very long time. Right. And it was just like a very strong reminder of the disintegration of that relationship. 5 (34m 30s): And yeah, we put it out, we played so much after that and, but you know, and then at the end of that year, so we're talking 2019 at the end of that year, I went back to LA at the end of the year and started working with other artists and doing co-writes, which ended up being on the record that we just released. Oh, okay. So, and, and James and I had worked together for the first time creatively as writing partners as well. So it was really exciting because we worked out that James and I could work really well in a writing sense as well, so Yeah. 5 (35m 13s): Yeah. So basically, 2 (35m 14s): So didn't, I'll just fall onto you then like, okay, now I don't have the other half of this, and then, Okay, am I write everything? 5 (35m 21s): Yeah, I mean I thought that at the beginning, like I was like, well, I can do this. Like, I'm not afraid of it, but I do feel like I like to work collaboratively and that obviously goes to show because I am in a, a band. I find it, I find I get out of my head a bit more if I'm around others and have other, you know, people's like ears on things. But yeah, I mean, it was a complete loop that not only did James fit into the band personality wise and he's playing style was incredible, but, you know, we could work together in a writing sense as well. So it was one of those great, you know, miracles to be honest. 5 (36m 4s): Like him joining the band is one of the best things to happen to us because I feel like we probably might not have made it, we might not have continued because it was just, there was just too much trauma in the, in the, in the previous years. And I didn't know if I could carry that and I didn't know if I could like walk around with that. But yeah, it, it kind of worked out and so yeah, we started working on the next record in 2019 and then obviously the world went sideways. Sure. 2 (36m 37s): Were you, were you both in LA or did you just go out for those initial sessions? 5 (36m 42s): I just went out myself. Yeah. Okay. And it was awesome. I loved it so much and I wrote with some really incredible people and, you know, 2 (36m 52s): Yeah. Just going off the, the what I've read about the record, I mean, Kfl wrote on it with you. Was that in that same time period or was that later down the line? Yeah. 5 (37m 2s): Okay. No, no, that was that, that trip. So yeah, I worked with Kfl and we got along like a house on fire immediately and she and I got along, like we just, we had an incredible creative energy straightaway and I knew I wanted to do something different and we wrote Nodo together, which is pretty different for us. But it's exciting because it opens up a door for us to work on our next record in a way that we can experiment more with samples. And 2 (37m 30s): It's definitely different more, it's a lot different than what I was listening to on your earlier stuff for sure. But it's, it's a rad song. It's such a rad song. 5 (37m 39s): Yeah, well, when we went into this record, we wanted no rules and no boundaries. And I think before that we, we had a very like structured boundary of we're a rock band and so we make rock music and this is how it is done. Whereas like, you know, okay, that's the old guard, throw that out the window, new record, we're not gonna have any rules, we're just gonna do what feels right to us. And so, yeah. And it just so happens that some of the more Quirkier songs really fit quite well on the record. 2 (38m 14s): And you, do you also write with Linda Perry on this album as well? 5 (38m 18s): I absolutely did, yes. 2 (38m 20s): Wow. And it was, That's wild. What was that like? 5 (38m 23s): It was crazy, honestly, I, it was like an out of body experience because I just, I was literally, I've never been overseas by myself before, let alone going to write with people I've never met before and 2 (38m 40s): Having them be like legends. Yeah. Literally very ca play. 5 (38m 47s): I couldn't, I I was like, how did I get here? Like the whole time I was like slapping myself. I was like, what the hell? But yeah, she, she'd listened to, she'd listened to the record, we'd just put Big grief and she really, really liked my boys and she was like, Well, when are you coming to America? And I told, you know, our team told her that it was gonna be in December of 2019 and she was like, I want a discussion with this girl. And honestly it was like the best thing that's ever happened to me because she, in the time that we worked together, she taught me so much, like especially about accepting and embracing my, my voice in its rawest form because I feel like I'd gotten in the habit of hiding behind filters of, you know, vibrato or falsetto vocal tone. 5 (39m 42s): And she was like, Take that shit out. And she's like, it's just, I just wanna hear your vocal as it is, like with none of the bells and whistles, just this is it. And from that moment on I was like, no. No longer afraid to just sing and just accept and love my tone for what it is. That's 2 (40m 6s): Cool. Wow. Yeah, she just, it seems, I mean if you, you look at the songs she wrote just because you look at foreign blondes and it's like, okay, they had some, they had some jams, right? And then you see the other songs that she's written and it's like, what? Like it's just so all over the place. But she's such a genius. 6 (40m 22s): Yeah. That list, that list is wild. Like the list of songs that she's written for other artists is, is is the most incredible 2 (40m 29s): List. Yeah. She used to write for, like, she would write for Christina Aguilera quite a bit and I think Pink was another person that, she wrote a handful, a bunch of songs for her. I mean it's, yeah, it's wild. 5 (40m 40s): And yeah, during the period that I was working with her, she was working with Dolly Parton on a bunch of stuff, which is crazy. Yeah. She's like, she like had me in her studio and probably Dolly Parton the next day and I'm like, what the hell is going on? I was like, I'm literally like this, like to you, I am a small baby. Like, I felt like, so like just really blessed that she cared and genuinely wanted to be there. So I, yeah, it was incredible and I hope I can work with her again. That would be awesome. 2 (41m 12s): Yeah. Wow. What was it like, James, now you're in this, you're in the band and you have to kind of jump on it and take the role, you know, as a writer as well, right. And was that, did you have any like inter like, like how are you feeling when that happened? Were you like, am I, are you nervous? Are you worried about what you're gonna bring to the table? Or changing the sound of the band and having your fans be like, what ha you know, like the band changed or whatever. 6 (41m 45s): Like literally Yeah, it's like imposter syndrome is, is was, was was real. Like I was like, I don't deserve to be here. Like I'm just a guy sort of thing. I'm just a guy playing guitar. And then definitely I think you can sort of, if you knew the chronology of the songs that Matt and I did together or even the songs that just I was involved in for the album in terms of guitar lines, they went from being quite waxy cuz I was scared to sort of impart my own style or my own sort of writing like guitar wise on it. And even just like influence wise on it. And they were kind of like, you know, like Most Hated Girl is is quite similar to in structure, to like, like songs from Big Grief and stuff like that. 6 (42m 31s): But as, as we kind of got got rolling and maybe my confidence grew and maybe just our relationship like mine and MA's relationship in writing or even just the whole band getting comfortable being like, Hey, we're doing something new and let's embrace it. I think the song started to get a bit weirder and a bit like we're experimenting with sounds and experimenting with time and experimenting with just like, you know, chords and not realize we don't have to hide behind big riffs and you know, we don't have to be, we don't have to be brutal all the time. We can kind of be, you know, playful and we can be, you know, sarcastic and, and that goes for every single part of, and every single aspect of, of every single song. 6 (43m 13s): I don't know if you compare like, like Man Like Me, you know, it's like, it's like, it's kind of just like a pop rock song with like MA's kind of sarcastic lyrics and that doesn't like that wouldn't, that wouldn't have fit maybe back in, in the previous wax era or something like that. I don't know. I definitely had Imposs, but then when I got the confidence to sort of like impart my own self on it, I think that for me that's when I felt that the band sort of, obviously from my perspective, but it felt like the band was like moving away from what we were doing and, and just trying to make a new album of new sounds and, and new ideas. 2 (43m 59s): And when you guys released that record, were you worried at all about the, how it would be received if but changing the sound a bit? 6 (44m 6s): Yeah, to be honest, I I, I fell in love with the record. Like we, we wrote it and I was like, this is the best thing that I've ever done and this is the best thing that I, I'm so proud of it. And then, then there was such a long time between it being finished and it being released that I didn't listen to it for ages and I listened to it again. That sort of the, the glossy sort of rose colored tint of, of a new sort of song or a new album and I was like, oh, this still holds up. And even if people don't like it, I'm think it's great and I, and that's right and I just try to separate myself from the audience or at that point and trust, trust that they'll find something they like and they seem to have, which is 2 (44m 52s): Good. Oh no, I mean it's an amazing record and it's doing really well. You said you guys had the record finished and then it took a long time to put it out. Like were you, where was, it sounded like ma you were in LA writing and then the pandemic hits when you were still in LA or you head headed back home and then how does that affect the album then? 5 (45m 15s): I was already back home before the pandemic hit, like, so yeah, I guess I was more, yeah, we were just, I don't know, we just kept writing through it even even when it was really hard and like, it was just, it was a stressful time because we had, it was our first moment to go overseas in 2020. We were supposed to go do a big like UK and us and everything and we were at that point in our career, we were ready to take that next step and we were really making big strides and you know, through Covid we've had to, you know, kind of start again, start from scratch a little bit in Australia especially like, it's taking a really long time for the music scene to recover and it's just like been, yeah, it's been quite tough. 5 (46m 11s): But yeah, we just, we just kept writing through it. We stayed, we stayed, we tried to stay positive where we could and the more we wrote, the more comfortably we got with each other. And it was really great because yeah, James really encouraged me to, to, to let my personality shine through the lyric. Cuz I feel like with the previous record it was very much about the other person. It was like, I'm upset with you, you suck, this is crap. Like, it was very much like, I hate the world whereas like this record is more introspective and kind of funny in places and that's kind of me. 5 (46m 54s): It's like, it can be like, I, I feel like this record really paints a picture of my personality, which is really exciting cuz you know, I can show it to anyone and be like, look, I can't re I'm not really good at explaining myself emotionally face to face, but if you go listen to this record you'll be able to understand that I'm a bit not. And that's just how it is. And yeah, but it, you know, it we just, we had a lot of fun with it and it was really, yeah, it was a really nice, easy experience even though like we were living through a pandemic, which sucked, 2 (47m 26s): But Sure. Yeah. 6 (47m 28s): Yeah, I think, I think that the like, like Covid really stunted our like obviously playing live and that kind of live aspect of the band, but actually having the extra time and the less pressure, like no pressure to release an album because there was no point of releasing an album during Covid really. Right. Having that extra time sort of allowed us to become what we are like now. Like if we'd, if we'd stuck to the original plan, which was probably like do these big tours and then have us have another album like recorded by the end of 2020, we would've released something completely different. Yeah. 5 (48m 7s): It wouldn't have been as researched. Well like, yeah, 6 (48m 11s): I don't think it, I think we would've written it and then we probably wouldn't have found, we probably would've come to this point where we found ourselves later on and been like, Oh, maybe we should've taken more time with it or something. Cuz I think that a bit of a reset kind of helped in that regard. But I mean, not obviously not financially or for our, for our live shows or anything like that. But yeah, for the album, I think that the bit of the reset was actually, you know, 2 (48m 38s): There's things on the album that maybe wouldn't have made it there or cons or things that you had we were able to record that maybe wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the time that you guys had together. 6 (48m 49s): Yeah, maybe it's like, maybe it's a comfort thing. Like, you know, like Mazan i's like, writing was still really fresh when basically when, when that happened and by the time we got around to sort of writing most of the songs we'd, we'd have been writing together for a year, a year and a half. And there was like, we sit in a room and there's, there's no sort of, there's so much comfort and so much like where there's like, it's like, like ma is this to me, we can just like say anything and there was like, there's no judgment and there's no this, there's no that and we can just kind of whatever happens, happens and, and if, you know, there was no pressure to it as well, so we kind of didn't feel compelled that we have to get a song done by the end of a session or, or like that we just kind of, we just kind of wrote and wrote and wrote and then we were like, oh, these are the songs that keep on standing out to us. 6 (49m 39s): And I think the blessing of time was, was, was because like allowed that to happen. 2 (49m 45s): For sure. For sure. You said that you guys had a, a US tour and UK to earn all this stuff scheduled prior to the, the pandemic and all that. Are you guys, are you still planning on doing that? I know you have a ton of dates coming up in October through pretty much the end of the year, I mean up until December all through Australia, which is amazing is the hopes to come back this way as well. 5 (50m 11s): Yeah. A hundred percent successful. Yeah. Like yeah, we're, we're pretty itchy to, to get back over and, and, and start again. You know, it, it's just, we're just taking it step by step though, you know. Sure. It's, it's still a bit shaky over here. I'm not sure what it's like over in the US I hear it's quite similar in terms of, you know, people getting back out on the road and things like that. There's 2 (50m 36s): A lot of, it's interesting how it's kind, it'll like be all good and then, you know, out of nowhere it's like, okay, we're not, and I think it's hard to get out here right now for, for, for bands traveling abroad, like coming in, like getting visas and stuff. That's what I've also heard. Like 5 (50m 54s): Visas are insane right now. That's cause I've been a lot of discussions. I'm, I'm having a lot of discussions at the moment about that stuff and it's impossible. It's just like at the moment and there's just a huge backlog as well because a lot of people are wanting to go over to the states for work or whatever and you know, they got locked down in Australia and then there's just like a lot going on. But we're staying positive because, because we have to, we just have to keep pushing on, you know, so I'm ho you know, we are just, we're just taking it step by step but it's definitely something that we are striving for. 2 (51m 35s): Awesome. Well when you come out here, I hope you play in Nashville. That's for, I, I moved too, so 5 (51m 40s): I really wanna, Yeah, we were just having a chat the other day about how much we wanna go to Nashville, like, especially for songwriting stuff as well. Just, it's incredible. Yeah. And I've never been there and it just looks so nice and cool. Yeah, it's 2 (51m 56s): It's a really cool town. I think you guys would love it. 5 (51m 60s): Yeah, I hear like a lot of people from LA are moving there as well. 2 (52m 4s): Yeah, it's, yeah, it's just, it's different world here but there's yeah, a lot of benefits to, there's no state tax and it's cheaper to live here and yeah, it's just a different vibe. It's a lot slower. You can get more, even more space and there's just a lot of things and this is, it's truly a song Writer's city. I feel like LA's more in the pop realm in, in with everything in production and all that. But I feel like here it's a lot of just like songwriting. Yeah. But, Well thank you both so much for hanging out with me today. I appreciate it. 5 (52m 43s): Of course. Thank you so much for having us. 2 (52m 45s): Yeah. I do have one more quick question before I let you go. I wanna know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 5 (52m 54s): For me, I would say trust your gut, cuz it's always right. A lot of people will try and tell you which way you should take your career, but I think at the end of the day, you know what's best for you and you need to know when to drown out the voices if they're not make, if they're not aligning with you, and to surround yourself with people that lift you up rather than bring you down or make you feel any less of a person. It's important to have positive people around you and in your team. So that's what I, that's my last piece of advice. Love 6 (53m 32s): It. James. I guess like, advice for aspiring artists is probably the same advice I give myself from on a day to day basis, which is like, remember why you're doing it. You know, you're doing it out of love and the joy that it brings you, not about any materialistic or long term gain. So it, you know, just keep going if you love it, just keep going. And if you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're feeling burns out, take a step back and try and regain that sort of spark that you initially had and then, and then you know that, that cultivate, that fire, that flame and then it happens. But just keep on going.