I don’t really know what to say about this one… This interview has been on my bucket list since I started writing interviews many moons ago. Eve 6 has been my favorite band for years, and I had the chance to see them a few years ago in Chicago. We got there early, and I got the chance to see their sound check. Then Max and I got the chance to meet, and, as they say, the rest is history. I’ve been thinking about an interview with them since that show.
Now Eve 6 is back on tour, and they booked a show in Scottsdale. It was a school night, but there was no way I was missing these guys live this close to home. In an effort to promote the show, and their new tour, I reached out for an interview. Never hurts to ask… Tony and I started chatting via email, then Max and I via Twitter. We ended up doing the interview via email, but Max wanted to talk on the phone, too. The interview was a long time coming, and is one of the most memorable interviews I’ve done.
Since completing this interview, we went to the show, danced all night long, and hung out with the guys after their set. It was a pleasure to see them again, but the interview just means so much to me. Guys, if you know anything about me and my love for this band, you know how much this interview means to me. It is a pleasure… An honor to introduce you to Eve 6.
You guys started in 1995, disbanded in 2004, and picked things up again in 2007. What did you do during your time off?
Max: It was time to regroup after doing that many records and that many tours in a row. Being the young lads that we were, speaking personally, I needed to get my shit together. It was a lot of self-discovery and predictable stuff from a rock band after album three. It was good, though. It needed to happen.
There were releases here and there that we had with a couple of other artists, but after a little bit of time, it made sense to call us what we were and start playing out again.
Tony: Basically we all took some time to try different projects and spread our wings. I got in to producing, Max started a solo/side project, and Jon joined a new band called Monsters Are Waiting. After a while Max and I started working together, first as a side project/Eve 6 offshoots called The Sugi Tap, and then as songwriters for different artists. All of that was great and helped get us back in the saddle for Eve 6 again.
You’ve released a ton of unforgettable singles over the years. From “Inside Out” and “Here’s To The Night,” your music speaks to so many different people. Talk to me about the songwriting process, where inspiration comes from for a new song, and how you know when you’ve written the next big hit.
Max: We were so young and green when we put that song (“Inside Out”) together. I was literally writing lyrics in my history class. I do remember saying, “This sounds like it could be on the radio.”
We were too young to be calculated about it. It was about writing stuff that just felt good. That was the primary vocation.
Tony: Well, to answer the last part, you never know. There are always a couple songs that seem to “stand out” as you’re working through material for an album, but what comes out as a single and what really breaks through to making an impact in peoples’ lives over the airwaves can be different things. We didn’t know “Inside Out” would be what it became when we were doing the first album; we just knew it felt good, but we could say the same with all the stuff on that album.
As for the process, it usually starts with a seed of idea from Max, which can be anywhere from a few lines to a fully fleshed out verse/chorus. Then we’ll sort of take it and run with it and try to give it some kind of musical energy and uniqueness in the sound. I’m a melody/chords guy, so I’ll suggest different things to try. Eventually we’ll start arranging things and coming up with the parts. It’s kind of different every time; songs come from all over the place.
Over the years you’ve been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live!… The list goes on. Do you ever get nervous when performing in front of a live audience on TV?
Max: Totally! It is way more nerve wracking. I still forget lyrics all the time. Singing the second verse first, first verse second… I have those moments with alarming frequency. That was the anxiety… What if I forget the lyrics? Thankfully that didn’t happen on live TV.
Tony: It’s always a little awkward, just because the setting is so different than a real live rock show, which is where any band is most comfortable. There’s a very strange, manufactured energy in the air, and everything is so bright and “TV.” When we did a couple more TV performances in 2012 for Speak in Code, it was no different either. But we’re just glad to have been lucky enough to do it!
Out of all the songs you’ve produced, do you have a favorite?
Max: I think it changes… I love playing “Amphetamines,” “Enemy” and “Arch Drive Goodbye;” songs we never played live before. I am my own worse critic and so unforgiving on certain things. When time goes by, you get some objectivity. It’s been fun to do longer sets to play stuff we haven’t before.
Tony: Very hard to choose a favorite, but some standouts for me creatively are “On the Roof Again,” “Pick Up the Pieces,” “Open Road Song,” “Tongue Tied,” “Here’s To The Night,” “Rescue,” “Arch Drive Goodbye,” and “Lost & Found.”
Max, you met Jon Siebels in high school. Having met at such a young age, did you ever think you would be around for so many years? I mean… You’re still touring and people are lining up for tickets to see you guys live.
Max: It’s funny. I still don’t have any foresight. I couldn’t imagine myself at that point being 25, let alone where I am today… Here we are, not so much a big picture thing. I am certainly grateful we are able to do it and people come to the show. We really do love it and honor that.
Max, you were arrested for indecent exposure in 2003. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, but can you share any more details on that… Not something you hear a lot of people being arrested for!
Max: I think it was one of the first shows of that radio festival cycle in Pittsburgh. I was in the throws of my active alcoholic beverage intake program. I was very drunk. I thought it would be funny to go to the front desk of the hotel without any clothes on and ask for shaving cream. I went my room, came back and asked for a razor. I was just wondering around the hotel, covered in shaving cream, and decided to sit down at the piano. Security told me to go back to my room, and I wasn’t heeding his suggestion. I eventually went to my room, was in the shower, and there was a loud knock. It was a couple of unamused Pittsburgh PD. They took me in. I spent a couple nights in jail and ended up getting out early. In the end, one of the guards’ daughters saw the show that night and helped expedite the process.
Another memorable thing… This dude showed me how to light a cigarette with a paperclip and two batteries while in the cell.
Your music is on Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio… The list goes on. Do you care where people listen to your music, or do you just want people tuning in?
Max: For where our band is, we just want people to listening to the music. We want people having easy access to it and coming to shows to support us that way. If we can convert people that way, that is fine with us.
Tony: If people are listening, we’re happy. Obviously the business has changed a lot since we first got into it, and it’s harder for bands to make a living off of recorded music these days. But streaming is the future, so if we can get everything equalized where artists and writers are getting paid as fairly as possible, it will be an amazing technology as we move forward.
Your music has really inspired me over the years. Everything you’ve released means something to me. Your last album was released in 2012. Any chance we will see some new singles and/or an album in the near future?
Max: Yeah, I think so. I can’t tell you exactly how near, but I am sure it will happen. We’ve been having some conversations about it… There will be more.
Tony: I wouldn’t say “near” future… But someday hopefully! And thank you!
Tell me more about Honey from the Icebox.
Max: It was the first solo record I recorded. Sweet Pea, from the band, produced it with me. It was a collection of songs I wrote over about a month or two. It felt like a body of work. We wanted an organic record. We had Brian Young, Fountains of Wayne, etc. He’s just an incredible soulful drummer. We enlisted a couple of friends here and there and did a crowd sourcing campaign to fund it. I am sure we will do another one.
You wrote a song for Puddle of Mudd in 2007. What other artists have you collaborated with over the years?
Max: I have a song coming out in a couple of months with someone… But I’m not allowed to talk about it yet. I spend a lot of time doing that kind of thing. We worked with Emily Osmond. Wrote an EP with her, which was fun. I’ve been doing some electronic stuff… Working with some artists that are doing some different things in that genre. I’ve got a couple more coming out in that world. Staying busy with whatever sounds interesting.
I have to admit… Eve 6 is my favorite band of all time. No questions asked. I know every word to every song you’ve produced. But who are some of your favorite bands? What are you listening to?
Max: I pull up a lot of random things. I will remember a song from years ago, like “Country Girl” from Primal Scream. I do a lot of random searches. I’ve been listening to Alpha Blondy. I am all over the place. I go to The Lemonheads a lot. He’s one of my favorite voices. I am all over the place. I listen to The Beatles a lot, too.
Tell me more about Fearless Records and your experience working with them over the years.
Max: It was really cool working with Fearless Records. They had a great team of young talented folks there. I am sure they still do. Our experience was in 2011-2012. They have great resources for an indie label.
Tony: They were great. We really only teamed up with them for the Speak in Code release in 2012, and haven’t been too connected with them since then as we haven’t released any more music. But they really helped give the album a shot and got the first single “Victoria” on the radio, and cool videos made for that and follow-up “Curtain.” It was great having a dedicated, smart team behind the release – I don’t think nearly as many people would have connected with the album if they weren’t involved.
You guys played your “final show” under the Gateway Arch. I’ve been there many times, and can imagine a concert there would be memorable. From there you formed a new band called The Sugi Tap. Tell me more about The Sugi Tap, what was produced under that name, and what 2006 looked like for you guys.
Max: I continued to write during that period. Tony and I worked together. It was the process of that leading into Eve 6 again. We had to figure that out. There were some cool tunes that came out of it. Some of them were repurposes.
Tony: The Sugi Tap was really just a vehicle for Max and I to do some more work together without the constraints or pressure of the Eve 6 moniker. We wrote a bunch of material, did some shows in various setups, and just tried new things. It definitely led us back into Eve 6 and I think some really good songs came out of that period, some of which made it to the next Eve 6 album Speak in Code. It also opened the door to us writing for other artists both together and individually. I think it ultimately was sort of a rebuilding phase, and necessary for us to be comfortably back here where we are now. Also it was right at the cusp of social media/YouTube so it was good being actively involved in that which would prepare us for starting up the Eve 6 thing again in the new digital marketplace.
You are on tour right now, and from what I can tell, the future is bright. But when you do decide to play that final show, will it be under the Gateway Arch again, or somewhere else? That could be a special place to call it quits…
Tony: Who knows? I see us being able to tour like this for a long long time, so our next “final show” isn’t on our minds just yet! Maybe on the top of Mt. Rushmore…
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
Max: Oh, man… I don’t go to a lot of shows. I should go to more. It’s hard to get me out of the house. Seeing Face to Face as a kid… It was one of the first shows I’ve ever seen. I would say that. It was a tiny club show. It was so rock and roll. I got kicked out for stage diving… I felt cool about that. Cool/bummed.
What’s next for Eve 6?
Max: More writing… Whatever comes up. I have some releases coming out in the next couple months. We’ll see. I would like to do another solo record. Possibly an Eve 6 thing. You never know.
Tony: I think we’re enjoying this rhythm of touring and band life during the spring/summer months, and doing our own thing and being homebodies the rest of the time. I can see us pulling together for one more release at some point but it’s not really on the table at the moment. We do love the shows though so I don’t see that stopping any time soon!
Guys, I cannot thank you enough for doing this… This interview means more to me than you know. That being said, in all of the interviews I do, I always give the artist the last word. Go.
Max: I am bad at promoting. I try not to give unsolicited advice. Don’t give unsolicited advice. That would be my quote of that day.
Tony: The last word will be “you,” as in, “We thank and love all of YOU!”