Following a string of impressive solo releases, artist and songwriter Maximilian Wentz kindly took part in an interview. We talk all things creativity, the meanings behind the songs, style, genre, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Maximilian – thanks for the interview, how are things where you are right now?
Right now I am in Salem, Massachusetts, attending Salem State University. Everything over here is pretty mellow, overall. Online classes are tough but being with my friends, who are also into music, is honestly a lifesaver
What can you tell us about your single Sorry – what does it mean for you, and what do you hope people take away from it?
Sorry is a song I wrote about my grandmother, who suffers from dementia. The song really revolves around the feeling of losing someone you love, even if they are still alive. One thing I hope people take away from the song is that you should cherish the time you have with those around you, be it your friends or family. Let them know you love them while you have the chance because life is unpredictable.
While the song is purely acoustic, it pours through with a certain passionate boldness – almost like a stripped-back rock song. Is there a potential to make this a full-band sound in the future, and if so – what do you think will be the most important traits to find in other musicians when performing songs so personal to you?
Absolutely. I write most of my songs, even if they are acoustic, with a full band in mind. I would love to one day perform a heavier version of the song with a full band.
If I were to start performing my acoustic songs with a full rock band, I would look for rock musicians who can relate to the music themselves. In order to give a genuine performance, the players must be able to put their hearts into the music and leave it all on stage.
Why do you think the word ‘sorry’ has become such a difficult one for people to use in our contemporary world?
I believe ‘Sorry’ has become a difficult word to use because we, as a society, have developed a mentality that refuses to put us in another person’s shoes.
Many people act without considering what it is like to be the person on the other side of things. Many people are blinded by their hatred of each other to the point where they fail to see how they themselves are flawed as well.
At the end of the day, we are all human and we are all flawed. We must find a way to defend our own views while still tolerating and respecting those who have different views.
How has your classically trained background impacted your style and approach to writing and performance?
I feel that my classically trained background has enabled me to immerse myself in my music on a much deeper level, be it song-writing or the performance aspect of music. My style and approach to song-writing has also been impacted by this background in the sense that most of my music emits a darker aura in comparison to other artists.
Has your creative drive or ambition been affected by the events of 2020, and if so -what’s the main thing you want to work towards or strive for as an artist going forwards?
My creative drive has actually grown stronger because of the events in 2020. The amount of song-writing inspiration I have obtained due to the absolute insanity of this year is astronomical.
Going forward, the main thing I want to work toward is reaching different audiences with my song-writing and broadening my music stylistically while retaining the core sound I have always had. I have to add that I will be grateful when I can bring my music to a live audience again. I had some live shows but they were unfortunately cancelled like a lot of things have been cancelled during this pandemic. My last ‘show’ was at the iconic Strand Theater in Dover, NH but it was virtual!
I miss live shows because I really like ‘communicating’ with a live audience. And it makes it all worthwhile when people come up to me and tell me that my music or a particular song had a personal effect on them or that they could relate to it.
If you could sit down for a chat with anyone at all, past or present, who would you choose – and what would you ask them about?
If I could chat with any person, I would chose Lajon Witherspoon who is the singer of Sevendust, and my favorite singer. I would ask him about how he writes music, especially his lyrics, for Sevendust has crafted some of my most favourite songs of all time. That, and Lajon just seems like he would be really cool to hang out with.
What’s next for you?
I plan on releasing both more solo music and music with my new band, 51st State. 51st State will feature a hard rock/heavy metal sound that shows a different side of me both musically and lyrically. As of now, we have an EP that will be released in the coming weeks featuring 3 brand new songs, Close to the Surface, Glow, and Wrath. I’m extremely excited to release them and can’t wait to hear what people think! I am also currently working on my first music video which will be for ‘Sorry’.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
To anyone reading this: Be kind and take care of each other my friends. The year has not been easy but we must all stay strong and be there for each other. Remember, even in the darkest of times, there is always hope.
Also, please remember to support the artists out there who have lost their means to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.
I also want to thank Stereo Stickman for giving me this moment to talk about my music. I think If you like “Sorry” you will also like “Accept”. You can find both songs and my other original music on spotify, soundcloud, the other music platforms, and you tube, Instagram and on my facebook page- Maximilian Wentz music. I hope Stereo Stickman invites to talk about my band’s music once it’s released.
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Check out Maximilian Wentz on Instagram.