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The Lowdown: Max Bemis of Say Anything

The Lowdown: Max Bemis of Say Anything

If we do get off the planet we may not ever die.

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Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire June 3rd, 2012.

Say Anything have just killed it on the main stage, putting on a crowd-pleasing energetic performance in the scorching sun. We caught up with the very lovely frontman, Max Bemis to discuss album concepts, inspiration and a very interesting end of the world theory...

AltSounds: First of all, thanks for bringing over the Californian sunshine!
Max: No Problem!

AltSounds: We're sunburnt! So how's the UK tour been so far? You haven't been back in a while.
Max: This is the most fun I've ever had in the UK.

AltSounds: Why haven't you been over for so long?
Max: The problem is we hadn't put out a record, I think it had been about 2 years.

AltSounds: You put out your new album, 'Anarchy, My Dear,' earlier this year which is an awesome record that has had some really positive reviews, so how does that make you feel?
Max: It feels awesome! I can't say that I would care if it was the other way around because I feel really good about the record.

AltSounds:I guess that's a really good attitude to have, where many bands these days care too much about how their fans and/or the critics will receive their music.
Max: If I feel good about it at the end of the day that's all that really matters.

AltSounds: What does the album mean to you on a personal level?
Max: Well I basically feel that on the first three records it was a story of a young man coming into himself, and coming into his zone and growing up. I feel like having got my shit together in that way that this record was more about the society and world around me as opposed to introspective issues. So I feel like I was able to turn my gaze from constantly analyzing myself to taking a look at the world around me.

AltSounds: You've also got the addition of Adam T. Siska on bass recently. I was a big fan of The Academy Is... so I was psyched that you employed Adam, how did that come about?
Max: We were fans of his work, and we had become to know him through doing Warped Tour in 2006 or 2008. When we were looking for replacements he was one of the first people to come to mind, we needed someone who was a good man and loves music. As soon as we talked to him and learnt about the kind of music that he liked and the way he's dedicated to being a bass player and playing music, well it just made perfect sense. He's amazing – he's a great bass player and just a great guy.

Say Anything (from l-r) Parker Case, Adam T. Siska, Max Bemis, Jeff Turner, Coby Linder, Jake Turner

AltSounds: If you weren't in Say Anything, what job do you think you would have?
Max: I would be a writer, or a comic book writer or a screenwriter!

AltSounds: Have you seen the Avengers movie?
Max: I loved it.

AltSounds: Scarlett Johansson looked quite hot...
Max: Yeah, amazing.

AltSounds: So there's six of you in Say Anything, who's the most OCD?
Max: Jake (Turner), our guitar player. He's always cleaning the bus when no ones looking, so you'll wake up and everything's clean and you're like 'what the fuck happened?!' Jake violently cleans – he's always ironing his shirts, he looks perfect! And then there's me...with my Jewish afro!

AltSounds: There has to be one member of the band I guess! So have you managed to catch any bands so far at Slam Dunk?
Max: Not much yesterday, I managed to catch a little bit of Motion City Soundtrack and a little bit of Taking Back Sunday. But out of all the bands here I really like Every Time I Die quite a bit, they're a really tight, rehearsed band, so I respect that.

Watch // 'Say Anything':

AltSounds: Say Anything are a 'tight' band too, I mean first time seeing you guys live after wanting to see you since I was about fourteen, so it was a treat.
Max: Thank you, it means a lot!

AltSounds: You have a side project with your wife?
Max: “Perma!”

AltSounds: Hows that coming along?
Max: Great, it's awesome! She's (Sherri Dupree-Bemis) busy making a new Eisley record and I'm busy too. When we're both finished touring we'll bunker down and write a record. The goal is to to record something at the beginning of next year.

AltSounds: What kind of sound can we expect from Perma?
Max: It's going to be more delicate than anything Say Anything has ever done. It's based on writing songs about my wife! I mean there's some of the delicacy in Say Anything (songs) but I try not to put out there as much. I don't want my entire band to become fixated on this thing just because I'm obsessed with it! But I feel like in context of a band where it's just the two of us, I guess I can really open up.

AltSounds: Can't wait to hear it! What have Say Anything got planned for the rest of the year?
Max: We have an Australian tour, then we're planning on doing another US tour in the fall. But we really want to come back to the UK next year.

Photo by Marianne Harris.

AltSounds: Please do! This is your first time back since 2008, do you not like us?!
Max: I love you guys!

AltSounds: So, random question. How do you think the world's going to end?
Max: I feel like we're a very resilient species, so although it seems we're probably going to drive the world to end through starvation or nuclear war, we'll probably persist until the sun burns out. And unless we get off the planet and start travelling through space, we'll probably die that way.

AltSounds: That's a really good theory!
Max: If we do get off the planet we may not ever die.

AltSounds: That beats my theory that technology and robots are going to destroy the world! I mean look how much technology has progresses in the last ten years!
Max: Exactly, that's what I'm hoping! We should be able to call ourselves Mars!

AltSounds: You have definitely enlightened me! So besides music, what would you say your biggest inspiration is?
Max: At this point it's just mostly my life – it's very ethereal and calm, I think that's the biggest inspiration right now.

AltSounds: So are you quite traditional in a sense?
Max: Not necessarily traditional, I live a weird life. I sleep till two in the afternoon and I write music all day and read comics with my wife, it's not a 'traditional' life by any means but I think being able to live a life where I'm not following the typical patterns of waking up at nine and working a shitty job I don't love, I think that keeps me grounded. So that's probably my biggest inspiration.

AltSounds: You live a very privileged lifestyle! How do you think your music, or more importantly your lyrics and writing style have progressed as you've gotten older?
Max: I guess I've just become more aware of the effect my lyrics have had on those listening. So I'm a little more deliberate, when I write something down I really mean what I say.

AltSounds: Awesome. This is really random but I remember there being a Facebook group saying 'Max Bemis taught me more English than my English teacher.' I think a lot of people see you as quite an idol in the scene.
Max: Haha really? That's cool!

AltSounds: You do have a very unique way of writing, which leads me to my last question which is how would you define Say Anything's genre of music?
Max: Cinematic, dramatic, Jewish, indie-rock...I guess?

AltSounds: That's definitely the best genre of music I've ever heard. Thanks for your time Max, enjoy the rest of your time in the UK!
Max: Thanks a lot!

Say Anything's 'Anarchy, My Dear' is out now!

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