Last weekend, we had the great opportunity to talk to a very down-to-earth and honest musician – MAX RAFFERTY – who has his own different perspective on music making and the current industry. He told us something about his true passion and his enlightened hope for other people.

Since NBHAP presents your current tour: What can people expect when they come to your shows?
Max- I’d say people should come to my shows due to the music that I make. What I do is rock music and it’s heavier than the stuff I’ve done before. I make rock shows and I don’t know how else you can describe it (laughing). There is no fire on stage, just straight up and loud rock music played by a four-piece band. I mean, I’m really excited about being on tour now. I love Germany and I love playing here. It’s a nice place to visit as well as to tour around. We play many different places and the gigs seem to go down very well. I really enjoy it!

How would you describe yourself as a solo artist?
Max- The most important thing for me is to play music and that is really all that matters to me on stage. I want people to enjoy my music and that’s what I focus on. So I don’t dance around on stage or so (laughing).

In which way does your music differ from what you’ve written and played before?
Max- It’s definitely a lot heavier and also the lyrics differ from what I’ve done before. It’s about different subjects and it’s a lot more serious to me. All of the songs are written about things I do really care about or things that have happened to me.

Has this alteration happened intentionally?
Max- No, I mean I’ve always written songs. It was just the case that I had written them on the acoustic guitar. Then I got the band together and we started to put the songs together. It came forward quite naturally I suppose.

Was leaving THE KOOKS a hard step for you to take?
Max- No, not really. I mean, you do one thing and then you move on and do another. I’ve always played music, always just played music. When I left the band, it was still the thing that I wanted to do. I had a bit time out and then just started it again. So it didn’t really seem like a weird thing. I mean, they were really great friends. Of course I miss them, because they were really like a family to me. So that was really sad. But in terms of playing music, the guys would say the same thing. They would always play music no matter what. They would move forward and do that for the music and that is the same thing for me.

You made it quite big with THE KOOKS – are you hoping to be as successful or is it “only” a labor of love?
Max- I’ve never really started playing music for it to be successful or not successful. What people deem as success or not success is not necessarily what I think about. I enjoy playing music, so if I’m playing to myself or if I play to few or many people, if I play with the acoustic guitar or with a band, it’s all the same to me as long as I can play, because that is all I’m really interested in. I don’t really have an idea about being massive or small, I just want to play music and see what happens. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be on stage, but you don’t necessarily have to make massive shows as long as there’s always a place for people to play. If you’re earning 50 pounds a night and if it pays for your petrol to get to the gig – that’s great – or if you’re making a hundred thousand pounds a night, whichever way it is, I just want to play music.

Where have you been after you had left the band and what did you experience on your journey?
Max- I’ve traveled around Europe for a bit and then I went down to Morocco and settled there for about three months together with my best friend and my girlfriend. There I wrote a lot of songs and spent some time in the sun (laughing).

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Did this trip inspire you to write? Would you go so far as to say your songs have become more philosophical?
Max- I’d say that everything you see maybe influences what you write but I wouldn’t say that going there has made me say “wow” and all of the sudden my mind has been completely changed. It was just a nice place to be at.

Which artists do or did take an influence on your song writing and music making?
Max- My parents had a really big record collection, lots of old music like soul, blues, and some rock stuff. But the first person I really got into was JIMMY HENDRIX. That’s when I decided that I was definitely going to play guitar. And after that, I suppose PARLIAMENT, FUNKADELIC, JOHN MARTYN, BOB DYLAN, SHUGGIE OTIS, JOHNNY “GUITAR” WATSON. I also love FREE and LED ZEPPELIN, so basically a lot of different bands and people. I spent quite a bit time in Shropshire, it’s near Birmingham, and there was a band called BOOJAKA and they took a massive influence on me. They’re a really really good funk band and they’ve probably the best guitarist I’ve ever seen in my whole life. He really inspired me a lot and he helped me learning how to play guitar.

What do the words “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
Max- This is a cheesy question, isn’t it? (laughing, then thinking for a bit) Well passion is something you like doing. So I love playing music in any situation, whether small or big, whether to have people come watch or to play on my own, and that’s my passion. Then I hope for people to realize that the music that’s in the pop industry at the moment doesn’t really have any soul and passion in it. That it’s something that’s manufactured. I hope people could find something to listen to which really means something. I can’t stand the pop industry, it’s just terrible and a real shame to me. I mean it’s a great opportunity for people who love playing music and love writing lyrics, not just bands but also solo artists. But if they’re willing to do anything to become famous and to be pop artists, then where is the opportunity for the people that really do care about writing lyrics and making music?

I can’t stand the pop industry,
it’s just terrible and a real shame to me.

I say the industry takes away chances for those people. People watch those artists like LADY GAGA and bla bla bla but it’s nothing but advertisement for the industry. People do care too much about what artists look like and their image and that is a shame.

What are your future plans?
Max- We’re going back to the UK and getting ready for the next single release, which is supposed to come out at the end of August. Then we’re getting prepared for the next tour and we’re looking forward to it.

Thank you Max and all the best for you!


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indie / rock / pop
from Brighton, UK


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