This weekend at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, Festival Squad got to sit down with the guitarist from The Main Squeeze to talk about new music, past experiences, the music industry and life on the road. The Main Squeeze are quickly shooting into the spotlight in the music world and on the festival scene. Their unique sound and ability to jam have captivated audiences across the country including Randy Jackson who produced their second album. This band has big plans ahead of them and are sure to make the next big step!
You don’t want to miss your chance to see them!
(Max Newman- The Main Squeeze)
Festival Squad: Thank you for taking the time to sit down for this interview today!
Max: Yeah man! Absolutely!
Festival Squad: You guys are performing at a lot of different festivals this year including Okeechobee, Summer Camp, Electric Forest, and The Peach Music Fest. What are you most looking forward to this year and is there any festival or venue that you have not yet performed at but are dying to?
Max: Yeah, there are a few festivals that we’ve only done once that I really loved! I really loved Bonnaroo. That one was a really good experience for the artists I feel like. It was like this festival, really high quality music and really big bands. This one is really great to but were kind of in and out this time so we didn’t really get to take it in. Electric Forest is amazing as well!
Festival Squad: Are you guys playing both weekends this year at forest?
Max: Yes! Both weekends. That one gives you more than just music, the forest and the are and everything. Most festivals are like ‘Ahh I need to get to this stage then I need to run to this stage, but this fest is a place where you can see a set then you can just chill in the forest for a while.
Festival Squad: Kinda just wander around?
Max: Yeah, it’s a really cool vibe there!
Festival Squad: Where are you guys heading to after this?
Max: Were just going to drive back to Orlando tonight then we’re flying back to L.A. in the morning.
Festival Squad: Sweet! So you guys came together at Indiana University? Did all of you come together there?
Max: Yeah, we started The Main Squeeze at IU, all five of us went there. I even met the keyboard player before college, we went to a sleepaway camp together. We played this biker bar in upstate New York off the highway by the camp. That was probably my first gig, I think I was 17 years old. But yeah I guess those were the earliest roots of the band.
Festival Squad: You guys just recently moves to L.A.?
Max: Yeah, we were in Chicago before that.
Festival Squad: How are you guys liking LA compared to the Midwest?
Max: It’s definitely different. I grew up in New York City so moving to the Midwest was already the biggest change to get used to. I really got used to it and started to enjoy it. Then we moved to Chicago which was a happy medium and now LA is a whole other animal. It’s a huge city, but it doesn’t feel like New York or Chicago really. It’s like everyone and their cousin are there and they’re all trying to do something and make something of themselves. That’s both a great thing and kind of overwhelming thing. But it’s really cool, most people just want to collaborate and create something.
Festival Squad: Speaking of collaborating, your second album was produced by Randy Jackson. How was that and how did it transition into your third album?
Max: Yeah! That was really awesome and that was also our first real taste of LA. We were flying out of Chicago to go work with him. That was a big part of why we decided to move out here. We also had some friends in the area. He was really an amazing mentor and just imparted a ton of wisdom. One thing I didn’t know was that he has been in almost every musical situation you can imagine. He started off as a struggling jazz bassist, then went on to be a big time bassist player in Sessions in LA and then with Journey and all these bands that he toured with in arenas and stuff. Then he started producing and produced a ton of pretty dope people and had the hits. Then he was on the artist and repertoire side high up in labels and then came American Idol. That’s what really most people know him for and that’s all I had really known about him. But as far as the music and the record, he imparted on us that the song should be the most important thing. The lyrics, melody and arrangement; that’s what people really connect to and then you can throw in all kinds of cool music and really expand during the live shows. That was probably the main thing and we definitely took that into the third album and even today with working on the next project.
Max: We’re not sure if it’s going to be an album or an EP or singles. That’s the interesting thing with LA is that it’s so on the cutting edge that you can do either just a singles game or different EP’s. I personally prefer the album, but we are in a world where people just want to hear a single then switch it up and change the vibe. I think the biggest artists still have a sick album. You know Kendrick is still doing albums and concept albums and a lot of the artists that I still look up to, Anderson Paak, are still doing that. So I don’t know yet if it’s going to be an EP or an album, but it’s going to be some new shit man!
Festival Squad: Nice! Any time limit on it?
Max: Well we just finished mixing a song so that could come out pretty soon!
Festival Squad: I’m looking forward to hearing it! So you guys also play around with a lot of covers. Most recently you did a Childish Gambino cover. I loved your ‘War Pigs’ cover by Black Sabbath, you’ve done the Grateful Dead, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, and others! The last time I saw you guys was this past year at Resonance where you had a late night set and a tribute to Stevie Wonder set. What are some of your favorite artists to cover?
Max: Pretty much all the ones you just names man! Also, The Allman Brothers. I think the power of a great cover is what we were saying, the song first. These are the songs that people have a real deep connection with. Maybe they were going through something and it was on or they were just playing it as a kid or hearing it on the radio or whatever; but it’s a fast way for us as a band that you don’t know to connect with. Then we can throw our own twist onto it and people are like ‘Oh who the fuck are these guys?’
Festival Squad: Are there any songs that you haven’t covered yet, but would like to give a try?
Max: Man I would love to do a Beatles one again because that was my favorite band. When I was growing up that was always on. We’ve done ‘Come Together’, ‘She’s So Heavy’, ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ which was really cool. So the next one we do has to be something out of left field that we can put our twist on. Really the only thing that’s modern that we’ve done was the Childish Gambino cover but that blends itself so well with our lineup of instruments, our singer, and everything. Maybe finding one that’s more recent would be fun, but were very cautious with that. We don’t want to do that too much because we still want to focus on our own stuff.
Festival Squad: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you during a performance?
Max: A girl just showed up with a flute and just started playing it onto a microphone in the middle of a guitar solo. Security came and just kind of carried her off. Then another time, I think Cory our singer, was telling people to come closer to the stage and dance and a girl took it as “come up on stage” and was sloppy drunk and threw her arm around him. Also power outages. The cool thing about power outages is that were a live band and have a drummer that can just kind of go nuts until they get everything back up and running.
Festival Squad: Do you guys ever do acoustic sets?
Max: We’ve never done acoustic sets, but we’ve done a few acoustic video performances. We would though, absolutely! I was a classically trained on the cello as well, that’s where I got my start. So some day we really want to expand and be a band with that whole range.
Festival Squad: Ok one last thing. Me and my best friend made a sixteen hour road trip in order to get here this weekend, so I want to do a little speed round of questions about life on the road.
SPEED ROUND QUESTIONS:
1. So first question, preferred travel method?
Max: A van is what we use most. I would prefer a bus, but we’re at the van stage though.
2. When you’re on the road what’s the best meal to eat or keep in the van?
Max: Anything that isn’t fast food is a win. What they fed us tonight was fucking amazing! We had some some chicken marsala thing and good vegetables.
3. Who snores the most in the van?
Max: Dude honestly, Cory was the worst, but he actually has sleep apnea so he got the mask. Rob doesn’t have the mask so he just drains out everyone. To be honest our previous bass player was hands down the worst. This way I don’t have to offend anyone in my band!
4. Hardest part about life on the road?
Max: It’s a tie between the lack of privacy and the lack of a stable condition to work and do your thing.
5. Best part about being on the road?
Max: Definitely just being out there and meeting people. Not only are you traveling and are out there seeing new stuff, but every place you go you don’t feel like you’re just taking it in but you’re also giving something back.
6. Anybody that you guys don’t let drive?
Max: Our sound guy is the only one that won’t drive because he’s had an accident with the van so were ok with him not wanting to drive anymore. There have been crazy driving situations with all of us tough with near hits with other cars and a lot of deer in the midwest.
7. West Coast or East Coast?
Max: East Coast, I grew up in New York.
8. Best way to pass the time on a long road trip?
Max: For the driver we play a lot of music and comedy or podcasts are a nice change of pace. For the passengers, it’s nice to work on some music or practice. Some of the guys are on laptops producing or working on music. I also have a guitar that’s only a couple feet long and has a headphone jack in it so I can practice while we’re on the road.
Festival Squad: Alright, thank you so much for this interview man! I love you guys and can not wait to see what new music you’re about to release and what the future has in store for you! Good luck and I’m sure I’ll see you soon!