RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN BAND CITRUS MAXIMA
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Shawn: Thanks for having us!
Max: Great to be here.
Lucas: Do you have ice?
Wyatt: Happy to be here!
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Max: From a young age my parents saw I had a knack for playing music, so they got me piano lessons, and developed my ear training too (Big shoutout to Gramma for lessons all those years). It was all financially downhill from there. All my best friends I have made through playing and enjoying music.
Wyatt: My parents also had me take piano lessons when I was younger but it never stuck. I sang in a men and boys cathedral choir when I was young enough to sing the highest parts, which gave me a really great musical education and a great ear since I generally faked my way through sight reading. About the time that was ending, I got super into guitar and rock music via grunge and specifically Nirvana. I listened to Nirvana nearly exclusively for about a year and that just set me on the path to wanting to be in a band.
Lucas: I on the other hand begged for piano lessons and couldn’t get em until I could start paying myself, but that didn’t last long. I think I actually learned to play guitar cause I wanted to impress a girl! Of course that didn’t work, but I found out I love to write songs.
Introduce us to you / all to the members and your musical history?
Max: I’m Max, I play Bass and sing, along with Lucas. I used to play in a band called Tooth in college. We did a lot of Garage-Rock type stuff that I did most of the writing/production for.
Shawn: I’m Shawn, I do drums. Lucas and I started the band way back in early high school.
Lucas: Lucas, I sing and play guitar. I do a lot of songwriting for the band. I’ve been in a couple other groups mostly doing the same thing, but I’ve been writing ever since I first picked up an instrument. I also worked as a recording engineer for a while.
Wyatt: My name’s Wyatt. I play guitar and do a lot of our lead stuff, and do some songwriting too. I started off playing bass in Citrus Maxima in 2018 and switched to guitar in 2020, and was also in a punk band when I lived in Washington DC from 2018-2022. I met Lucas and Shawn while I was still in High School, we went to the same school but they were a little older than me.
What are some recent albums you keep coming back to?
Shawn: Oh goodness, this is a tough one…
Lucas: Yeah there were so many good ones. I really loved the Big Thief record though.
Shawn: I’ve really enjoyed SCARING THE HOES by JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown.
Max: So when trying to answer this I realized I had such a hard time finding anything on my spotify that was released recently. I’ve been on a constant Bob Dylan kick for the past 5 years. Listening to a lot of “Blonde on Blonde”. One more recent Album Wyatt just showed me is “s” by TAGABOW. Super weird tones on that, I love it.
Shawn: I’ve also really been enjoying “s”.
Wyatt: TAGABOW are incredible. Been loving the new Wednesday album “Rat Saw God” too, and “Boat Songs” by MJ Lenderman.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Shawn: It is hard, and I think we’re doing alright. We’ve been doing this for a bit of time now and we’re still learning and trying new things in order to grow. It’s fun but it can really beat you down at times.
Wyatt: Yeah this shit is really tough. I think we’ve fucked up in basically every way you can at each stage we’ve been at as a band but honestly I think those experiences have been super positive for us and have let us grow in a really fruitful way.
Lucas: I think that’s the best part though. It’s such a huge hill to climb that every small step feels like a win.
Max: Not too shabby given our lack of nepotism!!
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Shawn: As artists we personally have a lot to do with the environment that is present at our shows. And we have a duty to make sure that that environment is Inclusive and safe for everyone to be able to enjoy themselves.
Max: definitely. If you make women feel unsafe you’re not welcome at our shows! We will kick you out Kurt Cobain style and point you out! And I think all bands who share scenes should have solidarity on that.
Wyatt: I think you just need to call that out as soon as you see it happen. We’ve played some DIY shows in college towns that sometimes get some fratty types coming through and I think you just need to prioritize a welcoming and safe space for everyone, just set the tone right away.
Lucas: I agree, I think it’s bullshit that some people get away without any consequences. It’s important to be aware of these things so you know what to do when it happens.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Wyatt: It’s a grind but Tik Tok does help. The culture on the app is weirdly supportive when it comes to new artists, people want to find new stuff. The best and most fulfilling way though is by playing a lot of shows. Social media can only do so much for you but I think you can really make fans by just playing a killer show.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
Lucas: Two of us have recorded at Abbey Road Studios… Our new song has subliminal messages if you play it in reverse… and… oh! I have never eaten a peach, not even a piece of a peach.
Max: I promise you will not win Lucas’.
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
Wyatt: Aliens are real and the government is definitely hiding evidence of their existence. The people want to know!
Lucas: It’s me, I’m the people. I want to know.
Max: I don’t think I believe any haha but I think dunking on flat-earther’s is so funny. That has gotta be the weakest conspiracy hahaha. They disprove themselves all the time but there are more out there than ever.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Lucas: I think I bought liquid VHS Cleaner on some website I found. I don’t have any tapes though.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Max: One time we had our first 3-day run planned with Citrus, and Lucas got COVID the day before. While this was awful, we didn’t wanna cancel on the venues, so we did a bit of cobbling together of material to make it work as a 3 piece. We went on to have show-stopping technical issues every night. Broken electronics, some really rude bands, you name it, it happened. But we still had fun!
Shawn: Yeah that trip was very draining, definitely still glad it happened.
Wyatt: Hahaha that was a shit show. Really fun though, those experiences are good!
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Max: just this past Easter I got a photo with Johnny Reznik of the Goo Goo Dolls at the Broadway Market in Buffalo (my Hometown). I also have one with Robby Takac too, so now I have the complete Goo’s set. If you hang around Buffalo long enough you’ll see them!
Shawn: I’ve actually got a black belt in karate!
Wyatt: Someone just told me I “don’t seem like a person who has no tattoos”. So I guess the fact that I don’t have any tattoos! Oh and I don’t like Mitski. Sorry folks.
Lucas: I got drunk with an Ex-NHL All Star. We played guitar together and I asked him if he wanted to learn one of my songs. He said “No bro, do you think chicks wanna hear me play one of your songs?” I said “Fair enough” and he said “Never say that”. I still say it. His name is Scotty Gomez. Look him up.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Wyatt: I think we try to approach indie rock as almost an “anti-indie” band. We love feedback, being loud, and making weird noises, but we try to balance those tendencies with some good songwriting. There’s a lot of indie that is just doing major 7th chords with chorus effect on top and that is just not us. The last year or so we’ve really been forming more of an identity and those loud and weird qualities are things we try to keep at the forefront.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
Shawn: Yea! We’ve got a new song called “I Don’t Wanna Die” coming out on April 25th and then maybe some other stuff around the corner…
Wyatt: Maybe a LOT around the corner…I can tell you it’s for sure our best and most complete stuff so far.
Lucas: I’m pretty proud of it.
Max: It’s our most cohesive sound yet, and we’re looking forward to dropping a bunch of cool shit very soon.
What was the recording process like?
Max: We did that single and our whole album at Rock City Recording near Albany, NY. We spent every spare second we had over the summer writing, recording and engineering it ourselves. I even slept on the control room floor for 2 weeks. It was a wild time.
Wyatt: Lots of jamming and collaboration. But yeah it was always pretty chill, we did everything ourselves which is a big challenge but rewarding in its own way!
Lucas: Yeah a lot of trial and error to get the sounds we like. Self engineering and producing poses a lot of challenges, but also a lot of control. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of making music. It’s tedious as hell, but it feels like you’re bringing something to life.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Lucas: For me, it’s definitely staying open-minded.
Shawn: Yeah definitely, we all listen to so many different artists and sometimes our heads are at different places as far as sounds to aim for.
Max: I come from a background of doing it all myself, so coming into the band a few years ago took a lot of adjustment to work collaboratively, but it’s such a cool way to work, especially in a group where everyone has the same vision.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Wyatt: I would re-record all of it through a tin can. Real lo-fi sounds!
Lucas: I’d change the lyrics to be about the science of back pain
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Shawn: We’re doing a little east coast run in May! May 18th at Pianos in NYC, May 19th in Philly, May 20th at The Pocket in DC, and we’re rounding it out in our hometown on May 21st at The Dojo Beyond Time and Space in Albany, NY!