When a musician plays, it can be difficult to discern the artist from the art. And it should. This may be stating the obvious, but (nearly) every stage performer is human. The artistic process behind the performance, however, is so often exotified. It's veiled behind the charisma and talent they put out during a show.
5 Songs/Albums for Something Else begins to delve into how musicians listen to music and pick up inspiration when they’re doing, well, other stuff. What happens behind the scenes and how does hearing music play a role? What kind of music do these musicians listen to? How are their day-to-day lives impacted by the music of others?
Found Sound spoke to Max Somerville - singer, keyboard player and driving force for local band Wreck Loose - about some of the songs he likes to listen to when he's not making his own music. Max is an absolute gem in the local music scene, and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to share his life, in and out of music.
1) "God Bless the Child" by Blood, Sweat and Tears
When I'm playing Mario Kart…
My girlfriend and I got a vinyl record player when we first moved into our place in Lawrenceville. As a musician, you're constantly buying and getting exposed to new music. We'd always go to flea markets and grab records for like $1 apiece. It took the physical act of having the record for me to really listen to this album, [Blood, Sweat & Tears].
I have very fond memories of playing Mario Kart and listening to this record. When you're listening to music and playing video games, you're not really listening. You're doing both. Together, it's quirky enough to get you in a trance-y headspace.
2) "Why" by Juelz Santana
When I'm driving…
If I'm driving, I have to listen to rap. Nothing else focuses me as much as rap does. I'm really into early 2000's rap. I like to listen to new stuff, but my favorite beats are definitely from the stuff Dipset did. Specifically, I really like Juelz Santana's raps on his first record From Me to U. It's really cool, because he definitely has this weird style where he repeats the same words a lot. He's very forward with his flow; it's kind of like he's talking to you.
All of the beats were produced by The Heatmakerz. They did a lot of work for artists like Cam'ron and Jim Jones in Dipset. They work in a lot of soul samples and have very hypnotic beats. It's definitely something I like to listen to when I drive.
3) Nothing Was the Same by Drake
When I'm on a road trip…
My girlfriend and I take a lot of road trips. I feel like Drake has been putting out really good albums for the past couple of years. I'm not the biggest fan of the newer one, but I feel like his older albums are very complete. When we're on these road trips, we always listen to his albums just front to back. I think that - as far as "Furthest Thing" - I'm into how he decides to take full songs and sort of blend them into one song. It has this progressive feel that keeps the album moving.
I find a lot of peace listening to rap. While I'm driving [for a long distance], there are a million things that are super dangerous. But if I can listen to rap, I can focus in a good way. The drive is a lot easier and I zen out in a way that I can't do by listening to a singer-songwriter.
4) "Noon Song" by Chick Corea
When I need to clean my house…
I picked up Chick Corea's records Piano Improvisations Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 at a flea market recently. Whenever I need to clean my house, I put that record on. The first line of the song - the first phrase that he uses - is just so beautiful. I really need to sit down and transcribe it to learn it. It sets the mood so much that the rest of the song almost doesn't even matter. He has a way of doing that that is really special.
You'll notice that all of my reasons for listening to music outside of music are to kind of escape. It's to zen out, because I'm always thinking about music. This is definitely the song for when I'm just hanging out and for when I just need to be around the house.
5) "Chopped and Screwed" by T-Pain
When I had to wake up in college …
This is kind of funny, but I feel like it's important. The name plays off of this production style that they use, with its own set of rules. This song was on MTV when I was in college. It had a really cool animated music video; Ludacris has this playful, funny verse that he does.
I made this song my ringtone. I found out the hard way not to do that because it was also my alarm clock. It just ruined the song for me. I was sharing a room with my buddy, and every morning for 6 months we'd wake up to this one section of the song [laughs]. I feel like I learned a lesson about abusing the privilege of making a song your ringtone.
To check out more music by Max and his band Wreck Loose: