On the bright Sunday morning of March 6, the Daily Nexus was joined by Isla Vista musician-slash-rugged heartthrob Max Goldenstein for a session in the Batcave. You folks may know him as the front man of local garage rock group Sun Daes, frequent headliners at the backyard parties and park concerts you know and love. Their voluptuous, groovy sound has made them one of I.V.’s most memorable bands, accommodating equal amounts of jiving and thrashing from their listeners.
However, Max has a budding and ambitious solo career as well; with material up on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, his extremely varied style blends elements of electro, psych, folk and lounge music into a heady brew of sonic delight. His quick wit and merry, easy-going disposition come out in his lyrics to great effect, and anyone who’s spent more than a month in I.V. should be able to relate to his words. We sat down to an interview together, after he’d finished playing:
Daily Nexus: So, how does playing on your own differ from playing with the band? Is there one you like more than the other?
Max Goldenstein: No … no, I don’t think so; they both have different things about them that are good and stuff that’s bad. We’re all great friends, so it’s amazing playing and being up there [with them] and there’s definitely a groove you can get into. When you’re in a band, though, it’s not just your sound, it’s all of yours; you have to be willing to compromise. When I’m on my own, though, there’s definitely … there’s a freedom that comes with that. I can explore my own ideas for songs and lyrics and all that.
DN: Have you ever thought about picking up a backing band or something like that?
MG: I have, yeah, but there are problems you run into. It basically means finding people — drums, bass, whatever — who don’t have a problem taking more of a backseat position. They have to be okay with playing your music. What that means, I think, is that the band probably shouldn’t be their central thing — their only thing. I’m still looking right now, actually. Can you actually put that in the article?
DN: Yeah, of course.
DN: Do you think you want to keep on doing music as a career?
MG: Well sure, I mean, that’s the dream, right? I’d love to spend the rest of my life in the studio and playing shows and touring and shit — all that stuff’s really … I really enjoy it. But being able to share my music with other people — with the world — that’s what’s important for me. The music scene, it’s a really hard place to continuously make money in, so a lot of what I’ve been thinking about is how to make money, at least enough to live on, while I can keep writing and performing. So having a job that I like, something cool — that’s why I’m in marine bio — to pay for food and rent and all that so I can do what I really want in my own time; I think I’d be fine with that, too.
DN: Definitely, yeah. I know that’s something a lot of people here are wrestling with. Taking things back into more of a local view, what do you think is unique about being a band in Isla Vista, as opposed to someplace else?
MG: I think … I think it’s really unique to be in a community made up almost entirely of inspired kids who not only want to have fun, but are trying to go after their passions. The arts scene here, it’s really special. I’ve met some of my favorite people here and I’ve seen some crazy shit. I don’t think you could go anywhere else and find the same number of — and how huge they are —the parties and shows around here! It’s a fucking crazy place to be in a band. There’s always somewhere you can play.
DN: And for either you yourself or the band, do you think living in I.V. has shaped your sound at all?
MG: Oh definitely, yeah. It’s like I was saying: I.V.’s such a unique place that it makes for really great inspiration; there’s plenty of song material here. It’s also a brilliant place for just fucking around, and we do a lot of that and I feel like that’s reflected in the music we make.
DN: Nice, nice. And now while our readers do love to hear about the music, they also want the dish. So I gotta ask, what were you listening to in middle school?
MG: Oh god. Uh, gimme a sec … Avenged Sevenfold, I guess? Rise Against? All that shit … I think I had one Slipknot song at one point.
DN: My Chemical Romance?
MG: Hahahaha, oh sure, yeah.