Rambunctious and angsty, L.A.-based indie punk band Mr. Max, crash through your speakers (or headphones) with impressive force. Akin to the out-of-place but owning it style exemplified in the past by great bands such as the Beastie Boys, Green Day, Green Jelly and many more, Mr. Max are penning tunes with a reinvigorated gusto, layering their rebellious music with personal experiences and new ways to rage against the machine.
Mr. Max’s new single, ”I Hate My Life” captures the visceral reactions of an individual who is simultaneously sick of it “all” but also kind of horny. Trading anxieties for vices, the single is razor sharp with shredding guitars, vocals that land halfway between singing and rapping and lyrics that are as conspicuous as possible, but not without an undertone of philosophy.
“The song “I Hate My Life” has a pretty straight-forward message. It’s about (you guessed it) hating your life,” notes Max Cohen, Mr. Max’s frontman and guitarist. “But there is a deeper message, believe it or not. The song is about shirking your responsibilities and cowering away from life’s challenges: instead finding refuge in hedonistic pleasures. In this case, the pursuit of alcohol and meaningless sex.”
Mr. Max punctuates their single with a half-animated music video where running away from your life creates new and scarier monsters, ultimately leading you on a sprint to nowhere. From drunken debauchery to watching his girlfriend give birth to a trash baby, the music video is an unhinged stoner’s nightmare. To create the zany animation, the band teamed up with their longtime collaborator Joe Kellman (Harvey Seasalt on Youtube); the mix of reality and hyperbole helps Mr. Max strike the perfectly hyperbolic, yet somehow deadpan, tone.
“I wanted the video to reflect the comical and ridiculous nature of the song, but also to reveal the underlying meaning of the lyrics,” says Cohen. “I always have outlandish creative ideas, so it was awesome being able to use animation to bring those ideas to life. The animation also allowed us to use symbolism (e.g. the sisyphus avatar at the beginning) that wouldn’t be possible with real life footage.”
Alongside Cohen are bandmates Diego Patino (It’s Butter) on drums and Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind) on bass. Together, the trio take influence from the music they grew up with in Southern California while also combining more modern sounds. The explosive combination of talent and friendship leads to intensely delivered music as well as highly energized shows.
Having released music since 2017, Mr. Max has found ways to accentuate different elements of their multi-genre sound; in contrast to their newest single, last year’s “Sidekick” finds Mr. Max on the high tide of an alt-punk wave (with more classically punk vocals). With more to come this year, Mr. Max is writhing with commentary, whether it be through their music, their shows or on social media.
Words: Patti Sanchez