Hot off the Press

Max Hodes of The Wild Beyond

by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist —

The Wild Beyond has a unique sound that is a cross between Prog and Heavy with a touch of Jazz-fusion. The band recently released their debut album on vinyl entitled Wake Up. Hardrock Haven recently caught up with singer Max Hodes regarding the album debut.

Max Hodes of The Wild Beyond

HRH: Max, welcome to Hardrock Haven. What decided you to take the vinyl route regarding your debut?

Max: That is a good question. It is all about the performance. I really didn’t think about it when I was putting the record together. There were two really distinct sides. I liked the idea of the format. I don’t really listen to a lot of it myself. I tend to move around a lot. So I don’t take a record player with me. Vinyl is seeing resurgence, as a lot of the listeners are probably aware. It just made a lot of sense.

HRH: The band has a Classic Rock sound. What was the vibe like in the studio?

Max: The songs were written over a long period of time. When we were recording the songs we were drunk. We opened a bottle and we were recording ourselves. We were still kind of a fresh unit at that point. We had a limited amount of time in the space we were recording. I was doing all of the engineering. We just opened a bottle and kind of went for it. The vibe was anxiety. We were being ferociously loud in the middle of a Brooklyn neighborhood. It was during the day and the windows were cracked opened. Everybody could hear us. It wasn’t like a private lavatory that we got to concoct in. We were hoping that the product sounded good enough to be worth keeping it live.

HRH: The debut has a lot of guitar solos, which is prevalent of the Classic Rock genre.

Max: Yes. The last song has a 17-minute guitar solo. And ten vocal solos join it. There are a lot of guitar solos. They are not my favorite things to do. There is big presence from the vocals. Live we had much more soloing going on at that time. When I record guitar solos, I tend to take anywhere from 17 to 40 takes. I usually keep the first two or three. Being a singer I have a limited amount of time that I will run through something before I exhaust all the possibilities. On different days I sing different ways. Being consistent as a singer was really difficult.

HRH: How would you describe the bands sound?

Max: We were operating firmly what was happening within Brooklyn between the glory period of 2011 – 2013 and Psychedelic Rock bands popped up. It was a short-lived beautiful scene. It is still there to some extent. The character of Brooklyn has changed. We are a Psychedelic Rock band as far as I am concerned. And that meant that we could do whatever we wanted. I wanted to be loud. I wanted to be metal. I also wanted to be experimental on how it would clash with other songs. I wanted to do everything that I knew how to do. I don’t think we quite exhausted all of the possibilities that we had at that time available to us. We got pretty close. We maybe even took on too much. The record does have a little bit of a static approach. I think a lot of people who came to our shows on acid told us it was one of the most amazing things they ever heard. I think if your mind gets big enough or small enough or maybe something outside the middle where you see if from the hilltops maybe the whole pattern starts to emerge in a clearer and more physical way. It certainly did for me.

HRH: Now you hail from Brooklyn, NY and I read that the band resides in Oakland, CA now. Was it kind of a culture change for you regarding the music scene?

Max: The Brooklyn music scene is better in the following ways. There are more venues that are stuck closer together and there is better networks involved publishing. What Oakland has going for it is a slightly more protective vibe. You have to find a way in that might not be quite as easy. But once there, there is a lot of room for people to flourish. People compare these cities a lot. I definitely see the comparison. They are both spread out. But they are really two different places. I don’t know what music scene I like better? The character of Brooklyn where I lived there was a lot of people doing their own thing. The character of Oakland is a lot of people kind of trying to get together with mostly flaking on each other. I don’t think either one is particularly great. You can see a show in Brooklyn, but you might be able to a wilder show easier in Oakland.

HRH: Any touring plans in the works?

Max: We are in talks with a tour right now. It is not clear exactly when but we are in talks with different bands. One of the fun things about being The Wild Beyond is our target audience is between 25 – 63. Those are people who seem to respond better to what we have to say.

HRH: That is cool. We wish you the best of luck and thank you for checking in.

The Wild Beyond Band Official Web Site: