I love the fact that you are passionate about not putting up with way ‘The Boys’ behave.
“I am not interested in putting up with this for any longer.” (facebook).
Was there one incident in particular that made you decide to stand up and address this issue?
YES. I go to a YCMA in Northcote – I like to go running, and sometimes I treat myself to a sauna or a spa afterwards. It’s relaxing. One time I was in the sauna with a bunch of boofy boys; they were a footy team from what I could tell, and the quote unquote banter they were sharing in the sauna made me really uncomfortable. It’s that icky discourse that culturally gets swept under the rug as ‘boys being boys’ but feels more to me like ‘boys being awful’.
Why do you think that boys behave like this? I mean I have a 20 year old son that does not behave like this at all. His friends don’t and they all respect women. Do you think parenting is a contributing factor?
It’s not just parenting – it’s cultural conditioning. The ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ mentality that runs through the generations and more broadly the thick, blue veins of Australian society. I think we all know people who behave poorly and haven’t been conditioned to think that they’re behaving poorly, or, maybe more accurately, know that they’re doing something wrong, but also know they can get away with it.
This song is fitting for the incidents that have recently occurred here in Melbourne with a man sexually assaulting young women in crowds. It certainly made me feel sick to my stomach that someone could do that.I am glad that the man has been caught. Timing wise for your release of your song is very fitting. Was this a contributing factor to you writing the song?
Definitely. That story about The Boys in the sauna culminated in one dude telling the rest of the dudes in the sauna about doing a shooey and throwing up on his own dick at a urinal. That in itself is super problematic. It made me think of the problems we’re encountering at heaps of punk shows around the country – boys behaving in a way that’s violent or sexually aggressive toward women, and how these shows are supposed to be a safe space, and how the shooey maybe was a dumb symbol of punk’s outsider inclusivity for a while, but now has become corrupted by fuckwits.
You shared the Camp Cope powerful video about these assaults. For all those musicians to come together and stand up and want to stop this is great. When you wrote this song did you feel that you had a sense of responsibility to get the message out there?
Sure, I think we all should feel responsible. Camp Cope are a super important band and I think Georgia and Kelly and Thommo are really inspiring; this is a big initiative and undertaking and it calls on all of us to call out and weed out dickheadedness.
I like this comment you made on your facebook page “It is not enough to think that by removing yourself from the problem, you are helping to solve it.”
This is so true! There are many issues going on today that people just remove themselves from the problem and believe that it is gone. The Ostrich syndrome. Are there any other issues that you feel passionate about?
Mental health, definitely. I was diagnosed with depression about a year ago and having been to a low place, especially toward the end of last year, I earned so much empathy for people who struggle with this day in and day out. I have good days and bad days now, and certainly I’m lucky in that my mental health trajectory this year has generally been on the upswing. I think it’s so important for us to be open about it – but for us to also to listen, actively, and provide as much support as we can.
You are having the single launch in Melbourne, I noticed that you are from Sydney but have moved here. That is great as Melbourne is so much better than Sydney! J
Will be great to have an acoustic, no microphone set, is this something that you have insisted on? From what I am reading from my research I feel that you are a guy that knows what he wants and does it!
My friend Steph Hughes handles the bookings for the Magic Johnson shopfront in Collingwood, and when I was looking for a space for this show, it became pretty obvious that MJ was a natural fit. Steph actually suggested no microphones. I’m excited for an intimate show, and some big singalongs. Alex Lahey and Ruby Markwell are playing too and they both are so fantastic.
Max, you are a really funny guy. I listened to some of your podcasts with Xavier Rubetski Noonan. You make a great team and even one of them you talk about being perfect which relates to my last question. I take it you enjoy these podcasts?
Very very much. Our podcast is called Bachelor Of Hearts and the premise is two nebbish, white BFFs with arts degrees getting together once a week to overanalyse The Bachelor. It’s so nice to have something dumb and fun to concentrate on. I’ll take any excuse to talk to Xavi.
You have some great reviews. I don’t watch The Bachelor type of shows. However, when I listened to (podcast episode) Human Fridge I had to laugh as I had a discussion with some work colleagues a few weeks ago over why we need to keep milk in the fridge as the cow is not in a fridge…. Are you planning on keeping these podcasts going?
For sure! We’re starting with Season 2 of The Bachelorette this week. Now’s as good a time as any to get on board!
Getting serious now, you have suffered from anxiety and trouble sleeping. Well done to share that on your facebook page, it shows a real maturity to be able to admit that. Can you tell us a little about what was going on?
Yeah! I was diagnosed with depression about a year ago. Basically what happened was that my girl Georgie and I had just moved cities, and we both were facing all of this amazing and really welcome change, but I guess it was a lot to take on at one time. About a month in to living here I had a really awful nightmare and I woke up in this panic attack that felt like it lasted for four months. Not to go into any gory details, but I had high anxiety for a long time afterwards, and I saw a counsellor, and then a psysch, and then eventually decided to bite the bullet on antidepressants. Thank goodness I did. I know a lot of people who are resistant to medication especially when it comes to their brain, and I understand why – the first lot of antidepressants I tried drove me up the wall and kept me up all night. The second lot took time to work, maybe a couple of months, but calmed me considerably. I’m still taking them and I still experience peaks and troughs in terms of experiencing anxiousness, but I’m much better than I was.
Having my girlfriend here and taking time out from drinking alcohol and to go and exercise were all really helpful things too, and I’m so thankful for the support I got during that time. It must have been awful for George. I’m mindful that the solution to depression isn’t just having someone who loves you and going running; those things helped me, in addition to the medication, and I’m trying my absolute best to regain as much of the natural cognition – I guess unconscious consciousness? – that fell away during that time.
Thanks for sharing. Have you ever used your anxiety to write any music?
I’ve tried, but I think for me it’s not cathartic as much as it is digging a health hole. The further away I get from it, the more perspective I hope I’ll gain, so maybe in the future you’ll hear a reflective song like that.
What are your plans after your single release?
We’re playing with The Hard Aches as a full band on Oct 21, and then George and I are going to America for a month or so! I’m excited to see my awful American football team play and more broadly to just have a holiday with my person.
Thanks Max. All the best.
‘The Boys’ Single Launch – Melbourne
Friday October 14 @ Magic Johnson, Fitzroy
with special guests Alex Lahey and Ruby Markwell
Tickets available at the door