Eve 6's Max Collins
By Jay Oakley
I'm sitting with Max from Eve 6, who just got done playing Baltimore Soundstage. Max, how was your set?
It was a blast. Baltimore's always been a fun city for us, the Northeast in general. We have the cutest, little fan contingency here and they come to all the shows and a lot of familiar faces in the crowd tonight. It was good.
You mentioned it during your set but this is your first headlining tour in a while, as opposed to playing the festivals and more stylistic shows. How does it feel being back out on the road where people are specifically coming for you?
It feels really good. It's cool being able to dig out some songs that we haven't really played live that much and incorporate them into the set. You can only go so deep in a half hour set. [Referencing playing the festival circuits] There's something that happens, I feel, past the half hour mark where the interesting stuff happens and the unpredictable stuff at a rock show. It feels more natural and it's nice to give our fans what they want. We feel like, because we've been doing these festival tours a lot, the fans come up and say, "Oh my God, we came for you guys and we only got to see six songs." So, to be able to give them a full set feels good.
Some people might not realize that your newest record, Speak In Code, is actually four years old now and you were able to incorporate some of those songs into your set tonight. That album was your first album in nine years from your previous album, It's All In Your Head. How was it putting out that album? Even though it didn't come out six weeks ago, it's still the newest Eve 6 record.
It was fun. We got the team back together for that one. Sweet P, the guitar player, Jon Siebels came back into the band and Don Gilmore, who produced Horrorscope and the first Fly record, produced it so it was this kind of homecoming feeling and it's a good team. We work well together, sort of, the sound of Eve 6. Don is, kind of, that fourth member. That "behind the curtain" guy and is involved big time in the sound and arrangements and all of that stuff. Yeah, it was a fun record to make.
Awesome. You touched on it a little bit and the casual fans might not know but your main fans will. Jon left the band for a little while but he did come back for the latest record. Was everything pretty cool with him leaving? Maybe musical differences, maybe he needed a break because you did continue to do some touring with some session players and other guitarists so I'd love for you to talk a little bit about that.
Yeah, he had started another band called Monsters Are Waiting and they started to do really well and they started to book a bunch of tours and he, sort of, felt a responsibility to see that through around the time that Tony (Fagenson, drums) and I were starting to think about playing out again. So, we had a good friend of ours, this guy Matt Bair, who's now Matthew Koma and who's become a successful artist in his own right in the electronic world, he filled in for a few years there and we started playing shows and it was fun. Matt's a great guitar player but there's that essence, chemistry thing that happens when Sweet P's a part of it, that's just special.
We mentioned before that there was a pretty large gap between your last two albums. While he was away, was there any thought of recording during that time? Or, did it not really seem the way?
No, it didn't really seem the way without the team, yeah. Once Jon came back in, things started to move and felt natural and we were like, "This is a band again."
How much time do you have left in the tour?
We're about half way through this June run. I think we're home for a few days in the beginning of July and then we have a bunch of shows this summer. A lot of shows still in July, August, and September.
Headlining shows or a little mix with festivals?
All headlining shows.
With Speaking In Code having a little distance behind it since recording it, do you have plans for new music or are you just rolling with the current group of albums?
There definitely will be new music. There's not any concrete plans for that now. I do have some songs that are kicking around that could make good Eve 6 songs but that hasn't totally been discussed yet. But, there will be new music.
For the hardcore fans that know and/or the casual fans that don't, a fun question, where did the name come from?
The name came from an X-Files episode, to further entrench ourselves in the 90s. But yeah, there was an episode called, I think, the Eve episode and Eve 6 was a character in it and we thought it sounded cool.
Nice. Were you just forming at the time?
We were actually making record one. We were in the studio recording and we were called Eleventeen at the time. That actually came from the label, they wanted us to change the name because they thought the"teen" thing was to literal since we were teenagers. That wasn't even a thought on our minds, really. We weren't trying to make any statements, we just thought Eleventeen was a goofy sound that we liked. So, we were on the hunt a little bit and that just seemed appropriate.
When it comes to your discography, everything you've been able to do and your attachment to your fans, I'd like to ask you straight up. Max, what does Eve 6 mean to you?
It's a good question. I mean, so much of me is "in it." For me, it goes to the songs. What the songs mean to me, where I was when I wrote them. Ya know, they can take me back and sometimes they change along with me. It's hard to look, objectively, on it because I think of it as an extension of myself, I guess. It's close to my heart and I'm also my own harshest critic, all of those cliché's are true and it's also the bond I have with the guys. That, sort of, friendship that transcends odds, I guess. We're still here, able to do it, which is cool.
You touched on this during your set. I was standing there, watching it and really digging on something you were saying and I wanted you to reiterate it a little bit more for the fans that are going to get to read you. You were talking and introducing "Here's To The Night" about where you were when you wrote it and, kind of, the life it's taken on for itself. Talk about your mindset now when it comes to that song because it was and is very successful for you, people know about it and there's actually a 90s cover band called Here's To The Night. Talk again about what "Here's To The Night" has transcended to.
Yeah, well songs can start out meaning one thing and then mean something different to an audience or in the case of "Here's To The Night" I think it was a music video director who had had a vision for it and that kind of formed the way people think about the song and it became this prom theme. Which was amazing but also, sort of, absurd just because it's not what the song is about but that's one of the awesome things about music, subjectivity. So, on stage, my point with that pitch is the song has been re-purposed for us because the song's not a prom theme to me. To me, the song now is a "love letter to our listener-ship" is what I say on stage. The fans who allow us to keep doing this and playing loud rock and roll for a living so I make it a formal dedication.
You guys were quite young when your first album came out and "Inside Out" really broke for you. A young band and having a song on your very first record pop off and catapult you, what was it like for you?
We were joking about that the other day. What kind of perspective we must have had as a bunch of teenagers, who release their first record and haven't really done any touring and it climbs to number one. It was on of those, almost farcical, things but it was our reality. I don't know, it was incredible, it was terrifying, it was, sort of, all of the things that you'd imagine it to be but I wouldn't have it any other way, of course and definitely realize how infinitesimally lucky we were to be given that shot. Yeah, it was a hell of a ride, for sure.
With the music business being what it is and the "business" word being bigger then the "music" word which it shouldn't be but it just, kind of, is. When "Inside Out" became so successful did you get a lot of pressure leading into your second album?
We were really lucky with A&R (Artists and Repertoire.) We did that first record with Don Gilmore and we loved him and as far as the label was concerned they were thrilled with him because he just made a successful record for us. They, kind of, let us go in and do our thing again even though we did our thing, fairly differently, just production-wise and stuff with that second record but we got pretty well left alone, actually which was cool.
Max, thank you so much for taking some time to take about some Eve 6 history and what you have going on with the tour.
Thank you, man. I appreciate it. Totally my pleasure and thanks for staying late.