Maximum Hedrum Talk Connections, Robots, Music, Movies, and More
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:27:55
So what really happens when worlds collide?
Well, sometimes, damn good music rises from the collision. That's the case with Maximum Hedrum, which brings together the "seemingly" disparate DJ Sam Spiegel of N.A.S.A. and Sepultura singer Derrick Green. Together, they make songs like you've never heard before. They're strange, sexy, and slick. It's as if funk got transmuted to the 22nd century with a dash of rock and electro thrown in for good measure. Maximum Hedrum stand alone in the most wild, weird, and wonderful way possible.
"We felt extremely comfortable creating together," enthuses Green. "The connection is a consequence of that."
The connection extends to listeners immediately too…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Sam Spiegel and Derrick Green talk Maximum Hedrum, robots, movies, and more.
The music's unlike anything out there, but it's still super catchy.
Sam Spiegel: That's really cool. I think it is really unique. I don't think there's anything like it, and I love that. We weren't trying to do anything. The only rule when we were making the record was to have fun. That was it. If something wasn't fun, we were like, "Let's do something else". It was a great way to work.
What was the initial vision for Maximum Hedrum?
Sam Spiegel: I had the name and the concept of it, and I was in the very early stages right in the beginning. Derrick and I have been friends for a really long time, and we were hanging out. He's lived mostly in Sao Paolo for a while, and I spent a lot of time down there. We met through Zegon my partner in N.A.S.A. We've been hanging out for years, and we worked together a little bit, but it was nothing serious. One night, we were hanging out, riffing, and bullshitting. Derrick was doing some bass monologing R&B style like, "Yeah girl!" I said, "We've got to do a motherfucking slow jam!" [Laughs] Neither of us had done a slow jam before so we thought it'd be fun to write one together. We did it. Right then, I thought, "This guy is so fucking fun to record with. He's got an amazing voice. He's got to be the main vocals of the record".
Derrick Green: It was really incredible. We learned a lot about each other at the start of working with each other. The best thing about it was everything happened so naturally. It felt comfortable with sharing ideas, trying to change things, shooting for different thoughts we had, and communicating this. It was something cool to be a part of. It was extremely comfortable at the same time. For me, it was a challenge to try something extremely different from what I'm normally doing, and I wanted to be able to show that. I thought it was great I could do this with Sam and we could create something very unique.
What's the story behind "Keep in Touch"?
Sam Spiegel: It's one of the first tracks on the record that we wrote, as far as the beat goes, which is why I feel like it's the most closely tied musically to some of the N.A.S.A. shit. It's just funky. We did "Robosexual" first, and this was the second. We just hung out, and it happened.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
Sam Spiegel: A big theme of the record is about the interconnectedness of everything with the internet, technology, and the way we communicate, but the lack of intimacy at the same time. There are so many different ways we communicate, but there's a lack of touch and closeness that we both feel like has been missing and changing. I think that's what the song is about. It's a big theme on the album too.
Did you both ponder that theme together?
Derrick Green: Sam had that idea before. Actually, I had a lot of ideas that are very different from Sam's as far as technology and things like that go. It was cool seeing a different side and wanting to believe in the possibilities of different things out there. It was something I really agreed with though. Sam and I have both spent a lot of time traveling. I have a family. Trying to have that connection is really difficult being so far away without literally being there. We have so many technical devices and ways of keeping in touch with people and communicating. At the same time, there's a longing to have that real connection as far as spending time with that person or whoever.
We are so disconnected and frazzled within our own cyberspaces. It's important to encourage that tangible connection.
Derrick Green: Right, but at the same time, that connection is pretty insane. If you look at the other side, I'm able to communicate with people on the other side of the planet within seconds that I would never be able to in the past. There's this connection with a vast amount of people much more than I ever have had and much quicker thanks to that technology.
"Synthesize" reflects your very musical ethos.
Sam Spiegel: That's interesting. That grew out of something I dreamt. I dreamt a riff and almost all of the lyrics. Over the course of a year and a half, I'd wake up and sing them into the recorder I always have by my bed. Literally, the whole song, minus the little bridge part, was written like that. It really came from the subconscious. That's the first time it's ever happened to me like that.
Do you both have a favorite song?
Derrick Green: It's constantly changing with me. Right now, I really like "PHD", which we're rehearsing. It adds a whole new feel when you're able to sing with a full band. It's different from being in the studio.
Sam Spiegel: I have two favorites right now. One is "Robosexual" because it's a great song and I love the way it sounds. "Hugs for Everybody" is the other one. It's totally weird, but there's something about the sentiment that sounds great to me.
What ties the record together for you?
Derrick Green: We just wanted to write as many songs as we could and think through them. We didn't have any limitations or set any things. That's why it went in so many different directions. There was this focus of trying to stay within the theme of this digital world but not solely center it on that. That freedom of having no limitations really created the diversity of the album.
Sam Spiegel: There was no pressure. It was constantly fun. Another cool thing—Derrick is so down to do anything. He was like, "Yes, let's do it". It's really fun to work with somebody like that. It's not like everything always works but when somebody's just down to go and there's no censoring, it makes the creative process much more free.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Derrick Green: That's a good question!
Sam Spiegel: There's definitely some Blade Runner in there.
Derrick Green: Metropolis!
Sam Spiegel: That's a good one! I'd like to think there's some Holy Mountain in there, which is one of my favorite movies. I like that question. It's good for us because we're both movie freaks. I'm going to go with Blade Runner.
Derrick Green: I'm going to go with Metropolis—maybe a combination of the two!
Sam Spiegel: Metropolis has the vibe of being enslaved by technology.
Derrick Green: Yeah! At the same time, it's what's happening now. It's the future. It explores that. It has a mixture of that. It shows the enslavement but the freedom at the same time.
Sam Spiegel: I think of Blade Runner and the music. Obviously, it's about robots in the future.
Derrick Green: It's sexy too. It's one of the main things on the album. "Robosexual" is a song about a robot who is in love with a woman but he can't be with her because he's an actual robot. It's taking on the personalities of humans. There's more connection with technology and how the future is moving. It's moving in that direction where people are constantly online. They're looking at porn and shit. They have relationships that happen online. They're connected digitally.
What music have you two bonded over?
Sam Spiegel: There's a lot of hip hop stuff.
Derrick Green: That was one of the first connections for sure.
Sam Spiegel: We were both in New York in the '90s. In my opinion, that's the Golden Age of New York hip hop. We shared a lot of those rap records, even The Beastie Boys.