Q&A with Say Anything’s Max Bemis
Over the last few years, indie punk/emo-rock band Say Anything has developed a cult-like following with its quirky and eccentric approach to music. In March 2012, the band returned with their fourth studio album Anarchy, My Dear.
Recorded at Golden Ear Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y., with producer Tim O’Heir, Anarchy, My Dear marks the first release since signing with independent label Equal Vision Records.
Beloved for tongue-in-cheek outbursts and provocative lyrics, frontman Max Bemis takes his honest approach to music to a new level with this latest effort – an album that the singer refers to as the band’s first attempt to write a true “punk” record.
Fender News recently caught up with Bemis for a few quick questions about the album.
FN: Say Anything albums always have something to say. What message did you want to deliver with Anarchy, My Dear?
MB: The record is based on this idea that anarchy is a positive force. That’s the way I see anarchy. I feel that some sense of unrest and rebellion is a very healthy thing, even for the spirit within your mind and your heart. We have kind of a messed up society so not being completely controlled by it and going against preconceived notions I think is a really defining, important thing. So that’s a running theme throughout the record.
FN: You’ve said that you wanted to go in a different direction than 2009’s eponymous album. How is this one different in your mind?
MB: I think the direction has definitely changed a lot. It changes every record. Hopefully it doesn’t become redundant. This one is exceptionally different in the respect that it doesn’t really focus on me and my personal development so much as being in a comfortable place, and trying to reach out to the world and give that back I guess.
FN: In several interviews you’ve talked about how “Burn a Miracle” is the most polarizing song you’ve ever written and one of your favorites. Why is that?
MB: It was the first song I wrote for the record, and once I wrote it, I knew the direction we were going with the record so it still means a lot to me as a songwriter. I think it kind of sums up the feel of the record, and it’s right out there rather than being subtle as it is on the rest of the record. I would say that song is most indicative of what I’m trying to say, and I’m particularly proud of it.
FN: Say Anything has always had an almost cult-like following. What’s been the reaction to this album from your diehard fans?
MB: It’s been amazing. It’s like we’ve become spoiled in that a lot of things in the music business and the world of music tend to be moving really quick now. Bands are going in and out. You don’t really get a chance to work on your career the way bands used to where you could evolve over the course of 10 albums, as opposed to writing two albums and then breaking up or writing three albums and then you are hating life and want to break up. I think we have the type of fanbase that keeps giving us the support on every record. This record has been particularly awesome in that I’ve seen kids freaking out over it. I’m very blessed, that’s all.
FN: You guys wore matching uniforms (black pants, collared white shirts) when touring in support of your last album. It appears those are not making a reappearance this tour?
MB: Nope, uniforms are ditched. They are sitting moldy and disgusting in a garage somewhere. Our weight fluctuates too so I don’t even think they would fit any more.
Say Anything recently released a teaser for a new making-of Anarchy, My Dear documentary. Watch the trailer below. You can view the entire documentary by purchasing the deluxe version of the album on Itunes.