Say Anything’s Max Bemis is Outspoken Hipster Hater
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 17:05
Say Anything’s Max Bemis is a straightforward, no nonsense kind of man who tells it like it is. In his songs, he opens up about his relationships and past demons.
He has also waged war against pretentious hipsters with his song “Admit It!!!" from the 2004 album …Is A Real Boy. Almost a decade later, Say Anything is working with the same producer and rekindling that war on the band’s latest album, Anarchy, My Dear.
“Admit It Again” is just one of the many throwbacks Say Anything has on the new album, which Bemis said could have been their last.
College Times: How’s the tour going?
Max Bemis: The tour’s awesome; wonderful shows and lots of people coming out.
Is this the first time you’re playing the new album live?
It is, yes. It’s been really amazing. It’s pretty surreal to see people react [to the new songs] the same way as they do to the old songs. Knowing all the words and going crazy ... we’ve been off tour for a couple years and it’s been a while since we finished the record.
The audiences at your shows are pretty interactive. Where do you find the energy to put on those crazy shows?
Red Bull? [laughs] In general, it’s a matter of giving back. We are afforded the luxury of doing this for a living and so when we’re up there and we see these kids going nuts, we see how emotionally involved they are in the material [and] it starts a chain reaction back and forth between us and the fans.
Tell me about your new album, Anarchy, My Dear, and how it came about.
It sort of came about around the time we were deciding between taking some sort of break or continuing to make music. We decided to make music but only under certain circumstances. We wanted to go all out. We wanted to keep doing this until we’re old and wrinkly. This is the first record we made knowing that, so I think there’s a sense of urgency to it. In the sense of the freedom that we felt being off of a major label and it expresses a lot of the positivity and energy that I felt as a person growing into myself as a person in [my] late 20’s.
What was it like working with […Is A Real Boy producer] Tim O’Heir again?
It was amazing. He did a great job and it kind of felt like no time had passed, but we’re all so different in our lives that it’s kind of hard to say that.
With this album, you also have a sequel to the song “Admit It!!!"
I initially wanted [“Admit It Again”] just to see the reaction it would provoke. After I decided we were going to do it, it turned out I had a lot to sing about concerning the same issues I wrote the first one about. Things have developed in society over the course of the past decade since I wrote that one, so there’s a lot of new aspects to write about.
So do you feel like some things never change?
Yeah, definitely. Of course. Some things.
What is it like working with your wife (Sherri Dupree-Bemis of Eisley)?
It’s a very rewarding, fun process just to hear her realize these things that I imagine in my head. To work together is really easy and painless especially when she sings on our records. She just goes into the record and does the best possible job for us. She killed it.
The lyrics in this album are pretty consistent with your style. What is your writing process like?
Things just pour out of me. In my opinion, I’m more of a writer than a musician so lyrics tend to pour out of me with a melody attached. That’s the basic idea for the songs.
There’s a lot of honesty in there, which is probably why people can connect so well to your music.
Yeah, I hope so. If anything, that’s the one thing that’s part of my method. Stripping away and being as dead on as I can possibly be…. I would like our fans to realize that we’re not pretentious and we don’t think we’re better than them.
Say Anything w/Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band, Fake Problems, Tallhart, Marquee Theatre, May 1, 6 p.m., $17