Cuts like a Mäax

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Six Pack Witchcraft? Huh? Yeah, that’s right, motherfuckers. Määx (pronounced may-axe) is rumblin’ through your speakers, moshin’ through your flower bed, and guzzlin’ all your beers, and when they’re done with all that, they’ll probably be bonin’ your wife. And you’ll like it! Six Pack Witchcraft is their newest lo-fi, low class offering on Abyss Records, and it’s full of venom, denim and booze. Members James Brown and Brett Schlagel corresponded with Teeth of the Divine in between chanting and hell-raising.

Määx is a relatively new band.  Can you give us a brief Mäax history lesson?

James: [Mäax was] born out of another extreme metal band (Dyngyr). The drummer, bassist and only guitarist out of that band moved on due to a clash of everything.  Started out as more of a straight forward black and roll sound, but then eventually incorporating more of a rocking, thrashing sound. Our influences are Motley Crue, Motorhead, Megadeth, Metallica, etc.

What were your intentions musically when forming Mäax?

James: We were wanting to go for a more straight, more black metal sound, and wanting to also slow the f**k down and have more fun, and not worrying about being technical. Examples of bands that influence[d] us at the time were bands like Khold, Craft, the newer Satyricon, etc.

Your debut, Dawnbringer, was pretty much straight-out black metal, and you covered Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor.”  Why did you choose that song for the album?

James: We really [saw] Celtic Frost as major influence and it was really easy to learn.

According to the liner notes, Dawnbringer was written in 2007 but not released until 2009.  What was the reason for the delay?

James: Well, the delay was due to us signing with a label out of Canada (Abhore Records). That label went under about a year later. So we went shopping for another label.

Moving onto newer material, Six Pack Witchcraft is more sleazy and drunken (in a good way) than Dawnbringer.  Why the stylistic switch between albums?

James: My guitarist (Kyle) was really into Motorhead at this time and I still was into the whole Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Ratt, Dokken, Dio, etc. style of metal/rock. I always come back to the early 80s metal. I’m almost 40 years old, so I grew up on that shit. To me the 80s had it going on better than any decade of metal, hands down!!!!!

Määx is working on a new album.  When can we expect to hear that one, and will it follow the same path you laid down with Six Pack Witchcraft?

James: Yes, for the most part, but even more so. A lot more straight up Guns N Roses and Crue shit, but with our twist on it. Just trying to have more fun. The whole stupid black metal elitist bullshit is totally retarded to us. Too damn serious. Chill the f**k out, man!

Brett: Unholy Rock and Roll is due to come out in October on Abyss Records. It is very much in the same vein as Six Pack, [but] a lot more influences shine through [in] the guitar riffing, bringing things back to the basics but still powerful. The overall feeling of the album is dirty, sleazy, and just gritty rock and roll. We still hold our roots in black metal, which shows in several songs, like “Overthrone”. Definitely an album to crank to the max and pound some beers to.

How did Määx get hooked up with Abyss Records?

James: Kyle contacted Abyss Records on Myspace. That’s basically it. We knew Dan (Ferguson, Abyss Records founder) from his record store in Indy, next to the Emerson Theatre. We bought a lot of black metal from that dude.

Do you have any touring plans in the near future?

Brett: Not playing the Michigan Death Fest, due to economical issues, as always. We were not getting paid this year. So we couldn’t take part. No touring planned at all or until we have a really good opportunity that comes our way. We all have families and the whole idea of dropping our jobs for little or no pay is not going to pay the bills.

What’s been your main influence for the band, musically or otherwise?

Brett: As I’m sure many would agree, the music scene can be very discouraging; going to shows that are supposed to “put all fests to shame” or are “the concert to end all concerts,” it takes a strong sense of determination and passion to keep on plowing through the tough times. My main influence for the band comes from something that is a greater thing inside myself that can’t be explained in any other words other than just “passion.” I couldn’t think of a life without playing music. As far as particular influences go, I’m big fan of Zakk Wylde. He is probably my biggest influence as a guitarist. He is undescribably talented and just an amazing and well rounded musician and person all together.

It seems that Määx has had its share of member problems, like most bands out there.  What’s been the most difficult part about maintaining a stable lineup?

Brett: You have to have the same drive inside your person in order to keep shit together. Priorities have to be in line and you have to focus on the direction that the music takes you. Finding the members with the same mindset and passion as we already have is a necessity and is quite the task to accomplish.

What are the madmen of Maax listening to these days?

Brett: A whole spectrum of things; I have Celtic Frost and Watain on the same playlist as Dio, Def Leppard, and the Scorpions. A touch of Ratt and a lot of Black Label Society, that’s what makes up a chunk of my daily jams.

James: Anything Megadeth.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Brett:  Just want to thank you for the opportunity to tell you a bit about ourselves, it all is very much appreciated. Cheers motherfuckers!


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