The other day Guestlist Network caught up with the up and coming Red Ax Jam from North London. After just a couple of years on the circuit these guys have demonstrated that they are not just another get-up-on-stage-and-play band; the chemistry they create with the audience is akin to the greats of previous generations, and their presence on stage is nothing short of captivating. Lead by Max Davey, a singer who has been compared to Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop yet still claims that he’s the next Max Davey, the boys came down to the office to give us quick word. The video of this interview will be up on our website and theirs shortly.
Right, well I am here with the brilliant and hilarious Red Ax Jam. Welcome to the Guestlist Network guys, you enjoying yourself?
Max: Yeah its all good
Right well I’m gonna start clearly with the standard interview questions, so can you guys tell us how you got together, when you started playing, all that kind of stuff?
Jared: yeah it was me and Max, we were about 14 when we started writing music. We did that for about a year, we didn’t really do anything we just covered some tunes. Then we got everyone else on it and started writing some music.
Did you guys play with them as well around that time?
Nima: No I started playing… what was it… a year and a half ago. Then a couple months after we got some tunes down we got these two involved.
Nice one. And in terms of your musical style who did you look up to for inspiration and sound, your look, all that kind of stuff?
Paul: what a question
Max: it’s weird, I suppose like it’s difficult to say what we sound like sometimes. We get the weirdest stuff. Someone once said we were an indie Black Sabbath or something like that. But a lot of people say Black Keys
That’s not bad being compared to Black Keys
Max: Yeah it’s not so bad
Jared: we’ve got a lot of blues influences I think. Then if you listen to BRMC you can here the influences coming through, but we had Arctic Monkeys as well. But yeah it’s all rock and roll.
I asked this before so I’m sorry you’ve got to hear it again, but where was your first gig and do you remember how big it was?
Joe: The Arc. My mum had to switch at the promoter and be like ‘put them on ‘cos…’
Nima: They’ve got school in the morning
Joe: haha yeah. And my mum switched and we got the gig.
Jared: what was it we played…
Joe: yeah we played two whole tunes
Jared: yeah he was gonna give us one tune, and we had like eight or ten people down to watch us. It was Lemar’s brother as well.
Max: we weren’t called Red Ax Jam then, we were…
Max: yeah it was the bus we took to the gig.
Jared: he gave us one more tune after we played our first tune.
How was it?
Max: it felt amazing. Felt like winning an Oscar
Speaking of gigs, what’s the biggest venue that you’ve played so far?
Jared: HMV Forum
Max: Yeah HMV Forum. They say it seats like 2000 people or something. It was the final of a competition we did. There were like three rounds or something.
Joe: Jared won the fattest amp you’ve ever seen in your life.
Paul: I should have won it
Was that your favourite venue that you’ve played
Jared: Nah. I liked Dingwalls. I had it in my head that when we started with the band, I’m a big Clash fan, and I had it in my head that if we played a venue that The Clash has played at… that’s it, that’s as good as it’s gonna get. And we played Dingles by Camden Lock.
Nima: we did Troubadour as well, which is always rammed with punters.
Max: It’s really nice
On stage what’s the funniest or most embarrassing thing that you’ve done?
(Paul points to Max)
Max: Well most of the time I can’t remember
Jared: who’s gonna tell the Forum one…
Max: I’ll tell the Forum one. Well, basically the previous day we had written a new song and I basically lost my voice. So like my mum woke me up in the morning with all these remedies; I downed like a shot of olive oil and shit like that, it was horrible. I just ended up drinking a lot basically, too much. Had some brandy, got on stage, was a bit too drunk to be honest. Basically I trod on the mic stand, fell over, then spent about five minutes trying to put it back it
Joe: During the concert
Max: it was so frantic and the guy just came on and slapped it back it and just gave me the weirdest, most horrible look, and I was just like fair enough
Paul: this is also during the biggest gig we’ve ever had
Joe: the biggest competition…
Jared: the most important gig we’ve played… and he just rips the cord out of the mic
That’s hilarious. On your journey so far, have you ever met anyone famous, or someone who’s a big name for you guys, and just been star-struck
Paul: David Gest
Jared: we were in Wu-Tang Clan’s dressing room
Jared: yeah at the forum, they used that dressing room. We didn’t meet them though.
In London, or wherever you go to uni, where would you go for a guaranteed good night out?
Joe & Jared: Joe’s
Joe’s in Camden?
Paul: You can get a Punch in the Drummer while you’re there.
Jared: a Deathflip
Paul: yeah it’s got a raw egg in it… not great
What are your favourite festivals, ones you’ve been to or one’s you’ve played at?
Max: Secret Garden Party is well cool
Nima: haven’t been to be honest
Max: What else
Nima: End of the Road is pretty good. Pretty tiny but they’ve always got good bands. It’s like pretty chilled. You can do anything you want.
Did you go SGP this year?
Max: Last year
Max: Blondie, and…
Joe: that was shit
Jared: Blondie was shit?
Joe: nah, we went and Gorillaz were headlining and you didn’t see the Gorillaz, they weren’t playing it was just a video of Gorillaz… and they didn’t even play their own tunes, it was like a DJ set.
Max: I like Benicassim as well.
Nima: we’re going Bestival this year
Bestival’s always good…
Max: Reading sucks bollocks
Reading gets the best line up.
Nima: yeah but it’s such a shit atmosphere
Max: like who would go to a festival and just burn the shit out of it… it’s like someone else eating food then just doing a poo on the floor.
As a band, what’s the next step for you guys, where do you want to go?
Jared: we’ve just done our first tour of the UK, we’ve got another record label interested and we’re going again in October, we’re gonna hit universities and just play around at the universities, release another single. Then see where it goes from there.
Who do you guys aspire to be like, who’s your inspiration as a band?
Nima: anything that’s good really
Jared: I think there’s not much rock and roll anymore. I think a lot of people just stand there on the stage. The problem with a lot of music and bands that we see is they just stand there, and there’s no passion or inspiration
Paul: a lot of indie bands
Jared: it’s too predictable. That’s where we think Max does well. You know, just go stage and not know what’s gonna happen, it’s a lot more exciting when you see a band… not knowing what’s gonna happen on stage rather than going to see the Kooks playing with their new perms.
Final two questions we always ask: if you were invisible for a day what would you do, where would you go?
Paul: girl’s changing rooms
Finally, can you sum up Red Ax Jam in a sentence?
Joe: fucked up rock and roll
Paul: let’s go for a beer
Here's a link for their soundcloud and itunes download