- Words Laviea Thomas
- Photography Yasmin Cowan
From London to the US, and everywhere in between, Max Jury details his journey of making his brand-new LP ‘Avenues’.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the nonchalant elegance of Max Jury. Throughout his music, the artist pulls on the heartstrings of many with his captivating storytelling skills. Currently in the process of releasing his new LP ‘Avenues’, this project is a retrospective piece exploring themes of self-reflection and re-birth.
Travelling between London and the US for the creation of his new album, this project draws inspiration from the musical cultures of both locations and is further sculpted by London Grammar guitarist Dan Rothman – who offers a range of delicate acoustics. Standing on its own two feet as a project celebratory of more than just an album launch, ‘Avenues’ offers a glance at new beginnings and is a self-help manual for rediscovering yourself.
Describing his soundscape as the space “between folk and soul”, throughout his work Max delivers husky vocals with atmospheric harmonies. Creating a bond between his music and his listeners, on his latest, the artist welcomes his fans into a world of emotionally raw singles.
We caught up with Max about the recording process of ‘Avenues’, collaborating with Dan Rothman, and the next steps for his music career.
You recently dropped your single “Peace Of Mind”, which is a beautiful, melodic offering. I read that this track tackles the feeling of being overwhelmed. Can you explore the meaning behind this release further?
Thanks. For sure, “Peace Of Mind” is a song about trying to keep yourself together in an increasingly challenging world. It’s about being overwhelmed by how disconnected society is and how individualistic things have become. I think we’ve all felt that in the last few years.
The single was co-written with London Grammar’s Dan Rothman. What sparked this collaboration and how did you find the process of melding your own creative songwriting vision with another established writer?
I wrote this song with my partner Yasmin after a road trip across America, and I worked extensively with Dan on the album. Funny enough, we just met through DMing. He’s quickly become one of my favourite people. Working together was so much fun and humbling. I brought him what I thought was a finished album, and he said – ‘okay, here’s how we can improve it’. It takes a lot of trust on both ends at that stage in the process.
Were there any challenges along the way? Any disagreements with arrangements?
Oh, no doubt. There are always disagreements. But push and pull is where the magic is. I wouldn’t say I like resting on my laurels, and I wanted Dan to challenge the music.
Since releasing your debut single “Something In The Air” in 2014 you’ve established yourself as a singer-songwriter to watch in the indie-folk scene. How would you personally describe your soundscape and the message you’re trying to convey the most throughout your music?
I describe my soundscape as somewhere between folk and soul. The music that I grew up loving always walks that genre. Bill Withers, Dionne Warwick, Bonnie Raitt, but it also carries over to contemporary artists that I love, such as Frank Ocean or Charlotte Day Wilson. My songs are less about messages I want to convey and more about the interesting stories I find in everyday life. The joys and struggles with relationships and work have a universal understanding everyone can relate to.
You set off to London just before releasing your self-titled debut album. Between 2016 to now you’ve travelled between the US and the UK quite a lot for your music. What made you want to start this musical journey in the UK, specifically, London?
London has always been my musical home. When I was 18, I shared my demos, and the UK was responsive for whatever reason – I’m glad it worked out that way. The London music scene is as good as it gets, and it’s an inspiring place to work.
With over a decade of experience in the music industry, how have you found your journey so far? Is there a particular track or project you’ve released that you’re really proud of? Or a bucket-list moment you’ve been able to tick off?
A decade? Time flies. It has been a journey, and I have no complaints. There have been peaks and valleys. I am very fortunate to be able to make music for a living. I’m proud of this upcoming album, and “Love Too Fast” may be one of my best pieces of music. My bucket list moment was undoubtedly opening for Lana Del Rey at Montreux Jazz Festival. Looking back, that was a special show to play.
This March you’re scheduled to release a brand-new album titled ‘Avenues’. I read that this album is about self-reflection and re-birth. What sparked those thoughts and feelings, was there a particular event or epiphany-type moment that made you self-reflect on your past journey?
The pandemic served as a catalyst for this album. So much was up in the air with my career – as well as the careers of many others. The future of playing live was unclear, and over the last few years, my schedule was so hectic, I hadn’t taken stock of the music I was making. Post-pandemic, I left my label and found a lovely new team. I took this opportunity to travel back in time to the joy I experienced making music when I was younger.
‘Avenues’ is your first full-length project in four years, what makes this album different from your last three? What lessons would you say you’ve learnt in between this period?
It is my most self-produced album, for sure. Dan Rothman and my friend Stacy Harden were involved, but this album is more ‘my baby’ than previous ones. I’ve learned to always be myself and to trust my instincts. And there are no excuses for not putting in the work.
Throughout your career, you’ve worked with a range of people including Jimmy Hogarth, Robin Hannibal, and Dan Rothman (to list a few). What’s been your most memorable collaborative project so far? Has there been a moment where you felt really grateful to have worked with an artist or producer that you’ve really been able to click with?
Jimmy Hogarth. He’s so gifted at making memorable songs. I’m constantly learning from him, even if he’s not trying to teach me anything. He was the first person I worked with when I came to London at 18, so I feel an extra special connection with him. I also worked with Inflo a bit on my first record. He’s a rare talent and is destined to go down as one of the all-time greats.
Are there any artists or producers that you’d love to collaborate with this year?
I love John Carroll Kirby and the work he has been doing with Eddie Chacon. I’m putting that into the ether.
And lastly, as you work towards the release of your brand-new album ‘Avenues’, what’s next for Max Jury? What does summer have to offer? Any exciting tours, or support slots?
My dream is to continue to make music that resonates with people and helps them find meaning in a complicated world. Sharing my music through touring is inspiring and important to me – we are currently working on that for this summer and fall.