Read Max's response, "Making the Most of the Night".
Can you describe the concept of Greyscale?
Max: The idea of it for me is that music journalism is already so subjective. People will speak to certain elements of an album that just don’t make sense to me. They'll say things like “This isn’t like her last album” or “the synths this track are reminiscent…”. And I don’t really care; that’s not really what the experience of listening to music is for me. That’s the reason why I don’t really read a lot of music journalism. I would much rather someone write a song in response. You get a better sense of what someone thought of the album through other means. And there’s great music journalism out there, but there are also albums I love that haven’t been well reviewed.
Can you give an example?
Yeah, I really love Childish Gambino’s music. His music evokes so much for me; every song feels like a story. And Pitchfork seems to particularly hate his music. I think a lot of it is because it’s too honest. The rap they like is very… Young Thug mixtape. [Childish Gambino] is a very honest rapper, kinda a nerd, and he readily admits that.
So do you think you guys are kinda like the anti-Pitchfork?
Uh…. no. I wouldn’t say that. I don’t know. Pitchfork has become this weird thing that it’s not supposed to be: it's something that people who don’t respect it still refer to. It really is funny. Even people who say “fuck Pitchfork” will say “this album got a 6.8 on Pitchfork”. Ya know?
The first album is Carly Rae Jepsen’s new album, E*MO*TION. I have to say I’m a huge fan of it.
I loved it. I thought it was awesome. Particularly in this context: it helped me appreciate the album more instead of being like… I don’t know, I was forced to respond to it so I had to really take it for what it was, instead of thinking, “Did I like it?” “Is this my kind of music?” Alex chose the album because it has this stigma; you already sort of have a weird preconceived notion about the album before listening to it. But, I think the album really is great. Rostam [Batmanglij] from Vampire Weekend and Blood Orange produces it. She got all these indie producers and created a great pop album. And the Pitchfork review said “But the problems is, we don’t even know who Carly is by the end” and they gave it an okay review. But it’s like, dude that’s such a stupid…that’s so dumb. You don’t listen to the White Album and say “Word I know exactly who these guys are.” It’s like when kids in class, when talking about literature or something, and they’re like “I wish the author would have done this.” But they didn’t do that, so why don’t we just go from what's already there? I feel like that’s a big part of Greyscale: not having to be speculative in “I wish the artist had done this.”
Can you give some insight into your response?
I just did ten poems in response to the album. I listened to the album a bunch. I did a couple of erasure poems, which is when you take out a bunch of words in a song to make a poem. [The album] feels like a really awesome 8th grade dance, so that’s what I wrote about, mostly.
Was there one song on the album that you felt really spoke to you?
Yeah, “Making the Most of the Night” is what I think it is called. Mostly because the chorus has the line “Here I come to hijack you, hijack you, I love you” And it’s really weird. So weird. Yeah, I really liked that song.
He also wanted to make sure that it was on the record that he said “Alex is a good guy with great bone structure. And that’s why I’m involved in the project".
Have you listened to Carly Rae Jepsen’s music before this?
No. I had heard “Call Me Maybe,” but that’s not really listening to the song. I had heard it in the way that everyone had heard it. I never sat down and was like “I’m going to listen to “Call Me Maybe”.
I really recommend the first album.
Ya. So I know you do slam poetry. Are you going to do all forms of poetry with Greyscale? Or do you think you’re going to go into different forms of writing as well?
I love to do stuff that I’m really uncomfortable with. The coolest [thing] about the project is that it’s a two week turn around. So, you can’t get too ambitious, but you also still have to be working. I’ve never done any sort of music, but I’d love to make a song or something. I think it’s a cool platform for people to try doing stuff they’ve never done before, because Greyscale is also a community of people, there’s a lot of really great musicians [in the group] that could help me do that.
Anything else you want to add?
Yeah. I don’t know if I would kill for Alex or die for Alex, but it’s one of them.
Maybe both...hmmm… no. Definitely not both. It’s definitely one or the other. And that’s a choice that I think I’m still trying to figure out through Greyscale.
- Emily Feher '17
- transcribed by Kelsey Gordon '18