Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jesse O'Neill - guitars and vocals.
Corina Corina - percussion and vocals
We share writing and arranging responsibilities and co manage ourselves together. We obviously each have our own strengths in terms of what we do behind the scenes but we pretty much share it all down the middle.
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Max Caddy? How long has the band been around?
CC: We both have solo projects as well as Max Caddy and 100% support one another and collaborate on those as well. I've released 2 albums and multiple mixtapes on my own, it's more alt R&B/Hip-Hop soul. Very different than Max Caddy.
JO: I was in a lot of garage/bar bands before but in the years prior to Max Caddy I’d sort of taken a long performing hiatus.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
CC: Our name is too good to ever change it! Here's the story:
We met years ago in a bar where Corina was bartending at and Jesse was a regular. Once we got this project up and moving, we were at the bar one night and the movie "Cape Fear" was playing in the background. In this movie, Robert De Niro plays Max Cady, one of the best movie villains of all time. There is a scene in the movie where a judge keeps mispronouncing his name as "Max Caddy" and it thoroughly pisses him off. We thought that name was just cool as fuck so here we are!
JO: Yeah I’d get off work at like midnight and go sit there and talk about it with her. It’s the best bar in New York. 169 Bar. And we’d watch these dumb Elvis surfer movies and Audrey Heppburn movies and indie horror movies and have a lot of shit ideas. It went down mostly as Corina said, but credit is due where it’s due. Scorsese’s Cape Fear came on and the owner just walked over looked at the TV and was like ‘you’re looking for a name — just call it Max Caddy.’ And he walked away and that was that!
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
CC: We both write our songs. Sometimes together but usually one of us will have something written and it really all gels together when we jam on it. We are both very music inspired by relationships, breakups, booze and New York City as a whole. It's like this city is the third member of our band or at the very least, our biggest muse.
JO: Yeah. Sometimes I’ll have fully formed songs that I write specifically with her vocal in mind. That’s fun because it often makes a good idea much better. And the best ones are pulled out of the air in like twenty minutes. We often flesh out each others ideas. Which can take a different direction than planned for the better. I have a tendency on my own to write very esoteric lyrics and but MC I want them to be more digestable. But still awesome, haha.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
JO: It’s funny. To me Max Caddy’s music is sort of defined by this irreverent musical mood we both share and inspiration can come from anything that moves me in any genre. I try to take away what I like best and can emulate from anything. I’m taking more away from harmoniously rich groups lately from The Beach Boys to the Kingston Trio to The Allman Brothers to Typhoon. I’ll listen to punk rock and get an idea. Anythings on the table.
CC: Yes, it's all on the table! I'm always inspired by blues and soul music like Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding (I could go on and on!) For this project I'm very much inspired by Fleetwood Mac and contemporary artists like Lorde, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Citizen Cope. My solo stuff is very hip hop influenced so I think sometimes that creeps into the Max Caddysound and writing a little.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
JO: Not exactly to start Max Caddy. I guess it’s safe to say Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix were the two reasons I ever wanted to start a band… you know going back to middle school. In the year or so before starting Max Caddy I was diving deep into my folk inspirations and trying to strangle songs out of the acoustic guitar. Perhaps not finding my best voice though. Teaming up with an actual singer gave me more confidence to double down on the art.
CC: I grew up singing blues music with my dad, who is a guitar and harmonica player very much into artists like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and BB King. I was always a hip hop and R&B kid but after doing many different kinds of projects including going solo, I missed playing acoustic blues and folk music I shared with my pops so I found Jesse!
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
JO: I always do these finger exercises where I bend my fingers around each other for like twenty minutes to flex them all out. I used to play scales and stuff but this is more muscular. I try to think about and listen to music that moves me all day. And iron my vest a few times.
CC: The famous vest! haha
I definitely have a routine: I work out, do vocal warmups, sing a Stevie Wonder song (lately it's been "Too Shy to Say") THEN I listen to Killer Mike or Ice Cube to get me amped up, say a prayer, take a shot of tequila and then showtime!
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
JO: Recording “Straight to the Face.” That was a blast and I think we realized our recording potential in the context of the snapshot of our really successful 2017 revival — after a long period apart.
CC: Touring North Carolina and Louisiana a few years back was a blast. We got to see a beautiful part of the country and play with some kick ass bluegrass and acoustic outfits. But what has allowed us to grow the most as a band has been the regular residencies we've done around NYC. It really keeps us sharp to play that frequently and has allowed us to add a lot of material to our arsenal and most importantly, it's been a lot of fun!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
CC: Fleetwood Mac! Because they're the shit! But...they had a lot of drama so that may not have been fun. Red Hot Chili Peppers after they got clean would probably be really dope. Or Pearl Jam...I'm showing my age here, I know haha
JO: Another male/female duo like Shovels and Rope would be fun. Or The Sea The Sea. Red Hot Chili Peppers in the 80’s.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
CC: Thank you so much for your time and interest in our band. We combine a lot of different musical elements and truly believe we offer something for everyone, we hope your readers enjoy!
JO: Yeah thanks so much for your interest and I think “Straight to the Face” has a little something for everyone — from blues to folk to pop — that all makes sense together. I hope it meets your ears.