ThisIsNotAScene‘s Matt Seddon recently got the opportunity to sit down and interview a member of one of his favourite bands, Wil Ray, lead singer of mighty British rockers Max Raptor. They talked about Max Raptor, hobbies outside of music, other projects, touring and much, much more…
How are you doing?
I’m hot, sweaty and thirsty. Nah, I’m very good thanks.
Today we are also joined by my good friend Sam Milne-Ellison who is a huge Max Raptor fan. Thanks for coming along today Sam and thanks for helping with the interview. So Wil, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure thing man. I’m Wil. Hi everyone. I am the singer of Max Raptor and I like to throw myself around on stage a lot. I like to coax the crowd into doing things they don’t want to do.
Apart from playing in Max Raptor do you have any interesting hobbies or jobs you can tell us about?
Hmmmmmmm. I am fond of ecclesiastical antiques, Latin American religious art and fashion; as I am proving today, haha. I’m a massive sweat ball, but who cares, haha.
[Sam] So when and how did Max Raptor first form?
At school. Matt started it. He used to play drums, now he plays bass. Anyway, he rang me up and said let’s have a jam and see what we can come up with, and soon it became serious. There has been a few line-up changes since we first formed, but we are now all back from the Midlands, and back in 2009 we did some shows with Billy Talent, which gave us the kick up the ass that we needed. We wrote an album, got management and signed to a label. The album is a little taste of what we are all about, but we have a full-length one coming out this September. Exciting times indeed!
[Sam] For those who have never heard of Max Raptor before, how would you describe your sound and who are your main inspirations?
I always hate answering this question as it’s a bit of everything really, our sound. Anything that has real energy and balls we list as an influence to our music. Our bass tone is so similar to The Stranglers, so we owe a lot to them for that, but it’s definitely and certainly British! We get compared to Billy Talent and Rise Against. But they are too ‘American’. We want our music to sound British. I wouldn’t pick out individual bands, because bands let people down, haha. Our influences come from within and that’s what makes us unique. I dunno, it’s probably my Mothers influence that shaped the band, haha.
You are releasing your new album “Mother’s Ruin” later in the year. How would you compare it to your debut “Portraits”?
They are brother and sister these releases. There is a certain similarity to them, like it is definitely a Max Raptor record – we are not doing something completely random and unexpected, but the sound has matured so much. Haha, what am I talking about. There is nothing mature about us at all! No, we have progressed so much as a band and it’s clear with the new album that it has been written as if we in the band where fans of Max Raptor. We write stuff that makes us want to go nuts, get drunk and chant along. Hopefully that comes across with the new songs.
So, are there any lyrical concepts or themes present in your music?
“Portraits” was all about sketches of British society. It’s all about unveiling Britain behind closed doors. The new album is all about scandal, drug abuse, all these little stories you would find in a newspaper or something. So, in a way it is incredibly similar, but the tracks are incredibly different.
[Sam] The new album was produced by Dan Weller; who is famous for his work with: Kids in Glass Houses, Enter Shikari and Gallows. How did it feel to be working with such an acclaimed music producer?
Dan is sound. He greeted us in a dressing gown and slippers the first time we met him. He is an amazing guy and we are really good mates with him. He helped with us on “Portraits” and we love the sound he achieved on that, so we really wanted to work with him again. Why fix it if it’s not broken is the saying I’m going to use here, and I know it’s massively cliché, but it’s true!
[Sam] What is the writing process like for you guys? Is there one main song writer or is it team collaboration?
Usually Matt sends me the riffs and I’ll add lyrics to it. Then we go rehearse, pull the song apart and work the song around a chorus. I’m not the one to talk to about music; I can barely use a microphone stand. That’s the only piece of equipment I own. Oh, and these ear plugs. My hearings going quite rapidly so kids… Use your ear plugs. I would never have said that a few months ago, but seriously. One set of ear plugs makes a hell of a difference. When I go to sleep I can hear like a Siberian wind whistling. It’s pretty cool.
You are currently on tour with Dinosaur Pile-Up, what have been your highlights of the tour so far?
Well, first things first. This is a dinosaur themed tour. Dinosaur Pile-Up, Max Raptor. We even gigged with another band called Cloneasaurus the other day and it was mental, haha. But yeah, It’s all been really good to be honest. I can’t pick a favourite show really as they have all been awesome. Can’t wait to play tonight!
What is your favourite classic and your favourite new Max Raptor song to play live?
‘The King Is Dead’, hands down! Balls our British punk at its very best! New song… I dunno. Maybe Breakers. It’s always stuck in my head, but I love playing every song live. Playing live is good. ‘England Breaths’ is pretty sick too.
Bit of a fun question to end the interview on. If you could be in a super group with you on vocals, who else would be in the band and what would you call it?
Oh God. Oh my God. Oh Jesus. This is going to be recorded in history for ever. Oh God. Who else would be in the band? Fuck. You should really ask Matt. He is the music buff. Oh shit. I’d just do something with Eddie Vedder. There you go. World’s shittest answer.
Thanks for your time Wil; it’s been a pleasure interviewing you.
Thanks man that was fun, haha! Oh by the way. Going back to previous question, I’d quite like to do something with Amy Winehouse… If she wasn’t dead. Yeah, it’s a shame she is dead. She was really talented, haha.