Interview: Kevin Max - The Eccentric Lover

|PIC1|Kevin Max, creative musician and former member of Grammy-winning group dctalk (with tobyMac and Michael Tait), sits down with Christian Today to talk about his 'eccentric' music, his love for Europe, and his thoughts on the Gospel Music Association.

How've you been lately?

I just moved from Las Vegas to Nashville just recently and with my wife getting pregnant again, it's been very crazy. It's been a very intense year.

Have you been touring?

I do shows like 2-3 times a month. I'm not doing a tour because I don't have a new project out right now, but I'm getting ready to go to the studio. Once we get to the studio, we'll probably be back on the road for some time.

I heard you have quite a connection with Europe.

I have a very good connection with Europeans. I think what I like about music and what I like about style in itself - which kind of goes from fashion to literature to music to film - I just tend to agree with Europe over America. I've always been more influenced by Europeans than Americans. My grandfather's family came over from Ireland, so we're really all European mutts. Musically and stylistically, I tend to like the Europeans. I love the Italian and French... and the twisted architecture...

Several American celebrities have opted to live in Europe. Have you considered it?

I'd love to. I'll take over Johnny Depp's house (laughs). I think the eccentricity of France is beautiful. They're anti-pop, and I think there's something fun about that. But I find certain places in Europe more eccentric than France. I think the Dutch are bizarre. I would love to live in Europe at some point. I think it would have to be near a big city, because I love big cities. I love Paris, London, Berlin...

What's the latest lesson that God has taught you?

He has really made me understand that life is not about me, but about others. I think when you have kids, you realise that life is about serving others. At the end of the day, if you're a selfish father, it doesn't work.

You've probably been to so many GMA (Gospel Music Association) Weeks in the past years of your career. What changes would you like to see?

I don't like when people want the same things out of music. I have a struggle with GMA period, because I feel like there's such a formula to what they want. They really, in my mind, don't open doors to criticism very well. They don't open up the doors to getting people involved who don't necessarily agree with what the church agrees with.

I think there's kind of a white picket fence, if you will, up around the music genre of Contemporary Christian music. I'd like to see that broken down more. I'd like to see more cultures influenced through Christian music.

Do you think your music is being well accepted?

My solo music, not so much. I think I'm looked at as more of an eccentric person than someone who could write Christian songs.

Well, Christianity can be conveyed in many different styles of music, and yours just happens to be unique.

I think music is the universal language. God owns it all. God owns Eminem, whether he likes it or not. God owns Slayer or Marylin Manson, someone who would really want to go against it. At the end of the day, God created music, and I think He is subtly involved in music, because the very creation is all about music.

Beethoven - I saw a great Beethoven movie - before he would write songs, he would write notes on paper and he would hear it all by just living, walking around. He would hear music in his head. He would hear it the most when there was silence.

I think that is what God is like. God is in it whether you want it or not. When I write a song about myself, a relationship, or with what's going on in society, God is going to be a part of that, because I believe in Him.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes. It's called The Blood. It's kind of about the fact that the old gospel music - the music that came out of Africa to over here in the United States - kind of changed everything that we know about music. It changed the old starchy-white classic hymns to being more primal and fun and energetic. That's what I want to tap into, because that's more of the spirit of a thing. I'm going back into the old delta and blues.

Did you write all the songs?

I didn't write the songs. This is an album of picking songs from the past. Like, I'm doing Blind Willie Johnson's song, I'm doing Kings of Harmony songs, Stevie Wonder - I'm also doing a Prince cover.

When will it release?

This fall - hopefully.