AlexGoldstein on 09/01/2010 at 10:00AM
Max Tundra (or Ben Jacobs as he's known around the house) is a London-based electronic producer/multi-instrumentalist whose last album, the brilliant Parallax Error Beheads You (Domino), took six years to make. His music runs the gamut from Scritti Politti-like pop to prog-rock in the vein of Gentle Giant ...with a lot in between.
While he recently announced on Twitter that PEBY will be the last Max Tundra album (say it ain't so!), Jacobs plans to keep producing new music under different pseudonyms, and he's been spinning out great remixes via Soundcloud where you'll also find fabulous covers of Taylor Dane's "Tell it to My Heart" and Daft Punk's "Digital Love", a mash-up of pop superstar Brandy and shoegazers Ride- "Leave Them About Us" (credited to a hilarious combination of the names, Randy Bride), and other goodies.
In 2009, a few months after releasing PEBY, Max Tundra stopped by Talk's Cheap with Jason Sigal on WFMU, delivering a set spanning his two vocal albums, plus a sped-up instrumental cover of The Beatles' "Lady Madonna." The featured track from this set, "Lysine," was originally sung on the album Mastered By Guy At The Exchange by his sister Becky Jacobs (of the band Tunng). Hearing Max Tundra himself perform the song is a treat within itself, as we not only get to hear a new version of the track, but also we get to witness a bit of Tundra's growth as a singer, which he claims took many nights's-worth of karaoke.
I interviewed Max Tundra via email.
It seems that much of your music is inspired by films; be it in the references to auteurs such as David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Michel Gondry, or the cinematic flair that embodies music videos such as "Ink Me" or "Will Get Fooled Again." What relationship does your musical work have with film? Who were the cinematic influences on those videos?
Those videos was directed by talented film-making friends of mine so I'm not sure what their specific influences were. However, it is possible that their love of weird cinema drew me to make friends with those particular people.
Your influence section on MySpace lists well over one hundred artists, as varied from Brandy to Black Dice. However, with each of those groups, I can see how they have affected your music in some way. I wanted to ask about Steve Vai, who is placed in between R. Stevie Moore and Fiona Apple. I'm a fan of his first album "Flex-Able" but I feel like after that he became a bit self indulgent. What do you think of his work?
Many of the artists I've listed in that section have only written one or two albums or songs that I love, but an album like "Flex-Able" is so superior to many bands' entire careers that it's worth listing Steve Vai. (For the record, apart from the StSanders "shreds" clip with the triple-neck guitar, "Flex-Able" is the only thing of his that I like that much. Too many solos!) Furthermore, a lot of these so-called "Influences" are just things I like but which I may have discovered after recording my albums, but Myspace doesn't have a section for "Music I Like".