Interview With Max Jury & Band

Max Jury is a singer-songwriter from Des Moines Iowa, currently living in Los Angeles. He recently performed at the 2017 Hinterland Festival in Saint Charles, Iowa -- just a short drive from his home town. We chatted with Max about life on the road, touring, and his story thus far.

Max Jury

Q: From Chance the Rapper to Bon Iver, there has been a big resurgence with gospel in albums lately. I noticed that your latest self-titled release has gospel aspects to it. Where did that influence come from?


A:  I grew up singing in church - gospel music (and early blues music) really spoke to me. I’m drawn to music that’s straight from the soul without any pretense - just pure , raw, unfiltered expression. And when making my first record i wanted to incorporate some of those gospel elements in my tunes - i thought it would bring a sense of celebration and give the songs a nice lift and help reinforce the emotions of the lyrics.


Max Jury at Hinterland 2017


Listen to our podcast interview with members of the band here.


Q: Coming from Des Moine Iowa, how does the midwest affect your relationship with music and the music industry?


A: That’s a good question. I feel like my midwestern upbringing gave me a decent head on my shoulders. I respect people, I show up on time, I work hard - and I think that gets the ball rollingfarther in the music industry than one might imagine. And in terms of the actual music - I grew up watching Iowa bands like Poison Control Center, David Zollo, the Envy Corps, amongst others - and they were great people to learn from.


Q: Hinterland festival was in your home state. How did it feel performing at a festival so close to your roots?


A:  It was a great experience. My family rarely get to see me play so that was special for me. And I can’t say enough nice things about Hinterland and the staff. Wicked festival.


Q: What inspired you to attend Berklee School of music and what was the reason for leaving after that first year?


A: I applied to study creative writing at Iowa also- and that’s initially what i thought i wanted to do - but I was fortunate enough to geta scholarship from Berklee - so it made sense that I tried it out. It’s a very competitive school - and I didn’t gel with that. I don’t think music/art is a competition, know what I mean? I learned so much from Berklee and am grateful for the experience but sometimes you have to forget everything you’ve learned and just go out in the real world and try to make it for yourself.


Q: When in your life did you know you wanted to be a musician, where did that inspiration come from and where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?


A: I’ve always been musical. And I’ve always written songs. The desire to perform came a bit later in life - and to be honest I’m not much good at anything else. It’s my one big, true passion. In 5 years I’d love to just keep releasing music and growing the project! Meeting new people, seeing new places and staying happy.


Q: You toured with Lana Del Rey, what was your favorite part of that experience? Was anything particularly challenging or teaching?


A: That was a blessing. She’s such an iconic, singular talent. Watching her perform and carry herself each night was a school in and of itself. My first show with a band was supporting her at House of Blues in Chicago - so we had to get our shit together really quick. But i think opening for her crowds (which would range from 2,000-5,000 people) early on was important. I didn’t have time to ruminate and be nervous about playing for bigger audiences - I just had to go out and do it.

Interview with Melissa McMillan & Nolan Bryan:


Interviews conducted over email and phone, edited for clarity and length.

Photos: Kayla Koterwski

Post Editing: Kayla Koterwski

Words:  Cleo Knickerbocker, Kayla Koterwski