Unseen Plays: What’s up guys! Let’s get this interview started with quick “getting to know you” questions. Who’s in the band? How long have you guys been together as 3 band mates? And where are you from?
Modern Life Elixir: Hey! So we’ve got Trevor on bass, Dave on the drums, and I (Max) on guitar and vocals. We’ve been a band for about a year now – We are from Toronto, Canada!
Unseen Plays: What’s your music all about? What inspired you guys to write the way you do? What’s brought you together to write music?
Modern Life Elixir: I like to think our music is about obnoxious optimism, attempting to dissect the minutiae of everyday life. It’s not really about staying positive, but more so about uncomplicating how complicated life can be, in a loose and carefree kind of way.
We came together through Kijiji (It’s like Craigslist here in Canada). I posted an ad looking for some bandmates or songwriting partners. Trevor and Dave reached out, we met for a coffee and got on pretty well, and we’ve been practicing ever since. In terms of what brought us together/inspires us, I would say what we have in common is our love of music and a need to be a part of that community.
Unseen Plays: Wet Fleece is your latest release. Is there a theme to this EP of 8 songs? We know it’s fruity as heck! But what else can we get from this?
Modern Life Elixir: The theme for this EP is a lot to do with the stubbornness of the human experience. Ideas that once served us tend to twist and form into something that is holding us back as time progresses. I liked the title Wet Fleece because it just felt illustrative of that notion. Something soft and comforting that once made us feel good, is now wet and heavy, a burden to carry around.
Unseen Plays: If you could choose a favorite song from Wet Fleece, what song would that be? And Why?
Modern Life Elixir: I would have to say ‘Gel’ is my favorite track. It both lyrically and sonically aligns well with the themes of this EP in a way that I am fairly proud of. I wanted to write a song about self-pleasure that didn’t feel so immature, but addressed something intrinsic about interpersonal relationships and holding onto our youth. The chorus in that song contains some great homonyms, which opens the doors for it to be interpreted in whichever way the listener registers first.
Unseen Plays: Taking a look at your visuals for the entire EP, this album is very psychedelic / Y2K looking. What’s the inspiration behind that? Why Y2K? And does all the workout? It’s rad!
Modern Life Elixir: Thank you! It may be because I’m a very nostalgic person, but visually I always knew I wanted to align Modern Life with an aesthetic or time in which I was very impressionable, I was about 9 or so during the Y2K era. I also went to art school and was never really accepted into their illustration program, so I felt forced to take on this degree in ‘Integrated Media’, which essentially meant animation and 3D modeling. I could never get my head around it, so even when I try hard to make something current or modern, it looks like something in the background of Jimmy Neutron. I feel like it’s all part of leaning into yourself and your shortcomings. When it came time for me to create the album artwork, It seemed like a no-brainer to carry on the visuals that had influenced me throughout my life.
Unseen Plays: How long did it take you guys to write these 8 songs? Do you guys write together or is there a lead writer in the band?
Modern Life Elixir: Some of the songs were ideas from a few years ago, but this EP took roughly a year to write. I have been writing songs since about 2020, so there are 2 EPs before this one under the name Modern Life Elixir (Kazoot and Major Minutia). I typically write songs for about a year and then put them out sometime around my birthday in the spring. I don’t know if that’s always how it will go but it feels cathartic at this point.
As of right now, it is just me taking the lead in terms of songwriting, but Dave and Trevor offer some important insights in terms of arrangements and the overall quality of the songs. They are also talented songwriters themselves, so I think an important step for us in the next year will be writing songs as a group and seeing how much we can expand our boundaries.
Unseen Plays: How did the recording process go for Wet Fleece? Any in-studio stories you can share?
Modern Life Elixir: We recorded this entire album in my home studio (I say home studio, but to be honest it’s just my apartment with as much recording equipment as I can fit). It’s over the year, so it offers this ability to kind of step back from everything and let the songs grow organically. It’s nice to have a certain amount of control over the project, but we are looking forward to the day when a producer is interested in our sound enough to work with us in a professional setting. For now, I tend to take on those roles while Dave and Trevor are the go-to guys for any thoughts or ideas on how to progress the tracks.
I can’t think of anything that stands out in terms of stories, mainly because the good times come from rehearsing the songs at our jam space and hanging out together. The vending machine at the rehearsal space is the strangest one I’ve ever come across. You can buy everything inside this metal box- beer, condoms, cigarettes. It’s like snacks were the last thing they thought of putting in there. The $10 combo is a bag of ketchup chips and a gram of weed taped to the front. I suppose it’s a pretty Canadian vending machine in that sense
Unseen Plays: What upcoming summer shows do you have? Where can we see you play live? Are you just playing in the Toronto area at this time? What can we expect from your shows?
Modern Life Elixir: We are still in the process of perfecting our live show, so we, unfortunately, don’t have any official dates booked yet. However, that aspect of our career is very much at the forefront of our minds now that the EP is out. We are open to playing absolutely anywhere in the world, but I think our main focus will start with playing shows at the venues around Toronto that we grew up seeing our favorite bands play at (if we are so fortunate to get booked there). I think it’s safe to say that when we do get our show dates sorted out, you can expect to hear our very honest attempts at ensuring the audience is having the best time possible while expressing our sound in a way that is exciting and entertaining.
Unseen Plays: If you could choose 3 bands you sound like, what would those bands be?
Modern Life Elixir: This is a hard one, I’d say maybe a mix of Reptar, Jimmy Eat World, and Sugar Ray. (I might be projecting a little bit)
Unseen Plays: What can we expect these upcoming months from Modern Life Elixir? Anything to highlight?
Modern Life Elixir: We plan to release a lot more singles in the coming months as we experiment with some new sounds, as well as a planned music video for our single “Rosetint”, and of course, we are taking to the stage as soon as we feel overly confident – we’ll be posting photos, videos, and new songs to our social media pages throughout that time, so follow along with us through this journey!
Unseen Plays: Last random questions, just for fun! What’s your favorite Nickelodeon show of your time?
Modern Life Elixir: I’m going to have to say CatDog. I love animals and the idea of owning a CatDog always sounded great but as I get older I realize it might be a bit biologically cruel. However, the show was hilarious and I watched it a lot growing up.
Unseen Plays: All right, where can people find you online? Your most active social media platform.
Modern Life Elixir: Instagram – we kind of use it as our unofficial website, any updates or media associated with us is usually posted there first. You can check that out at: https://www.instagram.com/modernlifeelixir/