THE music scene has a lot of choice…
but not that many original artists. I have been speaking with the promising, multi-talented songwriter Max Restaino about his current track, Sugar Rush, and what comes next; whether there are any tour dates approaching; touring and performing with Steps and Shane Filan – and how important his home of Sheffield is.
I learn more about Restaino’s influences and how he came into music; what it feels like being on the stage; what advice he would give to similar, new artists; how he spends his time away from music – and the musicians he grew up on.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm Max Restaino. I'm a songwriter, producer and a singer. I play the saxophone, piano; accordion and guitar.
Sugar Rush is your current track. It has done really well in the clubs! What is the story and inspiration behind that track?
I was really inspired when writing Sugar Rush.
I was hoping to sound a little Maroon 5. I'm really happy with it because I worked on the chorus for weeks and didn't settle for any old melody.
Do you think they’ll be more material coming very soon? What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new single at the moment called Angels Cry which I have written - and is being produced by the legendary music producer, Steve Levine (who produced for Culture Club and The Beach Boys).
You have supported Steps and are about to go on tour with Shane Filan. How does it feel securing these high-profile support slots? Did you learn a lot performing alongside Steps?
It’s a great experience supporting major artists: there is always something you learn with every show. The difference between the Rebecca Ferguson tour and the Steps (tour) was the fact Rebecca’s tour was in theatres and Steps’ was at arenas. In order to get the crowd going in the bigger venues, you have to you have to become a bigger performer and fill the stage.
Take me back to the start. How did music come into your life? When did you decide you wanted to be a songwriter?
My Italian grandparents brought back a buttoned accordion from Italy. I picked it up at five and was able to play it. From there, I went on to the piano, guitar and the saxophone. The songwriting part of it eventually surfaced and I started writing music at the age of eleven. I started producing music for myself as an artist.
Which musician did you grow up on? Can you remember the first album you ever bought?
My favourite music growing up, apart from Italian accordion Folk songs, were, usually, older bands such as E.L.O., Chris de Burgh and Michael Jackson. My favourite album has always been Breakfast In America by Supertramp - which is why I wanted to learn the saxophone.
Sheffield is your home. Do you think the city gets the credit it deserves?! How does the vibe in Sheffield differ to, say, London?
Not many people know, but Sheffield has quite a rich musical history with bands like The Human League, Def Leppard; Joe Cocker and Arctic Monkeys.
I think there are, possibly, more opportunities for upcoming artists in London.
What other gigs do you have coming up? Where can we catch you play later this year?
I have my own solo gig at the O2 Academy in Islington (in London) on 19th April. I’m also going on tour in late-April to May with Shane Filan. I’m looking forward to them. They should all be really fun. All the information will be on my website.
Can you describe the feeling you get when you’re on that stage?! Do you prefer the rush of the stage or the studiousness of the studio?
I love anything involving music...
The studio side is fun as you can be creative and come up with great ideas: the performing side is more exciting. It’s really nice getting the crowd going and transferring emotion with the songs you have written and worked on so hard.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
In 2018, I would like to get my new single played on international radio and, possibly, be signed to a label with the right contract.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
There are one or two achievements that I’m proud of. One for the bucket-list was having my album, The Time It Takes, available on the shelves of HMV...playing accordion on the Gary Barlow track, Let Me Go, and, also, performing at the 02 Arena.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I would say to any artists coming through: give it your all, always keep going and enjoy the process.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I like to hang out with friends. I have a table tennis table downstairs from my studio, so I look playing in breaks or after work. Ironically, my main getaway from working is listening to music.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
My favourite saxophone solo on one of my favourite songs, from my favourite album by one of my favourite bands: Supertramp – The Logical Song
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