Since they signed to Hassle Records in September last year, life for Max Raptor has turned into something of a whirlwind adventure. “We were writing, hoping to get onto a new label, out there looking around,” frontman Wil Ray recalls of the group’s activity twelve months ago. “Nothing was really happening.” Putting proof in the age-old belief that ‘good things come to those who wait’ (or ‘use their time to go out and make them happen’, as the case may be), things didn’t stay quiet for long.
“We got talking to Hassle, put down the contract, and since then it’s been non-stop,” the group exclaim. Putting out EP ‘Damage Appreciation’ in November, and now gearing up to release a full-length album, thing have certainly heated up fast for the Midlands quartet. “It was maybe a month after signing we organised the EP, put that into action, then went straight back in to record the album just before Christmas.”
Recorded at Brighton Electric Studio, the band’s self-titled offering may have destroyed their festive spirit (“it was right up until Christmas Eve, ruined our Christmas – but that doesn’t matter”), but the group couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. “The EP we were really, really happy with, but we wanted the album to sound even more live,” Wil expresses. “We’re the happiest with this out of all of them. I think they all have their own value: they all fit in well and show our progress, which is quite a cool thing.”
With a refined confidence and a tightly-honed sense of who they are and where they want to be, Max Raptor have emerged with an album purposefully built to challenge. “Our first record, ‘Portraits’, was about eight different characters. This is more of an overview,” they express. “We delved into politics, and being unhappy with the way everything’s sort of amalgamated and the same. Things need to change because people are getting so bored of everything.”
Max Raptor have never shied from tackling the status quo. “All of our lyrics are pretty much about current politics, about this country, and about people we know or people we’ve met,” they assert. New single ‘Old Romantics’ is the first taste of the defiant direction the group have made their own. “It’s about my opinion on how things are losing their soul a bit,” Wil portrays. “Everything’s very fast. Everything’s very easy. People pick things up and put things down. I think it’s a whole tech thing. People don’t talk as much.”
Frustrated with the world around them, Max Raptor have put their thoughts into action, and created a record that’s both an outlet for anger and a rousing cry for action. “Treat people with the respect that you want to be treated with!” Wil declares. “If you actually want to do something, go and do it. One of the songs on the album is about these guys that we know,” he introduces. “They always say that they’re going to do something. They’re going to do this. They’re going to do that. They’ve got all these ideas and plans, but it never comes to anything, they just sit around and drink and talk.”
“Being in a band, we’re not here to preach to people,” Wil clarifies. “But we write about situations that do affect everyone. That’s when people really relate to the tracks.” Laying their opinions on the line, and wearing their heartfelt opinions on their collective sleeve, all Max Raptor want is for their words to be heard and their energy to be felt. “I just want more and more people to listen to the music,” the frontman enthuses. “That’s the cool thing about this record, I think they are. It’s got a wider reach.” Having recently returned from playing near sold out shows in Switzerland, the group’s growth over the past six months has been undeniable.
“It’s a very hard slog. We’ve gone past the point where a normal person would quit,” Wil grimaces, “but it teaches you loyalties. It makes you prioritise music over absolutely everything, which is not something I ever thought I do before I started the band. Back we didn’t really have a clue.” With the band at the forefront of everything they do, Max Raptor are finally breaking through on the scale they always knew they were capable of. It seems fitting that they should do so with an album that shares its name with their own.
As for what can be expected from the upcoming record: “fast, energetic, British punk, rock and roll…” Wil starts, turning to his band mates for help. “…That you will like…” “…that you should buy…” “…today! At maxraptor.co.uk,” they offer. “Just make something up that sounds great, then say I said it,” Wil laughs. However you choose to describe it or define it, Max Raptor are setting themselves a brand new precedent. All that’s left to do is enjoy the ride.
Taken from the April issue of Upset – order your copy here. Max Raptor’s self-titled album is out 22nd April.