Interview super chicks dj maxhsu talks new album recollectiongroup break

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Published on March 12, 2014

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The Underground Your Alternative Christian Voice http://theundergroundsite.com Interview: Superchick’s DJ Max Hsu talks about new album,'Recollection,' group break up On October 29, seminal Christian alternative band, Superchick released Recollection, a CD/DVD that combined 11 of the band's best-loved hits with five brand-new songs including “This Is The Time” which is set to be featured in the upcoming film “God’s Not Dead.” The album closes out a chapter for the band, who recently announced that they were calling it quits primarily due to the cancer-related death of the band’s drummer, Chase Lovelace. Recently, I got a chance to speak with Superchick’s founder and DJ Max Hsu about the new album, Chase, breaking up and what the future holds. Thinking back on your greatest hits, which songs were the most fun to record? Which songs got the biggest response from fans? There's the initial excitement when you realize you've got something worth working on and there's the moment when you have the final puzzle piece and it all comes together. Those are the two best moments. Everything in between is a roller coaster ride of trying to add to what you liked. The more you liked your first bit, the harder it can be to meet your own bar. Sometimes someone will add something to the song that takes it in a different better direction or they just knock it out of the park. Those moments are very exciting; you can get goosebumps. But for me personally there is a lot of trying things that don't work. I've usually got at least four 1 / 4

The Underground Your Alternative Christian Voice http://theundergroundsite.com versions of a song, sometimes more. Some of them have completely different melodies and lyrics. I thought I was the only one who did this till Steve Lillywhite played me a U2 song with completely different lyrics than what made it to the radio. When it's your job to write a song that will feed the people who depend on you it can be a lot of pressure. Typically you're also trying to meet a deadline so you make up for the lack to time by skipping sleep which doesn't add to the creativity. On top of that you're trying not to repeat yourself or accidentally rip off someone else's song. It can be incredibly satisfying however, when you finish a song and you want to turn it up and listen to it loud and you marvel; "Hey I did that! I made this out of nothing." I imagine it's as close as I am going to get to understanding childbirth as a man. "Stand in the Rain" was probably the fastest we'd ever recorded a song. Steve (Lillywhite) asked me to add a song to the Beauty from Pain release for Columbia and he told me we'd have a week to do it. I'd sketched out the chorus the week before and so I dragged the band into the studio and played it for them on a baby Taylor guitar and said "well, we've got a week to make that into a proper song." We rented out a place called the Castle and basically lived there till it was done. Somehow we pulled it off, although I went back and redid some of the things we got wrong the first time when I made the radio mix. I am always surprised when people respond to songs. I usually feel like whatever I was trying to say came out so clumsily that people miss the underlying point. There was an accident in Illinois where a school bus got hit by a train. A lot of kids died and the school released a book of poetry and art created by the survivors and the people who lost kids/friends. It was incredibly raw and honest. I remember one piece said "If I had known that was the last time I was going to see you, I wouldn't have yelled at you about your room, I would have held you and told you I loved you." That impacted me profoundly. I tried for years to turn that feeling into a song and the closest I got was "We Live," but to me the song fell short of capturing my emotions. I was surprised when people were impacted by it. I remember a radio DJ told me that one woman called in to say "please don't play that song because it makes me so uncomfortable, I can't listen to it, because I have kids." I thought that was actually a good thing. What I was trying to say is uncomfortable. Sometimes we start to sleepwalk through life and we don't live as intentionally as we would if we knew it was the last week of summer vacation. If this was your last year, do the things that matter to you now actually matter? How did you choose the songs to go on your greatest hits? Did you choose based on album sales or something else? Time has a way of showing you which songs are good and which songs seemed awesome at the time but are actually bad. We didn't have to debate about which songs to choose. Everyone has a favorite that didn't make the cut but we all agreed on the songs that did. I personally pushed the label to get as many songs on there as possible. It's tempting to put the songs on there that you loved but no one else seemed to, but sometimes you just have to realize that your favorite song is the walnut of the mixed nuts. Do you explore any new musical territory on the new songs on this "recollection?" Mostly due to my desire to not repeat myself, I feel like we've explored new musical territory on 2 / 4

The Underground Your Alternative Christian Voice http://theundergroundsite.com every album we've done. When I started music I was fascinated by synthesizers, drum machines and electronic music and then I went through a phase some musicians go through where you discount what you can do and wish you could do something else. I spent quite awhile making guitar oriented records or "real music" and finally on this record I decided it was ok to go back to my roots. I got on Ebay and bought a roomful of vintage synths and went back to where I first learned to love music. If you listen to "Mister Dj", it's practically the programmers version of a guitar solo. I love adding tiny details of ear candy that you'd have to listen to 10 times to catch. We've always been a mashup of genres though and that mix and match approach runs through all the music. Why should fans (and people just discovering you guys) go out and get this album? Because Superchick is about the ridiculous things that can happen if you keep putting yourself out there and trying. We're not particularly talented people but we had this idea we wanted to spread and it took us all over the world and we had the most amazing time. We believe life can be amazing if you live intentionally with courage and faith and we tried to write a soundtrack for that. The lyrics are essentially the things we found that worked. If you don't feel like reading the lyrics, I will summarize it here: 1. Learn to dream. 2. Turn the dreams into plans and get started. 3. Learn from failure 4. Repeat The end goal of all this is not some "success" destination but to turn yourself into the kind of person that keeps walking forward no matter how many times you get knocked down. Like I tell people when I coach volleyball - Either you hit the ball or the ball hits you. Become the person who hits the ball. You were made to hit the ball. You guys are still on top of your game, so why are you guys breaking up?Why not try to go on without Chase? The Who, Queen, AC/DC.I can think of a number of bands who tried to go on when one of their members died with varying degrees of success. It can be hard to understand if you've never had someone close to you die, but you don't simply move on and replace them. Grief is complex and it affects everyone in different ways. I'm not saying it won't ever happen, but to me personally, it feels like it would be disrespectful to audition new drummers. How are the new songs on this album different from some of the other stuff you've recorded in the past? As a songwriter I find that many times I write words that I need to hear. All of our records have 3 / 4

The Underground Your Alternative Christian Voice http://theundergroundsite.com reflected where we've been at personally at the time. The new songs are about the discipline of joy. It's a learned and practiced skill to focus on what you are blessed with rather than letting the negative things drag you down. Some of the lyrics may seem trite, but we've spent quite a lot of time in hospitals while we were making these songs and the what seems trite can be revealed as truth when in the light of tragedy. It was a rough time for all of us with miscarriages and premie babies and cancer and the economic crash. But when you go through those things, you realize that a lot of things we let get us down are things that we let get us down and it's a choice we make. A huge wake up call is just to walk through the children's surgery wing of any major hospital. I realized then that most of the time I have logistical problems, not actual problems and I was shamed to see children being wheeled into chemo and facing it with more grace and courage than I can bring to my life. Did Chase help write any of the new songs on the album? Which songs on the album do you think Chase would be particularly proud of? While we didn't get any of his drum playing on the record, Chase did help me with some of the rhythm programming, most notably on Sunshine. I'm sure his drummer friends will recognize his drum fills. I'm not a drummer so when I program drums I always check with a drummer and sometimes, as was the case with "Hope" I program things that no drummer would or should play. We spent a long time trying to figure out exactly what the drums were supposed to do, that song has this odd urban 6/8 feel that I've never heard anywhere else. It was tricky, it felt like we were inventing the wheel again. I know Chase was particularly fond of "Sunshine," "Mister Dj" and "Hope." Will you guys be touring in support of this album? No What's next for you guys? Is there the possibility of the band formerly known as Superchick morphing into some new entity? I believe we will all continue to create in some way. Tricia has a solo project, Dave has a jazz project, I've got a long backlog of projects I need to get back to. Everyone in the band has hung up their capes but it's possible that if the world calls, Superchick will return. Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org) 4 / 4

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