Sasquatch! Music Festival Poster 2017

Sasquatch! Music Festival Poster 2017

On Saturday, May 27th, walking into the media room at Sasquatch! Music Festival, my hands were a bit shaky due to the can of Redbull I had chugged that morning mixed with the high levels of excitement, nerves, anxiety, and hopefulness all rolled up into one single feeling. Flashback two days previous, I was on a plane to Seattle, Washington, going over the questions I had prepared to ask the Arkells (a completely vibrant indie rock band from Hamilton, ON, Canada who have released four LPs to date) and pondering whether the questions would spark up an interesting conversation instead of a boring question/answer interview. I was imagining how tiresome it would be to be an artist that goes through so many interviews and has to answer the same questions each time. I had all of these questions and ideas jotted down in my notes section on my phone.

I was sitting at a table with a group of friends I met while in the media area, one being McKinley, who was conducting the interview before mine. We were going over our questions together, making sure we didn’t have the same ones and scrolling through the Arkell’s Instagram page trying to look for photos that would work as little icebreakers when they sat down. We ran across a photo of them in front of a Thai food restaurant in Seattle and I said that would be hilarious to bring up in the conversation.

When Max Kerman (lead vocals) walked in the door, he was wearing his trademark Softball team’s red cap reading ‘Pete Rose and the Gamblers’ along with a floral button up t-shirt with the sleeves cuffed and short black skinny jeans with all black socks and vans. He grabs a Redvine (licorice) as he looks around the room before Mckinley walks up to introduce himself. Their 15 minute interview goes by and then it was my turn to talk!

Some lesser-known facts are ahead…

Left: Mike DeAngelis (vocals / guitar) | Right: Max Kerman (lead vocals/guitar)

Left: Mike DeAngelis (vocals / guitar) | Right: Max Kerman (lead vocals/guitar)

Find out where Max’s favourite Thai Restaurant in the world is as well as what kinds of candy tantalize his taste bud. You’ll hear about a super celeb area where Mike saw Katy Perry, Kristin Stewart and Lana Del Rey. Plus ,you’ll see what Max says that both Chance The Rapper and Bruce Springsteen do so well. Oh, and Max even sings some Nelly! You don’t want to miss this!

Max and Mike Deangelis (lead guitar) are sitting on the large couch and get up to shake my hand as we introduce ourselves. I forgot how it came up, but for probably three minutes without my old school tape recorder on, we began talking about Philz Coffee, where I work and how they loved it when they went for the first time in San Francisco before their Bottom of the Hill show.

Max: “I’m surprised you weren’t rolling at all”

Kailey: “I know! I should’ve that was so candid!”

Max: “You should always be rolling”

Kailey: “It was candid I know this is my first interview ever, too”

Max: “Haha really?”

Mckinley: “Same with me.”

Max: “Oh really?” 

Mike: “Oh good, see you got to go after it.”

Kailey: “Haha. We were talking about how it was our first interview. He loosened you guys up for me. I’m from the website, Indie Underground.”

Max and Mike: “Cool.”

Kailey: “It’s out of Canada, and I’m not from Canada.”

Max:“It’s so bizarre, so he’s (Mckinley) Canadian and working for an American publication and vise versa.”

Kailey: “Yeah, and you guys are from Canada, how was it getting to Washington? Have you been here before?”

Max: “We have been to Washington, we’ve never been here though.”

Mike: “Yeah we’ve never been here, I did not expect it to look like this.”

Max: “Yeah you don’t pass it on the 404.”

Kailey:“Yeah, I fell asleep on the way here and forgot who I was with when I woke up haha.”

Max: “Who’d you come with?”

Kailey: “I came with these two girls I met on Facebook. I got sent here last minute and my editor said ‘you don’t have to go and I was like – oh no I’m going!’.”

Max: “Oh wow, so were they just random Sasquatchers?”

Kailey: “Random and happened to be like my age, really cool, good music taste.”

Max: “Oh good, friends for life?”

Kailey: “Oh yeah! We’re camping too.”

Mike: “Nice!”

Max: “Oh really? Right on, I mean, camping sounds like a nightmare to me but…”

Kailey: “What? I love camping in general. If you’re ever in California, go to Big Basin and Big Sur.”

Max: “Oh, is that the spot? Yeah, I’ve heard of Big Sur. We stayed in Seattle yesterday and went to the best thai restaurant in the world.”

Kailey: “Haha, I was gonna mention that.”

Max: “Yeah, yeah.”

Kailey: “I told Mckinley I saw it on Instagram and wondered if  it would be good to say, “How was the thai food?”, but I felt like that would have been creepy.”

Thai Tom - Seattle, WA

Thai Tom – Seattle, WA

Max: “No, it’s a good question. That Thai place is the greatest, just as good as we remembered. It’s at the top of University Street.” (Right: Arkells Instagram at Thai Tom – 4543 University Way NE, Seattle, WA)

Mike: “It was so good.”

Kailey: “Yeah, the girls I went with go to University of Washington, so that’s close.”

Max: “Oh nice, it’s right there. You gotta go if you get dropped off or something.”

Kailey: “I totally will. I’m getting dropped off there.”

Max: “Now I want a twitter report of what you got, or whatever, Instagram something like that.”

Kailey: “Haha for sure, so do you guys have any funny festival stories or tour stories?”

Max: “We just played Coachella a few weeks ago, and the first weekend we were there had a lot of celebrities, so it was very surreal like being backstage at the artist compound, I was sitting like 5 feet away from Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Kailey: “Oh thats really cool, I would get so nervous.”

Max: “It was very exciting, I saw one of the Jenners dancing around too, I don’t know which one it was.”

Kailey: “Probably Kendall, I saw her at Coachella last year.”

Kristen Stewart at Coachella - Nylon Magazine

Kristen Stewart at Coachella – Nylon Magazine

Mike: “I saw a weird moment after FUTURE’s set in some kind of like super celeb area in a fenced off passageway that goes through the centre between the two sides of the crowd. It almost seemed like a fashion show runway. There was a guy smoking this giant joint and he had two girls with him – Katy Perry and what’s her name? She had a shaved head uh uh she was Bella in Twilight.”

Kailey: “Kristin Stewart!”

Mike: “Yeah!”

Mike: “They were like holding hands and then Lana Del Rey was there.”

Kailey: “Haha – that sounds like a weird dream.”

Mike: “It was very dreamstate-esqe.”

Kailey: “One part at Coachella that I remember was when Lorde walked past me and she had a hat on and touched my hand haha.”

Max: “Woo! Lorde’s set was one of my favourite sets at Coachella – she’s good!”

Kailey: “So I heard you guys are really into catering.”

Max: “Haha. You did your homework!”

Mike: “Yeah!”

Kailey: “Haha, I kinda did but not in a creepy way.”

Max: “No, its good!”

Max: “The best catering was in Montréal at Osheaga. That festival’s backstage was run like this big time celebrity chef in Montréal – not like a Guy Fieri celebrity.”

Kailey: “Haha! There’s a Guy Fieri truck over there.”

Max: “Oh really? Coachella was good (said to Mike).”

Mike: “I thought Coachella had generally nice food which is rare.”

Kailey: “So you’re also really into podcasts about sports and politics and a bunch of other stuff.”

Max: “Yeahhhhh!”

Kailey: “When artists have really big platforms, I think it’s really important to talk about those topics because a lot of music doesn’t. So how do you turn these rough subjects into really great catchy rock songs during your writing process?”

Max: “I admire artists that can include a meaningful message in their songs. To me, there’s a way to do it where you’re addressing an issue, but you’re also showing compassion and empathy.”

Kailey: “That’s awesome, like a sense of hope.”

Chance The Rapper

Chance The Rapper

Max: “I love Springsteen for that reason because he’s really good at talking about human stories of the people in his community and the struggles of life which is the same thing with like Chance The Rapper. He talks about people in his community, he’s hopeful, he’s got a good sense of humour about it, but he can also like touch your heart strings.”

Kailey: “Are you excited to see Chance The Rapper’s set?”

Max: “We unfortunately leave before his set.”

Max: “I’ve watched like every single one of his live performances, they’re the greatest, but I think that’s the way I kind of take anything I love from podcasts and put it in music.”

Kailey: “Going off of that, I know you get asked constantly about how your music has changed from album to album.” 

Max: “True.”

Kailey: “And it probably gets really annoying, so I was wondering what album you like playing the most songs from live?”

Max: “Hmm, usually it’s the most recent album because we feel most comfortable with those songs.”

Photo Description:
Max Kerman gets up close and personal with the Sasquatch! crowd after jumping over Kailey’s head from the stage. Photos by Kailey Harvey.

Kailey: “What are your favourite songs to play?

Max: “The stuff on the first record (‘Jackson Square’) has these big ol’ power chords thats actually on a certain level, the most fun thing to do. For me, theres no finesse required, its just big and good.”

Mike: “I think the second record is actually like the most challenging to play in a lot of ways. I think we were the most disconnected with playing live at that particular time. It’s like a very studio-y record, so I think that ones the most difficult to play.”

Kailey: “So it was more focused on like recording rather than playing live. So your new single. ‘Knocking At The Door’, congratulations by the way, it’s really good. It has a really big vibe of determination and a sense of pent up energy in it, was that something you just had inside and had to get out?”

Max: “Thanks! That’s a really good observation. I started saying, “knocking at the door” as term in January/February around America. Related to that, is that we have this other song called ‘Hung Up’ on our last record (Morning Report). And in the middle of that song I say, “Now here I am showing up at your door” and “Gatekeepers are keeping me out”. And the Women’s March had just happened and people we were crossing back and forth from Canada to get into the country and so thats where the lyric, “I’m knocking at the door (said once), I’m knocking at the door (said twice!)” came from. When you’re trying to write a song and you’re like whats a little nugget to get really excited about that makes you so excited that you write the song around it.” 

Kailey: “It’s a really good song and it sounds like you’re excited even when its recorded so I’m stoked to see it live tonight. The way you perform with an audience, do you like looking at one person and connecting with them or do you kinda just move all around stage?”

Max: “I always try to connect with the audience, but it depends on the day, and/or the venue or when you’re playing can really change the crowd. When we’re headlining, it’s not really easy because you go on stage then you have to work for it a bit more… I try to find the people having a good time.”

Kailey: “Thats always me, I was at a festival in the front row once and I didn’t know who the band was and I was dancing like crazy with two of my friends and they kept coming to us and we were on their video on Instagram haha.”

Max: “Oh really? Man, which one?”

Kailey: “It was at BFD (Big F***ing Deal) at Shoreline in the Bay Area for 105.3 radio station.”

Max: “Yeah, it’s all about the people having a good time.”

Kailey: “Do you like an intimate like Bottom of the Hill kinda thing or huge venues?”

Max: “Well they’re good for different reasons. Each offers a different experience. We’ve had really memorable shows in little bars and we’ve had really memorable shows in big venues.”

Kailey: “I have these little quick-fire questions. Ok, so favourite era of music?”

Max: “Favourite era of music? Ohh uhh I mean I love music today. Ehh, I love music!”

Kailey: “Good answer.”

Mike: “The ’60s were pretty cool because it feels like they were onto something new.”

Kailey: “Thats my favourite era too! I’ve heard you’re a big fan of Destiny’s Child and Nelly.”

Max: (laughs)

Kailey: “If you were to do karaoke with us right now, what would be your go to by one of them?”

Max: “Ohh, ‘Ride With Me’ by Nelly!”

Kailey: “Wanna sing a line?”

Max sings: “If you wanna go and take a ride with me We 3-wheeling in the fo’ with the gold D’s oh why do I live this way? (Hey, must be the money!)”

Kailey: “I was waiting for that part!”

Max: “We actually used a Nelly lyric in our song ‘Dirty Blonde’, uh {sings} ‘Street sweeper baby passing by and I tell ya it’s starting to roar’… that’s just a Nelly lyric. {sings} I’m going down down baby your street in a Range Rover street sweeper baby, cocked ready to let it go.”

Kailey: “Canadian candy or American candy?”

Max: “American candy.”

Kailey: “‘American Candy’, which is a Maine album. Did you tour with the Maine?”

Max: “Yeah, love those guys, they’re great guys. American candy because there’re so many more varieties. I think candy manufacturers and chip manufacturers combine to make the most absurd combinations.”

Mike: “Here’s a little known Max fact, he likes the weirdest possible candy. Like if they came up with like a candy like a James Harden gummy bear stuffed in a Redline with caramel mixed with popcorn he’d be like, ‘Ah yeah I’m gonna buy it.'”

Kailey: “Yeah, I accidentally bought a rocky road Snickers on the way here.”

Max: “I’d be very intrigued by that.”

Kailey: “Yeah its good, its made with dark chocolate and almonds, kinda weird.”

Max: “Oh wow!”

Kailey: “Thank you guys so much for hanging out.”

Max: “Thank you! You nailed it your first interview. Great to meet you, see you at the set!”

Kailey: “Yeah! I’ll be in front!”

Left to right: Max Kerman, Kailey Harvey and Mike DeAngelis

Left to right: Max Kerman, Kailey Harvey and Mike DeAngelis

Max and Mike were so funny and cool to hang out with. In the end, I didn’t read off of anything and just wanted to have a conversation with them and get to know them a little more, so their fans reading this would feel like they’re talking to them too. I could tell that it was refreshing for them to not feel so formal and hang out at a festival that doesn’t feel like work. As for new music, they said maybe, so no big hints yet.

A thousand thank you’s to the Arkells for hanging out and performing such a fun set!

Connect with the ARKELLS:
Website (Check their tour dates!) | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bandcamp

Connect with Indie Underground (indieug):
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat | SpotifyHype Machine

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Kailey Harvey

Left handed classic rock junkie who's down to 3 cups of coffee a day. Favorite music genres range from lo-fi surf rock to psychedelic rock. Creating and sharing art that brings like-minded people together is what keeps the earth turning.