Maxi’s new destiny
Former Faithless frontman looks ahead to Jazz Cafe gig with new band The E-Type Boys
10 March, 2017 — By Róisín Gadelrab
Former Faithless frontman maxi Jazz has turned his attention to new band The E-Type Boys
“I’M not that guy anymore, I don’t write rhymes over beats, I pick up a guitar. That’s what I do now.”
Former Faithless frontman Maxi Jazz has undergone a transformation and is very much at peace with the direction his music has taken him in more recent years.
Don’t expect to find him returning to the world-famous band he fronted for 20 years any time soon. Maxi has moved on, picking up songs he wrote on a guitar at his mother’s house in Jamaica and concentrating on his new band, The E-Type Boys, playing a mix of melodic funk and blues mixed with reggae beats, dub basslines and Jamaican melodies.
So, no chance he’ll be rejoining Faithless, then?
“I’ll be 60 on my next birthday,” says Maxi. “I was 36 when we started, but no, we’ve done millions of shows all over the world and I couldn’t be more proud of what we managed to accomplish. However, there comes a time when I think I can’t be jumping onstage for one-and-a-half hours to songs I wrote years ago, when I have songs I’ve written now.”
Maxi and The E-Type Boys play Jazz Cafe on April 22.
“The Jazz Cafe is going to get favoured with the kickhorns – there’ll be 13 of us onstage, more than a football team. We’ve got two albums of material,” he says.
It is 7pm on Sunday when we speak and Maxi is still recovering from the night before.
“Let’s just say I haven’t quite left me bed yet,” he says. “I was DJing until about 5am and then I didn’t feel myself. It was a bit of a late one. One of my good friends, Dave Campbell, we used to DJ together back in the 80s and we haven’t done so for a while.”
While in recent years Maxi has cut back on DJing, he is returning to the scene for very practical reasons.
He said: “I’ve got a big band – there’s nine of us, and if I bring the horn section, that’s 13. People (promoters) aren’t necessarily prepared to pay to get the nine-piece band when we haven’t even had a hit yet, so I’m DJing to cover the shortfall.”
He has just returned from two weeks at his mother’s house, where he finds the space to write.
“I could have done with a month more,” says Maxi.
It’s been a decade since he first picked up a guitar to work on his own material.
“About 10 years ago I wrote my first song in my mum’s house in Jamaica,” he said. “It only took about one-and-a-half hours to write a song and another two to learn to sing and play it – because if you write a song, you want to play it to your mum in the morning.”
He has since built his own studio there.
“Songs have been coming quickly,” he says.
“When I’m at my mum’s house I feel they come easier. Principally you haven’t got the normal stuff in your mind, you can see the ocean from the breakfast bar. All the things that fill your mind in London leave you as you leave the plane in 30 degrees into Daddy’s arms…I never understood what holidays were for and now I get it. Once you let your mind calm, you allow your creativity to bubble up.”
Maxi spent several winters working on songs in Jamaica after leaving Faithless. By 2014 he was ready to get a band together and The E-Type Boys were formed. The following year they were supporting Faithless on their reunion tour, alternating small solo shows with warm-up sets to thousands.
Maxi’s writing reflects his views on the world today, he said, adding: “My lyrics are invested in my Buddhist faith. I look at the world from a Buddhist perspective, rather than my former Christian perspective. I take great interest in what’s going on around the world and, more recently, looking at it with a heavy heart.
“I was going to say I’m not political, but it’s not that, it’s just that I don’t believe politics has the power to change anything – I think it’s people, when they act collectively.”
He said he has found recent events and the turn to isolationism “pretty shocking”, adding: “All this isolationism, I think, what the hell are you playing at? I think you’re stronger together.”
New single Change Our Destiny, (out tomorrow, March 10) reflects Maxi’s positive approach.
“With Change Our Destiny, the big line is, ‘we’ve all been blessed with the power of alchemy, transform poison into medicine and change our destiny’. Most of my growing up I had all kinds of horrible things happen, as most people have. In hindsight I thought that led to something better. Essentially, it’s life teaching you a lesson, some things you can’t learn the easy way,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. When obstacles come up, I don’t have that ‘why me?’ attitude, I roll up my sleeves and say, ‘come on’. Live your life exactly the way you feel it should be lived. In my case it’s with as much positivity as I can dredge out of myself. By what you accomplish you can inspire other people to do the same.”