Max Zimmet and his new bluegrass project is going to start making some waves in the Austin music scene and beyond. Because when it comes to traditional bluegrass and folk music, Max Zimmet & Hot Pickin’ Bluegrass is as traditional as it gets. With a superstar line-up of Austin folk musicians to back Zimmet, he is positioned for success in the acoustic music landscape.
AMC had the chance to catch up with Max to learn more about this great new project of his.
AMC: Tell me why this group is so important to you, as a musician, at this point in your life?
Max: Well, I’m really excited about the group. I’ve played in various configurations over the years, but it’s the first real band that I started. It’s been so cool to see it go from one gig and some possibilities, to getting an ever increasing number of great gigs. So, very exciting for me, and an honor and pleasure to play with the guys I’m playing with.
AMC: What about this configuration is so great for you?
Max: I’m playing with very seasoned musicians. Naturally that stretches and challenges me. The guys brings lot of experience and talent. I’m learning a lot. It’s a good way to learn new tunes that the guys bring to the group. And of course there’s a lot to learn about the business aspect- how to book and other business stuff.
AMC: What would you say you’ve learned the most so far?
Max: That’s an interesting question. Importance of collaboration, good communication, learning new tunes, careful listening while performing. Also I’ve learned quite a bit about trying to book shows – the art of creating a good set list. Also, creating a website. And, the social media aspect.
AMC: How do you see your experience playing into the mix?
Max: I have written some originals (instrumentals), and we’re doing some of those at our shows. I have tunes/songs I really like and bring some of those to the band. Thoughts about arranging, etc. I think I have done a pretty reasonable job of finding gigs for the band, and have done virtually all of that for us.
AMC: As you’ve grown what have been some challenges or, growing pains along the way?
Max: Learning about sound and optimizing my sound at a live performance. Learning to write better material and variations. Being able to play at a show when someone decides to play a song I’ve never heard of.
AMC: Musically, have you found it a positive challenge working with this selection of instruments?
Max: I love the bluegrass instrumentation, and am pretty comfortable with it. I played classical guitar from about age 8, but got to bluegrass pretty early, say about age 10 or 11. I think the instruments fit so well together. We even , originals, some swing, country, even some Chuck Berry and The Beatles.
AMC: Tell us whats next for the group?
Max: We’re excited about the direction, which is mostly to play more gigs and some gigs we’re pretty excited about, and just see where things go.
AMC: Albums and more videos in the near future?
Max: We definitely hope to get more videos, primarily from our live shows. I’d love for the band to do some recording, but we don’t have a timetable for that yet. Everyone is pretty busy, but I’d love to.
AMC: Where can we catch you fellas at next?
Max: We’re playing at Ray Benson’s Rattle Inn this coming Friday, from 10-11 PM. We’re doing a show at a launch party for Tea Collection, a San Francisco company, at TOMS in S. Austin on 7/28. We’ll take a little break until mid-August. We have a bunch of shows from mid-August to the end of the year, including a house concert, show at Luckenbach, wineries and other venues.
AMC: I want to thank you for your time today!
Max: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! Very good talking to you.
Find more of Max Zimmet & Hot Pickin’ Bluegrass here: http://maxzimmethotpickinbluegrass.com