South London’s JOEY MAXWELL is not just striking chords but starting conversations, delving into the human psyche through authentic, relatable narratives that hit home. Read our latest Hype playlist cover feature now.
Words: Sam Taylor.
Photos: Ryan Deag.
South London’s alt-pop gem, Joey Maxwell, is diving headfirst into uncharted waters with his upcoming EP, ‘dont know how to feel about this’, a bold sequel to his debut mixtape. This fresh endeavour showcases Joey’s newfound independence, dissecting the gnarly realms of self-doubt and anxiety. His sonic palate is shifting, embracing a 90s grunge vibe, especially palpable in latest offering ‘shoelaces’ – a deep dive into social anxiety’s suffocating grasp. Through it, Joey paints a vivid picture of a party scene, underlining the unspoken fears we all harbour in social setups, the nagging worry of others’ judgments, and a common thread of insecurity.
With ‘shoelaces’ out now and his EP on the horizon, Joey is not just striking chords but starting conversations, delving into the human psyche through authentic, relatable narratives that hit home. We caught up with him for a quick catch-up.
Hi Joey! How’s it going? What are you up to today, anything fun?
Hello, I am well thanks, how are you? Probably just gonna watch YouTube and build Lego later.
“I called it that as a tongue-in-cheek nod to shoegaze, and it just stuck”Joey Maxwell
You’ve just released a new single, ‘shoelaces’ – what’s it about, where did it come from? Why shoelaces?
‘shoelaces’ is about social anxiety. It follows different perspectives of a party, those internal thoughts desperately worrying about what other people think of you when the reality is that everyone else is probably in the same boat, staring at their shoelaces. I wanted to channel all that nervous emotion and challenge myself to flick between first and third person to tell the different narratives. ‘shoelaces’ was the title of the demo; I called it that as a tongue-in-cheek nod to shoegaze, and it just stuck.
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
Just the pair that I was born in.
Your new songs all have a bit of a different vibe to your earlier material – what prompted the evolution?
I think I’m honouring my influences a lot more now. I grew up listening to midwest emo, 90s grunge, post-punk and generally heavier music than what I was making before. Returning to a DIY setup with no label or anything, making the music I truly want to make has probably prompted it all. It definitely feels more comfortable.
Tell us about your new EP; how long have you been working on it? What does it mean to you?
The new EP is called ‘dont know how to feel about this’. I went with that title because I actually don’t know how to feel about any of this! I have no idea what is going to happen, who, if anyone, is going to care, but I’m okay with it. I made these songs for me. It’s probably not a great answer, but that’s really the truth. I wasn’t thinking about being an artist or had a pre-conception of how it might perform. I really just want to be as deliberate as possible now. Writing and releasing music in a journalistic way is cathartic for me, pulling together this EP helped me to enjoy being creative again.
What’s the most unexpected place or situation where inspiration for a song on your EP struck?
Nothing too mental, but I am that person voice noting melodies on trains. I hum constantly, and when I’m next to a busy road, I sing the lyrics really loudly. There’s a dual carriageway next to my house; it’s a great place to see how the lyrics sound when you scream them.
“There’s a dual carriageway next to my house; it’s a great place to see how the lyrics sound when you scream them”Joey Maxwell
If your EP was the soundtrack to a movie, what genre would the movie be, and who would star in it?
Anything with aliens in it would be cool, or serial killers. Or serial killer aliens.
You’re self-releasing now, right? How are you finding that? What’s been the biggest challenge?
Aside from the financial aspect… probably having to make continuous critical decisions. I second-guess myself all the time. I’m having to operate on gut feeling as the main driver in pretty much every decision. Although the payoff of being across everything and having true creative control has definitely been worth it, these songs are the most un-diluted version of themselves.
What else are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a new EP and also plotting a headline tour for next April!
Is there anything else we should know?
Please come to my show in London, it’s on 19th October. Thanks for having me, Dork; it really means a lot. ■
L’objectif’s new single ‘ITSA’ is out now. Follow Dork’s Hype Spotify playlist here.