There’s been something retro-fun and immediate about the music of 60’s Nightclub, the solo brainchild of The Levis lead singer Max Stokes. Given the project started as a bit of fun to keep Max occupied and sane during those early lockdown days, its proven to be an incredibly productive spell for the Levis frontman, with a whole 10 songs produced and released on soundcloud via a bedroom iPad. These are very accessible songs about everyday life.
I had spoken with Max during the early days of lockdown and at that point he was simply enjoying the liberation of getting a song ready and then just launching it, without thinking too much about strategy and promotion. Already he was buzzed that folk were feeding on the 60’s Nightclub vibe.
The latest and tenth 60’s Nightclub track Found A Way offers a by now customary jaunty and bouncy vibe. In common with the other 60s Nightclub tracks, deceptively easy and catchy are the buzz words. I love the natural melody of the 60’s Nightclub songs and Found A Way is no exception. The track is a keeper that’s for certain. Rather than get lost in the maze of my own experience, I thought I’d ask the man direct to share what the song is about.
“I could definitely pick out some lyrics in there that do have personal meaning to me.
However when I sit down to write lyrics to a song I try to throw in a few autobiographical parts but also leave it open to interpretation for people so anyone can make it relate to them.
If I were to pin down a theme of the song I’d say it would be when you get hung up about things in you’re past wishing you could go back and do something again differently or just relive it again because things just seemed better back then.”
As is the way of the unintended way of the world, Max’s fun side project has taken on a life of its own with well deserved interest from BBC Introducing who have shouted the 60’s Nightclub tracks across the airwaves on a number of occasions.
I know that recording in lockdown presented its own challenges, so I also asked Max about how the song came about. To my ear, it had something of the innocence of an earlier age and perhaps a hint of the bubblegum pop era, but with a modern twist.
Max explained: “I’d just picked up this old Yamaha portasound keyboard from one of my mates. I was eager to use it on a new track, So when I sat down and started writing I wanted to use the keyboard as my main tool”.
I was listening to a lot of the band Phoenix at the time and particularly this one song Lisztomania which has this great mix of all different types of guitar sounds and keyboards moulded together. Since I had this new keyboard to play around with, I wanted to try and emulated that sound. So I’d definitely list that tune as a big influence on the song. Also, Foster The People.
I tried to take those influences and then add a dreamy poppy twist to the song like most of the other 60’s tunes“.
My day job work (ha, the one that pays the bar bill) requires me to collaborate with lots of different people, and I’m always fascinated to hear from them how they have spent lockdown and if it has had any positives. It was only natural the question was on my tongue for Max in context for his 60’s Nightclub project.
“When I sat down at the start of lockdown messing around on garage band I had no idea what I was doing, I had no interface no proper microphones or anything. All I was using was the built-in I pad mic, a guitar, an amp, and garage band.
So I’ve definitely learnt so much about music production whilst doing these 10 songs and I’ll be taking that knowledge with me when it comes to recording the next 60’s release with better gear, software, and other talented musicians to help out…”
Max has revealed he is looking for something special next time for 60’s Nightclub where the track will be launched wider and onto Spotify. As Max says: “The plan is to take things to the next level with this single so there will be more info on it very very soon”.
* Images taken from 60s Nightclub Social Media