In case you missed it, August had one of the best releases of the year come out. At Least I’m Free in the sophomore album by Australian band Waax.
It features “No Doz” co-written by K. Flay, “Dangerous” co-written by Linda Perry, “Most Hated Girl”, ”Help Me Hell” and “Read Receipts.”
Waax is Maz DeVita, James Gatling, Ewan Birtwell and Tom Bloomfield. Their first album Big Grief came out in 2019 and was produced by Bernard Fanning & Nick DiDia who have worked from everyone from Powderfinger to Pearl Jam. When making their second album, Waax brought them back.
Waax is a post punk powerhouse with driving guitars. Waax demonstrates a fierce independence in style and craft. FEMMUSIC was honored to email with Maz DeVita about the new album before they start touring in October. #waax_band
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making At Least I’m Free?
MD: The most obvious one is the pandemic! Trying to stay focused and keeping things on track was difficult when the world was falling apart. But like everyone else, we kept the faith and soldiered on.
FEMMUSIC: What were your goals with the album?
MD: To be as authentic to ourselves as possible. And to make a record with zero rules or expectations!
FEMMUSIC: Bernard Fanning & Nick DiDia produced the album. They produced your first album, Big Grief. What made you decide to work with them again? What was different working with them this time?
MD: It was a situation that sort of just appeared naturally! The timing was right and it felt right. The difference this time was that we have a bit more experience under our belts and it felt more relaxed.
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn making Big Grief that prepared you to make At Least I’m Free?
MD: I learnt to trust my instincts and my worth as a songwriter. I feel like with the first album I was a bit unsure of myself – after releasing it I did a lot of personal growth and when this record came around I knew I was fully aware of my port and properly believed in myself.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your writing collaborations. What were you looking for in working with Linda Perry & K. Flay? What was unexpected?
MD: I was hungry for experiences – which is always something deeply ingrained in me. So having the opportunity to go to LA and have these sessions was the dream. I didn’t think I expected to be so changed by the trip. It made me fall in love with LA and the magic that can be had there. Linda taught me to embrace my raw vocal tone and K.Flay taught me how to be more rhythmic with my phrase delivery.
FEMMUSIC: On a similar vein, how is your songwriting different when you write alone (or in band) vs co-writing with someone else?
MD: I think I pick up on everyone’s energy when I’m in a session so it changes day to day no matter who I’m in a room with.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music business?
MD: I think people need to be more transparent. Fuck the illusion. It’s hard work and people can be fake. Expect to learn some lessons.
FEMMUSIC: What song, not your own, has had the biggest impact of you and why?
MD: “Time (The Revelator)” by Gillian Welch. Every line in that song is the ultimate truth. You can try to predict the future as much as you want but at the end of the day time is the true revelator.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music business, how have you been discriminated against, and what mechanisms do you use to overcome it?
MD: I feel like more so in the earlier years of my career, people have tried to sway my decisions or make me second guess myself even if they’re coming from a place of good intent. It’s annoying. I just make sure I keep people accountable where I can and walk away from situations that feel like they’re not respecting my authority.