It's been a decade and a half since Max Collins mined FM gold by singing of watching his tender heart get put into a blender and spun into a beautiful oblivion on Eve 6's breakout smash "Inside Out."
Now, not even a year after the band's return from a lengthy respite with their fourth full-length "Speak in Code," frontman Collins branches out on his own with "World on Fire", the first single off the 34-year-old's solo debut "Honey from the Ice Box" -- getting its exclusive premiere on Billboard today.
"I couldn't really see these songs framed with big power chords and slick production" he explains of the material, written at home in early 2013 over cups of "dangerously strong coffee." "I wanted the record to feel more human, to keep as many imperfections as I could bear, especially with the vocals. It's so easy to fix everything up these days that that human element can be lost. I wanted there to be more space in the production--to make the minimal elements really count."
The jangly "World" is indeed a long country mile from the musclebound melodicism of Eve 6, with Collins citing The Lemonheads and Crowded House as primary influences for the songs that comprise "Honey From the Icebox," named after a quote from author Saul Bellow's Pulitzer Prize winning 1975 novel Humboldt's Gift and features contributions from Fountains of Wayne drummer Brian Young.
"I feel like I took some cues from [Evan Dando's] approach to country music on songs like 'Being Around' and 'The Outdoor Type' with my songs 'Sports Bar' and 'This Lonely Life.'" he admits. "My wife hears a melodic Crowded House influence on 'Push it Down' and 'World on Fire.' I listened a lot to the Crowded House record 'Intriguer' that came out just a couple years ago. It's so good!"
What makes Collins' solo turn even more interesting was his choice in the way by which he's making and releasing the album. Rather than put it out on Eve 6's new label Fearless Records or any other imprint for that matter, the bassist decided to take "Honey" to PledgeMusic, where he has reached over three-quarters of his funding goal since the project's May 1 launch date thanks to such creative incentives as a guitar lesson via Skype ($150), a mini-golfing trip ($750), dinner at Medieval Times ($1250) and, for $3000, the opportunity to get inked with the man himself.
"I won't relax until we've hit 100% but it's going well so far," Collins promises. "We have around 20 days left in the campaign and we're at 77 percent of our goal. I'm inexpressibly grateful to my listeners for giving me this opportunity. I'm really looking forward to doing the matching tattoo pledge. My philosophy was, if we're gonna do this let's make it intimate and strange and entertaining. The trip to Medieval Times will be fun too!"