Minds for Molding: An Interview with Jason Maxwell

by - July 28, 2022

Photo courtesy of Elliot Sylman

In 2003, Paramount Pictures released the film School of Rock, a comedy about a struggling guitarist who is kicked out of his rock band and poses as a substitute teacher to help a group of fourth graders win a Battle of the Bands competition. When watching the film in his hometown of Toronto, a then-11-year-old Jason Maxwell sat in awe. If those children could learn to play guitar, why couldn’t he?

While he did start playing the guitar around that time, music came second to sports. It wasn’t until his last year of university that he started using social media platforms to post covers and was chosen to play rhythm guitar and sing harmonies for local artist Sarah Wickett.

Playing for Wickett’s live band gave him the opportunity to not only work on his stage performance but dive into all aspects of pursuing a career in music. He was able to have a fly-on-the-wall perspective during his time as Wickett’s rhythm guitarist, but realized that he wanted to build off of that and add his own creative spin.

He began releasing singles in 2018, with his latest release being “For Now”. The song paints the narrator in a less positive light, telling the story of a relationship falling apart and seeing that person move on to someone new. The narrator hopes that someone new is just a temporary replacement.

“I thought maybe this is just something for now and I’m something forever,” he said. “The song’s voicing that emotional vulnerability that I wouldn't just come out and say because it sounds crazy, but it's a true feeling. I wanted to write something real and I feel like it's something relatable, for better or worse.”

“For Now” was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, where Maxwell’s longtime producer was accepted into an engineering program and recommended him for their emerging artist program.

“It was an incredible experience,” Maxwell said. “You just wouldn't believe the level of sophistication. Not that I can even understand it, but I think even the average listener can appreciate all the different things they've got going on there. It was a lucky opportunity.”

Several other songs were recorded at the same time as “For Now”, and Maxwell plans for them to be shared as a larger body of work later this year. They all share a cohesive sound, with each being written by the same co-writers in a stretch of three days during his last trip to Nashville.

He may not have ever won a Battle of the Bands competition, but Jason Maxwell has turned a small moment in his life into a life-changing experience.

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