Recent University of Saskatchewan graduate Maxwell Warner is releasing his first solo album entitled Wessi Pessi on Nov. 8 — and this is an album you don’t want to miss.
Performing, recording, mixing and producing the album himself, Warner sat down with the Sheaf to discuss the process of making the album in a studio he built, as well as his own musical background, inspiration and the story behind the album’s name — which comes from a nickname his grandfather used to call his mom.
Before building his own studio, Warner did a lot of field recording around the world — from South Africa to the Mediterranean to the Frankfurt airport. This album has been five years in the making, although most of it was done in 2016.
Warner began to find it tiring to rely on others to get his music out there, so he decided to take it upon himself to make it happen.
“The process was exhilarating. I built a studio in my living room, which really enabled me to work hard and take this project seriously,” Warner said, in an email to the Sheaf.
Although Warner is inspired by many different genres and artists, he describes his music as a bit jazzy, fuzzy and poppy, with a psychedelic body.
“I would describe my music to people as if Ty Segall and Mac Demarco had a baby and then put me up for adoption to then be raised by the members of Mild High Club,” Warner said.
Drawing inspiration from artists such as Homeshake, Thelonious Monk and Charanjit Singh, Warner says music has always been a big part of his life.
“I’m inspired by other musicians … and I constantly draw from others to take on it. I want to make music that not only creates some sort of emotion in the listener, but I also want people to listen to it and think they can create something bigger and better than what I’m doing — create and inspire,” Warner said.
A musician since he was six years old, Warner shows great versatility when it comes to music. He played alto saxophone in the Regina Lions Marching Band before playing percussion and upright bass in high school.
He then played guitar with the Django Reinhardt quartet band and recently played drums for Pandas In Japan, who have a full length album and a few EPs out.
Although Wessi Pessi is a solo album — except for the track “Silvestre” which features his cat Cleopatra playing the Theremin — Warner also currently plays with the local Saskatoon band Castle River, who he encourages students to take a listen to.
Warner believes his album will hold a sense of familiarity with students and that they will be able to relate to it.
“The album showcases some of the feelings and stresses I went through during university, which I’m sure others can relate to. I [also] recorded bits of the album on a school trip to South Africa with [U of S history] professor Simonne Horwitz,” Warner said.
The album runs 45 minutes long and consists of 14 tracks, a few of which Warner said were his favourite.
“My favourite tracks are ‘The Outsider,’ which also has a music video on Youtube, ‘Trip on a Ship’ and ‘Take Time.’ Although that’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is.”
Warner’s music is perfect to listen to when hanging out with friends and avoiding school work. With a little bit of everything, Wessi Pessi is an album all students will want to get their hands on.
Wessi Pessi is available for pre-order on iTunes. It will also be available on Bandcamp.com/raeburnmusic, Amazon and Spotify on Nov. 8.
Bridget Morrison / Culture Editor
Photo: Emily M. Kohlert with the assistance of Devin McAdam.