Maxhattan is an alternative rock group featuring unique acoustic-electric guitar texturing atop a hypnotic rhythmic foundation, as well as a distinguishing style from its lead vocalist. The band’s songs take the listener on an adventure, and yet each sonic story has a firm hold in the heavy groove laid down by a group of musicians operating at the height of their craft.
Max’s gifts as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist have recently brought forth Maxhattan’s new album, Cats and Dogs, which of course also combines contributions from the other three musical minds in the group: creative beats from drummer Joe Giotta, groovy bass lines from Roberto Schmidt, and rocking keyboard playing from Erik LeCar come together to form a sound that is not only radio ready, but distinctive. Imagine catchy, chart-topping hooks floating above a great, danceable groove, all produced by a one-of-a-kind rock quartet, and you have Maxhattan.
The influences for Cats and Dogs seem to run the gamut from the pure rock and roll spirit of Led Zeppelin to the Eastern nuances of Ravi Shankar, and many, many sounds in between. The band is doing something that many modern groups attempt but cannot achieve—a tasteful distilling of numerous influences into an original, energetic idea that excites.
This modern musical revelation did not just “happen,” however. For one, Max has been involved in the study of music for years, and has recently experienced a renewal of creative outpouring after time away from his craft as a guitarist. In forming Maxhattan, Max also embarked on an earnest search, specifically for musicians blessed with creative and rhythmic abilities.
Max search was certainly satisfied by the services of Joe Giotta, a drum tech who has been playing professionally since his teens. In an already illustrious career behind the kit, Giotta has shared the stage with members of John Mayer's band, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and Grace Jones. Giotta also has experience as a tech working with massive rock acts like The Pat Metheny Group, Guns N’ Roses, Korn, and Pantera.
Max was also smart to recruit into his group’s sonic landscape the moving bass melodies of Roberto Schmidt. Schmidt, a musician from Brazil who started to play at an early age with his grandmother, has studied with Ximba Uchyama and Steve Bryant, and has also worked with a number of artists from the East Orient, Europe and the Americas.
And of course, Maxhattan would not be the same without Erik LeCar, an artist and songwriter in his own right and a true force on keys. LeCar attended Berklee College of Music and has a few albums under his belt.
Cats and Dogs was mixed by Edgard Maldonado. Maldonado previously interned at Dr. Dre's Can-Am studio and shortly thereafter was hired as a postproduction engineer in numerous commercials, TV shows and movies, including but not limited to And Punching the Clown, Driving While Black, You're the Worst, Band of Robbers, Single Dads, NBA TV, Toyota, Coffee-Mate, Northrop Grumman and Toys “R” Us.
The band’s name, “Maxhattan,” besides obviously featuring the name of its frontman, is also an ode to his diverse heritage. Max’s DNA test results from Ancestry.com ethnicity estimate are as follows: Africa= 1%, Native American= 20%, Iberian Peninsula= 29%, Italy/Greece= 28%, Europe East= 8%, West Asia= 2%. In other words, Max is a true resident of the Manhattan melting pot!
Max inspirational musical output is in many ways a reflection of the journey he has undertaken since landing in JFK airport years ago carrying only the clothes he had on: a t-shirt, a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, a pair of jeans, and underwear (yep, it was winter).
With the help of his brother, Maurice, Max landed a job as an apprentice jeweler and quickly worked his way up to make some of the most beautiful and highly priced jewelry in the world as a master jeweler for Tiffany & Co.’s Jean Schlumberger line.
Long before his prowess as a jeweler, though, Max was interested in music. He picked up the guitar at age 12 and was soon playing locally. Max has studied under esteemed vocal teacher, Mario Lisanti (Hoboken, NJ), whose students include Phoebe Snow, Sophia Ramos, Seven Williams, Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors), John Allen III (Methods of Mayhem), Paulo Coelho and Deb De Lucca. At Lisanti’s studio, Max received a true glimpse into the music industry.
Unfortunately, after years of dedication, Max was forced to stop playing guitar for an extended stretch of years due to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and tennis elbow.
As a result of his conditions, however, Max developed a winning relationship with Zager, a company that, for one, makes guitars that are easier to play for musicians of Max’s predicament. After hearing Max’s story, Zager decided to sponsor the songwriter, and for good reason: he has recently been writing a ton of new music, most notably the eagerly awaited Cats and Dogs, out soon on Self Records.
Cats and Dogs was recorded at NYC’s RedBird Studios (Drums) and Alex Morelli’s studio (Guitars) and other local studios.
All songs written and produced by Maxhattan.
All songs copyright © 2015/2016 Maxhattan.