Max Foxx and Nicky Renard's debut single was 40 years, and just a few minutes, in the making. In 1976, Foxx strummed three cool sounding chords in his native Sweden. Fast forward to 2016, and he's playing the chords for 15-year-old guitarist Nicky Renard.
"It wasn't meant to be anything at all, it was very basic chords," Foxx explains. "I didn't even think about playing it with someone else until October of last year when I just played it for fun and Nicky started to play along."
"Max started playing the song one day and I had my guitar so I started playing something along to it and it really wasn't planned," Renard describes. "We didn't sit down and say 'let's start writing the song,' it came kind of naturally."
That humble triad of chords evolved into the expansive "Grovy Lane," a penetrating arena-sized rocker fortified by a devilishly lengthy guitar solo and roaring vocals from "American Idol" winner Caleb Johnson, who they recorded with at Nashville's Southern Ground.
After the serendipitous success of "Grovy Lane," the pair set out to write an entire album's worth of songs, an effort they carried out with similar practices, but more deliberate intentions.
"This time we were actually trying to make songs," Renard says. "[But] it was sort of the same. One of us would come up with either a verse or a chord progression and then we'd just start jamming. We don't really sit down and say 'OK, let's write this part.' It kind of comes naturally as we're just jamming."
"Something happens when Nicky and I do things together," Foxx adds. "[I'll] have a chord progression I have played for years without getting anywhere with it. And when I play it with Nicky it could take five or ten minutes and it slowly converts into a song."
Instead of imitating musical influences or emulating proven sounds, the pair focus on making music that pleases just two people: themselves. "Our music is just what we want to listen to," Renard explains. "It's not like we're trying to write a song in the style of this or that. It's really our own style cause we're writing the kind of music we want to sit and listen to."
The infectious "Grovy Lane" and second release "You Will Never Get It Back" prove that their personal preferences appeal to a wider audience, albeit inadvertently. "Some people are trying to twist their music towards the market, especially if you're in pop music, that's what you have to do," Foxx explains. "But we are honestly writing exactly what we want to listen to. I'm not bragging, but I can tell you [I listen to our] album in my car. That's what I'm listening to, for the reason that I like the music. I'm not joking. This is actually my favorite album. It's a little bit weird, but we're writing exactly what we would like to listen to."
Keep up with Max Foxx and Nicky Renard here and stay tuned to AXS for more news on their debut album.