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Sometimes making a home studio can give you the focus you need to keep creating. We chat with Max Watson (aka Butterfly Culture) to find out more.

By Megan Stisted

Hi Max, how’s it going? How are you coping under lockdown?

Hey, it’s going alright thank you. It’s a strange time but I’m trying to make the most of it. Keeping busy with music has been the key I think, trying to find new and exciting things to do, such as working with vinyl to create samples which is something I’d never put much time into before. It’s been quite nice to have the time to focus on learning new things.

It’s also been hugely motivational and inspiring to see what other artists are doing during lockdown. Some of my favourite artists have been doing weekly live sessions on YouTube and it’s great to see how they are coping and using the time to innovate. There’s been a lovely sense of community within the arts with people banding together to create online festivals, collaborating on new music, and supporting each other which is really nice to see, and to be a part of. 

By the looks of things you have been quite busy recently, can you tell us more about your isolation sessions and how they’ve been going? 

I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible and I’ve been given some amazing opportunities over the last few weeks. The ‘Isolation Sessions’ started as an idea to try and keep structure in my life and set myself deadlines but has evolved into a really enjoyable series to film. It’s been great to be able to give some of my older material new life and a bit of a reimagining, and have a platform to test new songs and get feedback from people. Everyone’s been super supportive and I’m aiming to push it further very soon by getting other artists involved.

You’ve also been playing some online performances for some live-streamed events, how do they work? 

They’re great fun if a little weird and unnatural. It’s a very odd experience to try and engage an audience without being able to see them or gauge their response. It’s been very flattering to have been given the opportunity to perform at such cool events. ‘Headfunk fest online’ and ‘WHISPER fest live’ had some amazing artists perform and it’s been great to have the opportunity to work with them and start to create a network of like-minded musicians.

Do they fill the void of playing live or is it not quite the same? 

It’s a 50/50 really. It’s lovely to be able to still perform but it is lacking in the atmosphere of a live show. It’s hard to describe but there’s nothing quite like the vibe of a proper live show.

Aside from these, what else have you been up to with Butterfly Culture? 

I’ve been teaching guitar full time for about six months now alongside teaching Saturday Rockschool at Platform One and it’s been a bit of a challenge trying to keep that going, but everyone has been great and I’ve managed to shape it into online lessons that have been going really well. It’s a shame that Rockschool hasn’t been able to continue but hopefully, that will start up as soon as we get through this.

I’m also getting towards the end of my Master’s degree and have been focusing on getting the work done for that. Unfortunately, I was going to go on tour at the end of the summer and have had to rethink these plans, so I’m trying to find alternative ways to promote my EP and perform live without festivals or venues.

“It’s a very odd experience to try and engage an audience without being able to see them or gauge their response.”

Have you found yourself struggling to get creative in lockdown? 

The main thing I found difficult at the start was not having access to a recording studio or rehearsal space which was affecting my work process and my motivation to continue writing and pushing my music. I spent the first week or so drifting around the house trying to keep busy and find things to do.

I realised I needed to find somewhere at home that I could write and record in so I could keep my work ethic up. Building a home studio gave me a new focus during lockdown and I haven’t really left it since which has been great. It’s now somewhere I can write music, work in my upcoming EP and record the ‘Isolation Sessions’ that I’ve been uploading to Instagram and Facebook. It’s been my saving grace to be honest.

Finally, if you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

That’s a really tough question! The album that I never seem to get bored of, and listen to almost every day is Keaton Henson’s album ‘Birthdays’. He’s an unbelievable lyricist and has such emotion behind each of his songs that I couldn’t go without it. The album is a masterpiece, particularly ‘Lying To You’. There’s so much depth to his writing, beautiful arrangements, heartbreaking vocals and breathtaking guitar parts. It’s a constant source of inspiration to me.

Follow Butterfly Culture on Facebook or Instagram for all the latest from Max

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