Maxwell Drummey’s Unhinged, Perfect, New Album

by Melissa Mellati

Former Chester French Member Talks Maturity and Finding Happiness
Maxwell Drummey’s debut solo album, 10 Perfect Songs, rattles its listener. The one-time one-half of pop duo Chester French, Drummey has matured since the rowdy, post-university days of Chester French. Aptly cited for his sense of humor, when asked to compare the music of those days with that of his new album, Drummey replied, “Yeah, I’m going to make way less money now.”

Drummey and lead vocalist, D.A. Wallach formed Chester French in their freshman year of college at Harvard University. In 2008, Rolling Stone called them a “band to watch” and they eventually captured the attention of music giants Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, ultimately signing with Williams’ Star Trak label.

At the height of their notoriety, the band split up. When asked why, Drummey said simply, “It stopped being fun. In a way, the types of success that we had were kind of disillusioning—I learned that a lot of stereotypes from behind the music and the major label side of the industry are largely true,” he started, tentatively. “A lot of the things that I thought would make me happy like, for example, having someone like Pharrell or Kanye look me in the eye and tell me that they thought I was great and that my music was great—when it did happen, it didn’t change how I felt about myself or about my music or about my life. It occurred to me that, that type of validation… wasn’t a ticket to happiness."

In the years since the split in 2013, Drummey has grown “much more confident in [his] own tastes and intentions,” learning how to put more of himself into his music while retaining the Beatles-inspired elements of rock and sections of jazzy rhythm that Chester French was at one time known for. As a multi-instrumentalist, one thing that was surprising to Max was how much he enjoyed writing lyrics: “For a long time, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy doing that very much and it’s turned into something I’ve really relished the opportunity to do—that’s been a really pleasant thing for me to learn about myself.”

So what’s next for his future in music? Drummey is a simple man: “I want to continue making the things that I want to make and continue having positive and creative experiences… For years it’s just been about making sure that basic conditions are met, such that I can foster my addiction to collecting instruments and my addiction to making music—so as long as I can do those things and spend some time with my friends, I’m happy.”

Stream 10 Perfect Songs here.