Will Maxwell on Music, School and Finding the Balance

As an Environmental Science major and frontman in the Austin band Dreamboat, Maxwell knows the difficulty of chasing two dreams.

By Rebecca Friou, University of New Orleans

Will Maxwell is a Maine native currently pursuing his music career in Austin, Texas.

After releasing their EP “Strong Legs” last winter, his band, Dreamboat, is putting out a new album entitled “Loose Tooth” this November. He spoke over the phone about his decision to move to the live music capital, his dream stage and why he finds himself singing about human nature.

Rebecca Friou: So how did you end up in Austin?

William Maxwell: Well, so I’m from the Portland, Maine, area. I did two years of college at Clark University in Massachusetts, but it wasn’t really working out for me, so I moved to Austin primarily for the music scene. I tried to not be in college but ended up going to UT, which is where I’m currently studying Environmental Science.

RF: Where did you even begin when you came to Texas?

WM: Well, I started chasing open mic nights, writing songs and recording demos in my apartment. I would ride around on my bike with my guitar on my back—or tried to at least.

RF: That’s pretty impressive commitment. How did you meet your bandmates?

WM: I work at this restaurant called Texas French Bread, and one night they came in with a mutual friend and we all kinda ended up talking and decided to try playing music together. We performed at Recycled Reads and Dreamboat sort of formed from there.

UT Student and Musician Will Maxwell Debates: What Comes First, the Music or the Grades?

Dreamboat (Photography by Lily Smith, UT)

RF: What was it that provoked your interest in music?

WM: I guess it was around sixth grade. I played the trombone at school and I really wanted a ukulele, so my aunt gave me a guitar to learn first. After that, I learned the rest of the basics—keys and drums.

RF: Who has been your primary musical influence over the years?

WM: We had this older family friend that introduced me to some great bands. I was listening to The Doors, Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin and The Flaming Lips. I have to admit that The Who has always been my favorite, though. Back then, I’d learn those 30-second clips of their songs on Amazon or something and play just those parts on guitar.

RF: Do those influences resonate within Dreamboat’s music?

WM: I would say the rock n’ roll influences are pretty prominent. But our music has a little bit of everything. It’s soulful and happy sounding.

RF: Do you intend on solely being a musician or are you getting a “real job” after college?

WM: It’s really whatever comes my way. I would like to go on a bigger tour than we previously did, but a lucrative job could help provide more opportunity for my music and pay off some bills.

However, I don’t ever want to shut off playing music. I would be content with helping others produce and write music, not always necessarily performing myself. I just love the entire industry.

RF: So what exactly is your goal with music?

WM: I always want to write and sing music. Hopefully I could find a profession in the music world. I interned at KUTX radio station this summer, so I’ve gotten a little exposure. But I would also be interested in helping communities put on shows or teaching kids music or just spreading the word. Why stop at performing when there are so many great things to do with music, you know?

RF: Definitely agreed. Every community needs artists to encourage music. What is it that you typically write about?

WM: I write love songs. I write politically influenced pieces sometimes. I talk about loss, sometimes some goofy stuff. Things that are going on right then.

UT Student and Musician Will Maxwell Debates: What Comes First, the Music or the Grades?

Maxwell and Mary Bryce (Photography by Lily Smith)

RF: So what is the ultimate theme or emotion you try to convey through your music? I won’t judge you if you don’t have an answer for this.

WM: That’s a good question, I want to express love and human nature. We’re all human and there’s a lot of good within that but there’s also a lot of uncertainty.

RF: Damn. Final question—dream stage?

WMRed Rocks Amphitheater. Hands down. I’ve never even been there but if I ever get the chance to play there, I want my entire family there. Every damn one of them! They’re so supportive, they always keep me human.