Max Feinstein is a singer, noisemaker, producer, studio owner, and hemophilia advocate. He is about to drop a new record named “Redefine.” Max wants to redefine Hemophilia, a rare condition in which the blood doesn’t clot as expected because there is insufficient blood-clotting protein, and it affects men more than women. The New Jersey boy was diagnosed at the age of one. Names like Blink-182 and Megadeth influenced Max. He uses his rock and roll heart to sensitize people to hemophilia. During this conversation, he delves deeper into the subject of hemophilia.
What is the role of music in your life? How does it help you with hemophilia?
Max Feinstein: I consider myself a noisemaker. I remember being in church with my family and appreciating how my voice played around high ceilings and stone surfaces from an early age. I attempted to play a variety of instruments before I chose an electric guitar at age 12. I feel it is my proper tool for expression because it has a lot of room for one’s personality to stand out almost in the same way that the voice does.
It is very chaotic to live with a disorder like hemophilia. In my life, I have injured myself frequently for what seemed like no apparent reason (shooting pool, clapping at a concert, walking). When that is a frequent and regular occurrence in your life, it can be easy to shut out the world around you and not want to connect with anyone because it feels like your disabilities and disorders are the entirety of who you are. I feel like music gave me a tangible way to connect to the world around me while not feeling like I was only my disorder. It’s one of the few things I will voluntarily put myself into a high degree of discomfort to participate in, and I will do it with joy. I suppose when you’re used to hurting yourself by doing nothing, finding things that are worth putting effort into is essential.
In the last two years, music has become something else entirely for me with regards to hemophilia. I have begun using my platform as a musician to educate the world around me about bleeding disorders. Having a bleeding disorder has made me more interesting in the music world than if I were an ordinary white man with tattoos because there are just so many making music. For the sake of my soul, I have begun writing songs from that lens because it is an honest one that, while coming from a place of hemophilia, seems to speak to a lot of people because of the vulnerability and emotions attached to the work are relatable. It makes me unique within the bleeding disorders community because this is an opportunity to represent what we are with honesty on a larger stage. I am proud to say that through my activism, the healthcare policy has changed slightly. I am committed to working towards further healthcare reform for all Americans.
Can you give me more information about the “Give me an H ” campaign?
Max Feinstein: “Give me an H” was a campaign I ran for about six weeks from mid-March through late April in which I asked people to send me voice memos of themselves shouting the letter H. I took those shouts and put them together into a song on my new album called “Bleed” to create a crowd of people cheering for effect. It got others part taking on the record and demonstrated that I had been getting people involved and educated. All told, approximately 150 people took part; about 15 of them had anything to do with the hemophilia community. It’s currently important to me to demonstrate that I am educating and involving people outside the community. It was an excellent way to do that while adding something charming and unique to my art.
Besides playing and singing, what other activities do you enjoy? From where do you take inspiration?
Max Feinstein: I adore people! I studied behavioral and social psychology in college and am fascinated by understanding people and interacting with them to the best of my ability. I find it helps me as a producer and a bandleader/member to understand the people I work with.
I love to cook and have come to look at making music and cooking a meal in quite the same way. You have a song structure that can compare to a recipe, but the performance can have so much variety in dynamics and flavors around that structure, much in the same way you can tweak recipes to a person’s taste to create a special meal.
I would also say that I am an avid humorist. I studied improv comedy at an early age and have found it to be a guiding star in my sky.
How did you end up becoming a sound engineer?
I became one by accident. From my first experience in a studio, I was fascinated with recording music. As many musicians have done throughout my upbringing and career, I learned to record myself for the sake of demonstrating my songs. My best friend and drummer, John Roccesano, is an accomplished recording and mix engineer and we run a studio together called Silver Horse Sound. I’ve picked up a lot from him in terms of recording music, and it goes a long way in terms of helping me record my music efficiently or helping others record theirs.
In a parallel world, which musical instrument you can’t currently play, would you be playing like a pro?
Max Feinstein: Either piano or drums. A piano is such a classy and full-sounding instrument, and I imagine myself wearing suits and singing/playing in piano bars sometimes, but drums speak to my soul. Drums get me excited within a song because they’re so powerful. It’s part of why I became best friends with a drummer.
If you could be part of any band, which is your favorite?
Max Feinstein: Red Hot Chili Peppers. No question.
What are the plans for the future as an artist?
Max Feinstein: As the world opens up slowly, I am working towards being able to tour again with a new purpose. I have a new album mixed, and I intend to use it as my calling card to bring hemophilia awareness to a larger audience. I hope to impact the lives of other people with my condition and in my community by giving them some hope, and I hope to raise more awareness towards healthcare reform by bringing attention to such an expensive disorder.
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