Arts

maxime. released his debut album whatevernowiscalled. Photo: Lucas Kuhl/Provided

whatevernowiscalled features 18 tracks of ‘alt-pop’ exploring tough emotions through drums and synth

The debut album by University of Ottawa student Maxime Trippenbach, aka maxime., captures sadness and heartache and layers it over catchy electronic beats and synth to craft a great alternative album to kick off the new year.

Trippenbach, a third-year economics and computer science student who performs as maxime., wrote whatevernowiscalled in one semester.

Trippenbach used to make electronic music but after listening to more indie and alternative music in university decided to give that genre a try, combining his experience in electronic production with his new listening interests.

“I was doing electronic music for a while and it was going well and then I got bored of it,” Trippenbach said of his shift from electronic to alternative music. “I just stopped listening to it; my music tastes totally changed. I started listening to alternative and indie stuff … so I tried making some of the stuff I was listening to.”

The switch from electronic to alternative allowed Trippenbach to explore emotions through lyrics and craft more personal songs, something he couldn’t do as well with electronic music.

“Music has always been a cool way, if I’m feeling down, to take my mind of it or get some of those feelings out,” said Trippenbach.

Trippenbach keeps things lo-fi — he plays the guitar and bass himself, records his vocals on an old mic, arranges his drums in FL Studio using samples he finds for free on Reddit, and uses a virtual synth software. Even things like distortion come from Reddit threads. He recorded the whole album in his bedroom.

Trippenbach feels that the best label for his music is ‘alt-pop,’ blending bouncy electronic beats and synth with guitar and bass.

On his debut album as maxime., Trippenbach didn’t focus so much on getting the perfect sound — instead, he honed in on the melody, the ‘niceness’ of the sound, and let the grittiness exist.

“People generally just want something that vibes better,” he said.

Like any student musician, striking a balance between making music and attending classes isn’t always easy. Trippenbach admits that he’s usually feeling his most creative the night before a project is due — writing a song is a good way to procrastinate.

“It’s kind of hard. School is the kind of thing where you get out what you put in, same with music and most things in your life — it’s all how much you can devote to it,” said Trippenbach. “I definitive struggled with it … it’s not easy to balance, but at the same time, (music) is the kind of thing you can pick up between classes.

Since rebranding as maxime., Trippenach’s played at Happy Goat, Babylon, and a house show at Ask A Punk. He says he still has some work to do on his live set and would like to perform with a full band.

After a few performances in Ottawa, Trippenbach says that the music scene here is small but close-knit and supportive. He’s still looking at a possible move to Montreal but has definitely found a spot in the Ottawa scene.

“The music scene in Ottawa isn’t big but it’s a very good, wholesome scene; everyone is super nice to each other, super supportive. You see the same people at all the shows. There are definitely some hidden gems here.”

After the album, Trippenbach has a few singles lined up but says that with an 18-track album he’s got a “bit of breathing room” before he has to do more.

whatevernowiscalled is available on all streaming platforms now.