Warren Maxwell Interview

Warren Maxwell is a man with music and mana coursing through his soul. A founding member of Trinity Roots, Warren was also a saxophonist for Fat Freddy’s Drop and the leader of psychedelic blues quartet Little Bushman. He is renowned for pouring his heart and soul back into his community.


What’s rockin’ in the world of Warren Maxwell? 

My big buzz right now (apart from being Super Dad!) is having our live music venue up and running in Masterton. This provincial medium-size town, I feel, has been in need of some 'cultural lovin' and celebrating for some time now so we (myself and business partner Carl) have opened a cool little boutique music venue to bring all sorts of crazy, eclectic and amazing live bands to hopefully enrich the population of Masterton!


What was something you loved as a child growing up?

Man I used to LOOOOOOOVE going on family camps up North! Fishing out in our little 16 ft parkercraft and cooking up fresh snapper or yellow belly flounder with HEEEAAAAPS of butter in a pan over an open fire. We used to throw a tent and all our gear in the boat and then we'd just cruise around until Dad found a good place to camp – kind of squatting for a couple nights – basically anything to do with the sea and I would be there. Swimming, diving, sailing, windsurfing – mean! When I was a teenager I used to love hanging out with my friends and singing at parties. We didn't have DJs cos we were the entertainment! Three or four guitars and heaps of out-of-tune bros singing as loud as we could – heaven.


What’s something you’ve done recently that you’re proud of?

I have recently become involved with a youth programme in Masterton called the SPOT. Basically its a safe place for youth where they can hang out after school. We've had a couple of concerts for them and I've just talked to them about my travels and adventures with all the groups I've been involved with. We are currently working on building a recording studio for them. A lot of them are really, really talented but wouldn't know where to even start a career in music so we figure if they had their own studio they can write and record their own music and be proud of their achievements. A lot of these kids come from pretty tough environments so it's nice to offer them a bit of hope. If a bro from Whangarei can make it, anybody can!


What place does generosity have in the world of music?

Music for me is that intangible media that encapsulates ALL of the qualities about being human. This includes generosity. Minstrels in medieval times relied on the generosity of their audience to enable their survival. Even to this day, musicians still rely on the support and generosity of our audiences and our fans. Music is one of those strange 'things' that we don't really understand why we need it, but we do. Composers document the political arenas of our times as well as the timeless qualities of love and deep emotional torment. Guaranteed when there is any kind of disaster or famine it will be the musicians and bands that bring people together to raise money and awareness of what's happening. Music and musicians have the sincere ability to bring people together for an event and in doing so re-create ancient rituals that make a community. We all work long hours for that pay cheque which is the reason why, when you give generously out of that hard-earned pay packet, you know the true value of being human.


Describe a perfect weekend.

Ooooo… that's a tough one! Well it's definitely being with my family somewhere. You know I would love to re-create my childhood for my children and be able to take them fishing and swimming and sailing – relive my childhood through them. Yep I reckon that would be it. Actually probably with a few of my 'out-of-tune' brothers and their families as well – the perfect weekend!


Tell us three things that inspire you. 

The first inspirational person that comes to mind is Ruia Aperahama whom I had the most humbling time filming 'Songs from the Inside' with. Ruia is the most grounded, sensitive, intelligent, articulate, modest yet hard-case bro you will ever meet. When I was working with him I felt like I was sitting beside Dr Martin Luther King or Noam Chomsky. Ruia is so genuinely loving for people and communities and his culture. He is a teacher of Te Reo Maori & he inspires me everyday.

People who dedicate their lives to helping others, inspire me. It's almost a socialist perspective without the focus being on distribution of money and more a distribution of caring or hope. You inspire me Pat. This One Percent Collective inspires me. I would love to see this concept global my friend I think it would be incredible. Chip away at the mountain and it will be tamed.

TED.com, Youtube, The Reed Maori Dictionary, John Campbell, Gareth Morgan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Helene Ritchie for her nuclear free stance, kids inspire me, people inspire me Pat, every day because it is people who are initiating all of these other great things. He aha te mea nui, he tangata, he tangata … Arohanui.

Are you keen to join Warren in the giving evolution? Click here to get involved.