Max Reichert is an Ohio University alumnus and the frontman of the indie alternative band Clubhouse, which formed in Athens.
Reichert recently spoke on the phone with The Post about the band’s new single, “Summerfields,” and his battle with bone cancer.
The Post: How did (the new single, “Summerfields”) come together?
Reichert: We got in contact with this band named Glassio. They’re out of Brooklyn, New York. We really liked their stuff, and we wanted to co-write a song with them. They had the instrumental written out. They had a rough idea of where they wanted it to go, and we thought it would be a really good fit for us. So, when we got out to Brooklyn … we took their blueprint and collaborated on that, and put the rest of the song together.
P: How would you say “Summerfields” compares to the rest of your catalogue? Was there any point in the recording process where you were like, “this sounds a little different,“ or is it consistent with your usual work?
Reichert: It’s definitely a little bit of an evolution from our older songs. This one in particular feels a little bit more indie and washed out than our other songs. I think our other songs may be more on the pop end of the spectrum. I think “Summerfields” is a little more dreamy. … Vocally, I definitely sing with a little bit of a different vibe than I usually do.
P: A lot of artists lately have been talking about genre-bending. Like blues turning into country, or country turning into pop, or rap turning into pop, or pop turning into rock. Are you an advocate for that? Like, the lines should be blurred, and you should pull influence from wherever?
Reichert: I think so. … I think most people aren’t just listening to one genre of music anymore, because the way we’re consuming music is through streaming sites, and streaming sites just have everything at the tip of your fingers. … Before, like in the ‘90s, people would go CD shopping and go to their one genre and stick to it. But now, people can have Frank Ocean on their playlist and they can also have a metal song. They can have Future and Migos, they can have The 1975 — it doesn’t matter. So, we wanna kind of respect that with our music, but we wanna be for everyone. If we release a song with a trap beat, that’s fine, but the next one can be an acoustic. So, yeah, I think genre bending is important, especially in this day and age.
P: Since you got sick, have you guys been taking a break from tour, but still writing? Because I know writing is therapeutic for some people. What has your work schedule looked like, since you’ve been cutting back a little?
Reichert: We definitely have to take a little bit of a break. We’re not able to do live shows right now, cause I’m not able to walk, and I’m in the hospital so often for chemotherapy. It’s almost impossible. When I do have breaks, I’m in my home studio. And it helps so much. It helps me feel like a normal person, not like I’m sick. I’m still able to sit down and turn out ideas like I used to. We’ve definitely been writing a lot. Any time I’m not feeling the effects, Mike and Ben will come over and we’ll mess around with ideas. We’re still trying to get material out, even given the circumstance.
P: Have you dove into writing about it at all, or have you been avoiding it because it’s so delicate?
Reichert: I haven’t written a lot about it yet. I think it’s still so new to me, so I have to wrap my head around it. I’ve been writing a lot about things that distract me from it, like love songs or whatever it may be. I haven’t written too much about the actual circumstance yet, even though “Summerfields” ended up really reflecting a lot. Like the lyrics ended up reflecting what I’m going through.
P: Could I get a little bit about your specific illness and your treatment plan, if you would be comfortable talking about that? Is it an OK spot to have it, like would it be worse if it were somewhere else?
Reichert: Yeah, of course. I am diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer. It’s in my left femur, right above my knee. It’s a tumor. It’s an okay spot to have it, just cause I can get it removed. If it were in my pelvis it would be harder to remove. … I’m able to get it removed. I’ll have a titanium knee replacement, and that’s happening in about a month. So, my treatment plan is through six cycles and each cycle consists of five weeks. The first cycle is the really intense chemo and then I have two weeks off. The first week, I’m basically struggling to stay awake, and the second week, I’m full energy, and then I go back into the studio, and that’s when I do a lot of my writing. … I’m just now finishing up with my second cycle, and then I have my surgery. … After my surgery, I will be in intensive physical therapy to start learning to walk again. … And then I have four more cycles after that, so that will take me to about May.
P: So after it’s removed, how does it work? How long will it be until you could be evaluated and declared cancer-free?
Reichert: It really depends. They’ll do a biopsy of my tumor after they remove it, and then they’ll evaluate to see how well the chemo worked and how much of the tumor got killed. They’re hoping for at least 90 percent removed. That’d be considered a good response. Anything less than that and it’d be considered a bad response, and they’d start me on a new treatment plan. After treatment, we will do more scans, and if there’s still no evidence of it in my body, then that’s when I’m considered cancer-free. … I have about a 50 percent chance of my body responding to the chemo.
Q: When people go through life-altering experiences, it will change their perspective and they’ll say, ‘I was either glad to be doing what I’m doing,’ or, ‘I started thinking, I got to get into something else.’ Did [your illness] make you more glad that you were doing music and spending your time on that?
A: It put everything into perspective, like how short life is. So it’s like, why do anything except what you’re extremely passionate about? I definitely had that feeling. I’ve always been really passionate about following music, but I think this kind of reaffirmed it.