Interview with Next To None’s Max Portnoy


How did you guys meet each other and when did you decide to form a band?

I knew Kris and Ryland since first grade and we used to jam all the time. I had many bands, but they were mostly all instrumental since we didn’t know any vocalist. Once we met Thomas in 6th grade, we formed Next To None. We wrote our own music in my basement, but only played covers at gigs. As we got older, we got more serious and eventually wrote “A Light in The Dark”.

In terms of songwriting, how do you approach writing your own material?

It depends, sometimes we jam and form it that way, and sometimes we plan it out. For the most part, some one would bring in a riff and then we all would work off of it and throw in our own ideas.

What is the main idea of “A Light In The Dark” in terms of both musical compositions and lyrical topics?

There is a concept running through six of the songs, about a man who has multiple personality disorder and it runs through his life and the problems he has. We have musical hints as well, but they are more subtle, most of the concept is lyrically.


How was your first “real” studio recording experience?

The whole experience was absolutely amazing. Being in a studio with your band is the best way to record an album and I never want to record an album the modern way of everyone being at home and sending ideas and tracks through mp3s and pro tools. Being together really got us to all be able to have input on not only our own tracks, but everyone elses aswell, it was truly the best way to record.

Mike Portnoy is one of the most famous drummers in the progressive metal scene. Personally, do you see yourself under pressure to perform because of that?

Mike Portnoy is also my dad, so I personally don’t really feel any pressure from him. Yes, of course, the fans will compare me to him but I’m okay with that because he is my biggest inspiration and influence, so I obviously have his style worked into my own.

When it comes to musical influences, which bands or artists would you name (other than Dream Theater)?

We all listen to generally the same music but for me, my biggest influence is Slipknot. Kris and I are HUGE Slipknot fans and they have really impacted me musically. Metallica is another band I really love and inspired me to make my own music ever since I was a small child.

Teenagers at your age are usually busy with school and pursue a hobby in their free time, while Next To None are actually signed to InsideOut Music now, are set to release an album and get to tour as well. How do you guys manage to be active in the music scene and to see to your school education at the same time?

We try to book our shows around school breaks and weekends but if a good opportunity were to come up, we would gladly take off school and tour and do our work on the road. Once high school is over I plan on putting all my time and effort into making sure Next To None is successful. I’m almost positive the rest of the band is on the same page and we can assure you Next To None won’t die out!

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Thanks for having me!

Interviewed by Cristina Somcutean

Review: Next To None – A Light In The Dark

Label: InsideOut Music


Thomas Cucé
– Vocals/Keys
Ryland Holland – Guitars
Kris Rank – Bass
Max Portnoy – Drums


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