Applied Communications – “Oxytocin Drunk” (Song Premiere)

Applied Communications

Today I’m excited to share with everyone the latest single from Applied Communications called “Oxytocin Drunk.” Applied Communications is the music alias of Max Wood, and he channels his love for slick production and powerful songwriting in a crowd-pleasing package. When speaking on the new single, Max shared that “Oxytocin Drunk” is “the first song I finished when I decided to make music again. It’s about the joy of being disappointed; realizing that means that you are capable of caring really deeply about the people, ideas, and experiences in your life. I tried to keep it relatively straightforward and poppy, though the yowling off-key chorus vocals and abrupt shifts will probably lose some folks.” If you’re enjoying the new single, please consider pre-ordering his upcoming EP here. I was also able to catch up with Max for a brief interview below.

Can you tell us more about the meaning behind this single?

This will sound super emo, but it’s mainly about being nostalgic for the bad parts of youth: the broken hearts, unrelenting acne, existential dread, fear of being left out and left behind, etc. – all these things that matter because you care about yourself, your friends, and your future. I think it’s common to want to protect yourself from pain and awkwardness as you age, but I think there’s also a lot of joy you can unlock in making yourself vulnerable to it.

Your new EP Applied Communications Has A Midlife Crisis drops later this month, what can we expect from the new project and is there anything you’d like to share ahead of the release?

It’s five off-kilter pop songs featuring lots of casio, drum machines, and random electronic elements. My voice is a little hard for some people to tolerate and there are discordant melodies and key changes that probably straddle the line between “cool and experimental” and “wtf is this” – but I’m pretty proud of it.

This is your first new full release since the early 2000s. How has your return to music been and do you find it to be different than when you were releasing stuff years ago?

My experience has been great! I’ve been really lucky to find support from a bunch of young folks who carry the same kind of anxious angsty dread that motivated my music twenty years ago. Music writ large is so wildly different, though. I feel like there used to be a pretty low hard cap on how many bands or artists had any sort of relevance. This is an obvious point, but you had to actually manufacture CDs (then get them distributed and sold in stores). Then to be discovered by listeners, you had to somehow get coverage in a magazine and/or airplay on a college radio station. As a result, just spitballing, I’d guess that there were maybe 10,000 bands with a meaningful number of listeners at any point in time. But according to ChartMetric, even the one millionth most popular band in the world right now has something like a thousand active monthly listeners on Spotify. That’s so bananas! It’s amazing to me that the barriers to entry have become so small. And as a result, any random person can connect with art that speaks directly to them in a way that was basically inconceivable the last time I was really active. At the same time, it obviously remains pretty much impossible to make a reasonable living off of music – even if you’re one of the bands that would’ve had moderate success in the 90s. I’d guess that there are way more bands making some small amount of money (e.g., like $5 a month or something), but fewer bands making anything close to a living wage. One more thing: it’s truly wild that I can see, basically in real time, how many people are listening to my music. There was zero visibility into any of that the last time I did this. Just so wild!