The Only Song I Ever Wrote

Max Steele "Pickaxe and Shovel" from Ana Veselic on Vimeo.
Artist:  Max Steele
Song:  Pickaxe and Shovel
Directed, Shot and Edited by:  Ana Veselic
Produced by:  Tate Nova

In 2002 I moved to New York to go to College and when Mirah came to play our campus, I got booked to open for her. I only had four songs (one of them was a cover of a Mirah song. "Telescope"), and so I gave myself the task to sit down one night and write a new song, which I did. I played the cello at the time, and I made a song out the sounds of plucking the cello to sound sort of bluegrass-y and the song was called "Pick-Axe & Shovel". I played the cello while I had my Casiotone keyboard (seen in the video) on the floor, playing "drums". I played this song a lot. Later on, when i started making songs on the computer, so I wouldn't have to play instruments live, I made a sort of cheesy dance-pop version of the song, which was much more portable and palatable. In 2006, I got my big break when Big Stereo wrote about the song. I got, I must say, a lot of MySpace friend requests from that. I sang the song a lot live with my band the Party Ice.

A few years later, Ana and Tate and I were in touch about making a video, and we met for drinks and talked about movies we liked, cartoons and stuff. We set a date, and one very cold day, Ana and Tate (whom I've known since college, where the song came from) came over, with my super cute video boyfriend Joe, and we made this video. I didn't know Joe before we made the video but I could not have imagined a cuter imaginary music video boyfriend. Just saying. Shooting the movie was really fun and easy. When we shot this, the song was already a little bit old, but the video also captures a time in my life when things were very different. When I wore that jacket. When we had the Nintendo in the living room.

The song was written about my first boyfriend, from high school, who I was still kind of bummed out about when I was 18. I wanted to make a song, like Mirah's on Advisory Committee, that used a simple, sort of natural or backwoods West Coast metaphor. I sort of did. It was a sad song. We made the video a long time ago and then sort of forgot about finishing it but now it is out and I am really happy to share it with you.

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