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MKE Music Premiere: Maximiano’s ‘Simple’ goes well beyond the basics

Bridger Flory

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to our Music Submission page to learn how.

Based solely on lyrical content, “Simple” is an apt title for Maximiano’s new single getting its premiere today. In most other facets, however, the song is anything but.

The complexity starts with the end of something else: Milwaukee band Crawlspace, which called it quits in early 2023. Grieving the loss of that musical outlet and the friendships accompanying it, Maximiano Janairo poured themself first into meditation and then back into music, conjuring the guitar riff on an appropriately dreary day in February.

“After playing it endlessly for an afternoon, the lyrics flowed out of me,” they shared with us. “It seemed like they had been waiting for that precise moment to arise. The song carried me through doubt and pain back to music, and I’m happy to say that life has been made more simple thanks to this song. Every time I play it, I feel as though I’ve given myself a gift, a charm to help me simply be.”

When you hit the “Listen” button at the top of the page, you’ll hear that the song starts from a pretty simple place as well — just guitar and Janairo’s emotion-tinged voice. But, after the intro, the layers come quick and fast thanks to contributions from an all-star local lineup: Ellie Jackson (backing vocals), Will Hanson of Old Pup (pedal steel), Tori Yocum of Valley Fox (bass), Devin Drobka of Field Report (drums), Sam Broadnax of Rainbow Cobra (Saxophone), John Larkin of Lightninging (Trumpet), and AJ Peal of SPOY and Wonderful Bluffer (Additional Percussion)

It’s like the entire Milwaukee music scene came together to help Janairo process this moment they were going through. As they explain in the song:

I've been striving through my sickness
As if striving is the cure
Still I think I need a witness
For what my body can endure

It needs more and more
Trying to be
Something simple
Trying just to be

It’s really a lovely track that you can hear on 88Nine several times today (7:30 and 11:30 a.m.; and 3:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.), as well as on this page.

“Simple” will get its official release this Saturday, June 1, and will also appear on Maximiano’s debut album The Real Truth set to come out in September. You can catch them live at Cactus Club a couple times in the weeks ahead: this Saturday at Ladybird’s album-release show and July 12 with Max Niemann and the Fellow Travelers, Rainbow Cobra and Blue County Pistol.