Otis ‘Max’ Load
In Between Floors is the first LP from Otis ‘Max’ Load, the alter-ego of London-based keyboard player/songwriter Steve O’Hear.
After 3 years of writing, recording and producing my debut solo/concept album with friends, In Between Floors was released in 2020:
“… ten songs of heartbreak and retrospection weave together a lifetime of musical influences in blues and soul, from The Meters to Traffic; from Dr John to Derek and the Dominoes; from Booker T to the Mick Taylor-era Stones.”
From late 1993 to 2000, I played keys in the band ZUBAIDA, performing about 50 gigs in London, Bournemouth, and elsewhere. Our debut gig was at Club Mojo (Bournemouth, 1994). Later we held a 10-week residency at the Showbar (Bournemouth, Winter 1994/5), and played at Mr Smiths (Bournemouth, 1996).
We also played many gigs in London, at the Orange (later the W14 club), the Kings Head in Fulham, The Mean Fiddler in Harlesden, the Hope And Anchor in Islington, and The Laurel Tree and the Dublin Castle in Camden.
We travelled to Wales to play at Aberystwyth University in late 1995, supporting Bad Manners, and played at Bournemouth University’s Rag Ball the following year, supporting Jools Holland.
We put on our own night at Chat’s Palace in Hackney in 1997, and played at the open air Stoke Newington festival in the same year.
We recorded 3 EPs, one in early 1995 at Room With a View Studios in Ringwood, one in late 1997 at Zen Arcade Studios in North London, and the last in Summer 2000 at BBC Maida Vale studios. The band disbanded shortly after.