- Words Paige Sims
- Photography Ashley Osborn
- Styling / HMU Emily Schneider
Sitting amongst some of the greatest pop artists of the decade, bop connoisseur MAX emits pure sunshine with his latest record, 'Colour Vision.'
It’s been four years since pop artist MAX dropped his first album ‘Hell’s Kitchen Angel.’ A nod to the New York neighbourhood he grew up in, the album included a single that kickstarted his career. Since the release of “Lights Down Low”, MAX’s fandom has grown stratospheric. With this ever-growing popularity, MAX has toured the globe with his feelgood tunes, something that only the very best can dream of.
Now, four months later than planned, his second solo album (third LP if you count his ‘Party Pupils’ project) is finally out in the world for all to hear. Hooking listeners in with his cleverly worked pop melodies, the infectious tunes equate to liquid gold. Both heavenly and exciting, MAX’s exploration of ‘pop’ music makes for an addictive listen.
Solidifying his reputation as a powerhouse in pop, MAX has collaborated with everyone from the likes of Joey Bada$$ and Jonas Blue to Hayley Kiyoko and Noah Cyrus. Ever-expanding his friendship circle, his connections aren’t just impressive, but in fact, have created some of the most distinct singles of the year.
Teasing the album throughout 2020 with singles “Love Me Less”, “Acid Dreams”, “Working For The Weekend” and most recently “Blueberry Eyes”, MAX’s 10 million+ Spotify listeners are in for a treat with the release of ‘Colour Vision.’
We caught up with the pop maestro ahead of his album release to talk about his artistic growth, collaborating with a diverse range of artists and why the colour yellow is so significant.
What does your typical day look like at the moment?
It’s always different. I woke up to my dog licking my face, my wife making me a delicious breakfast in bed, which was great. As I do this interview I’m getting a quarantine haircut with a mask on. Then recording some other interviews. Rehearsing this big virtual live show we’re doing for the album. And I’m sure the day will [see] me hanging with my family soaking in the moments of album release week among the madness.
We’re finally getting the release of your new album ‘Colour Vision.’ Originally scheduled to be released in May, it was pushed back for the obvious reason. Are you excited for it to finally be released into the world?
Oh my god, I’m so excited. Just the release of blueberry eyes was so fulfilling and magical. Having the full body of work out to finally be enjoyed by the fans who have been so patient will be incredible.
‘Colour Vision’ seems like a new era for you artistically. How has your sound changed since your debut album?
I think I’m even more willing to take sonic and creative risks with this album. I really made sure every song fit together even though their sounds are all pretty different. Making cohesive for a project has become such a huge priority for me nowadays in comparison to the first album.
There’s definitely some R&B and funk undertones throughout the album, what do you think makes pop, as a genre, so explorative?
I think it becomes explorative because different pop artists each generation push what pop music is at that time. It’s always evolving.
Have you been inspired by any artists that we wouldn’t expect?
There’s an artist named Tim Armstrong from the band Rancid who I created a side project years ago with called “Witchita.” He taught me a valuable lesson early on of being so present. He would write a song every day and never come back to it. If he didn’t find that spark or magic that day he kept moving on. I carry his creative spirit with me always.
The album also feels very collaborative. What is it like working with so many creative people?
I love it. It might be because I grew up as an only child and I’m a solo artist but I love sharing my world with people I respect and love.
Do you have an artist in mind for a collaboration when you’re writing a song?
I can always hear an artist on a song when I think of a collaboration. I only work with people I’m truly passionate about so usually I know their style and voices well.
One of the tracks on the new album features Suga from BTS who are absolutely killing it right now! That must have been really exciting for you, how did working together come about?
It’s been life-changing. Not only to have created music with Suga, but to call him a friend. Truly special and wonderful.
Yellow seems to be a key theme for ‘Colour Vision’ – what drew you to that colour?
It’s definitely a bold choice but the aesthetics are too good! It just felt right. The Colour gave me hope and inspiration after being in such a dark place of trauma before this record. It’s been a really cool commitment to stick with it the whole album and create every piece within its Colour scheme.
Your music is very inclusive and you’ve mentioned previously the importance of being true to yourself. How important is it to build a fanbase that is truly representative of people from all different walks of life?
I just love bringing people together and bringing them magic no matter who they are. Where they’re from, What language they speak, Their sexuality, Their gender identity, or anything else that makes them who they are. I think your fans reflect the energy you put out so I just try to treat them all with respect and kindness and I’ve been very lucky to receive incredible passion and dedication in return.
A lot of people throw around advice, but what is the one piece of advice you’ve been given that has stayed with you throughout your career?
Trust your damn gut. I constantly trick myself in points of my career that maybe someone else who’s accomplished more or been around longer knows the answers but in the end, you just have to take in the advice but trust your own gut for the right choice each moment.
What’s the one album that changed your life?
Purple Rain – Prince.
Can we hope for tour plans post-COVID?
OH MY GOD YES I CAN’T WAIT AHHHHHH.
So Max, can you let us in on a little secret? What exactly is the winning pop formula?
Whatever continues to make you excited, risky, and authentic. That’s the only formula I’ve seen consistent success form when it does come.
And finally, when are you planning on pop world domination?
I’m just enjoying every step of the journey and loving getting to share it with my family and the incredible fans.