On making his debut and playing Madison Square Garden.
Image courtesy of Emilia Staugaard.
Image courtesy of Emilia Staugaard.
Maximilian made the decision to pursue music six years ago, aged 13, under a blanket of thick smoke and lasers at a Pink Floyd concert. The drama. Now his vision is beginning to take shape; the 19-year old is quickly becoming one of the latest talents to emerge from Copenhagen’s pop scene.
Last month Max released ”Hollow Days”, a synth-heavy pop tune with a shimmery beat for dancing. A bid to win an ex back, the singer-songwriter laments the emotional turmoil of missing someone and wanting to make things right.
With a full EP ready to drop this Autumn, Max is looking to make his mark in the industry with his own brand of “pop music, but with a twist”.
We sat down with him to talk about self-expression, staying true to himself and playing on the same stage as Britney Spears…
So firstly, you grew up in Copenhagen – what’s the music scene like there?
Right now it’s being conquered by all the rappers. Pop-rap is the main thing right now.
Did you grow up listening to music from there?
I grew up listening to music from all around the world. My parents played a lot of old music like David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Queen, all of the legends. They wanted to give me a proper musical experience.
Have any artists influenced how you make music now?
I really love Michael Jackson, he’s always been a big influence.
So you decided you wanted to be a musician at a Pink Floyd concert when you were 13 – do you remember what it was about that experience that inspired you?
I remember everything. As a kid I had some struggles at home, basic teenage problems. One day my father asked me if I wanted to go to this Pink Floyd concert. I didn’t know who Pink Floyd were, but it was at this venue in Copenhagam with capacity for 40,000 people. It was the moment when “Another Brick In The Wall” started and the crowd was put under this big carpet of lasers with smoke coming down. I just had this warm feeling in my stomach and I realised that what I was doing at home wasn’t what I was supposed to do or wanted to do. I wanted to be on that stage, have that kind of crowd and well-organised concert.
If you could play any gig or festival now, where would you choose?
I have one place that I’m determined to play one day and that’s Madison Square Garden.
So you write your own songs – how do you write, is it an ongoing process for you?
It’s different. Sometimes I can be just doing the dishes and a lyrical idea pops up. Or I sit in my bedroom for five hours and try to write some poems, then take those poems into the studio and make a song.
What’s the feedback been like for the songs you’ve put out so far?
It’s been really good. My father doesn’t understand that it’s me writing the lyrics because he thinks they’re so good!
Is it quite hard putting such personal and honest lyrics out into the world?
It was at first. It was scary to express my feelings in that way, but by doing it, it became easier and easier. I’m terrible at expressing my feelings verbally in a conversation, but through music I feel like I can do it exactly the way I want to do it.
So it’s like an outlet for you?
Yeah. If I have some problems or some issues that are getting pushed down, I need to get them out. If I make a song I put it there, instead of having it in my body.
“My father doesn’t understand that it’s me writing the lyrics because he thinks they’re so good!”
How did you start the writing process for your track “Hollow Days”?
That song took ages to write. I think I spent a year writing that song. I was in a relationship, but I was a teenage boy, I wasn’t ready. I pushed her away but as soon as I did I couldn’t sleep at night, I couldn’t focus on anything, I felt hollow. The chorus came into existence when I was in that situation.
Your video for it is simple but quite emotional and raw, how did you come up with the concept?
I wanted it to be colourful. All the lights in the video resemble all the madness that can go on inside your head when you’re overthinking things. At the end of the video everything turns to bright white because I’m frustrated about missing her.
Are you really involved in making the visuals?
I like being involved. The visuals are just as important as the music itself.
What else inspires you?
I basically live my life. Inspiration comes from not thinking about it, I think. Going out with my friends or taking a walk. When I’m in Copenhagen I like to plug in my headphones and just start walking somewhere I haven’t been, and to just sit with some beers and reflect on how I’m feeling.
So the EP’s coming out in Autumn – how would you describe its sound?
I’m trying to challenge myself and experiment with the sound. It’s going to be pop music, but with a twist.
So would you say you try to make music that’s authentic and true to yourself?
I want to stay true to what I do, I don’t want to do something I’m not emotionally involved in. I feel like if you’re doing it for someone else you’re not doing it right, you have to do it for yourself.
To finish up, can we catch you at any festivals this Summer?
This crazy one called Smukfest in Skanderborg, Denmark. I’m playing on the same stage as Britney Spears and Shawn Mendes…