MAX's new record, Colour Vision, is out now! We chat to the musician about his music and more.
Hot off the release of his latest record, Colour Vision, we spoke to MAX to discuss the album, his exploration of new musical territory and so much more.
No stranger to the entertainment industry, Max Schneider’s career has crossed music, film, modelling and musical theatre. Schneider made his Broadway debut in 2008, starred in the Nickelodeon series, How To Rock, and appeared alongside Madonna in an international campaign for fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana.
Having penned tracks for the Disney Channel the likes of Cody Simpson, Schneider released his first EP, First Encounters, in 2010. The release saw the singer embark on a nationwide American tour alongside Victoria Justice. In 2014, Schneider launched a Kickstarter campaign for what would be his first album, NWL. The album was only available to those who supported the Kickstarter campaign.
2016 saw the release of Hells Kitchen Angel. The breakout success of the record saw the singer tour the world. With more than 1.2 billion streams to his name, MAX’s hit track Lights Down Low became certified triple platinum in the US, platinum in Canada and gold in both Australia and Holland.
Now, the multi platinum-selling singer-songwriter has made his long-awaited return with new record, Colour Vision. The album perfectly exhibits the singers soaring vocal abilities and songwriting prowess. Colour Vision flawlessly blends pop, hip-hop and latin sounds over a somewhat electronic soundscape, creating unique genre-bending sounds. Collaborating with SUGA of BTS, Hayley Kiyoko and more, Colour Vision sees MAX give an unparalleled vocal performance. Each track takes the singers voice from strength to strength, taking listeners on a feel good ride set to an electro-pop soundscape. The way he intricately, yet effortlessly, weaves in pop, hip-hop and latin sounds is exceptional. Whilst cohesive in sound, the album has something for everyone and never misses a beat.
More experimental than his prior releases, Schneider has honed in on his musicianship and created a record that feels nostalgic and fresh concurrently. Read our full five-star review here.
Colour Vision is out now! Read our full interview with MAX below!
Tell us a bit about how your musical journey began…
Grew up in Hell's Kitchen New York. Loved music. Never stopped.
Congratulations on your new album, Colour Vision! The record continues to dive deeper into the idea of being true to who you are as well as other important themes. Could you tell us about the overall conceptual thread of the album and the importance of exploring the varied themes present?
Thank you so much. This record definitely represents a rebirth. Finding your own destiny and control of your own life after being at your lowest points. Dealing with the joy and pain in a present space rather than ignoring it putting it off. I really wanted people to feel how true to my own story every song was, so hopefully it meant something to their stories.
The opening track feels like a modern-day Queen anthem and sets the tone for what is to follow. At what point throughout the writing process did the song come about? Was it fairly early on and set the bar for where you wanted to take the record?
Wow enormous compliment thank you. It actually came about as the last song we wrote. I had the title of the record and knew I wanted to write the intro song with that title, so it was cool to have that mindset going into what my ideal intro to an album track would be. Welcoming people into the world of this record.
It’s been some time since your last full-length release and you’re moving into new musical territory. How did that time between albums allow you to become more experimental with your music and arrive at the sonic sounds present on the record?
I think I got a lot more confident in my vision. I have a wonderful team and I've always worked with great people, but in the last few years I really learned to stick up for the things that are most important to me in each moment of the album and journey of it in the physical world. I definitely took far more risks than I have before.
In the midst of the stellar album, are some amazing collaborations! How did each collaboration come about and how do you think each collaborator helped shape the record overall?
Each collaboration was incredibly natural. Either artists I've been friends with for years like Hayley, Quinn, or AJR or people I’ve bonded with in this last year in different ways like Suga, BBNO$, or Daniel Seavey of Why Don't We.
You manage to perfectly blend pop, hip-hop and Latin sounds over a somewhat electronic soundscape, creating your own unique genre-bending sound. How did you approach combining these genres cohesively into one succinct body of work?
So many wonderful compliments in this interview thank you. I just love starting with the song and the story and then feeling out the sonic space and genre that brings it to life the best. With a song like New Life, it just screamed Spanish guitars and exciting production when we wrote it and Circles needed to be more stripped down and singer-songwriter.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from the record?
I hope each song means something different to them. Whether it's the song that gets them feeling energized to get in the car and go to work, or a song that hits them right in the heart and unlocks some feelings they may have not felt in quite the same way before. I just want them to feel whatever is natural to them.
If you had to pick three tracks that perfectly represent you as an artist on the record, which songs would they be and why?
Wow tough one. Colour Vision, Blueberry Eyes, and Love Me Less feel like the 3 that hit top of my head now. Mainly because they all represent me in a very authentic way in different sonic landscapes.
Your visuals are consistently visually and conceptually stunning. How important are the visuals (photo and video) to you when it comes to conveying the story and meaning present on the track/record?
The visuals are SO important to me. I want every bit of the story for each song to be represented to the fullest to let someone dive in as deep as they'd like and enter the escape and magic.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
It all stems from the story. From there whether it takes three hours or three months, we just fish for the spark of melodies and production landscape. But without the story the song is nothing to me.
You’ve been working in the industry for quite some time, crossing music, film, modelling and musical theatre. Which experiences do you consider to be major parts that shaped the artist you are today?
Lights Down Low definitely shaped a huge part of my career. The song itself, the story behind it, and the work it took to get it to be heard and represented in exactly the way I dreamed visually and sonically taught me more than any other piece of my career in the best way.
What has been the most challenging part about creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mostly having to put on more hats than I'm used to to get it all done. Being involved in even more of the directing, editing, designing, it has been intense with a small quarantine team but I'm actually really grateful because I think you can hopefully feel the spirit and presence even more in each piece. The music itself to create though hasn't been as much of a challenge as I thought it would be.
The current pandemic has obviously put a half to touring and performing live. Do you have any post-pandemic touring plans? Will we be seeing you visit Australia?!
OH OF COURSE. The second I can come back to Asia and Australia again, we are putting on the best damn show of our lives. I can't wait to get back there. Doing Sydney Opera House was a dream but with this new show we've crafted from this album, I think it will be even more special when we return.
What can audiences expect from a MAX live show?
Energy, involvement, excitement, magic, deep feelings, and most of all a true connection with their present moment and surrounding.
Album that has had the most impact on you
Purple Rain - Prince
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Energetic, raw, colourful
Best song of 2020?
What's Poppin - Jack Harlow
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Probably a really cool Pixar movie
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Best concert you have been to?
Bruno Mars - Hollywood Bowl
Guilty music pleasure?
Classic Britney Spears
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
What advice would you give yourself a year from now?
Stay present and don't stress too much
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician
When I was 5 years old dancing on my living room table in my underwear reenacting Beauty and the Beast.