Interview: MAX Talks “Love Me Less,” Touring & His Yellow Era
MAX has some big plans in store for the rest of the year. The 26-year-old landed a breakout hit with 2016’s “Lights Down Low” and has been keeping busy ever since. He’s lent his voice to a handful of very good collaborations with the likes of Noah Cyrus (“Team”), Louis The Child (“Dear Sense”) and Ty Dolla $ign (“The Other Side” for The Greatest Showman Reimagined). In the meantime, he’s been chipping away at material for a new album. And he currently has another potentially massive smash on his hands with his latest single – “Love Me Less.”
Featuring Quinn XCII, the vibrant anthem picks up where “Lights Down Low” left off. How so? It deals with all the insecurities one may feel in a relationship. “Would you love me less, if you knew the places that I’ve been,” he vulnerably asks on the chorus. It’s all sorts of relatable. More importantly, it’s incredibly catchy. So it’s no surprise the bop has amassed nearly 20 million Spotify streams since dropping back in April. Meanwhile, the equally colorful video is also racking up some serious views. That’s not all, though. Earlier this month, MAX announced The Intimate AF Tour.
He’s starting small with three (already sold-out) dates. However, there are plans to travel even more once his album arrives. And it seems like the project is coming together very nicely. Recently I had the opportunity to ask MAX a couple of questions about everything he’s been working on. He spilled some tea about “Love Me Less” and working on the video with director Drew Kirsch. The rising star also offered a tentative schedule for the album and explained why his social media has been dominated by the color yellow lately. Press play on “Love Me Less” and dive into our exclusive Q&A to learn more.
“Love Me Less” is such a bop. Can you talk a bit about how it came together?
Thank you!!! I wrote it about a year after being married to my wife Emily. It’s sort of the realistic evolution of the love story to “Lights Down Low”. I rewrote it over and over again for about a year and a half until it felt just right to release into the world. Now here we are!
The video is also a wild ride. What was it like working on the set and how did you all come up with the concept?
I spent about 2 months with the director, Drew Kirsch, writing each element of the story and every scene’s concept. We really wanted to make sure the story was based on my real life events while also living in its own colorful and eccentric world. It was so incredibly fun to bring it to life with my actual wife, parents, and best friend Allie playing the “Jane” character!
Based on your social media and the “Love Me Less” video, the color yellow seems to be very heavily represented right now. Is that intentional? If so, what does it mean?
Indeed, it is so intentional! I woke up one day after having this surgery and being silent for 4 months because of it realizing damn this album and world needs to be yellow. To me yellow is a color that evokes a feeling of hope. I needed some hope in my life when the vision hit me and I wanted to commit to it so much so for the entire album that I wouldn’t ever forget the dark place I came from and the bright electrifying place I’d like to create for myself and my fans through this new album.
Earlier this week you announced dates for The Intimate AF Tour. Right now, there are only three shows in the works. Should we expect more to be added in the coming months?
Indeed, I wanted to come back with some special concerts for the fans before officially releasing this album. I’ll be playing some new music and doing these special shows, but saving the really massive show ideas we have planned for once we drop the album. Definitely gonna be doing a few more intimate AF shows worldwide while I finish the record!
Can you talk about why you wanted to start on a smaller, more intimate scale with the tour?
It just felt right. I think as I finalize things for an album, I like to feel the energy from the fans. It changes the songs in a really unique way. So essentially, these shows are the final piece of me finishing this album that’s dropping in the fall. They are writers in its story as well.
What should fans expect when they come to see you?
Well I give 100 percent of my energy and love every show. They should expect to feel the most alive while being prepared to be happily exhausted by the end. They are as much a part of one of my shows as I am.
What do you have in store for the rest of the year? Should we be expecting another album?
OH YEAH BABY! Full album coming in the fall. I’m typing this interview out as I head to the studio. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. It feels like my most honest and raw work to date.
In the past you’ve worked with the likes of Noah Cyrus, Ty Dolla $ign, Galantis and Matoma. Are there any other people you’d like to work with moving forward?
So many people! I love collaborating obviously haha. I’d love to work with Rosalia, Khalid, Disclosure, Tori Kelly, Brendon Urie, and so many more.
Speaking of Ty, I wanted to ask about your contribution to The Greatest Showman Reimagined. How did that come together?
Funny enough, I met Ty for the first time at the BMI awards and we were talking about how wild this collaboration was. He had like a 6 week old frenchie at the awards which was very legendary and adorable. It was all quite random. The writers from The Greatest Showman asked for both of us to do the duet and we both just thought it was a no-brainer! So happy I did – I LOVED the movie and score.
You really landed a breakout hit with “Lights Down Low” in 2016. When you’re working on new music now, do you ever feel pressure to match its success?
Absolutely. There’s an immense pressure to follow it up, but in the end, all I can ever do is keep writing the most transparent and true stories over production that hopefully gets people feeling incredible and moves them. You can’t recreate special moments in life. That’s why they’re are special. All I can do is create the next unique and special moments with an entirely new vibe and world of music for this new album!