MAXDTHEGAWD

MAXDTHEGAWD

What is something not too many people know about you?

I love to do way too many things. When I love doing something it's not about the money for me. I love DJ'ing. I think there's something exhilarating about leading a crowd of people into the perfect energy for a party. It's a lot of work and pressure, but it's rewarding at the end of the day. Not many people know that I'm also an audio engineer by trade. I went to school and studied audio engineering. Engineering never feels like work to me and is always a lot of fun. Most of my passion lies in making music, however I never publicly made that known. A lot of people assume I just dabble in DJ'ing, making music, and engineering because I have never shown these talents to the public eye. Despite the assumption, I have worked my a** off to perfect my craft before making it public knowledge. I am very close to being a perfectionist but I also admire the beauty in the raw and the organic. My work is never random and has a lot of thought and effort behind it.

Why did you start to make music?

As a child I have always wanted to make music. I think my first CD ever was a Phil Collins CD. I played it all day, every day. The soundtrack to Tarzan was fantastic and probably still the best Disney soundtrack to date. I grew up in church and my favorite part was always the worship music. I never in my life thought I'd be making my own music though. I did great in high school and, to be honest, I was taking all the steps to be a lawyer. (I low-key always wanted to be a public defense attorney). At some point freshman year of college I became miserable. I hated my classes and classmates. I ran into some kids who made music and I caught the bug, so to speak. I started thinking I might be able to do what they do, if not better. Yet, as it does, self-deprecation caught the best of me and made me feel as though I was not good enough.

At the time, I was working at a movie theatre—broke as hell. I was cleaning one of the theaters and found $300 under a seat. This was exactly enough to get a mic package I had seen online, so I felt like maybe it was a sign. I used that money to buy my first really cheap recording set up. I didn't even have a laptop. I started recording in my best friend's Hofstra University dorm room on his laptop with GarageBand. Now that I look back, that recording was SO bad, but I remember being so happy I finally did it. Something I wanted to do since childhood had finally happened. At this point I didn't know the first thing about recording or mixing and mastering. Sound quality wise, it was terrible. Nevertheless, I released it and was shocked by the positive reception. I then realized if I really was going to do this, I wanted to do it right. I took the song down—deciding to stay low and not releasing music while I researched and learned. For the life of me I could not figure out why songs on the radio sounded so clean and mine sounded like it was waiting for a garbage truck to come around and collect it. It was then when I decided to go to school for audio engineering which easily became the best decision of my life. I was not confident in my music making ability and thought that if I wasn't good enough to make my own music I could at least get real nice with engineering. I could then make other people sound as good as possible and that was honestly enough for me. 

It wasn't until the second semester of school that I put out the first song that I could really say was myself and not me trying to be someone else. I didn't even tell anyone I released it. It was called "Pressure Interlude." The song was a minute long myriad of me playing guitar and singing my heart out about my experiences at the time. Somehow a classmate of mine, who now I'm really close to, found my SoundCloud and mentioned to me that he listened. He liked all the music he heard but thought Pressure Interlude was crazy because of the realness of it. Him telling me that changed everything for me and he doesn't even know. I finally stopped trying to make music I thought people liked and just started making music that felt right. I almost gave up on making music to strictly engineer, but that pushed me to keep going. It was that conversation that led me to delete all the songs on my SoundCloud and make all new music that really reflected who I was. I decided I wanted to wait to release new music until I was finished with school. It was necessary for me to fully understood how to engineer a song from start to finish. I wanted my music to not only show I had talent but to also be able to compete with songs coming from signed artists. After I graduated school, I put out two songs.

The reaction I've received from those two songs has been overwhelming— for lack of a better term. I've never had support from people close to me when it comes to me making music. My friends thought it was just a joke and my family does not think I'm talented whatsoever. It still shocks me that I posted a SoundCloud link and 20,000 people listened. I have received so much support from complete strangers who don't owe me anything. Hey, they could have easily ignored it. I then dropped a second single and it happened all over again. It kind of got me thinking. I can do 20,000 and then 40,000. Who's to say I can't do 100,000 and then tens of millions.

What's your favorite type of music to DJ right now?

If I'm DJing. hands down I love to play what the youth wants. Ragers like Travis Scott, Sheck Wes, Famous Dex, and Lil Pump. There's just something about their energy. It never fails to translate into a party environment.

What inspires you most?

As far as my music goes, I guess I make sad R&B. What most inspires me is heartbreak and love lost. I have an affinity for writing songs for women who will never listen. I sometimes get really inspired seeing other people's situations. The writing process is way different if I'm writing from my own personal experiences compared to writing someone else's story. I tend to be most inspired in the shower though, for whatever reason, when it comes to writing words or melodies. Sometimes, though I'll hear a chord in a song or a phrase, get super inspired by it, and write a whole song just based on that.

What is your definition of success?

Honestly, success to me would be being able to support myself with my work. Whether that's my own music or just helping others make great music through engineering or DJ'ing. I just want to be apart of the fabric of music in some way, shape, or form.

What are your goals for the future?

I'm planning on opening up my own little recording studio. I can then start seriously working on an album for myself while also using the studio to freelance engineer for others.

Tell us something about the project/projects you're working on?

I told myself I wouldn't want to drop an entire project until I was seriously on the verge of something big. Possibility being, signing a record label or my fan base growing to a point large enough that I could tour. Until then, I plan on dropping music on a single by single basis. I'm working on getting my studio open and making the most transparent music. When you hear a song from me, it's a real story. I take it very seriously and try to make sure the story is told as best possible.

You can find his music here.

JPSY | THE PULL UP

JPSY | THE PULL UP