We had the good fortune of connecting with Max Collier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Max, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
It’s simple, if it’s truly your passion then it is impossible to give up.
I am a musician/producer who specializes in a niche market of sound. The songs I produce for people have a nostalgic grip on production techniques from the 60’s and 70’s while integrating modern pop-hooks to maintain relevance. My whole craft is outdated. People have given up making these songs 50-60 years ago. But the fact is I wouldn’t do it any other way.
An artist is an artist not by choice but by the way they choose to interact with the world around them. A person does not pick up a paint brush and decide they are going to paint landscapes for a living. An artist admires the serene and expansive beauty of the empty Joshua Tree skyline and takes pleasure filling in each unique cactus that riddles frame in front of them. A person does not pick up a pen and decide to be a poet. An artist sits in on their roof writing stanza upon stanza with selective end rhyme about the overwhelming yet freeing sensation of simply being.
It is not a choice. It is a reflex. A natural response to the world around them. And since we are small and insignificant vessels, the artist takes this anonymity and uses their brain and heart to try and make some sense of the world around them.
Someone pedaling a product gives up. Someone marketing a brand gives up. An artist does not give up. An artist *cannot* give up.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I write music for myself. I play music live. I write and record music for others as well.
I don’t make anything I’m not proud of. I myself have a genre of music that I gravitate towards but I don’t let that inhibit what I create. I don’t listen to a lot of rap/trap/hip hop but if a client wants a beat I’ll make it the best damn beat I can make it. I’ll make a beat that, despite my ignorance, I would listen to on my own time. I research artists I’ve never heard of to find the things I love and the things I hate about the genre I have no experience in. I don’t create based on someone else. Reference tracks are essential but there are plenty of regurgitated songs on the market and I don’t aim to be caught in that echo chamber.
The simple way to overcome falling into the anonymity of an oversaturated market is to never settle. If you don’t like something, don’t do it. Even if it’s successful at the time. Every major breakout artist has followed their own tune. It’s the uninspired that then cling to the coat tails and create music in their shadow in an attempt to feed off success. True reward only comes from risk. I’d rather die with 10 loyal fans who respect what it is I do than stare at a stadium of people that like a mask that I wear.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Downtown LA. We would get on bicycles, get a bottle of wine or two in a backpack, and drink around the beautiful architecture old LA has to offer. We would cross the 1st street bridge into Boyle Heights and sit by Mariachi plaza and laugh and cheer until the sun goes down. And when the sun goes down. Downtown LA/East LA (Not echo park) is a bouquet of history, character, and beauty that people tend to overlook. You’ll hear stories you never even thought possible from skinny Latino men covered in tattoos. You’ll eat at restaurants that have done their best to stay off Yelp. The city is full of places that will make you feel like “Hollywood” is thousands of miles away, its delightful.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
An integral cornerstone of my confidence and humble success is simply the group of people I choose to keep around me. Be this housemates, coworkers, family, neighbors, etc. the people I have chosen to keep in my life have made all of the difference the past decade. Their fuel is not one based in feedback like “great song” or “cool post” but mostly finding kinship with another who fully sees your representation and not only processes it but prods it be better. Los Angeles is brimming with parasites seeking to belittle the talent of others to make up for their own insecurity and lack of drive. After many mistakes I have found myself surrounded by people who respect, appreciate, and love me for who I am and nothing more. I would not be where I am today if I didn’t have this kind of support and dole out the same support in return.