Pop singer-songwriter MAX recently sat down with Billboard as part of the “How It Went Down” video series, to reveal how his romantic breakthrough hit song “Lights Down Low” — which he used to propose to his now-wife — was created.
The track, which appears on MAX’s third studio album Hell’s Kitchen Angel, was written while he was on tour with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa. At the time, the musician had just started dating the woman he would one day marry, and she would fly out to see him on weekends throughout the tour. “Our time was so precious,” says MAX, explaining that the lyric, “Can I stop the flow of time?/ Can I swim in your divine?” was inspired by their short, sporadic visits together.
“We would just have these weekends in different states on this tour and trying to just encapsulate them,” he adds. “I didn’t want her to leave ever. I just wanted it to be that moment, us together, and not anything else in the world.”
MAX says that he had a great energy with the song’s co-writers, Liam O’Donnell and 3OH!3’s Nathaniel Motte, and that O’Donnell initially came up with the track’s hook. “The music kind of surrounded that hook, and then we wrote all the lyrics around the hook, which is rare,” MAX explains. “But for this one, it was just this encapsulated feeling… what are the things that you really soak another person up with?”
“I actually proposed to my wife with the song with a harp player and I sang it to her,” the New York-based musician continues. “Those little moments are the ones that you really remember… just laying with someone you love, and their head on your chest, and just the little tiny things that really sort of encapsulate a story.”
You can watch MAX tell the full story of how “Lights Down Low” was written – and hear him sing a few lines of the song – above.