It’s no secret that MAX loves the art of collaboration. Before he recruited gnash for the sultry acoustic hit “Lights Down Low,” MAX sang on dance tracks by Illenium and 3LAU, and enlisted the likes of Lil Uzi Vert and Hoodie Allen for his own tunes.
The 25-year-old’s latest pair-up is with Noah Cyrus, and it celebrates his passion for working together right in its title: “Team.”
When Cyrus sent him the song in hopes of turning the lighthearted track into a duet, Max knew right away that he wanted to be a part of it. “It was the serendipitous moment of ‘Wow, that’s exactly where I’m at,'” MAX told Billboard at the launch of the Fujifilm INSTAX Square SQ6 in New York City.
MAX spent 10 hours putting his own twists on the track — “I didn’t really know what to do, so I just did everything,” he said with a laugh — and worked with co-writer Jenna Andrews to make the final product cohesive. He also got input from Cyrus herself, but never in person — the two worked together from opposite coasts, communicating solely through FaceTime and phone calls.
“What’s beautiful is that two very separate people with separate stories and separate lives made sense together,” he said. “It was so cool that both of us wanted our voices to blend. That’s the most special thing about when you combine voices – you don’t want things to stand out sometimes, you want things to just work together. And I loved that respect that came from just both [of us] really loving what we do and making sure that it’s about the work and not about yourself, ever.”
When it came to the lyrics, MAX primarily found inspiration in his own teammate: his wife, Emily, to whom he’s been married for two years.
“Just like ‘Lights Down Low’ has sort of grown in the last two years, so has my relationship with the song, and my relationship with my wife,” he explained. “Certain things change, and you love each other more deeply. You have your fights like everyone else, but the reminder that you’re always on each other’s team – and that it’s you guys against everything else – is the biggest constant.”
Today, however, there’s another figure he thinks of when he listens to the track. “I look at my dog every day, and I’m just so sad to think about him not being in my life one day,” he said. “But in that way, ‘Team’ is [about] appreciating those people more. I hope that people look at the song in that way.”