MAX is quickly becoming an evolving household name as a vocalist and songwriter since realizing his appeal to both Eastern and Western audiences. He has since captivated K-Pop audiences with his involvement on "Burn It" on D-2 by AGUST D. MAX is now set to return with his newest full-length album release, Colour Vision on September 18, 2020! A contender for best new pop artist, MAX has been tantalizing ARMY worldwide with his newest song, "Blueberry Eyes". The single is a collaboration with none other than his good friend and musical colleague, Min Yoongi (SUGA) of BTS, and since July has had speculation after speculation running rampant among the fandom. The time has finally come for MAX to debut Blueberry Eyes, but not before we unpack some of the songwriting process and inspirations for his newest release with MAX himself first!
allkpop sat down (virtually!) with MAX about "Blueberry Eyes" and his newest upcoming album, Colour Vision to hear a little more about how the creation of his single and album went during these hectic times.
akp: MAX! Glad to have you back here for another interview with us. The last time we spoke was in June and you had just unveiled your latest endeavor with none other than AGUST D aka SUGA of BTS. How have you been holding up during these ultra-hectic times?
MAX: Times have certainly been wild. Since we spoke, I’ve been focused on every aspect of releasing this album in exactly the way I envision it, from the music videos to adding last-minute features on the songs to all of the unique merch. It's been an amazing but crazy experience.
akp: During our last interview, we left off with a question about hints or possible collaborations in store for your newest release, Colour Vision, dropping September 18! Now, we’re right around the corner, but at the time you responded by saying that the album will have “a very special collaboration I think fans will be extremely happy with”. At the time, were you speaking in reference to what we know now as Blueberry Eyes ft. SUGA of BTS?
MAX: That’s exactly who I was referring to. It’s been so hard to keep the secret of our multiple collaborations, but now that it’s all out in the open, it’s great to be able to talk about it all.
akp: Fans have been chomping at the bit after seeing the preview for Blueberry Eyes! So, if you’ve known about the collaboration since June, when exactly did you and SUGA find the time to work on this song? Given your hectic schedule and of course, BTS grueling day-to-days, was this something you two had worked on when you traveled to Seoul or when SUGA traveled to LA - when exactly was the timeline of this song and when did you actually finish it?
MAX: We actually worked on it all remotely from L.A. and Seoul. We were working on both “Burn it” and “Blueberry Eyes” simultaneously. We collaborated and went back and forth on both songs for more than two months.
akp: Share a little about the song itself and the MV concept of “Blueberry Eyes”. We’d love to know personal tidbits about the songwriting and filming process that make the track special!
MAX: It’s no secret that my wife, Emily, is my muse for all of my love songs. I wrote Lights Down Low for her and proposed to her with it. "Blueberry Eyes" is the dreamy love song of owning up to the way I knew I’d treat the girl of my dreams when I finally got to be with her combined with the reality of being with her now. Suga’s verse added to the story in its own way of feeling like wedding vows, which is why it felt so perfect to have Emily and I sing his verse in Korean verbatim in the video as though they were our own wedding vows.
akp: We know from our prior interview with you that you and Yoongi tend to have an interpreter there while you’re working or hanging out- do you find that music transcends language? Do you feel that at a certain point, the music starts to speak for itself and the interpreter falls to the wayside, or do you feel that the interpreter is a needed asset to good songwriting across cultures?
MAX: The interpreter definitely bridges a crucial gap to make sure we are communicating exactly what we are envisioning for our collaborations, but I do think hearing the feeling behind the vocalizing whether it’s singing or rapping transcends language and finding that balance to match each other just comes through that deeper connection.
akp: Last time you released a song with AGUST D, this time, you’re releasing a song with BTS SUGA. You yourself also have another project- a DJ duo called Party Pupils. Though they’re technically the same person, do you feel that releasing with “BTS SUGA” has a different connotation or feeling? How does the creative process differ when working with either ‘personality’?
MAX: Yoongi has said this himself about how all of his artist projects are still him, of course, so no matter the project you’re always working with him as a person and that experience is always the same. That definitely rings true in my experience working with him. I think each name just allows a slight variation in the sound he’s going for. The process didn’t really differ though. I think AGUST D is a slightly a darker project overall for him, while with his Suga project he can cross over a bit more into the brighter pop-leaning world that I do with a song like "Blueberry Eyes". I have a similar experience between my MAX project and my DJ duo, Party Pupils. I can explore different musical opportunities with each project.
akp: When you’re in a musical headspace and want to write music, do you or any of your collaborators, songwriters, or production team have any habits or rituals you swear by?
MAX: Usually we all search for a spark. We talk about our lives. I’ve revealed things to songwriters I just met that I’ve never told some of my closest friends. We explore melodies vocally or instrumentally for a bit. But the spark of magic is what we’re always fishing for. I think the habit for me is just not stopping our search until we feel the spark.
akp: You decided to open up a Blueberry Eyes t-shirt contest rather than having an actual designer- what’s the motivation behind this? How did you get the idea to bring in ARMY and other fans to creatively control the design?
MAX: Honestly I just wasn’t getting a design that felt quite right from the designers I usually work with, and I’ve noticed over the years, how brilliant different art that's been created by fans has been. I felt it was the perfect way to empower artists in the fan base and also to find that perfect design I’d envisioned. I was blown away by all of the designs submitted - there are so many unique and creative artists who care.
akp: On that same note of collaborators, we also note “Working for the Weekend” to feature popular rising artist, bbno$. Tell us about your collaboration with bbno$ and what fans can look forward to on this song!
MAX: bbno$ and I are cut from the same cloth. We just connected right away over FaceTime and still to this day three songs of collaborations later haven’t met in person. He’s a hustler who works hard on everything he does. It felt perfect having him join the song that AJR and I did together. It’s a love song to hard work and to defining success in the process more than the end result in your career.
akp: Share with fans what you hope they’ll take from Colour Vision and what messages you are hoping to share with this release. What do you ultimately want ARMY and other fans to really resonate with on this album?
MAX: I think now, more than ever, we all want to feel truly alive. We want to feel a little magic and inspiration-the kind of spark of joy you get at the end of a brilliant movie. I hope this album gives people that warmth and energy. I hope it’s a part of the soundtrack of their lives that empowers them and keeps them motivated to thrive in each moment they have.