Our new favorite synthwave treasure premieres her video for “Glitch,” talks psychics, and why it’s better being that not-so-perfect girl.
MAXX may be new to the world of records and recording studios, but don’t get it twisted—music is her second language. The uninhibited artist started piano and voice lessons when she was seven as a way to heal from a car accident that put her parents in the hospital, quickly discovering her passion for using music as a means for self-expression. Trusting her gut (and the word of a psychic), she traded New York for L.A. and finishing college for chasing a dream. Fast forward a couple of years and MAXX is riding the wave of her first single, “Glitch,” a synthpop ode to fragmented love and ’80s and ’90s nostalgia. We caught up with the songstress to get the scoop on her decision to pursue music full-time, the mesmerizing video for “Glitch,” and, of course, that grill.
What was the process of writing and releasing your song “Glitch” like? What meaning does the word have for you?
Glitch, to me, refers to that feeling of being stuck in an endless loop with no foreseeable ending. Glitch is a lifestyle and has been my lifestyle in all things love since I entered my twenties. Having problems in relationship isn’t new, but the way in which young people have to deal with love and the thousands of other available options is. The process of writing, “Glitch,” was a therapeutic one because it was the first time I had admitted that I consistently find myself staying in relationships I know are unhealthy. I think we’ve all been there, with these less than great situations, holding onto the idea of someone being the person we want them to be, rather than the person they actually are.
The video for “Glitch” reflects a kind of ‘90s nostalgia and has these really spellbinding visuals and soundscape. What was the inspiration behind it?
First of all, no era can compete with neon like the ’80s and ’90s. To me, there is a no more exciting way to make a statement than by playing with dark and light imagery using neon colors. I love these eras because they have always had the ability to make a viewer or listener happy, sad, and nostalgic all at the same time. The goal for the landscape in the video was to reflect the feeling of being lost in a world with no boundaries. I really owe a lot of the creation to my manager, George Robertson and videographer, Jungle George, who were able to help make the shared vision a reality.
Ok, about that grill… is it real?
Yes, the grill is 100% real! It’s not something I always wear, but it’s definitely a part of my personal stye. I know it is an unexpected choice with my style and sound, but that’s exactly why I like it.
You started taking piano lessons when you were seven and wrote your own musicals as a kid. Where does that love for music come from?
I’m an only child, so I was always creating new friends for myself through characters I wrote into my music. My family and I are close, but a car accident we were in during the summer of 2003 left my parents in and out of the hospital for many of my formative years. They tried to separate my time from the hospital by signing me up for piano and voice three times a week. After I fell in love with the art, music became an escape and required no supervision. It allowed me to feel and express my emotions when I had no other way to get my head out of the water.
What moved you to drop out of college and pursue music full-time?
College isn’t for everyone, and I got tired of trying to be the picture-perfect girl. I felt guilty for not appreciating my education as much as I should have and knew my heart was telling me to follow what I love. Higher education is so important, but I also know that education doesn’t have to come from within the walls of a university. I learn better on the job and in an environment that’s centered around my passions, not grades. It was an easy decision to leave, and I know I can always go back should I have the urge.
So, you had what sounds like an incredible encounter with a psychic on the streets of New York, which led you to finally bite the bullet and move to L.A. Tell me about that.
I mean, short as that is, it pretty much hits the nail on the head. I had always wanted to move to LA, so it’s not like this totally came out of left field. Even in high school, I considered not attending NYU and just moving straight to Los Angeles and giving the music industry a try. I’m so happy I decided to move to NYC, however, because it solidified my desires without any “what if” syndrome. One day during the summer of 2015, I woke up with the urge to see a psychic, which was odd considering I had never seen one before. The thought came and went until later that evening, when I was walking home from summer classes and saw a sketchy-looking woman. She had a table on the side of the street with a sign that was advertising palm and tarot card readings. I decided to fork over the $20 and satisfy my unusual urge. Almost immediately when I sat down, she told me I needed to move across the U.S. We chatted a bit longer on love and the extreme sadness I had been trying to overcome living in New York. It was clear I needed a change. After our encounter, I felt the final push to go. I called my mom and immediately after, I called the moving company.
How did your upcoming EP come about?
My EP came about when I met my manager, George Robertson. I had been in Los Angeles for three or four months trying to get a band together and play the bar scene. I desperately wanted to record, but I didn’t know anyone in the industry or even how to go about finding help. I met him at a bar in Silver Lake around Christmastime in 2015; I thought his jacket was amazing, and we hit it off. He agreed to listen to my demo, and for about a year we explored all the different approaches and sounds I felt excited about playing. It was a slow and arduous task, but finally, “Glitch,” was born!
You’ve said that you think music has the power to help people feel less alone. How do you hope to reach people with your music?
I think the human experience is a shared one. I also think that far too often, we forget this. We are wired to think that whatever is happening to us is happening to us alone. I know without art, I would never be able to deal with my own hardships. It wasn’t until I started seriously making music that I realized how alone I was not. We all go through hard times, and we all fuck up. Maybe it’s not always in the same way, but we will always all be connected. I hope my music can help others understand that they shouldn’t feel crazy or embarrassed about what they’re feeling. Music lets us express what we don’t always feel safe expressing in the real world. If my words could help inspire people to live honestly and proudly, that’s the greatest thing I think I could do.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m recording and working on the next few songs for the EP. I’m so excited to share them with everyone soon!
For more on MAXX, check out her Instagram.