“What inspires me to write is a desire to fulfill the demand that Pac left behind in relation to positive action. There are a number of conscious rappers but none of them make you feel like 2pac because of his edge, education, and aggression with love.”
Check out the interview with Maxheat Mad Max exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Maxheat Mad Max: This all started in Akron, Ohio before Lebron James fever. After breaking my neck in 1996, I was no longer able to play basketball and be the star that I anticipated on becoming. After having so much disappointment from losing the ability to play basketball and slowly losing friends my whole childhood, my father and I began to develop a character identity (Mad Max a.k.a. Maxheat) and record label (Millennium Music Mission M3) independently with a refreshing positive and grass roots mission.
We put up our own money, some of it coming from a trust fund I had due to the injury I sustained in a car accident where I broke two bones in my neck and damaged my spinal cord. I ended up coming back home to Akron after two years at Kent State and finished up my communications degree at the University of Akron while also working for the local radio station WZIP FM in order to solidify my introduction into the entertainment industry.
Soon after I released my first album titled Losing Contact vol. 1 and launched the online radio show known as the Pro Flow Radio Show. The drive to win and compete is something that has directed my steps since my first ever tape recorded song called “Rebels Reply” which has never been released. The second follow-up song was called “I’m Tight” and there is no explanation needed.
What are some of the creative ways you use to promote your music?
Due to the technology boom that we live in there are a number of ways to promote yourself these days. Promotion is very tricky and dualistic. You must promote everywhere but still be concentrated and never look thirsty or greedy. My biggest promotional tool is charisma on the streets. Everyone that I deal with and talk to is an opportunity to provoke their curiosity. I instill an ideal man, human, brother, friend, and ultimate musician/businessman. I don’t always promote directly, but if I communicate correctly and it usually precedes my opportunity to present my craft and as we call it “The Music Solution.”
What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
The one thing that bothers me due to the nature of the business is the lack of accessibility for individuals with physical impairments. Some of our greatest contributors to music are people like Ray Charles and Stevie wonder and when they come on the stage they never disappoint, but what it takes to get to that stage is extremely hindered by a lack of consideration for people with disabilities.
I used my disability and the motivation and inspiration that it creates to help build my brand and influence the world by touching people’s souls with our common understanding of life. I never let the pressures of being a gangsta rapper overtake my style and mission to impact the world. Just because the industry says this must be done this way, does not mean that it is true or the only option.
How is the music scene like in your hometown? What do you like about it and what don’t you like?
Akron, Ohio has a constant flow of new and dying artists. It’s been like that for years. There have been big successes like the Black Keys and then there are no-names. For hip hop, there are not a lot of viable options that will allow you to perform professionally in a comfortable environment. The bigger cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati probably have better opportunities, but Akron has a number of aspiring artists that have an amazing ability to create professional music.
With hip hop, most artists are clicked up and therefore is hard to break into Akron entertainment unless you are friends with a club promoter at a local club. And some clubs are not as safe as others. If I could change anything about the Akron music scene it would be to create a solid place to where people respect the music and the opportunity by presenting clean appropriate music to audiences for all ages. Leaders in the city do not care about local music so it is just there for the individuals that can naturally participate due to social economic capital.
Where do you think the future of music is going to be? How do you feel artists can be more a part of it?
Music is an institution that transcends time and space. Hip hop is under attack right now by the corporate world’s divisive exploitation. But the music is based off of the struggle of our culture and that will never die or change. If an artist wants to contribute to the positive growth of music and the preservation of music purity then you must say no to whack rap as an artist and a fan. Don’t follow the crowd and slave to what everybody else is doing and utilizing.
We need new musicians to create new sounds and donate to the evolution and growth of expression. When people say that one person can change the world, just think of every one person actually doing something that is positive and with that the world changed. Think about Beyoncé and her Super Bowl performance and think about Kendrick Lamar at the Grammys. Controversial but positive in intent. Look at the impact.
What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
My advice to upcoming artists and musicians is to understand that this game is not a game. It is an intricate system set up to weed out the strong from the weak. It is not about money unless you are really trying to have a career on a lower level than the famous.
Register with ASCAP or BMI. Buy cheap barcodes and have them on deck. Listen to artist interviews to learn why your favorite artists have made it thus far. Pay attention to the world trends mainly in social science meaning pay attention to what humans are going through in the world past and present. Do not wait on someone to help you. On top of that, build a team and lead with research and effort while setting the example like Kobe.
What inspires you to write your next song?
Usually my boss, but truly inspiration comes from what we are living through. There is all kinds of influences whether you just got paid and want to express the happiness or whether it is getting fired or dumped. The pace of the music industry also inspires me to write because it never sleeps and people are always coming up with different ideas but just watching videos lets me know that I need to be writing because the music is really not that good in pop culture.
What inspires me to write is a desire to fulfill the demand that Pac left behind in relation to positive action. There are a number of conscious rappers but none of them make you feel like 2pac because of his edge, education, and aggression with love. And of course the element of Notorious B.I.G. with his eloquent lyricism of ghetto life haunts my soul as well along with the energy of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and the range of Prince. Did I mention the heart of James Brown and the voice of a radio legend? How could I not be inspired to create?
What are the steps you take to make a song?
Mom always said, “If you want it to match, it matches.” She taught me to design way before I learned anything. The steps I take to make a song are listen to the beat as long as I can before writing. I might jot notes down here and there and bring them all together when it’s time to do a serious professional writing draft counting bar for bar matching the instrumental perfectly. My boss taught me to prepare for studio time because of cost. So I take my time when creating, but I have all the time in the world because I have my own studio and I do my own mixing/mastering/recording/etc.
These days my steps are: choose a concept, choose a title or chorus, choose an instrumental or make one, write and merge all usable submitted material, edit, perfect hooks, bridges and verse flow, then record, fix whether vocally or instrumentally for the premium affect, then finally test out with fans whether local or Internet.
What do you think makes a great song?
I want to shout out one of my biggest critics and supporters, my sister Danielle. Some people have certain preferences about music. Actually all people. But I was exposed to her particular requirements which is the song should never sound the same as your others as much as possible, the song should have parts in it that you love that are your favorite parts, and just like my boss Nujam likes, the song should have crescendos or changes in the emotional flavor and energy.
A great song relates to everybody’s life whether it’s hip hop, r&b, pop, rock, blues, or world. A great song will touch everybody in every way even if you don’t know what you like about it. You may just like the voice or how the artist is riding the track. It is up to you. It is subjective. It is due to your life experience. A great song is determined by the person who was listening to it but the goal is for the song to connect with everyone listening to it.
Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?
Official Website: www.maxheat.com
Pro Flow Radio: www.proflowradio.com
Facebook: maxheat | maxheatm3 |proflowradio