His smooth voice feels like velvet on the ears, and his early song "Feelings" is a great indicator of what to expect as he prepares to release his debut album later this year. With a Scandinavian honesty and unaware of his own beautiful vulnerability, this is an artist with a lot of things he wants to share. His words come from deep within, and he is happy to go to the depth of his core to share honest and authentic emotions. As an artist, Maximillian
genuinely cares that we walk away feeling a little bit better about ourselves, a little bit more uplifted and have been able to have an emotional experience we can connect with.
When Maximillian was 13 years old, his father invited him to a Pink Floyd concert - this is where he found his true calling. The words “We don’t need no education” stuck with him, and he had a bit of an epiphany - he wanted to be on stage! He changed the direction in his life right at that moment. Dealing with challenges of growing up in Copenhagen and having fallen into the wrong crowd, Maximillian took a u-turn and started a new direction in his life. Throwing himself fully into music, he is now on the cusp of a new chapter, ready to start sharing his music with the world.
Photographer Emilia Staugaard brings Maximillian out of the recording studio for a day, allowing him to breathe in the surroundings of the outskirts of his own city. Stylist Jonas Worup dresses him in clean-lined contemporary pieces with small bursts of colour peeking through. Their playground for the day represents the juxtaposition of an industrialised world versus the space and freedom to be found in the surrounding nature of suburban Copenhagen. Much like Maximillian's journey, hinting at a past of challenges he has managed to work his way through. From struggles and heartache comes lessons learned, growth, and expression, and Maximillian has much to tell.
Releasing another emotional track as a teaser of what’s to come on his debut EP later this year, ‘Hollow Days’, Maximilian’s beautiful smooth vocals brings an insight into the complexities of love. Continuing the haunting and ethereal sound of his previous releases, this song is about fighting your own mixed emotions and how you sometimes might leave key parts of your life out - then realizing that living without it makes you hollow.
"Have you ever broken a glass and then fixed the glass?" Maximillian asks me. Anything that breaks can be mended and work perfectly again, even if the cracks still might be showing. We start talking about feelings again, one of our favourite topics. For Maximillian, it's all about choice, the power we have to make our own choices and to choose our own paths without letting others guide them for us. He wants us to know that we can choose how we want to live our lives and make a happy ending for ourselves. This is what makes me want to take a closer listen to the music that is to come from this talented young artist. There is much more to know about Maximillian, but this is just the start.
How was your shoot with Emilia?
I loved it! It was my first experience doing a proper photoshoot with a stylist. It was really cold though. I didn’t wear that much clothes, and I was standing in a field in the middle of March in Denmark - that’s pretty cold, haha.
Imagine all the models who shoot summer campaigns in the middle of winter.
Yes, I thought about that! Like, holy shit, this is the toughest job. It really is, I’m very happy being a musician. So respect to the people doing that, it’s incredible. But I really enjoyed the shoot and working with Emilia was really nice.
It looks like you were able to explore your town a bit as well.
It was my first time ever getting that much fresh air, haha. The area is just outside Copenhagen and is very nice, I felt really really really healthy. I mostly spend my time in the studio, so it was nice getting some fresh air.
So we helped you come outside and breathe in the fresh air of your own city. I love it! What are you recording in your studio at the moment?
I’m recording my next release, but I won’t spoil too much quite yet.
I listened to your song “Feelings” the other day and noted some of the lyrics. I will read it to you, it’s going to be beautiful. "Times change. New days. Friends fade. A new faith chose you… Time changed us, baby.” This pretty much seems like it’s taken right out of your own story. Tell me a bit more about how you approach songwriting and how you use your own story in what you create?
This specific song is from my own personal life, but I also wanted to give the listener the possibility to use their own imagination. Other words are; “We’re walking on a burning bridge, still you make it seem so easy”. I feel like a lot of people go through something where the other person doesn’t really care. This song is actually about a best friend that I lost and went through a lot of heartbreaking stuff with. As you grow older, you change as a person and the people around you also change. We were both different people when we met. As I got older and more mature my best friend went the opposite way. I love talking about my feelings. I’m quite bad at expressing them I’m person, but I’m not scared of opening up - although I’m better at expressing it in lyrics and singing about exactly how I feel. That’s when it is easiest to talk about my experiences, my emotions, and how I see the world. I can get kind of messy when I talk, but in my songs, I can communicate it better so you can understand exactly what I mean.
Music is a great way to express your thoughts. There is a real honesty and vulnerability in your songs. Are those two words that you would use to describe yourself?
Honestly and vulnerability are great words actually. I’m more confident now than I was when I started making music. I’m getting better every day as a musician and songwriter, but also as a human. I get to experience things in a different way now. I get to travel alone and experience being an adult, it’s really nice. I want to make my songs that really reach the listeners, songs that can help people get more confident. I want to help people instead of just being a regular pop artist that makes songs about clubs and all that kind of stuff. One of my core messages in my music is to not doubt yourself. If you keep telling yourself that you can do something, eventually you can do it.
That’s a really beautiful intention to have. Do you think this type of authenticity comes from your Danish background?
My father always gave me a lot of confidence growing up, so I don’t know if it’s because I’m Danish or Scandinavian, ‘cause often Scandinavians are the worst at being confident. In Denmark, we have this annoying law called “The Law of Jante”, which means you shouldn’t think you are anything special or that you're better than anyone else. And I hate that mindset, because why shouldn’t you be able to think that you are good enough? That’s what makes a lot of my friends here in Denmark unconfident and they don’t always know what they want to achieve in life. A lot of people will go to university simply to have something to fall back on, not because it is what they really want to do. That’s the standard thing in Denmark that you need an education to be ’safe’. But what’s being safe? Who wants to fall? Who wants to fail? If you’re only going to university because your parents told you to, you’re not really doing life properly. I tried going this route and it wasn’t for me. My parents were very supportive and told me to follow my dream and my heart, so I dropped out and set my mind on exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to make music. I wanted to be an artist and I wanted to write songs.
Which you are doing right now. How would you describe your music?
My music is definitely honest like we touched on before. It’s also emotional and quite dramatic if we go into the big words, and it’s dreamy. Instead of sticking within too strict guidelines in making pop music within a specific genre, my music can go in all sorts of directions - if I’m sad I can write a sad song, if I’m happy I can write a happy song, an angry song, a doubtful song etc. I can make the songs describe how I feel, and I want all my releases to be something I can feel when I’m on stage performing it. I don’t want to make the song if I can’t feel the song, you know? That’s also how I live, and I want to make my music the same way I live my life.
What makes you happy?
If I write a song and it turns out really good I get enormously happy. It’s also the small things; when I’ve been away for a month from my family, home and friends - when I get to come home, that’s the point when I feel like I’m the happiest. I love making music and I love making songs, I love travelling, seeing the world, and experiencing all these different countries. The first time I went to London I was really astounded. It’s so close to Denmark, but it’s so different. People are different. Although you can always find similar things in young people today. Ten years ago, youth were different. Now the young have realised that we are the ones that are responsible for the next generation. We are the ones who get to set the rules and decide what’s in and what’s out. I feel like stereotypes are fading, and I love seeing how every single young person has their own way of expressing themselves; what kind of clothes are they wearing, how do they speak, and what dreams do they have. The youth is growing in knowledge and are not afraid of saying what they want any more.
I definitely agree that your generation is getting better at expressing themselves and their individuality. My favourite thing to talk about right now is masculinity and how the perception of it is changing.
I feel like masculinity is gone. I wouldn’t put masculinity in a box anymore. It’s 2018 and it doesn’t really matter - all my male friends we don’t really care what other people think. A lot of people will be like; “ah, that’s gay”, and young people nowadays, like my friends, will respond with; “ok cool”. I feel like masculinity, whether you are feminine or not, that’s old news.
I love that about the young generation of today. What is in store for you in 2018?
A lot of great things! I’m going to LA in April to make a lot of songs. Right now I’m still forming as an artist and a human. You know those fears you have about being yourself, that was a problem for me once, but now I don’t really care about that anymore. I’ve met so many people that I don’t know and I’m finding myself. I’m fully focusing on my work, becoming a better human and developing as an artist.
I’m hoping there will be a debut album we can listen to soon? What can people expect?
I’m not sure what I can tell you, but I’m in the studio a lot. I travel around every week and I make a lot of songs. I can’t say too much, but I think something might come quite soon. I’m really excited, as this is the start of my real journey.
What do you want to communicate to anyone who wants to listen to your songs?
I’ve supported friends who didn’t really believe in themselves or they were feeling really low. And I’ve been really sad myself and I hit rock bottom once, but I came back up. I told myself that as long as you stay in that mindset of you not being able to do anything because you’re not good enough and all that shit, that will make you not able to move forward. I made this song not so long ago where the chorus includes the words “living with a broken glass”. Have you ever broken a glass and fixed the glass?
I have broken a glass, but not fixed it…
If you fix a glass properly, the cracks will still be there in the glass, but you can drink of it. Which means that even though the glass broke once, it can still be fixed and work again. And if it breaks one more time, you can fix it again. No-one is able to live with a broken heart forever, but as long as people speak to each other and open up to each other, that’s the most important thing in the world. There are a lot of people not daring to talk about their feelings and that will only make them more sad. I want people to realise that it’s alright to have feelings - it’s alright to be a human being. Life is too short to be sad all the time.