Max Schneider is a light beam of sequins and rainbow colors. His energy is infectious and leaves the crowds dancing in a pool of their own sweat. His future funk group, Party Pupils, is also a major hit and has released wonderful covers such as “Pony.” You may know him best from his hit single “Lights Down Low.” He loves his wife, Emily, more than life itself, and trust me, I was swooning just listening to him talk about her. MAX has easily been one of the kindest people I have ever spoken to but has just the right amount of sass.
In honor of your new song, “Team”, we are going to play a game featuring your wife, who is so lovely, even though she isn’t here. We are going to play on honor code. Don’t worry, we will play nice. It’s just a simple who’s more likely to…
- Run late to an important meeting
- Fail a driver’s test
Me, of course.
- Wear the same clothing piece two days in a row
Me, again. She would be on me about it.
- Trip in front of people
Probably me. I’m clumsy.
- Be first on the dancefloor
That would also be me. Man, she didn’t get any. But she’s so responsible yet fun and risky. We balance each other out, and I think she would agree with all of these answers.
You’ve been making amazing music for years, but a few months ago, “Lights Down Low” blew out of the water. How’s the rollercoaster been since that single? Did you expect it to go so viral?
It’s been so cool. We’ve been grinding on it for so long. A ton of things haven’t changed for me which is nice. But in the areas in which I hoped for change, it’s become something beautiful and people know it everywhere. It’s amazing. Life hasn’t’ changed too much for me though, and it’s been great. I was in an airport the other night waiting for Emily (wife), and I ran into Shawn Mendes. I hadn’t seen him in years, and there were girls stalking him everywhere. I asked how they knew he was there and he said, “I don’t know, man. They should be FBI agents.” Fan girls were slaying. It’s so crazy people are so passionate about it. If that happened to me, I would be grateful, but it isn’t something I am looking for.
You have a history in acting and theater as well. How do you think this makes your approach to writing music and stage performance different from an artist who doesn’t have the same background? Has it ever hindered you?
It definitely has in some ways. Between doing some Nickelodeon projects and things, people put me in a box. They said I was just an actor. It took me 4 or 5 years to present myself as a singer. In terms of live performance, I always think of my roots in theater. I have a very specific energy to bring in theatrics and costumes. It’s brought a vision, but it can hinder.
I follow you religiously on Instagram, I can’t lie. You radiate so much positivity and heavily encourage individualism and staying genuine. How do you find positivity for yourself? Are there songs you listen to, things you do, etc?
If am talking shit about someone and Emily is there, she will tell me not to do that. It’s really about the people you surround yourself with. If I put a tweet out that’s centered around a philosophical moment, I’m probably going through something and trying to learn a lesson too. It’s a constant reminder to have people around me to tell me not to gossip, to be grateful, or to be happy. You need a reminder from others, yourself, and sometimes you need to take a step back.
Let’s talk about your fashion game. It’s bold, eclectic, but perfect. How do you style yourself so well and what makes you so fearless in it?
The confidence has been instilled by my wife. As long as she’s there, I don’t care. I used to wear bland outfits out of insecurity. If someone judges my outfit, I don’t care. It’s empowering to care about the close people in your life and then not worry about what anyone else says. If I wear the energy I want to wear and you love it, you’re family. We are in this. If not, you probably don’t want to see my show anyways. Why fake it? It’s fun to be exotic and ridiculous because it’s the energy I want to put out there.
One of my favorite songs is “Savage”. Such a solid track. What was your end of the process like when working with Whethan?
I always forget, but Wheaty is the best. He wanted to put that song out when he was 16, and we ended up doing a swap. I wanted a remix of my song, “10 Victoria’s Secret Models” and he said he had a song and asked me to feature on it. So, we swapped. It was the first swap and feature I have ever done. It was all online, through Soundcloud and Twitter and all that stuff. That’s the beautiful thing about music, you work with people you’ve never met before. We are like family now, he’s my boy.
Let’s talk about someone you really love, Emily. With you being gone and both being so busy, how do you keep that spark alive?
It’s always hard work, even if it’s the best work. It doesn’t happen by doing nothing. We have to decide on a day together and say we aren’t going to do anything that day except be together. It’s spontaneity mixed with planning for us. The biggest thing that has changed is how much we travel for shows and such. She doesn’t like being on the road so much, and having that “us” time compared to work time is so important. Every week we decide what we are going to do together for the week. But you also can’t get too comfortable. I have to think about what I can do to surprise her or make her feel good.
What’s something you’re hoping to accomplish in the music world by the end of the year?
I hope to keep putting out more energy. I want to get rawer, and I want it to translate to the live show. I want people to come, experience it, and see the diversity. I want the crowds to be even more diverse, and my biggest goal with the live show is to have everyone, from every walk of life, to feel safe and accepted and most themselves at the show.
Lastly, talk about what Party Pupils is about, and is there anything we can be expecting from that side of things?
We have a new song called, “Sax on the Beach”. There’s going to be a lot more music from us so get excited. We’ve been scheming. We have crazy video ideas and neon, and we are keeping the future funk alive. While keeping it cute.
STORY & COVER PHOTO ELIZABETH STAFFORD
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