Inspired by other artists like Perfume Genius, ANHONI, and the Knife, to create something that felt genuinely like his own, alexmaax is the solo project of Los Angeles-based producer Max Hershenow. Known for his work as half of two alternative pop duos, MS MR and Post Precious, now he goes further in discovering his own voice.
Starting to work on his first solo project in 2018, he is now here with ‘Bets Off’, the first track from his forthcoming EP, embracing his insecurities for the first time in his music career, to let them shine in this body of work.
So alexmaax shares the backdrop for ‘Best Off’: “I always thought of myself as a potential vocalist. I was convinced there was this voice deep inside me that just needed to be unlocked in the right way. But I was insecure about its rough edges, and gradually developed a complex around singing. Eventually I resigned myself to being a producer and songwriter, even telling my mom to stop asking when I was going to start singing because it made me too sad. But the urge didn’t really go away, and over the past few years a few things changed: MS MR came to a gradual end (or hiatus or whatever), and I started working with a vocal teacher who encouraged me to explore the outer edges of my voice in a freer way. I learned to face my voice with curiosity and playfulness instead of dread. I started hearing it differently, relaxing into its strangeness and specificity, nuance and limitations. Little by little I understood how to strengthen and nurture it.”
An elegantly dramatic and sonically challenging electro pop number, ‘Bets Off’ is truly unique in more ways. Moved by a compelling rhythmic beat and imbued by moody synths, the granular magic dust sprinkled by alexmaax is undoubtedly elevated by his “supernatural” vocals.
Channeling the quirkiness and genius of his persona, ‘Bets Off’ is the first song Hershenow wrote for his project, coproduced with Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver). “It’s a pretty meta song about reclaiming my creative freedom by shedding the insecurity I’d developed around my singing voice,” says Max. “It’s also about my struggle to regain the curiosity that drove me to music in the first place, before I had to navigate a creative flow tainted by critique and comparison. And it’s a statement of intent for a whole world of music to come.”
‘Bets Off’ comes alongside a self-directed, single shot video that plays on the song’s theme of self-reliance and individual expression in a confusing world – available on alexmaax Youtube channel.
Listen now to ‘Best Off’, the first track from alexmaax’s forthcoming EP, and find out more about his music, checking the links below: