Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz’s label, DCD2 Records, just inked a deal with Manhattan singer-songwriter MAX in mid-February. Despite the newness of the signing, the pop rocker has already released a radio-ready track with “Gibberish” featuring fellow New Yorker, rapper Hoodie Allen.
“Gibberish” starts with a simple finger-snapping beat before bursting into a full band with MAX’s vocals. The singer slows down the tempo again coincidentally with a chorus that talks about nothing slowing him down (“Now you’re running your mouth / But there’s nothing that can slow me down”) and a studio effect that adds a slow motion distortion to the vocalization of the word “gibberish.”
Studio effects can either make or break a song, but in this case, they come in at just the right levels. The word “gibberish” is distorted the same way throughout the track as both the main focus in a verse and as background vocals, presumably as a way of playing on the meaning of the word. This smart production makes it clear that MAX and his team are headed in the right direction.
Hoodie Allen contributes a verse about halfway through the track, giving an already great song an extra push. MAX’s verses and chorus are a somewhat polite way of addressing the figurative female subject of the song and Allen’s straightforward, no nonsense lines give it a unique contrast: “These girls like to talk, wait a minute I’m talking back (Shhh…) / Say that she wanted to love me forever, but I was just trying to smash.”
MAX lent vocal duties to “Won’t Mind” and “Against Me” from Allen’s October 2014 self-released People Keep Talking and opened for the rapper on his headlining fall tour. The album also included a collaboration with Top 40 king Ed Sheeran on “All About It.”
Outside of singing, MAX, a.k.a. Max Schneider, has acted in several well-known shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The CW’s Beauty and the Beast and a recurring role in NBC’s Crisis. He has also been thoroughly involved with Nickelodeon, acting in the series How to Rock and opposite Keke Palmer in the movie Rags, both of which he also provided with his musical abilities. Schneider hit the road with fellow Nick star Victoria Justice in 2012 in the midst of their involvement with the children’s station before switching to the MAX moniker in 2014.
Schneider was cast in Love & Mercy, a biopic about the Beach Boys and specifically Brian Wilson who is portrayed by both Paul Dano and John Cusack at different points of his life. Schneider plays Van Dyke Parks, a singer/songwriter who collaborated with the band throughout their career. Love & Mercy premiered in the U.S. at SXSW last week—following showings at Berlin and Toronto’s international film festivals—where MAX also opened up for Snoop Dogg at YouTube’s private showcase. The movie is set to open nationwide June 5.
Working around a busy acting schedule, Schneider released his first EP, First Encounters, in 2010 followed by the Rags soundtrack in 2012 and a covers album with his brother (Schneider Brother Covers) in 2013. He has also released covers with others such as Alyson Stoner of Missy Elliot dancing fame (The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather,” Maroon 5’s “Maps” and Zedd’s “I Want You to Know”), Keke Palmer (Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side”) and ABC’s Rising Star contestant Macy Kate (“Jingle Bell Rock”). His most recent original release and first with the MAX name was The Say MAX EP in May 2014.
MAX has joined the DCD2 roster consisting of Fall Out Boy (obviously), Cobra Starship, Lolo, New Politics, Panic! at the Disco and Travie McCoy/Gym Class Heroes. The label was formerly known as Decaydance Records and has also released albums by artists such as The Academy Is…, The Cab, Four Year Strong, Tyga, The Ready Set, Hey Monday (featuring rock turned country singer Cassadee Pope) and more.
MAX announced his signing to DCD2 with a new music video for “Puppeteer” from The Say MAX EP followed by the video for “Gibberish,” which will appear on his forthcoming debut album. Details on said album are scarce other than an obligatory “coming soon” included in the posting of the new video. Either way, if “Gibberish” is any indication of the rest of the album, then it’s sure to be a hit thanks to the witty lyrics, catchy instrumentation and smooth production MAX provides.