• Demi Bailey-Paul

First Listen: Maxi Millz 'Screen Time'

In this First Listen feature, we had the opportunity to speak to rising star Maxi Millz about his new single Screen Time, the third visual release from his new highly anticipated debut EP Captions, following on from Danny Ocean and MDNA, which both dropped recently.

Maxi has generated an undeniable buzz as of recent with the release of his new EP, each song tells a story, intertwining with the last, which takes the audience on a journey with a further perspective into the personality behind the artist with his rare, timeless sound. The 8-track project showcases Maxi’s falsetto and highly developed sound which is a fusion of R&B, Hip-Hop and Funk.

Growing up in a music-loving household, being surrounded by Motown, Blues, and Soul, this experience of rich cultured music, was ingrained into Maxi at an early age. This perfect reference point, for the unique sound he has established, has been the crux and development of ‘Captions’. Maxi worked with a tight group of producers and they collectively built a chemistry that complimented Maxi’s vision of portraying his life, reflecting on themes of heartache, growth, and unrequited love.

First Listen:

Maxi has the skill to transport a listener into their own paradise with just his voice. When first listening to 'Screen Time', I felt exactly that, instantly feeling relaxed and picturing myself on the next flight to an island with clear blue skies, soft white sand with a view of the ocean, anticipating the feeling of the sun beaming down on my face.

The songs silky smooth guitar strings and soft melody is a refreshing uplifting feeling in an era of computer generated melodies that we have become accustom to. The falsetto elements throughout the song perfectly transcend into the next verse as the notes carry through faintly in the background.

Showcasing his musical ability, he adapts to the purpose of each single without losing his serene niche. Maxi remains composed, collected and effortlessly cool on this track re-assuring the listener (if ever in doubt) that this is an artist who is passionate about his craft and isn't afraid to be transparent and honest about his feelings, which is key when trying to connect with the listener.

Artists Perception: Q&A

Q: What were your first initial thoughts and feelings towards your new track Screen Time when you heard the full song played back as a whole?

Maxi: 'The song was initially just me writing to a Fred Cox loop during lockdown. Once I wrote it I hopped on a Zoom session with him and we added all the extra bits, the bass, the low synths etc. Hearing it back gassed me, I love hearing something which I already liked getting taken to a new level.' Q: When listening to Screen Time the song really took me back to the early 2000’s era of R&B, how would you define your sound, would you put yourself in the R&B category? Maxi: 'Yeah I’m definitely an R&B boy. It’s one of my inspirations to do what I do. Without tryna cubby hole myself, I’d say R&B, and Neo-soul, but I also love Blues music, so don’t define me yet...' Q: What can we expect from your EP when it releases and what sort of sound can we expect to hear? Maxi: 'Good musicality and lyrics which hit home. I wanted to show a vulnerable side... I think it’s a side most people have but don’t want to express too much. My sound has changed a lot from when I started creating this project, I think you can hear the journey. Everything is guitar based (It’s my favourite instrument right now) with some progressive almost ‘Trapsoul’ productions from Fred cox, Humble & Treyqua.' Q: Do you think there’s a difference in having real instruments playing in songs as opposed to computer generated sounds – which do you lean more towards when making music? Maxi: 'Yes. Real instruments all the way. Creating with instrumentalists is my favourite way of making a song from beginning to end. Jamming before making a song opens the melody doors and gets my music brain working. Someone’s computer generated sounds give me writers block. A basic loop is boring!' Q: What sort of vibe would you like your EP to reflect when people hear it and what was the inspiration behind compiling all the songs on there - Will this give us more of an insight into who you are as an artist, more personal? Maxi: 'Relaxed vibe. I’d love people to listen to it and find a sense of familiarity whether it be in friendships or relationships they’ve had, or the relationship they have with themselves. The Inspiration was my mental state, and how people, mainly women affected the way I think about life. Wore my heart on my sleeve.' Q: What were your first initial thoughts and feelings when you first saw the official complete visual for Screen Time? Maxi: 'I like it, simplicity is key, sometimes.' Q: What were the inspirations that led to the execution of the music video? Maxi: 'I wanted to make a relatable video that everyone could watch and not feel too far removed from. A lot of my other videos are in cool locations or doing things that lockdown is stopping lots of people doing. This was reigning that in a little bit and relating to how most people have been communicating with their love interests over lockdown via the screen.' Q: Does the music videos laid back style reflect how you are as an artist? Maxi: 'Sometimes. I have mood swings, one day I’m laid back the next minute in bare hyper tryna be the centre of attention. So I guess it’s one side of my personality.' Q: In your music video ‘Danny Ocean’ the sky changes colour consistently, but in MDNA the colour scheme is predominantly black and white, do you use colour in your video as references to express how you feel or what the song represents?

Maxi: 'Defo. It’s almost like method acting. Danny Ocean needed a colourful almost egocentric video, where as MDNA required something less showy, it’s less of a feel good song, more of a social commentary on a shit “situationship”' Q: A lot of your music videos seem to be shot overseas, do you think you are the most creative when you are out of London, and does London spark any creativity for your music and sound? Maxi: 'When London isn’t in lockdown I’m just as creative and inspired there. But being stuck in grey cold closed London for a year drained me. I had to get out so I could further my career. London still inspires me even when I’m not there. Most of my life experience comes from London and I write about my life...Even before music though I always leave the city to recharge. It always moves fast in London, sometimes you need to hit the breaks and breath before you lose yourself.'

First Watch

The video showcases a softer side of the artist, but still in Maxi Millz style a lot of creativity is displayed in the edit as the video splices between different FaceTime calls. When speaking to Maxi he said "The video is a simple light hearted, quarantine relatable video for a song that I think people will understand. Bare people couldn’t see their significant others, and still can’t easily.”

A feeling I'm sure we can all relate to, Maxi taps into this worldwide cultural feeling that a lot of people have experienced over the past year, a simple but effective and elevated concept, the visuals really showcase the times we are living in and is a reminder that communication is key during these crazy times.

Be sure to check out the new single 'Screen Time' and Maxi's new EP HERE!

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