Max Landry is a music producer, engineer, writer, artist and all-around renaissance man of the audio arts. While most men his age are watching TV, checking their fantasy football league stats or playing video games – Max is making music. Sweet, sweet music.
Following his time at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Max returned to the Midwest to pursue a professional career in music making. He now fills his calendar with studio recording sessions, music video shoots and making all the ladies faint. Max graciously took time out of his busy agenda of backstage passes, hot-tubs and celebrity events to talk about his exciting career in audio production.
BOJ: What is a Music Engineer/Producer? How do they differ from the Artist?
ML: A Music Engineer and a Music Producer are two very different jobs. As an Engineer, it’s your job to capture audio created by the musicians and piece all the elements of the song together to build the final product. They work very closely with the Producer to properly create the song that is inside the minds of the Artist and Producer.
The Producer is in charge of how the song is executed. The artist may already write the song, but what it sounds like in the end, truly rests on the shoulders of the Producer. It’s his or her responsibility for how the song turns out. What each instrument sounds like, as far as tone, effects how its played, when its played, in what order etc.
The artist brings all the puzzle pieces to the table, producer puts all the pieces in order, and the engineer actually pushed them into place. Without one, you simply can’t create the picture.
BOJ: What is a work day like in the life of a music producer?
ML: It’s always different. There are a lot of day-to-day things that most people don’t know about. The modern day producer, like myself, does way more than what they used to do. I am an engineer, a writer, a producer and a mix engineer. Having multiple projects going on at once, you are always at different stages of each project. Most times they are in different genres. I could be writing, mixing, arranging, mastering or just creating new music.
BOJ: How did you become involved / what interested you in music production?
ML: Music is something that has been apart of me for my entire life. I grew up in a family of musicians. Both my parents and both my brother sing and play guitar and piano, and a plethora of other instruments. I was raised singing three-part harmony with my brothers at the ages of 12, 10, and 8-years-old.
I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember – its truly a part of who I am. It speaks to me much differently than it does to others. Something about the ability to change someone’s world with the simplicity of music is what drives me. I don’t know anything else. I ultimately made the decision to go to Berklee College of Music and major in Music Production and Engineering.
BOJ: What kind of music is your favorite to produce, do you have a specialty?
ML: That’s a tough question. I myself, am a Jazz artist, but I do mostly Hip Hop and Pop work right now. There is something about those genres that I love. There is a certain challenge that comes along with those. It’s a very competitive and criticized market. Things need to sound a certain way for them to be commercially successful, and a lot of times that can hold you back from pure creativity and individuality.
Things tend to sound the same. I love this. It’s a challenge for me. It’s my duty as a music producer to take these projects in these genres, and create something that has that edge to it – something different while still meeting the demands of the public. I love being able to bring something different to the table.
BOJ: What kind of equipment does a music producer need?
ML: A computer. That’s it. These days any computer you get comes with some sort of music creation software. You can be a major player in certain genres with just a computer. The amount of free software that’s available out there is astounding.
BOJ: Do you have your own headphone product line?
ML: [Laughing] No. Not every producer has their own line of headphones, though that’s a revenue stream a lot of producers are experimenting in. 10 times out of 10, those producers aren’t using their headphones for anything other than publicity and casual listening.
BOJ: Where do you hope your career takes you?
ML: I hope that in the future and can do exactly what I am doing now. Whether that’s on a larger scale or not. As long as I can create music I love with people I enjoy making music with, and make a career out of it – Ill be the happiest guy in the world.
BOJ: What would you say to someone looking to get into producing and engineering?
ML: Don’t plan on making a career out of it. If you approach this as if it’s going to be a job, you’re going to loose that excitement and magic of making music. Sometimes you need to let things fall into place. Don’t be limited by what you think someone else wants to hear. Make music you want to make. Push the boundaries and create something truly individual – something that when you’re finished with it, you want to listen to it over and over, and over and over. If you’re not making music you love and want to listen to – you’re doing it wrong.