When the world shut down and Melbourne-based DJ and producer Max Bishop – aka MorningMaxwell – couldn’t play gigs anymore, he starting changing his approach to how he made music. He bought a trumpet, started teaching himself how to play the guitar, and returned to the piano.
“Lockdowns forced me to do stuff I probably wouldn’t do usually. I don’t think I would have played nearly as much piano as I have in the last 18 months, because I’d still be producing and meeting with people,” Max says from his home studio in Melbourne. “They’ve forced me to focus, get better at producing, and also make my process a bit better.”
Max started making music in his parent’s back shed five years ago, playing and producing feel-good, funky music with electronic house and hip hop elements. Since starting out, he’s played at festivals and venues around Victoria, like Beyond The Valley and a morning rave at Thousand Pound Bend in Melbourne’s CBD.
“That was crazy,” he recalls. “It was six in the morning and everyone was sober and danced for three hours before they had to go to work. I thought it was a really cool concept; that’s probably one of my favourite gigs.”
Most of the time, Max’s process starts with a sound or an idea. “From there, I create a bit of a beat, and once I’m at the stage where I want to make it into more of a song, I get a vocalist involved. I might give them a brief, like ‘this is an R&B kind of vibe’, or ‘I want you to sing about love or about Bank Australia’. Then they record vocals, I mix them in, structure the song and add any additional sounds that I feel might be necessary. Then I get it mixed and mastered, and release it on Spotify.”
In normal times, this collaborative effort would be done in person, which Max is looking forward to getting back into rather than relying on Zoom sessions or recording remotely. “Making music is quite an intimate process,” he says. “When you’re in the studio together, you can feel their vibes a lot more easily, and when you get to a sound you have that gut reaction.”
In 2022, Max is keen to focus on becoming more of an original artist, performing with a band and concentrating on his own catalogue of music. “I’ve put out a fair few songs and have a lot coming out next year, so moving into the live music space is the next thing for me.”
Max has been a Bank Australia customer for four years, making the switch as it aligned with his ethics.
“I was at a point in my life where I wanted to be more environmentally friendly. I was going in and out of being vegan, trying to recycle soft plastics and drive less. But switching banks was so easy and so doable. I think it’s probably the easiest thing to do to be ethical,” he says.
“Becoming vegan or driving your car less is really hard. It’s a big lifestyle change. But switching your bank takes an hour or two, and you’ve done this great thing. Especially in times like this, when things feel very stressful, but you still want to give back to the world – it’s just such an easy thing to do.”