Out Take: Max Di Carlo

Max Di Carlo


Web: maxdicarlo.com

Contact: Ed Cohen, [email protected]

Most Recent: High Heat

Max Di Carlo’s lengthy resume includes composing, producing and arranging for such megastars as Elton John and producing multi-platinum artists like Shakira and Ricky Martin, but in the early 2000s, he decided to return to the orchestral training of his youth and pursue composing for visual media. “I was fed up, because working with artists was complicated. I’m much better on my own. I decided to go back to my real skills, and that’s how I started,” Di Carlo says. “I started by working with younger filmmakers in the U.S., usually friends I had acquired while working in pop music. I never wanted to work with an agency. It’s like working in a factory; there are 3,000 people and they exploit the work of the composer.” 

Di Carlo is currently working on an Italian film, a U.K. film and two in the U.S., including High Heat with director Zach Golden. He says his approach is to think of the musical score as another actor in the film. “The music brings a vibe, an emotion, a sensation in step with what the director tries to create,” he says. “And from the first to the last note, I’m mixing, creating the melodies, and playing by myself.” 

Di Carlo says aspiring composers have to learn to be unique in the “copy-paste world” of the music industry. That means learning technique, but forgetting about what other composers are doing. “The more music you get exposed to, either producing it or composing it or songwriting, the more skills you have for your next step,” he says. “In the ‘80s, I was one of the top songwriters and producers for dance music in Italy, and I learned that electronic music has an expression unlike any other. Today, that experience is still with me, and I’ve applied electronic elements to a full orchestra. That’s where you learn to be unique, be bold, be different. Experiment with whatever you’re working on with the full palette of your past.”