Producer Crosstalk: Max Perry

For Brooklyn native and Bay Area hip-hop artist, producer and engineer Max Perry, music is in his DNA. He’s a third-generation producer and his uncle Richard Perry worked with artists such as Carly Simon, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr. In addition to his own production and engineering credits––artists with which he’s collaborated include Post Malone, J Boog and Wiz Khalifa––he’s recorded a pair of EPs. He also runs his label, The Elevation, and his royalty collection outfit Intellectual Property Collections (IPC), which he launched last year.

Artists work in many varied ways. Some set aside a time to create while others simply pluck ideas from the ether whenever inspiration happens by. Such is the approach favored by Perry. “I hear melodies throughout the day,” he explains. “I always sing them into my phone and then listen later. Russell Pochop, a producer friend in Miami, sends me tons of melodies to work on and that’s been my formula for the past few months. But I also mess around a lot on my Rhodes keyboard.”

Perry has always created his own music, but he took it a step further this year with the release of his EP The Dispensary with ST Spittin in March. A second EP Million Mile Journey, which features Flipp Dinero, is targeted for an August release. “Even though I’m ‘dropping my own EP,’ I’m still not the artist,” Perry explains.  It’s a production EP. I collaborated with different artists and curated, arranged and produced the whole thing.”

One of the key lessons he’s learned over the span of his career is that personal challenges are universal. “Any artist goes through a level of self-consciousness or insecurity,” Perry asserts. “Once you’re solidified, you have to trust yourself and shoot from the hip sometimes. We always wait for the perfect situation. But I don’t feel that exists. You benefit more from putting something out. You then have the experience of knowing what you did and didn’t do and can adapt and reformat your strategy. You’ll benefit more from making mistakes than [from] being hesitant.”

Perry also says that there is a common a fundamental misunderstanding of how the music industry functions. “The single biggest problem that every creative faces is learning the business: how it runs, where the money is generated and why,” he observes. “I see a lot of people that constantly invest in themselves and haven’t made it. If everyone knew the logistics of how the business truly operates, we could all play it to our advantage and profit from our dreams.”

Something that concerns Perry deeply is that producers aren’t always properly credited for their work. “For anyone who makes that level of contribution, I feel the publishing split should be 50-50 and be reflected in a promotional aspect where it’s clear who did what. It’s crucial these days, because we live in a digital world where physical CDs are becoming a relic. There needs to be some sort of booklet––like liner notes––with readily-accessible credits [that’s distributed with digital tracks]. It sucks being a producer and having to explain your discography.”

Perry’s single “Turned Into Sumthin,” from his forthcoming EP Million Mile Journey dropped on May 29. Among his current and upcoming projects is work with Jackboys and Interscope artist LPB Poody.