Max Styler doesn’t party too hard. He stays away from drugs, and he’s ultra-focused on his future.
The dance-music producer is only 20 years old, but his maturity level makes him seem like someone who has been in the game for longer than his own lifespan. His story is a classic one of hard work and persistence, and his future in this industry is extremely bright.
Hailing from San Luis Obispo, Styler picked up his first DJ controller from a local Best Buy when he was halfway through high school. He became obsessed with mixing and started to play at school dances and weddings. The moment he produced his first track, Styler sent it to Johnny Kenny, an A&R rep at a promotion company called Collective Effort Events. After a year of email blasting Kenny, who is now his manager, Styler was booked to open for Above and Beyond at an event in Avila Beach.
“After playing that show, I knew it was time to go all in,” says Styler, who did independent study for his last year of high school to focus on producing. Since Avila Beach, Styler has signed to Dim Mak, toured around the world with Steve Aoki and released music that’s topped Beatport’s charts and received support from names like Diplo, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake and Galantis.
Today, Styler still stays with his parents in San Luis Obispo, which he loves because it’s far away from the distractions of L.A. He says he produces for eight to nine hours a day. His consistency and work ethic over the past few years have culminated in a full-length album called Heartache, slated to drop today, Nov. 11. You can stream the full album below.
“I’m really nervous to throw out an album early on,” Styler says. “I’m still growing, but I think it’s going to be a cool statement to throw out nine songs.”
The album will feature his two singles, "Gold" and "Awakening," as well as a couple of songs with vocalist Colt Matthews, whom he found via SoundCloud.
Styler hops on SoundCloud frequently looking for new talent to work with. "There’s a lot of underrated producers out there that just need help," he says. "I was thinking about starting a little SoundCloud label ... a free-download type thing." Since Styler can't collaborate with a big-time pop vocalist just yet, he gets resourceful when it comes to making music.
Heartache will be a statement that Styler hopes will propel him into a long and lucrative career. He made it clear he’s not looking to produce strings of bangers but formulate a style that is going to stick with listeners and open up opportunities to work with big vocalists.
“In order to have lasting power, you need to make music that resonates with people and not just have the coolest sound possible,” Styler says. “It needs to have a message, good lyrics and a simple melody that people can hum to.”
Styler has an unpretentious view of the current state of dance music and is realistic about his career, which is why he wants to get into pop. After seeing one of his idols, Skrillex, work with Justin Bieber, he doesn’t perceive producing radio-friendly tracks to be an act of “selling out.” Plus, he loves writing pop music, so he’s staying true to himself.
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“There’s a lot of competition,” he says. “Even artists you might think are doing really well aren’t. ... It’s tough.”
In terms of future plans, Styler is already months beyond Heartache. He’s got another EP in the works, collaborations with SoCal-based artists Dirty Audio and MAKJ, and he hopes to tour again.
Max Styler’s business plan of producing radio-ready dance music is where the future of EDM producing lies. He may be one of the youngest producers to recognize the power of pop so early on.
For more on Max Styler, and to download his new album, Heartache, visit dimmak.com.