Max Farrar is a LA native who grew up surrounded by music. His father John is a successful songwriter/producer (“You’re the One That I Want”, “Physical”), and his mother Pat is a talented singer and pianist who toured the world in her twenties as a solo act and as a duo with Olivia Newton-John. His brother Sam is also a talented songwriter/producer, and is part of the music group Maroon 5.
After spending his early twenties in a band, Max eventually tried his hand at remixing. This led to producing and writing songs both for artists and commercials. He is a platinum-selling songwriter/producer with two Latin Grammy nominations, most recently writing and producing songs for Lewis Capaldi, The Script and Au/Ra. His songs have been featured in major video games such as Tony Hawk Pro Skater & Death Stranding. His commercial compositions have been licensed by clients such as Lockheed Martin, Verizon, and Activision.
When did the journey start for you?
I started playing piano when I was very young, so that was the true beginning. But when I was probably nine or ten years old, my dad let me borrow his Roland synth, which was the first time I used anything with a sequencer on it. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was the first time I could record and layer tracks, which really blew my mind. That was when I went from wanting to learn more piano to wanting to be a producer/composer.
What's the strangest method you've used to get the perfect sound?
There was one time I couldn’t figure out what to use as the main looping instrumental bit under a pop/rap type track, and was getting extremely frustrated. In an attempt to step away from ‘work’, I was showing my wife a new plugin I was trying called Zynaptiq Pitchmap, that would let you shift an entire piece of audio in realtime to fit a scale. I told my wife to sing something, but she isn’t a singer, and just made some gibberish sounds that were completely atonal. But I threw them into Pitchmap with the song’s chords, and magically it became this really interesting flute-like melody. So, massive accident, but it worked!
What do you do to decompress after a long day in front of the monitors?
Oh, video games and binging tv shows. Especially now with COVID keeping us at home.
What was your latest gear purchase?
Avatone Mixcubes, although I’ve been building a new home studio, so I haven’t actually used them.
What's your favorite piece of gear in your studio?
I got a Prophet Rev2 a few years back and while I don’t use it all the time, I always turn it on if I’m looking for inspiration. Fantastic sounds, and the oscillator slop knob is so cool.
What's your favorite score of the year?
Last two years I guess, but I think the music on Killing Eve is phenomenal. So unique!
What's your favorite score of all time?
Oh god. I’ll say a few.. John William's theme to the movie Sabrina always blew my mind, random I know. And I’ll always love Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Reverie. Lastly, the music of the first fifteen minutes or so of Up… I cry every time, without fail.
Who is your favorite composer and why?
It’s hard to nail down a favorite composer but I do think Hans Zimmer was probably the most impactful for me, especially with the Inception soundtrack. It really sparked renewed interest in composition for me, and drove me to learn a lot more synthesis.