Max Hixon - "The fact that my music is now largely instrumental has helped me reach a wider international audience." - Stereo Stickman

Max Hixon “The fact that my music is now largely instrumental has helped me reach a wider international audience.”


As lifelong guitarist and producer Max Hixon devotes his attention towards eclectically surf-soaked instrumental tracks, we caught an interview to dig a little into his creative process, his ambitions as an artist, and plenty more. Here’s the conversation in full.

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Hi Max, thanks for the interview! For those new to your work, how would you describe the music you make? 

Hi, thank you! I make new instrumental music taking inspiration from classic styles like surf rock and rock ‘n’ roll. I like to use modern production techniques and make new tracks for fans of the styles to enjoy.

When did you first pick up the guitar, and what inspired you to do so? 

Oh many years ago when I was in school, it was a gift from my parents and I wasn’t really sure about it at first. I was pretty daunted and didn’t think I’d be able to pick it up but listening to bands and artists like Buddy Holly inspired me to learn more and eventually start writing my own tracks.

How did you come to write a piece like Wave Rush, and is this typical of your style? 

Experimentation really! I was listening to a lot of surf classics at the time and wanted to make my own more modern version. It’s certainly one of my more popular instrumentals and my tracks The Ride Out and Shoreline Escape use things I’d learnt during its creation.

You’re focusing on instrumental work at the moment – do you produce your own tracks around the guitar sound, or build a beat first and then incorporate some live playing?

I often start with either guitar, bass or drums and then build the rest around it. For example my new track New Frontier was built around a beat from my drum synth.

I enjoy the puzzle-like experience of putting things together and working out what would be good to come next. It’s a process of trial and error playing over the chord sequence and thinking about what sounds most interesting. Once I have a nice foundation of an idea down, I’m away and it all comes together.

It’s great being able to record music myself as it means I can experiment and enjoy the process. I never want the tracks to get boring so I always try to add a new element or change as my tracks progress. 

Shoreline Escape is another instrumental gem, again with that surf-rock vibe – what is it about this genre that connects with you? 

Well inland, rural North Shropshire is the natural place for Surf Music! I have always enjoyed music by the early instrumental Surf Rock bands and also British and European instrumental groups like the Shadows. They were often inspired by and had a lot in common with Buddy Holly’s guitar playing who was also one of my earliest influences.

The Surf style can be as easy or complex as you like and you can make what you want with it, it can really capture a wide range of emotions. It’s very accessible for beginners and the scene is very fun and easygoing. It’s also well known for it’s use within TV and film which has worked well for me.

Is live performance an important part of your plans? 

I’ve done a lot of live performances as a singer and guitarist, however my real love is for writing and producing music. I find that I reach a much larger audience online and my instrumentals are gaining a lot of exposure via placements on TV shows around the world.

Getting more music created and uploaded to online platforms is my main plan, I love seeing where people are listening from and have had some great surprises such as my music becoming popular in Taiwan thanks to a placement. The fact that my music is now largely instrumental has helped me reach a wider international audience. 

What’s your biggest ambition right now? 

I would like to make more different tracks with different feels, I have created quite a few upbeat tracks recently and would like to make more balance with some more calmer tracks. Overall though, more music and building up a good community of listeners and other Musicians. I’d like to collaborate with other similar Musicians and Bands.

Is there anything else we should know? 

I’m looking to do some covers of pop music tracks in the future. I think this will be a fun experience!

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Visit Max Hixon’s Website for more information.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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