7 Sep 2017

The Singles Life: What we learned from watching the new Max Key video

10:43 am on 7 September 2017

Welcome to weekly series The Singles Life, where known experts Katie Parker and Hussein Moses peruse, ponder and pontificate on the latest and (maybe) greatest in New Zealand music.

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Photo: Max Key/Facebook

Whether you like it or not, Max Key has become something of a household name in our fair country and, even after the loss of his first son status, he still remains the symbol of cocky and rich Parnell boyhood that we all just love to hate. But what is the key to lil ol Max? Katie and Hussein watch his new video and learn a thing or two.


Max Key is more than just a pretty face

Katie: While you may know him for his stylish bandana collection, teaching his father to dab or the “real men ride women” incident, Max - as he has told us time and time again - is in possession of real talent! Three talents in fact.

As a music producer, DJ and vlogger, Max has managed to corner the unfathomable millennial careers market and now serves a purpose in society that can only be understood if you were born after 1997. But that won’t stop him doing his best and it won’t stop me from admiring his gusto!

‘Fantasy’, Max’s new song and video, marks yet another one of his forays into the murky waters of the music world and reminds us once again that he has much more to offer than a set of washboard abs and some very creative hair styles.

Max Key’s new song sounds like … Frank Ocean

Hussein: I'm not sure who this wannabe Frank Ocean is that's singing here (IS IT MAX??) but it's actually pretty alright. I love Frank Ocean. Actually, from what I can tell, everyone loves Frank Ocean. I hope he comes to New Zealand one day. Anyway, I would also like to take the rest of this song and put it in the insinkerator where it belongs.

Max Key’s new song is the hottest single of the year

Katie: A bold claim you might say!

But there it is in writing. Gee, who woulda thought?

Max Key is a self-made man

Katie: Though his critics may scorn his silver spoon origins, when it comes to his craft Max is not looking for hand-outs. In fact, Sir John has kept his wallet firmly zipped when it comes to Max’s creative endeavors.

“He hasn't given me a dollar towards it at all. It's all self-funded,” he told NewsHub earlier this year. “I took out a loan for my last music video and worked to pay it all back.”

He takes it seriously too, as you can see in this in-depth (and utterly exhausting) making of vlog.

With a work ethic like that what could go wrong! Except that...

Max Key wants to be a star but feels burdened by fame

Hussein: It's really quite the conundrum: can you be successful without being famous if you're Max Key, or is that success only contingent on your popularity?

“I have always been a bit of a show pony,” Max said in his Woman's Day tell-all. “It's not that I want fame. I don't care about walking down the street and being recognised - that's not what I'm after. I want to play a show and people sing my music back. Or play a show and have people come because they enjoy my music. That's what matters to me.”

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Photo: Screenshot: Youtube/Max Key

What also matters to Max is staying positive:

“I always laugh because even if I put something out that was actually made by amazing DJs like Steve Aoki or the Chainsmokers, I reckon people would still say, ‘Oh, it's Max Key - this sucks.’”

Don’t worry, Max! It’s probably just tall poppy syndrome.

Max Key is an auteur

Katie: Say what you will about Max, but he’s nothing if not consistent.

‘Fantasy’ is Max’s third self-directed music video (or fourth if you count the one of him, John Key and his ex-girlfriend hanging out in Hawaii that has since been deleted from all his social media) and continues an aesthetic direction that suggests a strong creative vision.

As with his previous work, ‘Fantasy’ is shot in porn style POV following a hot girl around scenic and tropical locations. But while naysayers may dismiss it as more of the same, there are numerous ~key~ differences which demonstrate creative and thematic growth and development.

In past works, such as the Fiji set ‘All the Way’ video, Max takes production offshore to tropical islands that he explores with flaxen haired beauties in bikinis. ‘Fantasy’ then represents a departure: instead of the sunny shores of an international destination, Max sets the scene locally at both his parent’s stunning home and in the sultry depths of Auckland’s Woodhill forest. What’s more, the apple of his eye is no longer blonde but brunette who wears not a bikini but a dressing gown. A subtler, more sophisticated take on his usual subject matter, Max, it seems, is not only a musical whizz but a budding auteur.

Max Key could only happen in New Zealand

Hussein: Just like blowing on a pie, sheep that fight crime and a wanted man taunting the cops on Facebook, this really is one of those things that could only happen in the land of the long white cloud. The now-former prime minister's son launches a music career and it's ... successful? (A combined 1.5 million YouTube views is nothing to be sniffed at.) Your move, Annabel Fay.

Max Key has big dreams

Hussein: Via Newshub:

“At the moment, when you search Max Key, it comes up as ‘John Key's son’. The day it changes to ‘DJ’ or ‘music producer’ is going to be pretty exciting.”

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