MAX Dishes on Collaborating With Steve Aoki and BTS' Suga on 'Blueberry Eyes'
MAX's jazzy and dreamily romantic "Blueberry Eyes" has been one of our favorite songs of the year—and it helps that the rap interlude by Suga of BTS (entirely in Korean, we might add) is absolute fire.
It's no surprise, then, that world-renowned DJ and producer Steve Aoki wanted to put his own unique twist on the track. Honestly, we can't figure out which version we love more. Lucky for us, we don't have to choose.
But how exactly did these unique collaborations come to be, and what's the song really about? We got to chat with MAX himself to find out.
Sweety High: What was the recording process like for "Blueberry Eyes"?
MAX: So wonderful and easy. I got to collaborate with such talented humans on this song. It really did come supernaturally.
SH: How did the collaboration with Suga come about? Was it challenging to record a track that crosses language barriers?
MAX: We've been fans of each other's music for a few years now, so we finally got to hang out in person in Korea in January of 2020 and got to know each other more. We hit off right away and got to create music together shortly after. We had really great translators who he works with on his music who were always around us, so they made the language barrier so easy to break through and communicate with each other.
SH: Did you work with Suga directly on the track at all? How do you think his unique take elevates the song?
MAX: Yeah, we worked on it remotely but gave notes back and forth to each other directly and with the wonderful music teams we have. I think him rapping in his native language is so special, and his flow and choices of lyrics within the world of the song are just spot on and perfect.
SH: How did Steve Aoki get involved with the project? What do you feel his remix adds to the track's sound?
MAX: I've known Steve for a while, and I just texted him myself saying I thought it'd be the perfect collaboration for the remix because he's been such a great collaborator with BTS, as well. I think his remix just brings it all into a brilliant nostalgic 80's world. I feel like the song is plopped right into Back to the Future.
SH: If you could summarize the differences between the two versions of the songs in just a few words, what would they be?
MAX: One is looking out the window on a rainy day, dancing in your room alone. The other is falling in love on a clear blue sky day in strawberry fields.
SH: How much Korean did you have to learn to perform the track for performances and the video? What was that process like, and what were the toughest and most rewarding parts?
MAX: I learned his whole verse in Korean word-for-word with Emily. It took us a few weeks—but it was totally worth it. It was pretty challenging, but now that I get to sing it live all of the time and explore different melodies with his lyrics for versions, it's so fun and rewarding to represent him and his language when he can't be there to do it live with me.
SH: For those of us who don't speak Korean, what are those non-English verses about?
MAX: They really fit perfectly within the world of the love song. "A ray of light that cut through my shadow. You turned my world upside down. I was nothing before I met you." Just very poetic and beautiful words he chose to add.
SH: Is there anything else we should know about the song?
MAX: It was written for my beautiful wife Emily, who has the most gorgeous blue eyes that had me falling for her when we first met. We're about to have our first baby, so hopefully she inherits those gorgeous eyes or she'll get my chocolate fudge eyes instead. Either way I'll be happy, of course.
Want a total blast from the past? Click HERE to find out why we featured MAX as a Man Crush Monday back in 2016.