Up-and-coming electronic music producer and artist Midsplit talks about his road to the Canadian music scene.
Memories of Avril Lavigne blasting in his headphones still brings a smile to the face of Maxence Pepin. He’s come a long way from those first pivotal moments of music in his life. Now a 22-year-old music producer living in Montreal, he’s following his dream of being the Avril in someone else’s ears.
Growing up in Montreal, Pepin had a normal childhood. His life was spent in suburbia, as he took on normal tasks like working as a cook at an Italian restaurant and playing basketball with friends on a local court.
With the support and encouragement of his parents, he made the difficult choice to drop out of school and pursue his true passion: music production.
With the help of Dutch producer Steve Void, Pepin found his way through the obstacles of being an artist in the Canadian music industry. Electronic and house music maker Kayliox was Pepin’s local hero, and like Void, helped him gain the confidence he needed. Hard work and patience has paid off, as Maxence now produces and performs under his artist name, Midsplit.
After writing a song for a close friend going through a difficult time, Pepin discovered that making music had a genuine impact on those around him, and showed him why music mattered.
His first song released, “Either Way,” was a powerful, lyrically-driven song with eclectic production as he combined chill tropical house and trap for the first time. This sound made Pepin want to expand and pursue a real production career and get outside of his bedroom.
Like most people, Pepin has had his fair share of heartbreak. In tune, he channelled some of those emotions in songs.
He released his debut album For My Future Past on Oct. 19. Pepin hopes the child inside of him never dies and uses this idea as the inspiration behind the new project. Pop, punk and R&B vibes can be expected throughout the record.
While simultaneously building a start-up in the tech world, managing and owning his own record label, and working on more music, the future looks bright for Pepin. As he continues to work with artists like BRDGS, A-SHO, and Casey Cook, Pepin’s dream of one day producing for Avril Lavigne will never be far from his mind.
We sat down with Pepin to dig deeper into who he is as an artist and a person.
The Concordian: Who was the first person to tell you that you were really good at the thing you loved to do?
Maxence Pepin: The first people were my parents, they have believed in me since day one. They let me drop out of university and live with them to create a balanced financial life and have time to create my craft. I am blessed!
TC: You just released “Where U Belong,” a song with fellow Canadian artist BRDGS, how did your relationship start?
MP: We met through a mutual friend, A-SHO! We hung out while I was on a business trip in Toronto. When I came back home to the studio, BRDGS sent me a very cool demo titled Where U Belong, and the rest is history.
TC: Heartbreak and loss can be daunting and hard to move on from, what are some techniques you use to heal?
MP: My last heartbreak was a very long time ago… like four years ago! I closed myself up because I was extremely hurt, I am a very emotionally-driven person. I started getting over my heartbreak after I opened up to my friends and family, talking about the pain and being told that it’s okay to be hurt really took me a long way.
I also might have helped write a couple of love songs in the meantime, but those songs will probably never see the light of day.
TC: Your debut album is For My Future Past. What can you tell us about this project?
MP: For My Future Past is my way of dealing with nostalgia. I hate becoming an adult and I hope I can continue to be the man-child that I am (in a good way!). The album is very inspired by the music of my childhood, which was mostly pop-punk and R&B. I think there is something for everyone on the album as it has a very diverse and accessible sound, even if the inspirations might seem far-fetched the end result is very modern and crisp and super easy to listen to.
TC: What was the first song you produced that you really wanted other people to hear?
MP: The first song I was beyond excited to put out was “Either Way” with Casey Cook. The production was — at that time — the most innovative I had ever made and the lyrics were so powerful. I feel like at that moment I knew I was stepping out of my shell of being a bedroom producer and that I wanted to pursue a real production career.
TC: You don’t just produce for yourself. Recently you produced “Vicious Circles” by KARLI, among others. Who else are you writing with/producing for?
MP: A-SHO and KARLI wrote [Vicious Circles] a very long time ago. A duo friend of ours, Lucky Rose, made a really good demo out of it but they could never quite finish the song. So they ended up sending me the stems of what they had and I redid most of the production on the track.
Sometimes having someone outside the track is the best person to produce it as that person is not attached to a specific sound. I do quite a lot of productions for artists on my record label, Sadboy Records but I usually don’t build the whole songs, I’m quite good at finishing tracks. I would love to work with Charlotte Cardin or Avril Lavigne. I grew up blasting Avril’s music in my headphones and Charlotte is just pure artistic perfection to my taste.
TC: Is it easier to produce for yourself or for someone else?
MP: It is MUCH easier to produce for someone else as you are often far less attached to the end product. By no means is the end product ever bad but it is never exactly on-brand for what I enjoy putting out under my Midsplit alias.
TC: Who are people in music who have helped you? What are the obstacles of being a Canadian in music?
MP: I have received a lot of help from Steve Void, who is a Dutch producer. I have permanent respect for the helping hand he gave me in the music industry. Another important figure in my career is A-SHO, who I met through another important person named Kayliox. Kayliox gave me a lot of confidence on his live streams while he was touring the world and giving producers feedback on their tracks, funnily enough, I was (and still am) a huge fan of his and today we are very good friends! A-SHO taught me a lot about songwriting and the need to perfect my craft, to a point where I am compulsive about it. A huge obstacle of being a Canadian in music is that the local industry is very tough and very closed off, it’s very hard to get any recognition, especially in dance as there are so many Canadian artists for such a small country.
Photo Credits: Samuel Bourget Photography