Fresh off the release of three new singles, Max Embers is finally bringing fans his debut EP Idyllwild – a collection of songs that sees Embers finding the missing parts of himself in a transformative experience turned musical diary. Exploring the healing journey that came from a personal retreat in a small town, Embers showcases his smooth, calm, melodious arrangements as he bares his soul through heartfelt lyrics.

After a couple of months of what he describes as “feeling the weight of the pandemic and the state of the world in general,” Embers needed a break from the claustrophobia of a big city lockdown during the pandemic so he headed to the mountains of California to a little town that inspired the creation – Idyllwild. Spending three weeks to fully immerse himself in songwriting, Embers finally created the project he has always wanted to create. “Ever since I was little I dreamed of making a project that was not only precise, unique, and bold in its artistic vision, but also authentic and real through and through,” says Embers. “Somehow I really managed to make something I can stand by with all of my heart and say – yes, this is me.”

The album kicks off with the fan-favourite “wildest dreams” which was inspired by a lucid dream, the return of warmth and life to his chest, and “feeling more free than ever.” The lead single is simultaneously warm, grounded, and airy, full of renewed hope, taking the listener to a new place. The previously released “got to get you” is also featured on the EP as a playful reckoning of the fact that the “search for ourselves” in life will never really end. Although, he finds it within himself to finally allow himself to actually go with the flow instead of trying to fight the current moment in the song “mccartney.” “emily” is a spontaneous piano improvisation that is painfully honest before he wraps it up with the last track on the EP, Alive, that he describes as “sort of the musical version of taking inventory of your life and coming to terms with where you’re at, honoring both the good and the bad.”

Overall, Idyllwild explores an overarching theme of introspection and soul-searching against the backdrop of Embers’ warmly honest, deeply heartfelt, nature-bound music that he has found his voice in. After years of going through the motions in the music industry and struggling to find his own voice in it, Embers admits that the small town of Idyllwild was an incredibly therapeutic experience to create a collective piece of art solo from start to finish. “There were times where I seriously doubted my ability to create anything on my own anymore,” says the artist. “Writing these songs on my own terms, in my own world, from my true feelings, and producing the EP myself when I visited my family in Germany at the end of the year, showed me that I have it in me to speak from my heart through my music, unapologetically and fearlessly… Because I’m starting to see that when you create art that’s 100% YOU, the outcome matters less and less.” With over 5 million streams on his pre-existing catalog, there’s no doubt that the fans will be eager to hear what Embers calls his “most honest work yet.”

Cover art for ‘idyllwild’ by Max Embers

Embers also invites viewers to experience the discovery of self alongside him with a series of DIY, 90s handheld camcorder style of home videos that shows viewers his perspective in a candid and vulnerable way. Created to be a visual representation of the EP as a whole Embers says, “I wanted to make something that’s as honest and DIY as the songs themselves, so I ended up taking a lot of the footage I had from my first trip to Idyllwild (from Instagram stories and such) and created a home-video-diary style visual album that I hope will let people in on what that trip really looked like, how healing and freeing it was.”

“I feel so emotional about letting this EP out into the world. When you let people see or hear something that’s so close to who you are at your core, you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable in a really wild way. I hope this little woodsy, earthy, introspective, hippie acoustic folk project will take people on a journey of their own. And if it helps even just one person realize that it’s okay to allow yourself to be exactly who you are and go with the flow of life, then I’d say my mission has been accomplished.” -Max Embers