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The Garage Puts Music in Harm’s Way

Max Harms' recording studio draws musicians to Camp Verde.

Garage Recording Studio producer Max Harms proves that big things can happen in small places.

Using a garage in Camp Verde as an audio engineering production studio, Harms takes business from as far away as Canada and New York.

Harms, who is just 26 years old, was born in Evanston, Chicago, and moved with his family to Camp Verde when he was 10 years old. “I attended South Verde High School and after graduation enrolled in the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix.”

Blessed with immense talent, Harms accepted an internship in Los Angeles that turned into a full-time job.

I started from the bottom with an internship at the legendary Rick Rubin's studio, Shangri-La in Malibu, and Barefoot Recording. “I worked at both locations before taking up a full-time position at Shangri-La,” he said. “I met a lot of great people. Besides making coffee, cleaning toilets, sweeping floors, and wrapping cables, I once made tomato soup for Neil Young. .”

Shangri-La Studios has recorded musicians such as Black Sabbath, Kanye West, Ed Sheeran, Andrew Bird, Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Johnny Cash, to name a few. Additionally, Bob Dylan's old tour bus (which has been converted into a studio space) is parked on site. His four-part television miniseries documentary about this studio aired on Showtime in 2019.

The promotion paid off as Harms stepped up from assistant audio engineer to the role of house engineer at Shangri-La. “Then, due to COVID-19, I had less studio time. Rent was expensive in Los Angeles, so I moved back to Camp Verde and built a studio from scratch.”

It was then that Harms began his activity. YouTube channel. The move drew praise from musicians in the country and across Canada.

Max Harms is an irreplaceable partner for me. He plucked the scene out of thin air and created a network of touring musicians that I couldn't do without,” said Flagstaff country musician Red McAdam. “The Garage is an absolute oasis in the desert. The people he brought to Arizona State are incredibly special and he helped me and many others at a time when we were considering leaving. It kept people in this state. I went on three month-long tours with people I met through Max. My entire professional Rolodex and many of my best friends. These are people I met through him.”

Adding video and photography services to the studio was important to Harms. “They are closely related,” he said. “I bought a camera because I wanted to make a documentary about Camp Verde. Then I decided to try filming some recording sessions, and it fit well into my work.”

His girlfriend, McKenna Dibble, helped edit the video and film. “She does a great job of helping with production, and she's a quick learner,” he said.

Harms never played an instrument growing up, but his father always had a guitar nearby. “I played around with it a little bit when I was younger, but nothing really stuck with me. Then, when I was 19, I picked it up and started taking it more seriously.” Today, Halms is mostly self-taught. You can play any instrument.

Katie Mae of Phoenix's Katie Mae & the Lubrication band says Harms is an incredibly gifted and gifted audio engineer. “I'm so lucky to call Max a good friend. My band and I recorded our first full-length record with him in December, and it was the most fun I've ever recorded. I'm proud that he co-produced that record with me, and it's scheduled to be released this summer.If a musician is passing through Arizona and I like their work, I always ask him to meet Max. I encourage you to go. We were one of the first live sessions he released from his garage recording studio, and I was so blown away by the sound he captured. Since then, I've done a lot of work. I have had countless fun times with Max and I look forward to many more.”

Traveling from Applegate, Oregon, singer/songwriter Jason Dear West believes it's well worth the trip. “I waited to film and record my song @ghostyfuntime until I was able to work with Max Harms,” ​​West said. “This is a very important song to me and I can trust Max's expertise to not only capture a strong video performance, but also deliver the best sounding audio anyone could ask for during a live session. Seriously, no one can come close to what Max is doing at Camp Verde, Arizona.”

To pursue his musical interests, Harms records songs for his YouTube channel and streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and Tital.

Harms' free time is spent playing with Townes, a 6-month-old English bulldog named after the legendary old country singer Townes Van Zandt. He also likes hunting. Contact Harms at and his Max Harms YouTube channel or his 847-833-5381.

in my free time

I like kayaking on the Verde River in the spring and summer, hunting in the fall, and watching a lot of movies in the winter.

Hobbies I want to pursue

I would like to make leather accessories someday.

Advice to my younger self

Please have patience. Patience is important, and I lacked it when I was younger.

my role model

My mother was an artist and self-employed all her life. She does blacksmithing, jewelry, and pottery. She's amazing.

my guilty pleasure

whiskey. FBN

V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN

Photo by V. Ronnie Tierney, Fresh Focuses Photography: Producer Max Harms works with Mckenna Dibble in his audio production studio, The Garage.

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