MAXX, brilliant techno
For over 15 years he’s been passionately doing what he loves: producing top notch techno music and DJ’ing in his own unique style. With over a 100 tracks released in almost a decade, we can say music is his life. He’s well known for his genre-transcending techno and is an established artist in the electronic music scene. He’s been playing in major cities from London to Moscow, from Salzburg to Madrid, … . Needless to say he knows how to play a stage.
So it was about time to catch up with this great polyvalent artist and have a chat about his music, his record label Polymeric records and some existing news. On top MAXX offered us to do a guest mix, which you can find in the interview. He crammed in no less than 30 tracks for this sublime mix of just one hour. Power techno!
Hey Maxx, thank you for your time. How are you doing these days?
All good thanks, keeping busy as usual.
You seem to be a creative worker ant. The amount of things you seem to be doing, is quite a lot. Dj-ing, producing, A&R, label owner, label manager. Where do you find the time?
Ah! That’s a good question! I do work a lot every day, and unfortunately I don’t always find enough time to do everything. I need a 48 hours’ day!
Let’s start with a question about your record label, Polymeric Records. Why starting an own label? What’s the story?
When I created Polymeric Records back in 2006 I did so to put forward my vision of Techno. I wanted to be able to put my own tracks out there without the restrain of another label owner telling me what would and what would not work. But also I wanted to guest on the label producers who I liked and played as a DJ in my sets.
It seems to run well as I see the amount of artists you have signed?
Yes, well I have been lucky enough to know personally all the artists I released on the label. But the quality of the music has always been the most important thing for me. What I mean is, if the tracks are good and I like them, I release them on the label, no matter if the producer is a well-known name or not. That has always been my ethos for the label, and still is.
The sound is very techno oriented. How do you position your label between others and what makes you stand out?
At the beginning Polymeric had a harder sound, UK Techno oriented, but I always liked all types of Techno, and I think this reflects in the releases so far. I never imposed restrictions on what sub-style of Techno was going to be released on the label, although I must admit that I barred Acid 303 lines on the label, not because I don’t like them, in fact I produced a lot of Acid infused tracks myself on other labels over the years, and I still do, but because I thought back then that there were already enough labels doing the acid thing, especially in London. Also I wanted artists to explore more in the Techno domain, and come up with new ideas.
You, yourself release on your own label. Want to tell us a bit about the sound of MAXX?
Bouncy, hehe! No, seriously, it’s always difficult to describe your own sound I think, probably it’s better for other people to do that. The only thing I can say is that my main objective when I make a track is for people to shake their bums on the dance floor. If when I play my tracks out I see them dance, then my job is done properly.
Claudio: well, we like your sounds. Let the audience decide after they’ve heard the guest mix you made for us.
You also release on vinyl. You are a strong believer of the warm sound of vinyl?
Yes, definitely. I think vinyl sounds better, it has a soul.
It came to our attention you played in Belgium, our home base, no so long ago? What, where, how?
Correct, this was my third gig in Belgium so far. I also played at Petrol last year, and I am sad to see it close down, that was a hell of a club.
Claudio: True that. It’s actually two clubs that need to close down. The building hosted Petrol and Piaf. The premises also had an outdoor area with great summer events. If I am correct it has to make space for a prison.
Last time I played for Underground Techno party with Pacou from Tresor Berlin in Aalst, home of my close collaborator ACidDC, and my newly acquired friend Corrode, who both run things over there at The Kings Club. The party was proper underground (sorry for the pun), and the crowd was wicked. So I was delighted that after the end of that party ACidDC and Corrode asked me to be their resident DJ from abroad for next year.
That’s great news! Any other exciting things to mention?
Well yes, probably the most exciting thing is the residency in Aalst, because it is the first time I hold a residency abroad. But there are also few other things cooking, both release wise, with few vinyl releases on well-respected labels including remixes of my originals by names that I can only describe as Techno legends, and tour wise, but I don’t want to reveal too much about that yet, not before things come together 100% anyway. Fingers crossed!
Talking about your residency. What can the audience expect?
I’m always happy when doing a residency, because that gives me the chance to sift through my vinyl collection more than when doing single gigs. I feel in a way pushed to bring something new to the table every time, and that is exactly what I intend to do next year at Underground Techno parties!
Thanks to developments in the realm of software, DJing, playing live and producing have moved closer together than ever before, allowing DJs to change a track down the tiniest detail. How do you make use of these possibilities in your sets and is there a benefit? Or do you go strictly vinyl?
Ha! This is the perfect question for this interview! As a matter of fact, I stuck with vinyl since I started to play all those years ago, and I am considered by many to be a vinyl purist, but I recently started to think to go digital in some way. In fact, you are the lucky ones to ever have a digital set from me, yes, for the first time ever!
Hehe. To be honest I never found difficult finding good tracks on vinyl, there are a lot out there, although sometimes I wished I could play some tracks which are not released on vinyl, but I normally integrated throughout my career by playing CDJs at gigs, especially when I wanted to try out some of my unreleased tracks on the dance floor. But ultimately, the reason which is pushing me to shift slightly to digital sets is the fact that I had to turn down quite few gigs recently, because promoters had no vinyl decks available. Or in one particular case in Holland, a promoter telling me that vinyl is not allowed at all at their parties! Anyway, whenever I have the chance, vinyl is and will still be my weapon of choice!
Claudio: serious? No vinyl allowed at parties? Insane. 🙂
What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
Well, being a vinyl DJ puts some limits on the number of tracks you can pack in your bag, so I always take more than double of what I think I will need. But at part from that, I never really plan my sets in advance, I find it boring. I guess that when the right time comes for a record in my bag to be played, then it will show itself to me and get in my hands, and on the decks.
The relationship with the audience is crucial for a DJ, and yet it seems to be a fragile one. How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?
You are correct, the relationship is pure give and take. As a DJ I need to feed from the crowd dancing and having a good time. If that doesn’t happen something is broken. The one lesson I learned when I was a kid and started playing at parties is that if you play good, the crowd will stay, and will dance. If you don’t, they won’t. This is even more apparent in recent years, because of the smoking ban in most European countries. I am a smoker myself, and I know that if a DJ does not grab your attention, you will feel the call of the nicotine and go outside to smoke.
Name one particular track you play that sets the dance floor on fire time after time.
Too many! I can’t pinpoint one in particular. Let’s say 3. Hotwire by DAVE The Drummer, Thunder by Dave Clarke, and Dice by Mark Reeve.
If you can pick any 2 artists, can be from your label, you chose freely, who should be on our radar music-wise — who is getting you really excited?
One from my label, definitely Black.Art from Warsaw Mechanism crew, who released a wicked track on Polymeric 9, which is still doing the rounds at parties all the time. I expect many more nice things coming from him in the future, he is a very talented artist who is still playing hardware only live sets the old way, no computers involved. The other one is Aaron “The Pimp” who has been away from the scene for quite a while, but I had the chance to listen to the new material he is working on now, and trust me, it will be bomb after bomb from him soon. I should also add Sascha Zastiral from Germany, sorry it’s 3 again.
Any plans for NYE?
Unfortunately I didn’t get a decent enough offer to play out, so I think I will spend it with friends, probably playing Techno all night in a North London studio I know … .
We wish you all the best and perhaps see you soon in Belgium!
Thanks a lot guys, it’s been a pleasure. See you soon in Belgium!
- Alex Dior – Connected World [Complexx Music]
- Andre Walter – Dark Knight [Complexx Music]
- Andreas Kraemer – Fracture [Sonic Sessions]
- Boriqua Tribez – Dawg 2 [UKR]
- Claudia Cazacu – Quatrain 7 [Haute Records]
- Claudia Cazacu – Quatrain 8 [Haute Records]
- Mauro Alpha – She He [Bubblejam Records]
- Dario Dep & Lasawers – Fire In The Noise (Bojan Popovic Remix) [Filth Infatuated Digital]
- Sheef Lentzki – Fort Knox (Tawa Girl Remix) [Dolma Records]
- Disco Dirt – Thrive [Bubblejam Records]
- Osiris Project & AJ Battutta – Underworld [Bubblejam Records]
- Osiris Project – Deep Down [Bubblejam Records]
- Raw Method – Good Track [Ushuaia Music]
- The Machinists – Lemmings (John Warwick Mix) [MER]
- Chewy Martins – Semitone [Techsturbation Records]
- Rodrigo Risso vs Afrozoid – Gravity Space [Zoowork Music]
- Smith & King – My Time [Krunch Audio]
- DJ Ze MigL – That Track [UKR]
- Maxx & 3Phazegenerator – Angular [Multikore]
- Disco Dirt – Colony [Bubblejam Records]
- Steel Grooves – Down In A Hole [UKR]
- Ben Techy – Evicted (Ziny Mix) [Funghettocrew]
- Ben Long – Honk [UKR]
- Deraout – Free Concept (Maxx Remix) [Viral Outbreak]
- Solid_State – Metallurgy [Subcult]
- Dolby D & Matt Mus – Blood & Sand [HEX REC]
- DJ Murphy & Vinicius Honorio – Out Cold (Joey_Beltram_Remix) [Dolma Records]
- DJ Funk – Run [Pro Jex]
- Lester Fitzpatrick & Mark Beltrami – Rev It Up [UKR]
- TWIST3D – Black Sugar [Connected]
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