Get To Know: Maxxi Soundsystem
We caught up with Maxxi Soundsystem in his hometown Bristol at Lakota ahead of his set for Binary Vision a couple of weeks back. Maxxi is back in the limelight after an array of releases over 2015 on Culprit, Wolf + Lamb Records, Partisan Records & Futureboogie Recordings. In this interview we talk production, collaborating, favourite DJ set up, Movember & MORE...
I know most would see the beginning of your producing career as the 'Criticize' release, but can you tell Y.O what you were doing before that?
Yeah I spent a lot of time putting on parties in Brighton and I started learning to produce music at the same sort of time. I hooked up with a producer in Brighton, Tom Gandy, we ended up being really good mates and ended up working in the studio with him a lot. Before Maxxi Soundsystem I was actually working for him on his ‘cage baby’ projects, even to the point were I ended up playing live at some of the gigs they did, so that was a wicked first experience.
Whereabouts were the gigs?
The first was in Brighton, the second was in Scotland, a little club, the third was in Buenos Aires warming up for Underworld with ten thousand people, so it was in at the deep end kind of vibe!
'Kojak Giant Sounds' seemed to be a pretty unlikely candidate to put 'Criticize' on, was there any particular reasoning behind this? I found a Magnetic Soul record on that label in my collection and that record is not exactly similar to your sound. Although the disco elements of the label might translate to some extent.
I guess if I’m just being honest I didn’t really know what I was doing. The track to me was just an edit I did for fun, I never really thought it was going to be an important release for me or anything like that. It wasn’t meant to be the owning of my sort of career and like change of career. I had a mate who had a record on the label and he said they were cool, really nice guys from Finland and we liked the way they did their artwork. They did it kind of old school New York disco records and they did it on a old mixing desk and we thought you know what that looks cool, never thought it would get where it got, so it was not calculated.
For me at least, your pre 2014/2015 tracks are recognisable from that big, rolling, bassy sound, yet more recently your originals such as, 'In The Woods' and 'Lone Raver' don't seem to carry this element as much. How would you say your sound has developed over the past five or so years?
Probably easier for you to say than me because as I’ve pointed out I’m not really planning what I’m doing. I’m not very good at doing the same thing again, particularly. A lot of the stuff that I make that gets released is always done in sort of intensive periods of time, so it may be that a couple of tunes may sound like they were made at the same time, but then they might be months in between and then those tracks that we just mentioned get done so they sound different. Also, they equipment I’m buying, changing what I’m using and yeah just generally being bored and trying not be bored(laughs).
'Regrets we have no Use For' is a personal fav, whereabouts did you make that and what were the influences behind that tracks?
Yeah that one was completely different. I hooked up with Jack, who’s ‘Name One’, he was basically looking for someone tow work with in Brighton, dance music wise and a mutual friend put us together and we just started working on a track straight away and then we said lets come back next week, he was going to think of some words and I had this bassline idea, I did the bassline, I got his words, he sung it and it was almost take one and it just happened like that. It was like one of those moments really, couldn’t have planned it, it was amazing to have two people doing completely different things, I mean I can’t sing and cant write lyrics to save my life but yeah we just did it there and I did that track. It was a really nice little session and that track came out of that.
You've collaborated with a lot of singers, producers and musicians in general throughout your career; is this something that inspires you in particular?
Yeah, no, I mean anyone who can do anything that i really can't do or find really difficult is inspiring as it's all part of the process, and yeah I'm no virtuoso musician or singer so it's great to vibe off people who do that. I mean I've worked with my dad who is a very accomplished jazz musician who I've taught bits of production and bits of sequencing stuff and we've ended up working together after that although we're at different ends of the spectrum.
As well as making great original tracks, you're known at the Y.O headquarters as the remix master. What's the fastest remix you've ever created?
Umm, Shopping Cart remix probably. Yeah that was really quick.
How long roughly?
About four hours I think. But you know, you do it for a couple of hours and then the bare bones are there. Then you spend like days afterwards wondering if it's any good and then like days after wondering if it's any good! I always think that the bare bones of a dance record should be laid out pretty quickly.
We know that you're one of the busiest DJs around, continuously playing out. Last year seemed to be a bit quieter on the production side of things, were you working on anything in particular or just taking a well-earned break?
Thanks for saying well-earned!! Yeah it was a lot of touring and I moved town. Excuses, excuses! I'm back in the studio now and working a lot harder. I guess can only make something when there's something there to make. Some producers are good at getting there thing down and doing it, I'm just terrible at doing that (laughs). At the moment I'm in the period of doing loads of work so that's been really good.
What's your favourite set-up to use and which club has your favourite DJ booth for whatever reason?
Ah man I'm pretty simple. three CD players and decent DJ mixer. Actually I've been watching Eats Everything using effects pedals and an Allen & Heath and I think that's something I'd really like to get into. What was the second part?
The DJ booth..
Aha, Fabric room one.
Fabric room one? Nice! When did you play there last?
Outside of music, three things you couldn't live without?
Food, really good food. And booze.
There's nothing left but cheesey stuff isn't there?! Can't say my bird because that's just rubbish(laughs). Fucking movies, yeah, definitely.
What shall we look out for from you for the rest of 2015?
All year round. Nah not just a moustache, it looks a bit sinister. Not a Pablo Escobar sinister moustache. I've actually got a load of remixes which are about to come out. One on Suara, something on Jeudi, DoctorDru's label. And yeah, some new stuff that I'm currently just finishing which is about as much as I can tell you about that! Oh, and a new track with my Dad, maybe that should come out (laughs)!