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Maxxim [Interview]

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International DJ and music producer, Anjunadeep / A Tribe Called Kotori artist, TOP 100 World Organic house artist. Maxxim-one of outstanding artists, he devotes all his emotions into his music and enjoys making people feel the same way-that is a reason why his tracks rapidly gained popularity. «Lagoona», released on Anjunadeep, reached top place of Organic House Beatport chart and became a bestseller track, beautiful and unique. A year later «Waterfalls» released on Anniversary Anjunadeep compilation reached 2th position in Organic House chart and stayed in Top 100 for 2 months and still stays there! Maxxim remix for Le’Gram “Arabesque” released on Oliver Koletzki label A Tribe Called Kotori was in the top 5 label best selling tracks and reached to 2th position in Beatport Organic House chart, and after his track “Dune” also showed excellent results and reached to 5th position in Beatport Organic House/Downtempo chart! If you take the history of all Maxxim's releases, you will see that each of his releases stormed the Beatport charts and was in the highest positions, this indicates his popularity and high level of production! Being a top organic house producer, Maxxim does not confine himself to one style, but on the contrary, his sets are masterful mixing melodic house, progressive house & techno. He performs at underground events with technicolor emotionalism and on the other side he is known as a conceptual dj at fashion runway shows and presentations for global super brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Pinko, Kenzo and Chanel. The geography of Maxxim’s performances is extensive and his music is loved all over the world: India, The Netherlands, Malta, Germany, France, Thailand, Hong-Kong, Vietnam, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Russia.

In a year that has already seen Maxxim release 'Moments of Wonder', a Beatport Organic House #1 track co-produced alongside flanerr, he now delivers his first remix of the year, taking D-Nox & DJ Zombi's 2023 hit 'There Is Hope' on a roller-coaster journey through organic beats and magical melodies.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Maxxim to learn more about the release of his 'There Is Hope' remix, his background, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Maxim, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

The beginning of 2024 was great and many thanks our releases: the first one was the collaboration with my friend Flanerr “Moments of Wonder” (Songuara). This release was on first position in the Organic House chart on Beatport and has remained and still remains in the Top 100 Organic House releases for three months.

The second release is the first release of 2024 also on Songuara from Emi Galvan and Dj Zombi “Frequency Shift” which became a bestseller, broke all sales and turned out to be one of the most successful releases in the entire history of our label.

It topped the charts for about three months and rocked festivals around the world in sets by Hernan Cattaneo, Nick Warren, Lee Burridge and others.

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

My day today was very active and a bit stressful. My team and I launched our new label, Songuara Tales. We already have 10 cosmic tracks to release. New label has a slightly different concept with the sound from deep house to progressive and to afro house.

Also at the moment I am preparing for my tour to beloved India. I’m leaving in the end of April and travel to Goa, Bangalore, Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and other beautiful places.

Music and gigs have changed my daily routine to night, I've been DJing for over 20 years and I'm  a 100 % owl. My day starts too late -  about 11 AM. First of all, I start checking the charts, all the charts of our labels: Songuara, Songuara Tales and La Mishka. I am involved in preparing our releases, communicating with artists and designers. I listen to demos, sorry, I listen to “eeeeendless” amount of demos.

If I have some free time, I try to start making some new track or finish remixes that I have already started. And all this smoothly turns into night. At night, on another part of planet Earth, our producers and musicians from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico wake up to send many interesting questions. So, my workday ends around 5 AM :)

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

My musical tastes were formed quite early, in my childhood, thanks to my older brother.

I started listening to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep on vinyl records. As far as new music began to appear, I moved towards electronic sound and I fell in love with Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys.

Then I started listening to hip-hop and rap - Cypress Hill, Run DMC, Naughty by Nature and became immersed in the hip-hop scene. I loved Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. These are my favorite rap musicians. I approached to electronic music simply when the first breaks projects appeared, such as Prodigy, Orbital, Chemical Brothers. Also at the same time I listened to Euro dance music, such as 2 Unlimited, Technotronic, Snap!

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I was originally self-taught and was always interested in writing music. The first programs were Impulse, Tracker, Fast Tracker, but it didn’t reach a serious level, it was like a set of sounds. And when I grew up a little and started doing parties, booking artists, I met my friend, my brother from UK - Dom Kane. In my opinion, he is one of the most talented musicians, he also develops moog presets and releases his own sample libraries. He was the first to show me how to work in Cubase.

It was my first step in creating music.

First of all, I would advise to start studying each individual track you like. It should be a kind of track by professional, well-known producer. You need to study the structure of this track, study what it is made of, how it is composed, this can help you in production.

Because even if you have technical skills, but you don’t understand the components of the track, you don’t understand how to record sounds, how to select them, then you’re unlikely to succeed. Therefore, you always need to approach each musical style from a scientific point of view. And then you can figure out how to put the same beat together in your track and how to write it down, you will feel it.

We need to follow new technologies, new plugins, because now music does not stand still and the development of music plugins and programs also. New tools are coming, ai…and we must try to keep up with the times.

You have a new remix out on Beat Boutique of D-Nox and Dj Zombi, tell us about the remix, what was it about the tracks which made you want to take the project and what sort of vibe you were going for on it.

Eli, DJ Zombi from Weekend Heroes once wrote me and offered to remix his best-selling track with D-Nox. I surely agreed because it was one of my dreams to remix the legends of progressive house music. And I decided to do this remix. It was difficult, because I had not yet worked in progressive house and wanted to bring a bit more organic house and my mood into it.

After such a cold winter of minus 24 degrees, I wanted to do something spring-like, or rather even summer-like, fun, something light and airy. And it seems to me that something interesting happened. The result is like summer progressive house on the verge of organic house music  with a beautiful melody on the drop. The result, in my opinion, turned out to be very good.
So, I really hope that many DJ’s and producers will play this remix and it hits the charts.

Massive thanks to DJ Zombi and D-Nox for their faith in me.

Some producers like to stay pretty close to the themes of a track when they remix it, while others, Guy J being a good example, create something completely different and fresh, how do you generally approach remixes?

I have an opinion that a remix should be different from the original and perhaps be even more different. I think that people should be interested in downloading and buying completely different versions of the track, not similar. This is how it used to be on vinyl records in the days of vinyl. On one side there could be a breaks remix, on the other-a techno remix.

And this is creativity. Those producers, who make such remixes make a new vision of the original, create a new track. And this indicates that he is a high-level producer.

Staying briefly on the subject of remixes, when you are offered a remix, what do you look for in a particular project which makes you want to do it?

Well, I'm always guided by the amount of fee)))

Actually, I have to feel the track, it should be interesting and I can play the original at performances, then I’m always ready to take on a remix even if it is an unknown producer, but it will be a very cool track, I am ready to remix it.

You are a very well travelled DJ, having performed in India, The Netherlands, Malta, Germany, France, Thailand, Hong-Kong, Vietnam, Egypt and more, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and what your philosophy is to programing a set.

I am a very positive person and I want to see absolutely the same people around me.

If  someone feels like somber, he would definitely start dancing with me and smile. My musical concept is upbeat, uplifting, energetic music. Even if it is an organic house, it must also be energetic. I prepare my set taking into account the fact that I bring people positive emotions and happiness.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

I seriously prepare for my performances and make a huge playlist. Sometimes it is not the only one, but 4-5 playlists of music that I want to convey to people.

I also have special playlists with spontaneous music, because I experiment during my performances. That’s why I actually have a lot of playlists, I can move from one to another. I feel the audience very well, I feel the vibe and i can have progressive, organic, and then afro house, melodic, techno. People are always interested in dancing to such sets. They are not monotonous and I always try to use the main core of playlists, because I want to share my own musical concept.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks, and also, your work as a producer?

I have more than 20 years of DJing experience. Naturally, during this time you begin to understand how the structure of the track should be built. You understand what sounds influence the dance floor, what music is relevant, you analyze the music. Let’s say, when you’re preparing for a set, you just need to listen to a track for a minute to understand whether it will be in demand on the dance floor or not and is it possible to take it into your set?

Therefore, of course, the experience of DJing also helped in production and I always fully understand what the structure of the track should be, what it should consist of, what the beat should be, what the drop should be. Naturally, I know all these moments, they are in my blood.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

22:00 Eduardo McGregor

00:00 Double Touch

2:00 Volen Sentir

4:00 Emi Galvan & Maxxim (b2b)

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Emi Galvan, DJ Zombi “Frequency Shift”

Maxxim, flanerr “Moments Of Wonder”

Sunar “Desert Rose”

Eduardo Mcgregor, Molac “Third From The Sun”

MI.LA, Maxxim “Chara”

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

If I weren’t a DJ and musician, I would probably make some graphic design, because I really love Photoshop, drawing, graphics, doing something unusual, combining design and photography. You can see my works on the releases covers of my second label “La Mishka”. That’s where I practise my creative experiments.

What’s something people do not know about you?

People don’t know that before music I was in the National Team and do Position rifle shooting.

I was also a four-time champion of my country.

If you are not DJing, producing in the studio or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

I'll be asleep. You will find me in bed, and it will quite hard to wake me up.

What are some of your favourite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

Brassic, Shogun, Ted Lasso

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I’m happy to be with my family, I’m happy with how my son is growing. Warm weather makes me happy, I’m happy that summer has finally arrived and we’ll live in a such condition for a couple of months J

And in general, people make me happy. Positive and intelligent people make me happy!

What does the remainder 2024 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

For the last few years I have completely devoted myself to main my label Songuara, it has finally achieved great results, reached heights and a little more free time has appeared. I want to put a lot of energy into returning to production, writing more music and therefore touring more. I don’t want to stop, work more, move and believe in music, believe in people.

Maxxim's remix of D-Nox & DJ Zombi is available now via Beat Boutique: https://tinyurl.com/2m3wreba

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