– You are set to release “Arizona” on RM Records. Tell us a bit about what you set out to achieve with the track and how you want people to feel when they hear it?
I had originally made a completely different tune for the e.p which I had a change of heart on at the last minute. Me and Lloyd had just started Arizona and I felt it would be a good one to send to the RM boys as they had said that they wanted a diverse selection of tunes for the launch. I really like that each of the 4 songs brings something different to the table. I’m a big fan of the other 3 tunes! Arizona is definitlely a “gurn in a dark corner at 5am” kinda tune haha
– How did the relationship with Lloyd come about and do you find it an easy process to share your ideas with someone?
I met Lloyd a couple years ago through one of my best mates who’s girlfriend is his sister. We started out playing spontaneous back to back DJ sets which went down well then started jamming in the studio. I think it took us about 6 months to really get in tune with each other musically. We come from quite different musical backgrounds so we’ve definitley learnt a lot from each other and become really good mates in the process. I love collaborating but I’ll always be a solo producer I think. There’s nothing like working through the night in your little zone doing what the fuck you want! haha
– Alongside this release what else do you have lined up over the coming months?
As well as Arizona, I have a Frankie Knuckles tribute named ‘Frankie’ coming out on Black Butter Spread Love in September leading up to my main BB release called ‘Here and Now’ Ft Josh Barry in December. Four remixes scheduled for release in September/October including one for arguably one of the biggest names in the scene which I’m buzzing about! I’ve taken on a lot of really exciting projects recently. Can’t wait to share!
– Looking back, what has been your proudest moment as M.A.X?
M.A.X is a fairly new alias which only came about a few months ago. Before that, I went under M-Boogie) There’s been a few, not sure which one tops the list…. Having a 3-way back to back with Rudimental and Disclosure was pretty special. As was playing the terrace at Space Ibiza for Carl Cox’s revolution in 2013. More recently, having Warner approve my Never Let You Go remix for Rudimental was a very proud moment for me.
– What advice would you give to a young budding producer out there on how to get your music out there and better yourself as an artist?
Even though I started DJing 17 years ago, I only started producing properly 2 years ago so still consider myself a bit of a newbie. I made a decision that this is what I wanted to do so I literally locked myself away with my home set-up, learnt Garageband then Logic then Ableton and put every ounce of energy I had in me into improving my knowledge and ability. If I wasn’t producing, I would be watching YouTube tutorials or interviews with producers to try and pick up some tips. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that you have to go to the extremes I went to. I sacrificed a lot in these last 2 years including a big chunk of my social life, relationships and money!! My main advice would be to not try and run before you can walk. Get loads of feedback from friends/family and use the criticism constructively. Dont take it personal if you get knockbacks, they will happen, and don’t rest all your dreams on what people in the music industry promise you… I take everything with a pinch of salt these days until I see paperwork!
– Who would you most like to collaborate with in the future?
My ultimate dream collab would be James Blake. On a production and vocal level. I’ve never studied anyones music the way I have with him. The word genius gets thrown around so much these days… But he really is! Another one is a mate of mine who also happens to be one of my favourite producers, Kidnap Kid. The intricate detail and all the sounds he uses are next level.
– Is there one venue in the world that you would most want to play, what is it and why?
This is the easiest question out the lot haha. DC10!! The soundsystem in there gets me every time. You can feel the bass through every inch of your body, best sound I’ve heard anywhere. If you are given the chance to play there, you’ve made it in my books.
– Going back to the start, what was it that triggered something in your head to want to fully immerse yourself in this industry and become a producer and DJ?
I wanted to be a DJ long before I wanted to be a producer. That was my first love. My older sister was a proper Jungle raver and used to be locked in to the pirates 24/7. Rude awakening, Kool fm etc… I used to think she was the coolest person in the world back then (still kinda do) so I basically just copied what she was into. I’m talking primary school days here, 94/95. She then moved onto House and Garage, so I followed suit. It was Tuff Jam/Todd Edwards kinda sound that I first fell in love with. It was stations like Freek fm, Chicago (y2k), Deja, Mission etc.. that really made me fall in love with the idea of DJing. I grew up in Hackney, East London where the vast majority of stations were based. There was no itunes or (proper) internet back then, so it was all about the pirates and swapping all your TDK tapes around at lunchtime. I got my first DJ set in 1998. The Numark blue dog belt drive package… The shittest of the shit but I wouldn’t of had it any other way haha. Had my first guest slot on radio in 2000 then my first weekly show in 2001 on Heat fm. Moved around the FM dial a bit after that but settled on Mystic fm 98.1 where I had 3 weekly shows which built up a nice little following.
– What came first for you, producing or DJing?
Like I said, the producing only came about a couple years ago. I had a rough time in my mid 20’s and lost my way a bit and didn’t know what direction I was going to go with my life. Some of my very close friends made a song in 2011 which turned out to be one the biggest tunes of 2012 and to say it inspired me would be an understatement. I had flirted with producing bits and bobs over the years but never took it seriously, but then suddenly everything clicked into place in my head. I knew what I wanted to do, and was going to do everything in my power to make it happen. I’m still at the start of my journey, I’ve learned alot about patience! haha
– If you could only listen to one track for the rest of your life what would it be?
One song!?!?! You’re killing me here haha. I’m gonna go with “Common – Heaven Somewhere“. The 10 minute version. He got all the biggest names in neo-soul on it, the harmonies are ridiculous. It’s truly hypnotising… Can’t tell you how many nights I’ve fallen asleep to this and woken up with it still on repeat.
Interview by Dan Mackenzie
M.A.X.’s track with Lloyd ‘Arizona’ is out now on RM Records.