Max Graham: still learning, still growing
He’s a fighter. A driven person. But overall, a man with a thirst for knowledge. More and more, Max Graham is expanding his skills and learning how to walk the road to musical freedom. The Canadian citizen, Re*Brand label owner and profound DJ, is one of the most passionate artists amidst us. With a keen ear for music and a sense for social media, Max Graham has been riding the fast train of success for several years already. Despite the conviction that he’s best behind the decks, Graham’s time and again proving himself wrong. New single ‘Still There’s You’ ft Jeza has just landed. All reason for us to name him our Artist of the week, and confront him with some of his (older) quotes!
“Right now I’m just in love with the music that’s around.”
How is the summer treating you? Enjoying the music it’s bringing?
Max:”Yes, so many amazing producers making such great stuff. Really loving all these guys stepping out of the formula comfort zone and creating inspired music. Juventa and Maor Levi for example. Loving it.”
“More yoga, less twitter, more production. Easy right? :)”
How did that new year’s resolution work out for you, Max? Was it really that easy?
Max:”Haha, I do yoga probably once a week which feels great but is useless as your body goes back to the way it was within those 7 days. I need it like 3 times a week but it’s proving kinda tough! :)”
“It’s time to buckle down and write some music. I have a ton of ideas and quite a few unfinished tracks to work on so it’s going to be fun.”
In December 2011, you announced to start working on a follow-up album to ‘Radio’. How far along are you? What have you got in stores for us?
Max:”Lots of half finished things but that’s how it always is, then everything kinda clicks. You’ve heard Susana and Jeza, plus the SONA instrumental. Want to do more collabs as they are truly inspirational. Have plans to work with Tomas Heredia, Protoculture and also pushing Stoneface & Terminal to make a banger with me.”
“I still feel I have so much to learn in the art of making music.”
You’ve kicked off your career in music with hip-hop and turntablism, and didn’t start producing until years later. Are you a perfectionist when it comes to producing? Where’s the point when you’re satisfied with a song?
Max:”Well I think you’re always learning. I listen to DrumnBass and Electro and the production skills are so incredible, it inspires me to learn more tricks and skills to make the music sound better but I still have a long way to go. I still feel I’m 75% DJ and 25% producer. Which is why I think I’ve had such success with Cycles Radio as it plays to my strength in mixing / programming.”
“I’ll maybe just write some of the notes but he makes it sound really powerful in his Protoculture style.”
Where are those collabs with Protoculture? We’re still waiting! ;)
Max:”Haha we’ll we’ve done a few with remixes but yeah, we’ve both been so busy. I’m trying to pull him back from some remixes to finish a couple of things we have but he’s in such demand..I can’t blame him. We will always work together so there’s no hurry.”
“YouTube is an incredible wealth of knowledge, much like the internet as a whole. It’s no substitute for talent though."
You’ve got some tutorial studio sessions up on YouTube and interact through Twitter a lot. How important is it to you, to interact with the new generation of EDM producers and bedroom DJ’s?
Max:”Well I think it’s important both to connect but to pass on knowledge to others. I’m certainly no studio whiz like some of the guys around but even some little tips have helped people, so I enjoy doing it.”
“It’s a TON more work but it’s so much more fulfilling than a podcast where you’re disconnected to the audience. For me at least, I prefer the live interaction.”
How’s the ton of work for Cycles Radio doing? Got any special plans for the show, or its anniversaries?
Max:”Cycles has been a savior for me. I never expected the reaction, the interaction I’ve had with it. It’s growing faster than I expected and I have the most amazing, open minded trusting weekly listeners. Every time I think I’m pushing them too far they take it and have been very responsive. They’ve given me amazing faith that people can love music from diff styles if it’s mixed right. Yeah, I know saying ‘mixed right’ is giving myself a pat on the back but as I said, where I’m weaker in the studio I know I’m stronger in the DJ booth. It’s been my life for 15 years and the show really plays to that strength. Also the show is forcing me to search out more music to keep in fresh which in turn helps my DJ sets when it comes to originality etc. All in all it’s an absolute win and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner.”
“It is a true reflection of what has become my favourite thing, which is Cycles Radio.”
It’s been 8 months since the third Volume of your Cycles series landed. Are you gearing up for number 4 yet?
Max:”Yes actually, Armada’s own Ruben and I are starting to source the music. I have a few exclusives and am pushing the rebrand artists to have some bombs ready for it. I want it to be about the producers we’re so lucky to have making music for us. Coming in October I believe.”
”I really focused on re*brand this year and it has paid off. I’ve been really lucky to get such amazing music.”
Your new single ‘Still There’s You’ ft. Jeza has just been released. What other big plans have you got for the rest of the year on Re*Brand?
Max:”Well, Jeza is top ten on Beatport Trance as I write this so I’m super happy about that. Solid Stone is next with an awesome double EP. Protoculture and Steve Haines have material in the works that I’ve heard and you’re going to love!”
“It was amazing, I'm not a huge fan of his genre of trance, but we got along very well.” (about being part of Paul Oakenfold’s 2001 tour)
Amazing to see what changes can come with time. What made you fall in love with the genre after all, and what makes the trance sound so unique, in your eyes?
Max:”That tour was 2001 and I meant his specific genre within trance. He had that goa perfecto fluoro sound that I was never into (and still am not). I preferred the more instrumental emotional melodic sound and still do, so nothing has changed in that regard. Our sounds on tour complimented each other well actually. I have the utmost respect for Paul and he knows that well. The beauty of this scene is we all have slightly diff tastes but it’s all under the same umbrella.”