On the back of recent releases on Hypercolour and Ellum and having just completed a tour of the US, Maxxi Soundsystem's profile is on the up and up. We managed to grab a few minutes of his time for a chat taking in parties in the basements of Moroccan restaurants, life on the road and his most memorable gigs….
Hi Sam – you’ve just returned from a tour of the US, how do you find life on the road and what are you up to now you’re back?
Yes 5 weeks travelling from Toronto all the way down to São Paulo – was a great experience aside from the constant airports and lack of sleep I felt so lucky to get to meet so many different and interesting people in such a concentrated period. So life on the road is a strange mix of being on your own alot and then having an intense load of fun with new friends around the weekends. Am back from that tour but still been touring from home each week, been to Germany, Austria, Italy, Amsterdam, Dubai, China and Ibiza since then so haven't really stopped.
It seems you’ve had a pretty busy year, on top of the tour of US you’ve put out a couple of EP’s and been playing all over Europe – what have been the highs and lows of 2012?
2012 has been the best year of my life – I had to stop and think for a second after I said that but yeh it's true too many highs to pick one. Maybe my first time at Burning Man. Lows? Probably going through the American visa process but it worked out in the end.
You ran the schtumm! parties in Brighton, when did you start putting the parties on and are you still involved?
Me and my best mate Neal started schtumm! in 2007 in the basement of a Moroccan restaurant… I'm still involved and officially a resident although its tough to do them regularly at the moment but I will be playing the next one on 7th December – they are too much fun not to.
You worked with Tom Gandy aka Caged Baby before you started out on your own as Maxxi Soundsystem, what was your involvement and do you think you’ll be doing more stuff with him in the future?
Well initially very little, I just used to hang out in his studio watching him work but eventually I was in there almost every day and I ended up co-producing tracks with him until eventually we were working full time on an album and I ended up being in the band on tour with him in 2007. That was pretty nuts looking back in it. Yes me and Tom have collaborated on a new EP for Moda Black out around December, he's done some great vocals, really pleased with how it came out.
The success of Criticize must have really opened things up for you, did it bring about a mad, sudden change in your life or was it more part of a gradual shift towards recognition as a producer?
Umm… It was fairly quick but it still took a few months for me to start working out what do next. The success of that track was totally unexpected. I guess I realised at least I hadn't made a massive mistake gambling everything on a career in music.
You’ve remixed quite a few people to date – Hercules and Love Affair, 2 Bears, retro/Grade – who would you most like to remix in the future and, vice versa, who would be your dream remixer for one of your own productions?
There are lots of artists I think I'd like to work with especially in terms of vocalists – but with a remix it all depends on the track. I like the chance to totally transform the original especially when it isn't already a club record. I often don't see the point of messing with someone's original club track when its perfectly good as it is.
A dream remixer? Larry Levan.
You’ve been playing for numerous years as a dj – when did you first start out, what was your first ever gig like and what would you say have been your best gigs to date?
Started like most in my bedroom as a teenager and was playing mainly jungle/drum and bass but also house/disco in Hastings where i grew up, back then it was mainly house parties although occasionally my friends and I would play in the local club but I can't actually remember the first one. The most memorable early gig was when somehow got asked to play on a float at the Love Parade in Budapest, I think it was 1999. That was incredible, played at the club after for so long I pretty much collapsed. Had some really special gigs lately – Mexico and Brazil definitely stand out as does Fabric which was immense for the last Futureboogie night.
With releases on Nurvous, and recently Ellum and Hypercolour, are you planning to keep releasing music on numerous lables or is the plan eventually to find a more permanent home for your music?
Ill be honest at the moment I'm still just making the music and then seeing who's into it. With the last 2 Eric (Maceo Plex) and Jamie Hypercolour were so enthusiastic about the tracks respectively it was easy to go with their labels, I didn't plan it at all. I'm still finding my way musically so a permanent home isn't something I have just yet…
How was it working on the Sam Records Extended Play series, it must have been an honour to work on such a great, legendary disco label! How did it come about and were you into Sam before hand?
Yeh I used to listen and sample those records before anyway so was incredible to get all the original parts to a proper 1980 disco classic, also the fact that it was Kenny Dope! who actually sent me the bounces from tape which was very exciting. It came about through Jacques Renault who asked me to get involved a year or so ago, the project was his baby really.
What have been the biggest tracks of the year for you as a DJ in 2012?
I've played Joy by Cajmere in almost every set but I guess I'd have to say Ben Pearce's What I MIght Do has been huge. I was lucky enough to have that for about a year or so – I was actually asked to remix it but as I said earlier in the remix question, it was good enough as it was.
You’re playing the nofitstate party on New Years Day, beyond that what are the plans for 2013?
Well more gigs for sure – Australian tour is confirmed as is, Watergate, Hideout Festival, Glastonbury and some more in USA and Brazil off top of my head. Also looking at working some more with Name One – we are talking about doing some live stuff next year.