Having embarked on a busy tour this January, we were able to catch up with Sam (aka Maxxi Soundsystem) to talk to him about the evolution of his career, early inspirations and what’s coming up in 2015. Next up, he will headline Futureboogie is 13 on the last Saturday of the month at The Laundry.
Hey Maxxi. Hope you’ve had a good start to the year. What did you do for New Year’s and what have you been up to in January?
I was lucky enough to be in Sydney for NYE. I was touring in Australia from Boxing Day up until the 9th and then travelled to USA for some shows in LA, San Francisco, NYC and Philadelphia and also got down for a couple of shows at the BPM Festival in Mexico – was my first new year spent in the sun.
It’s been about 5 years from the release of Criticize, which can be named the first milestone of your career. What would be your biggest highlight since then?
It’s hard to pinpoint one moment, there have been some very memorable gigs and places I’ve played but it was probably just the realisation that I’d managed to make music my job. Not sure when that moment happened. Probably some point in 2012.
You have recently teamed up with Name One again for the new track that is to be released in February on Culprit. Can you tell us a little bit about this one?
It’s a three track EP – all of which are songs aimed at the dancefloor, all the lyrics are written and sung by Name One. There are currently no remixes or dub versions (yet) as I wanted the EP to be introduced as a whole piece of work.
You two seem to have very good artistic relationship between each other. How did that come together?
It was through a mutual friend – he (Name One) had moved to Brighton and was looking for someone in the dance music world to work with so a meeting was set up at my studio. We got on straight away – I think we arranged a session a week after or so and wrote ‘Regrets We Have No Use For’ almost in one go. It was a great experience, he was scribbling away while I wrote the melody and bass and when I had something in a very rough arrangement he said, “OK I have some words, see what you think” and then just sung the lines pretty much as they are in the finished track – I was blown away to be honest, he’s an incredibly talented guy and now a great friend.
Do you miss Brighton a lot when you constantly travel around the world? What is it about the city that you like the most?
Well, more I miss my friends and family when I’m away from home but Brighton is a very relaxed town and a great place for me to work, it’s also very pretty, especially on the days you get a good sunset on the beach, which is often in winter. I’m also pretty keen on the Mexican restaurant near my studio.
You’re not the first musician in your family… do you recognise your father’s jazz influences in your music at all?
I definitely have some of his attitude towards making music, as a kid I was around him a lot when he was with his band, composing, practising and performing, I felt very comfortable in a studio from the start and also communicating with other musicians and artists. I think jazz and techno have their links in terms of having lots of structural freedom but ultimately my father is a far more uncompromising musician and a huge inspiration for me.
You’ve once said that you tend to change your music quite often, checking out new things to stay “fresh” and motivated the whole time. How does your sound evolve now and what direction is it heading towards?
Well, I think any good producer gets bored with doing the same thing so I try and follow those instincts. Also I switch up the equipment I’m using – the machines and environment you’re in can change the music you make and I think it’s good to force yourself to change that up every now and again. At the moment I’m working on stuff with less vocals and playing with a tougher sound, my next EP on Futureboogie is noticeably different to my other stuff.
Can you give us a sneak peak of your plans for this year?
I’m currently looking for a new studio home, the owner of my building unfortunately demolished the studio I’ve been in for 7 years over Christmas to build some flats. So that’s quite a big change and when I’ve got that ready I’m going to concentrate on my first album project.