Two weeks ago Max Cooper blessed Trade with his 2nd ever appearance in Miami. He just wrapped up a North American tour in support of his newest album Emergence off of Mesh. His performance was live rather than a DJ set and featured absolutely stunning visuals with elements tied into the concepts behind the album. He masterfully blended ambience and dance music and kept the entire crowd mesmerized while also keeping them dancing. I was lucky enough to catch up with Max and talk about some of his philosophies behind his project amongst other topics:
Let’s start by talking about the American club music scene. How’s your experience been with it so far? Where is it lacking? Where is it progressing?
America is a big place so I can’t generalise too much. I’ve had a lot of great shows there though. Similarly to Europe it’s the big hub cities with the most varied populations and cultural influences which are my favourite places to play given the open mindedness of the audiences and the options that opens up musically. I think perhaps there’s some signs that the US scene electronic music scene is younger than that in Europe, with my US shows mainly being club-based, while in Europe I sometimes play sit down shows for older lovers of electronic music who are happy to listen to techno while seated!
What are your thoughts on Miami specifically?
I’ve only visited Miami twice, but I like the feeling there, it’s a lot looser than most other US cities! Later closing times, more relaxed on the rules and well set for a fun party.
Let’s talk about your music now. How do you balance the ambient and club elements of your music without compromising either aspect?
It’s always a compromise, I just try to figure out what sort of people and what sort of event each show is, and cater as best I can musically. Usually that means playing some ambient tracks and playing some glitchy tracks early on and seeing how people respond in comparison to the more club based stuff. I struggle with short sets though as it doesn’t give much chance for testing the waters and pushing a set in the right direction, hence a lot of 6 hour sets in recent years.
Recently Throwing Snow release an interview on hyponik.com (you can read it here) where he listed 11 inspirations for his album Embers. Most of them are not music-related such as Koyaanisquatsi, complexity theory and entropy. Could you explain some abstract influences you had while making Emergence?
The whole album is a score to a visual story about the idea of emergence – that simple building blocks and processes can yield beautiful and unexpected outcomes. Each track was created to fit a specific chapter along that story as applied to a universe timeline narrative, starting from natural laws that existed before the big bang, followed by the formation of the physical universe, stars and planets, early protolife, cellular forms, complex life, humans, civilisation, the digital age and future. There are 25 chapters/concepts in total, each with a video telling the story and the music created in parallel, more than I can summarise here! But we made a website with all the information if you want to have a look – http://emergence.maxcooper.net
Could you also talk about the remixes you had done for the remix album, how did you recruit and decide on who you wanted to feature? (The album features the likes of Rival Consoles, Christian Löffler, Ash Koosha and John Tejada)
That was easy, I just got in touch with all of my favourite artists and asked who was interested, luckily for me a lot of them were, and we managed to create an amazing compilation of 10 remixes which formed it’s own LP – there’s some amazing work on there, and a big variation in styles in fitting with my musical tastes, I’m really happy with how that worked out.
What are some emerging artists or labels that you would like to put people on to?
– he’s working on a big project for the Mesh label and I’m pretty excited about how that will work out. His approach to making music is totally different from everyone else, and it shows in his musical results. I’m also a big fan of Ben Lukas Boysen
, his last two albums are beautiful, and have been on repeat for me during this last US tour.
Finally, what are three desert island discs that you would like to share with us? (In case you need an explanation of what a desert island disc is)
The Flashbulb – Undiscovered Colors
Ben Lukas Boysen – Only in the Dark
Philip Glass – Glassworks Opening
Keep an ear out for Max Cooper and songs off of his remix album on WVUM. Also give Emergence a listen if you haven’t done so already. Keep it locked.