Max Cooper Interview

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?
Rob Clouth – 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.

 

NEW EP: Jump Pack by Tarquin

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Rinse is a radio station and label based out of London which has been on the forefront of keeping club music interesting since it was founded in 1994. Their newest release Jump Pack by Taraquin is no exception. This EP is very, very fun. It’s unique enough to hold its own ground, experimental enough to keep music heads entertained, upbeat enough to drop at a club and accessible enough for the general audience. These beats are all over the place; filled with breaks and drops in good taste.

RIYL: Inkke, Kode 9, Mumdance

Favorite track: C-Mine

NEW ALBUM: Eden by Jonny Nash

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Do you ever think about if you were to show albums you listen to now to a younger version of yourself? This one’s made me think about that a lot. I can’t imagine 14 year old me hearing this one and thinking anything too positive about it. This album feels like it should be played in a spa while you’re getting a massage, and I mean that in the best way possible. This is album comes from Melody As Truth, which has been putting out some fantastic chill out music for awhile now and is ran by Nash himself. Eden features a lot of deep percussions, harps and chime sounds and is an extremely easy listen from start to finish. Give this album a listen, close your eyes and let all of your worries melt away.

RIYL: Mark Barrott, Suzanne Kraft, Sirius XM Channel 68 – Spa

Favorite track: Police Bribe

NEW ALBUM: Fracture by Kailin

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Putting out the first LP on a label seems like a lot of pressure. Fracture by Kailin will forever be listed in the history books as Mistry’s first album and it sure does set an intriguing pace. This album is not for the faint of heart and appeals to a pretty specific clientele. Expect the type of dark ambient vibes that you’d find in a Trent Reznor soundtrack, but with darkness turned up quite a bit along with traces of club elements. Mistry described the album as being “uplifting whilst also being dread filled…”, which is a better description than I could have ever came up with.

RIYL: Haxan Cloak, Pangaea, being spooked by music

Favorite track: Chatter

NEW ALBUM: Sunshine by Hector Plimmer

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Sunshine is about as eclectic of an album as you’ll find. Sometimes it feels like an instrumental hip hop album, sometimes an afrobeat album, sometimes an indie album. It doesn’t really matter what it is though, because it’s a very enjoyable album. The whole album is really percussion heavy, so I imagine Hector’s background is in drumming. This is his first full album and he’s certainly off to a great start. Sunshine features artists And Is Phi and Drahla, neither of which have much of a presence anywhere online so it’s cool that he’s collabing with otherwise unknown artists. Overall, very enjoyable release which displays tons of potential out of South London and I’m excited to see where this takes him.

RIYL: Uffe, Jay Daniel, Ash Walker

Favorite track: Eastern System

NEW TRACK & VIDEO: Constant Growth Fails by Hauschka

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Hauschka is a German pianist who has been around for quite a while. He’s scored movies and has an extensive back catalogue of music that is primarily soothing. “Constant Growth Fails” is the first single off of his upcoming album What If, which will be released on March 31st off of Temporary Residence Ltd. This track isn’t soothing and is actually quite stressful. It has a very mechanical feel featuring multiple layers of fast-paced pianos, which certainly suggests the philosophy that “Constant Growth Fails”, so I expect political elements within the full LP. Watch the beautiful video directed by Daniel Gray below:

NEW EP: Mirelet Unsette Moiyana by Newcomer

a2483121339_16There was thread on 4chan awhile back where users used Spongebob quotes to describe albums. In the case of Mirelet Unsette Moiyana, I would use “The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma”. This album is totally dissociative and isn’t for the faint of heart. Newcomer hails from London, which is pretty expected given how this EP sounds, but according to their Bandcamp page, have previously released music under another moniker and released this anonymously, which is extremely intriguing. I’m not entirely sure how to describe this project and I don’t think there’s any point in doing so anyways. It’s pretty avant-garde and has moments of total glitch and total ambiance. In fact, it would make a great addition to my “Oh, so you like Aphex Twin?” playlist. It’s unsettling at times but also beautiful at times, so basically just enter this album with a completely open mind.

RIYL: Aphex Twin, Sqaurepusher, Arca

Favorite track: Marrrd E