Talking With DJ and Producer Max Graham

Known for his trance sound with tracks such as ‘Sun in the Winter’ and his remix of ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by Yves, we interviewed the one and only Max Graham. He’s a legend who has been in the electronic industry for many years being signed to Armada Music, with his sub label Rebrand Records. He is also nearing his 200th episode of his weekly Cycles radio show. Read our interview with DJ and Producer Max Graham right here.

Want tickets to one of his Canadian shows: Toronto Montreal Vancouver

Max Graham

Like us you grew up in Ottawa, Canada. How did you get into the electronic music scene?

I was DJing Top 40 and my friends who worked at the bar I was playing at on Elgin street heard me slipping in some more underground tracks. I didn’t really know it at the time but they heard something in my DJing that made them decide I need to see the underground side of things. They took me to a party in Montreal at the Just For Laughs Theater and I was hooked.

You just recently released your new album Cycles 6. Can you tell us about that?

It’s my yearly snapshot of where I’m at musically. As there’s a natural evolution in almost all DJs sounds it’s a good way to let everyone know where you’re at, but for me it’s also an opportunity to showcase up and coming artists and sounds.

You are currently on your Cycles tour. How is that going?

This year has been amazing, people are coming out talking about Cycles Radio and how much they listen to it, which is incredibly inspiring. They’ve also really been on board with the transition to the new hybrid of Techno with Trance influence which is a departure from my previous sound. Having trust from the dancefloor has been pretty amazing in itself.

You also have a weekly Cycles radio show and own Rebrand Records. What is that like? You must be a busy man?

Haha well yeah it’s my full-time job so it keeps me busy. The radio show takes about two days a week when you include buying music, editing and sorting it, mixing the show, voiceovers etc. But making sure the show is fresh has raised my DJing by making sure I always have new music, so it all plays hand in hand.

You have been known for trance music, but you also DJ others genres. What’s your feeling on genres and do you think more artists should be diverse?

I guess people confuse production with DJing. Over the years I’ve produced a lot of different styles but my biggest “hits” if you want to call them that have been Trance, so there’s a natural assumption that I must DJ only Trance. My sets were definitely Trancey, especially when playing events like ASOT and FSOE, but there’s always been a Techno influence, even at ASOT in Mexico in front of 19k people in 2013 I played an Alex Di Stefano pure Techno track and the place went nuts. Lately I’ve been finding a more groovy sexy sound in Techno but with a touch of a Trance influence, and this is so fresh and exciting for me. I don’t like Electro so a lot of the Trance out there now doesn’t appeal to me. Natural evolution I guess. As for more artists being diverse I can’t speak for them. If there’s fans who only want to hear 138bpm or only want to hear Electro drop style EDM Trance then a specialist DJ who only plays that would appeal to them 100%, so I don’t think diversity is a necessity at all as that case would show. I can only speak for myself that I’m very inspired by music in general and so many different sounds from different genres and producers. I like to tell a story in a long set, and like any story you need a love scene, a loss scene, a car chase scene etc. so the variation in genres over the course of the night helps me convey that. Can you imagine a seven course meal of just steak? To me variation is everything.

What is your studio setup like? What software and or hardware do you use?

Mine is pretty slim now, it’s all in the box and I use Ableton. I do outsource my mixdowns as it’s not my strength, but all arrangement and musical elements are always me.

What advice would you give to up and coming producers and DJ? Any production tips and or industry knowledge you would like to share?

Make what you love because you want to create, not because you want to be famous or tour the world. Don’t ram your music down people’s throats to try and get a gig or a label deal. Just make the music you are proud of and if it’s great people will find you.

You have been producing and DJing for a while now. How has the industry and technology changed over the years?

Technology has changed immensely, just like in everyday life. The Internet has had a huge impact on every facet of our business, from making travel and hotel management easier to transferring music files between each other. It’s also lowered the barrier of entry, which is both good and bad.

Where do you think the electronic music industry is heading?

I think we’re seeing a move back into the clubs, which suits me just fine! I think the festival overload is coming to an end and the cream will stay at the top while others fall off. I’m happy with my little corner in a dark club playing for a few hundred very switched on and appreciate people so I’m more than happy with where things are.

What is your favorite fruit?

I’m eating cantaloupe right now!

Do you have any links you would like to share?

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