Archives for posts with tag: Max Taylor

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EVENT – 8-4AM – 21+

– Jimi Jaxon

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Sometimes on Disco Droppings, I create relationships with producers I’ve never met in person. We develop this connection that carries on long after a feature is written. This interview on the other hand is with a very close friend of mine. Max Taylor and I have played a bunch of shows together in Bellingham and Seattle, Washington. I can say that in addition to being a gifted producer, he’s an admirable human being. I’m excited to give him the spotlight. His now self-released Into The Deep EP is so good, I wish I released it myself on 7 Deadly Records. But don’t fear, you may see him on my label in a big way soon! Now, onto our conversation about his mindset, the EP, his recent shows and plans for the near future..

 

DD How did your productions sound in the first stages. and how has it evolved to today? I’ve noticed a big evolution into more of a distinct style pretty quickly.

MT Well, when I started producing I was only sixteen and at that time I was still taking piano lessons. This is significant because, at the time, my first productions seemed so formulaic. I ended up discontinuing the lessons because I felt that, in a way, I wanted to be close to my music but at the same time as far away as possible; it’s the way I approach my music right now. Like, I would rather be focused on making music without feeling pressure to make it dance-y, or anything. I just want it to happen. Escaping those external forces has been a big part of my evolution, but not all of it.

DD We talked somewhat recently while I was visiting your area of Bellingham, Washington. It was after a show we played together, and I think I mentioned creating sets and productions exactly the way you want, represent what you love the most, not necessarily what you think people want to hear…and that eventually that energy will attract like minded people. You seem to be running with that now.

MT Absolutely, I remember having that talk. I want to create an emotion, a mood, a feeling. Each sound, synth, chord, percussion has its place in the mix; my live set up right now enables me to individually trigger each piece, so if I feel like jamming on the same minor chord for longer I can. It’s exciting, and that’s what keeps me interested.

DD I’ve been hearing great things about your recent shows..

MT They’ve been going well, I’m glad you’ve heard good things! Where more variables are present, I guess.. there’s more room for failure. So it presents challenges at times. For example at a recent show, I couldn’t figure out why the Rhodes was feeding back so much! Luckily the problem was solved, but it just goes to show that anything can happen… and I really like that in music. I think, that spontaneity, has made my sets more musical. Generally people have told me they like my sets.

DD This Into The Deep EP is incredibly smooth. The use of space and reverb creates a vast and soulful feel. Feels like drifting slow motion through life. The editing of this release as well is perfect I’d say; no filler, diversity and a definite statement. A complete idea. What was your mindset about this specific release? Any influences musical or not that you’d like to mention?

MT I wanted to go as deep as I could into something I don’t exactly know how to describe. I’m not even sure if I know what that thing is. I wanted to set a mood with the music, and honestly I feel like it was a little more diverse than I had anticipated. I think in the future my tracks will be much less composed, if you know what I mean? I tend to love tracks more than artists across the board, like “93 Days in China” by Omma, the klar and pf mix of “Only This Moment”, I really like what Darkside has been doing. Before I sold my technics I used to play “Shake it Mama” by Jupiterjazz in every single set… almost.

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DD We’ve been friends for a little while now. I remember meeting you at Q for the first time in Seattle (the above picture is from the first night we met at said club aww), and feeling an instant connection, a kindred spirit in a way. Knowing your personality and energy, I can feel it coming out in your newest productions crystal clear. Do you feel more vulnerable in a way with this new music of yours, does it feel more personal?

MT It does, it is also a tough pill to swallow for some people, as opposed to playing tracks I already know are great and loved. As a DJ, I always felt like a great selector, it’s a different situation to test previously untested material. I guess that’s where I come in and trust myself in the studio.

DD What’s next for you? The EP’s out now and your working on the live show?

MT Yes, I’ve been working with a friend who’s playing electric guitar and the Moog, and it’s just been so fun. I mean, just making the most intense noise that fills every space in a venue; you just can’t do that with just ableton and a midi controller. What’s next is just finding time..turns out working at hospital takes up a lot of that, and energy, but somehow I manage to have reserve left over.

Artwork credit: Sensebellum

Max Taylor – Soundcloud Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

dBx

It’s about time David Kwan is recognized for all his artistic work, and I’m happy to facilitate this. He is a close friend and one of the hardest working people I know. Learn about his efforts for Decibel as a graphic designer and VJ. You can catch him doing visuals live tonight at my Vermillion show. This event has been put together by Tremel; DJ, producer and writer for Disco Droppings and features performances from himself, dod, Max Taylor and me. Hope to see you there. 

DD What drives your graphic design role in Decibel? Are there major themes or concepts being focused on in 2013, for the 10-year anniversary?

DK This year’s creative drive captures the essence of Decibel. Each year of the festival is like a layer of ideas that builds upon one another. The approach was to capture all those ideas from the early beginnings and refine those sets of ideas. In the process I reviewed the profiles of past dB artists, listened to samples of their music, and went through tons of old photographs, down to observing the personalities of the staff. I wanted the 10-year brand to be about Decibel’s community and culture, not just what looks cool. What I discovered was an array of dark tones, which made sense being that the root of Decibel began from the deep underground–no pun intended. 

There was an untitled quote I read one morning on Facebook which said, “You can’t live a positive life without a negative mind,” which made me reflect a little further about this year’s theme. That quote rang true for Decibel and a lot of other things the more I thought about it. In a nutshell, you can’t have yin without yang, and you can’t discredit either. Historically, Decibel has hosted many stark and obscure events, which is what I wanted to extract and condense for this year’s theme. In doing so, participants will be able to witness and experience Decibel for what it really is, and be able to better appreciate it. The night might not be as bright as the day, but it sure as hell is sexy.

DD What led you to become a VJ, and what role do see visual artists playing in a show environment?

DK The funny thing is that I didn’t intend to become a VJ after I was done with college. Being a graphic designer is my full time job, but one of the tools I use to conceptualize new ideas stems from motion graphics. It’s important to understand the different fields of art to help enhance what you do as an artist. Knowing art is good, but it’s not enough to help you evolve creatively. Similar to being a plant biologist, if all you do is focus on plants, you might be missing key knowledge from other fields that may help you discover something groundbreaking. In the end it’s all about holistic thinking; that’s how I stumbled upon becoming a VJ. 

The VJ arena is still very much in its infancy and growing rapidly. It’s sort of overshadowing an era of expensive physical stage production and moving more towards affordable virtual reality as technology advances. That’s not to say building heavy stage sets will become obsolete, but it does mean that stage production is shifting towards a new paradigm. There is a time and place for physical stage sets — plays in theater, for example– but it’s not very practical when you’re talking about a low budget music show. The nice thing about having a VJ during performances, is that it grants stimulating visual access for musicians and their audience, which in the past might not have been possible. In many ways, VJ’s helps the musicians tell their story a little better while helping their audience understand their music a little more. A special dynamic occurs when you combine music, visuals, and a lot of serotonin resonating from the audience.

TobinAmon Tobin, ISAM / Visuals by LEVIATHAN

DD This will be our third time collaborating on a performance. How would you describe the direction of the visuals this time around?

DK This time around we’ll be entering a dystopian science fiction environment, where I’ll be taking everyone though space, then back to Earth and beyond. I don’t really want to spill the beans for anyone, but the goal is to follow the theme of the music set. With that said, your fans could probably imagine the journey I might take them on. Did someone say neo-noir genre? Yep, there’s going to be a lot of that in the visual set. I’m pretty excited to roll out some new eye candy.

943021_4900462314343_1993084720_nJimi Jaxon + David Kwan @ Bok Bok Showcase via Kyle Young aka Tremel

DD Your work as a graphic designer and VJ puts you in the background, where audiences may not see whose behind it all. Do you enjoy this perspective? 

DK “Lord of Light! Come to us in our darkness …'” sorry I couldn’t resist throwing in that “Game of Thrones” reference. I actually enjoy working in the shadows, it gives me the opportunity to focus on my craft behind the computer or behind the stage without a lot of distraction. Sure, it’s not the same as getting full attention from the audience, but I am touched when I see sparkling pupils of joy emanating from the crowd. Especially when I hit the soft strobe or fade in a scene of slow crashing waves headed straight towards the audience. If they’re happy, then I’m happy too.

dakwanDavid Kwan @ Andy Stott Showcase w/ Kid Smpl via Mollie Bryan

DD Where do you hope all this effort takes you in the future? 

DK I’m not really sure, but since I am in the business of creating virtual realities I guess I can go anywhere. :]

dakwan3David Kwan w/ Giraffage

– Jimi Jaxon