Costa Mesa

Maximono Interview @ MDA Wednesdays

Maximono Shares An Unexpected Passion

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

With years of experience as drum n bass producers, Nick Hill and Sebastian “Sebi” Wolters joined forces in 2013 as Maximono and have been taking the world by storm ever since. The duo has proven themselves within the house scene, having releases on This Ain’t Bristol, Cuff, Dirtybird, and Confession, to name a few.

Modern Disco Ambassadors has consistently hosted quality house music in Orange County for the past 10 years, so it was only natural that Maximono would eventually make their way to our Wednesday home at La Cave. That day was June 27, 2018, and the rave cave was completely flipped upside with Maximono’s unique brand of funky bass-heavy house music. MDA heavyweights Audiostache and Chef Boyarbeatz provided support and rounded out an amazing night.

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Before Maximono took the stage, I had the chance to sit down with Sebi and ask him some burning questions. Here is what he had to say:

Kagan: What goes into your preparations for a DJ set?
Sebi: First of all I look at where we’re gonna play, is it a festival or a small intimate venue, and how long the set is gonna be which can be anything from 45 minutes to 4 hours. Depending on that and how long ago I played there last, I’ll decide how the structure of the set will be. Then I’ll go through new music see what I can play from the label which is forthcoming or just being released. I try to set up a unique set for every gig I play. I get bored quickly and I couldn’t play the same set twice.
Kagan: How would you say your experiences as drum n bass producers influence your music today?
Sebi: It influences anything we do now because that’s basically where we both started our producing and DJing careers. Everything comes from there somehow. Jungle and drum n bass is such a melting pot of music in itself. You’ve got like hip hop, reggae, dub, whatever, it all goes into jungle and drum n bass. When you produce it, you’re already influenced by so many other styles. Nick and I are both not limited to one sound which I’m pretty sure you can hear in our productions as well, we’re just jumping from influence to influence. It’s just about the good vibe but it has to have funk and bass in it. We’ve both been in the drum n bass scene for about 20 years now which is from the very early days in ‘97 and ‘98 until. He’s more into it still, he’s still doing his Loadstar project. I just quit my drum n bass stuff. I did a drum n bass label so I quit that to just do the house stuff.
Kagan: As producers, who are your biggest inspirations?
Sebi: I would say, there’s a hip hop producer from Detroit named Apollo Brown. Just the art of sampling, like how he recreates music from old funk and soul records, that’s very inspiring. But also so many other electronic producers like stimming, a German guy. He’s a sound design nerd, I would say. Of course you’re always influenced by the people around you doing house music as well, that’s constantly inspiring us. People from the drum n bass scene, producers like Alix Perez who’s been collaborating with Eprom as well. Also guys like SpectraSoul.
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Kagan: What’s the most out of the ordinary thing in your studio?
Sebi: I’ve got a small noise synthesizer called a Thingamagoop 3000. It’s like a small thing that creates sounds from lights. You’ve got a small pocket lamp on top and that creates the noise from the light. It’s handmade somewhere in America and to order it you has to pay I think about $500 and they built it after like 200 people ordered it or something. I waited for it for about a year until it came but it’s really really cool, all these quirky weird noises. The wait was worth it because no one else really has it, at least no one from the scene has it so it’s a pretty unique thing. I’d also add a software tool too as we work so much with software these days. An absolute secret gem for us the Infected Mushroom Pusher by Waves which can be found on Splice.
Kagan: How did your collaboration with Malaa, Arsenic, come about?
Sebi: We were sending tracks back and forth from time to time and he sent me some of his stuff, I think it was before he got really big. Then we just kept going and we had one track almost finished where we thought we had about 20% missing and we were about to skip it and say no we won’t finish it. Then it was my idea to let him hear it and see what he thinks and he was all into it and said he could already hear the last 20% missing and I will add that. It’s funny because everyone in the forums said that’s a Malaa track, why is Maximono’s name on there. In the end it was a 50-50 thing, he edited more than we originally planned but we started the track and he finished it. I wish we could do another one now, we might be working on that.
Kagan: You’re both from Europe originally, but where do you both call home now?
Sebi: Nick is in London and I am in Hanover, Germany. That works really well even though we’re not playing that much in Europe. We’re always flying over here to play shows here. With the label in the background we’re doing more festival takeovers in Europe. Music is actually not my full-time job, I run a company back home in Hanover so I need to stay around the area to be able to still run the company.
Kagan: Could you tell us more about your company?
Sebi: That’s my second world I would say. It’s a constant fight between two worlds, one is the serious business world and the music world. It’s basically two hearts in my chest. It’s an IT security company, we developed a tool for companies to secure smartphones. We provide secure app stores for companies, we have a technology that automatically scans apps and tells you what they’re doing in the background. For example, if you install a new version of an app and it keeps sending your credit card details to a foreign server or whatever, our software will recognize that and tell the company to blacklist that app. Started it 6-7 years ago and it grew quite quickly. I think it’s a big market and is still growing. We’ve got a team of about 30 people back home and it’s going good. It was started by me and two friends who have already left the company so I am the CEO of the company.
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Kagan: How did you first get into cybersecurity?
Sebi: It was at my apprenticeship, I learned at a big German company called Siemens back around ‘99 and ‘00. After that I did a PR study at a university. Both of those worlds came together, IT and PR, and we started that just from a product idea. We never planned to do a cybersecurity company, we were just flicking around with ideas. One friend and I started a company which did sound design for brands, but we moved on from that and did digital consulting for brands. From there we developed a product idea. It wasn’t planned, but now it’s pretty serious and it’s quite a responsibility.
Kagan: What do you think of In N Out Burger?
Sebi: To be totally honest, I was a little disappointed because everyone was hyping it up so much. I have to say I am not really a big junk food fan at all. I try to eat healthy, but of course I tried it because everyone was saying you have to try In N Out Burger. It was a lot better than any fast food I’ve tried before, but it still wouldn’t be my favorite thing to do. There’s so many other good spots like Korean BBQ for example which I would always prefer, especially in LA.
Kagan: What can we look forward to from Maximono in the last half of 2018?
Sebi: We DJ’d a lot in the last six months and now we just started getting back on the production side. We’re working on a lot of new music, we just finished a couple of tracks with MARTEN HØRGER who just had a release on Confession. We don’t know where they’ll come out because they’re a bit different than what we’ve done before. A bit more dancefloor, a bit more straight in your face I would say. I don’t think they’ll necessarily come out on This Ain’t Bristol or Dirtybird, so we’re looking for other labels where they could fit. We’re also working on new original tracks so there will be a lot of new music throughout the year and of course still some great shows to play in the States. We’ve got Shambhala coming up, a few things in July, and then another tour in August around Shambhala. I’m pretty sure there will be another tour in October/November time, that’s usually when we come over to play some Halloween shows and such. It’s gonna be a good year hopefully!
Nick is also going to get married next month. I’ll be going there and celebrating my birthday which is the day of the wedding so it’s going to be an epic night in London. When he gets back from his honeymoon, we’ll be busy in the studio again.
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Immediately after the conclusion of this interview, Sebi headed for the stage, took over the decks, and captivated the MDA cave dwellers with an expert-level two hour set.

It was a true pleasure to host Sebi at La Cave. We have a lot to look forward to from Maximono!


Until next time Ambassadors.

Kagan Richardson

AKA DJ Moose Trax

All photos included in this article were taken by Modern Paparazzo Photography.

Le Holiday Party

Interview With Le Youth

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

On December 15, we hosted our annual Holiday Party at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, Calif. featuring a lineup of MDA residents including Rozco, Mogli, and Torosbros, as well as Los Angeles-based DJ, Le Youth to cap it off with a two hour set. This marked the third time having Le Youth, aka Wes James on the decks at an MDA event. You could say that he is a master when it comes to the disco and RnB infused sounds that ambassadors are known to love, so it was great to have him back.

I walked into The Wayfarer on Friday night to catch Rozco (Bryan Orozco), who was the perfect pick to start the night with his groovy house vibes. He handed it over masterfully at 10 pm to Mogli (Eli Rivera) to carry on the good vibes. He played one of my personal favorite tunes at the moment, Love Stream by Mat.Joe, and some funky tracks like Hello Clouds by Justin Martin to build the energy that he received from Rozco. Once the clock struck 11, it was Torosbros', turn to take over. To be honest I wasn’t sure where Torosbros was going to take us when he dropped Love is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia. The change of pace flipped the place on its head, but in the background of the track he was slowly mixing in the Zac Samuel remix of Say Something by Karen Harding. Once the beat dropped, he had the entire place in the palm of his hand. It stayed this way throughout his set as Torosbros delighted us with tracks such as Show Me by Zinc and the Kaytranada remix of Lady by Modjo.

As many of us expected, Le Youth’s unique style kept the party going strong for the rest of the night and the vibe was awesome. Before he went on stage, however, I sat down with Wes to talk about Le Youth and what we might see from him in 2018.

Kagan: What is the inspiration behind your name?
Wes: It’s not really a good story. It started as Youth and then I realized other people were already named that so I just kinda added a little bit of mystery with Le Youth. Its worked and served its purpose.
Kagan: Was there any reasoning behind Youth?
Wes: Yeah just kinda my fascination with youthfulness, existentialism, and youthful things.
Kagan: How old were you when you first started?
Wes: I’ve been making music my whole life but I started Le Youth about four years.
Kagan: When you produced COOL and first posted it on Soundcloud, how did you feel about the response it received?
Wes: It was cool, it was a very exciting time in my life. It kinda blew up really fast and it was just a perfect timing kind of thing it felt like. It was pretty magical.
Kagan: Did you expect that?
Wes: It was completely unexpected. I was living in a one bedroom apartment in Hollywood kind of like figuring out what I was gonna do with my life. Then I made this track and everything changed overnight.
 Kagan: If someone took a peek into your DJ bag, what would they find? Anything out of the ordinary?
Wes: Probably some hair product. That’s the only time I’ll ever say that. An iPhone charger which is not out of the ordinary, and my headphones.
Kagan: Is there anywhere in the world you would like to play in 2018?
Wes: Yeah I want to play Berlin. I’ve never been and its meant to be pretty wild. I think my style of music doesn’t really fit in very well, but I think the way I party fits in well there.
Kagan: Is there any specific producer or singer/songwriter that you hope to work with in 2018?
Wes: There’s just so many amazing writers right now. To be alive in this time of music is pretty cool. There’s more songwriters now than there ever were and better songs being written every day. I could literally list a dozen writers I would want to work with. As far as contemporary artists that are in my sort of world I would love to work with the Disclosure and the Duke Dumont kind of guys. I’ve done remixes for them and played shows with them, just never gotten into the studio with them.
Kagan: You’ve been touring a lot in 2017, but what can we expect from Le Youth in 2018?
Wes: Probably more releases than I’ve done in the past in one year. I’ve said that before so we’ll see if that actually works out. I would like to have new music coming out at a more consistent rate. I travel a lot and I play a lot of shows, but it’s just the weekends. I’m usually back in the studio during the week with plenty of time. I can also do a bit when I’m on the road in hotels and such.
Kagan: What is your favorite piece of software or hardware you use for production?
Wes: I love the Juno-106, that’s my favorite piece of hardware. It’s pretty standard as far as analog synths go. I invested a lot of money into my laptop. I have this laptop that cost more money than it should have but it’s worth it. I mean I could make music with a drumstick and a phone recorder, you can do anything so to have these tools at my disposal is pretty awesome. I would say though the majority of my studio gear is in the box, its in my laptop. I’ve also been messing with the Korg Mono/poly lately. It’s one of my new favorites. Roland started making this boutique series, they’ve made kind of these miniature versions of all these synths from years past. I have one called the SE-02 which is pretty cool. They’re fun man, people kind of talk shit but they’re fun.
Kagan: Last question, you’ve been known to sample other songs in your own productions, such as Cassie’s Me & You in COOL and TLC’s No Scrub in Dance With Me. Can you give us some insight into your process when it comes to finding these samples for your own productions?
Wes: Yeah so for me its downloading as many acapellas as I possibly can whether that’s from a torrent or from people who had acapellas from back in the day when they did the remix. It’s about finding the acapellas and just trying to see what works with what. I would be lying if I said I set out to make COOL or if I set out to make Dance With Me. I didn’t, I literally just tried things and tried things and tried things until I found something I liked. In fact, COOL was actually thrown in the trash bin for like three months and a friend of mine was like hey you should put that song out I kinda liked that one. I was calling it something different at the time but that song would have never come out had someone not even told me to do it. I make so much music and I’m always working on so many different things that sometimes certain songs get past you without realizing the value in it. What’s even funnier is that Dance With Me, I’ve actually never talked about this, was written before COOL. I kinda had some reservations about putting out Dance With Me after COOL because I felt I had grown a little bit after Dance With Me and putting out COOL. That’s how it all played out.
Kagan: Since you had Dance With Me in your project files for a while, did it evolve over time or was it pretty much all put together?
Wes: So when I signed with Sony after COOL, I sent them some of the other songs I had been working on. I sent them Dance With Me and they were like “yo we should put this out next” and I was like “no no it’s not done not done” and they were like “no it’s great”. Then they put it out and it did really well, it hit number 8 in the UK. Pretty wild.
Kagan: Well Dance With Me is definitely one of my favorites. You’ve got just a few minutes before you go on so thanks for your time and I look forward to your set!

All in all, the evening was a night to remember. Can't wait for big things to come in 2018! Stay tuned Ambassadors and keep those antlers up.

Win Two Tickets to Catch SHARAM at La Cave (Costa Mesa) PLUS More!

MDA is excited to announce that SHARAM will be playing at La Cave in Costa Mesa on November 15!

Enter to win two tickets, a signed snapback, and a digital download of Sharam's new album, Collecti below: