Dirtybird

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.

Fritz Carlton Interview @ MDA Wednesdays

Fritz Carlton Turned La Cave Upside Down!

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

It has been an amazing year so far at MDA Wednesday’s and we are thankful for all of our Ambassadors. So far we’ve seen the likes of Eli & Fur, Detlef, Chus & Ceballos, to name a few, and we can look forward to hosting amazing DJs such as Maximono, Wongo, and Amtrac.

This past week continued the trend of excellence with Fritz Carlton taking over the night. Coming from Desert Hearts the weekend before, Max Huseby AKA Fritz Carlton had nearly lost his voice but that didn’t stop him from yelling and screaming along with the crowd. He worked the crowd to a fervor the moment he stepped behind the decks and curated his self-proclaimed “weirdo house” sounds. Credit is definitely due to Z_Ro and Mary Droppinz who took opening duties and played some stellar sets. Mary Droppinz also took the opportunity to honor MDA’s Jarin Love during her set which directly supported Fritz.

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Shazam failed me throughout the night but especially during Fritz’s set, so I am left to believe that he featured unreleased tracks from both Fritz Carlton and his altar ego, Houseboy. Just before he started, I had the opportunity to sit down with the mastermind behind the two identities.

Here is what he had to say:

Kagan: What is it like to be a part of the Desert Hearts family?
Max: Dude, it’s incredible. I’m from Seattle originally so I’m a transplant to the whole Southern California house and techno scene. I didn’t really have any sort of inclination as to what the whole desert party vibe was before I started going to Burning Man when I went to college a while back in SoCal.
Desert Hearts opened up my mind to an entirely different platform that I didn’t even conceive as being a possibility. The whole one family, one stage, one vibe, one love, it’s everything I loved about Burning Man. I’m eternally grateful for what they’ve provided to me.
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Kagan: When did you first get into DJing and producing?
Max: It was my freshman year of college, so I was 18. I discovered VirtualDJ and moombahton and Calvin Harris and all of that. I was a metal drummer from Seattle so I didn’t know about electronic music, it wasn’t my thing. So then when I discovered all of that in college and people weren’t down with me playing screamo in my dorm room, I had to switch it up. Then it was sophomore year when I dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco and I paved my own way teaching myself on Youtube.
Kagan: Can you tell us more about your background as a drummer?
Max: Since I was in third or fourth grade, I had been playing the drums. I loved rock n roll, I loved metal, and I played in multiple bands growing up. I did a couple supporting shows and tours up in the city when I was younger. At the end of the day, the first electronic music I ever fell in love with was Skrillex and that half-time vibe because it’s similar to metal.
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Kagan: How does it feel to have one of the best mustaches in dance music?
Max: I’ll tell you this, I don’t know what it feels like to have the best mustache in dance music, but this mustache on my face hasn’t been shaved in over 10 years. It’s been varied in shape and form, but I haven’t been clean shaven fully in over a decade. If you really want to see an amazing stache though, check out Joe Kleinman. Shout out Joe!
Kagan: What can you tell us about Houseboy?
Max: Oh man, Houseboy is my love. My last name is actually Huseby, a lot of people think that it’s McGee but that’s my middle name and I prefer to let people know that’s my last name for some reason. My real last name is Huseby and if you just add two o’s it makes Houseboy.
It’s what I love to make because when I started Fritz Carlton it was unabashed sonic exploration and now Fritz Carlton has an expected sound. Houseboy doesn’t, it’s all fair game. I sample vinyl, I get weird, disco, funky, it’s me. I’ve got an album in the works right now and I’m working on when I’m gonna release it, but it’s gonna be really special.
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Kagan: If you weren’t a DJ and producer, what do you think you would be doing today?
Max: Professional video gamer for sure. Twitch streaming, World of Warcraft, Counterstrike, all of those computer games. I wanted to be a video gamer, I mean, that’s all I had going for me before I discovered music. Straight up.

Max is certainly one of the most down-to-earth DJ’s I’ve met to date. You can tell just by being around him that his love for music and creativity knows no bounds. It was a pleasure to sit down with him and pick his brain!

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We have a lot to look forward to from Fritz Carlton and Houseboy, so stay tuned Ambassadors.

Until next time.

Kagan Richardson

AKA DJ Moose Trax

Thanks to Modern Paparazzo Photography for the photos. 

RECAP: OMNOM @ MDA WEDNESDAYS

OMNOM Gives it Up Fo Free at MDA Wednesdays

EXPERIENCE BY: KAGAN RICHARDSON

On April 25, we had the pleasure of hosting OMNOM, a rising star in the scene right now - at our lovely home of La Cave. He is known for tearing up dance floors and his tracks are supported by heavyweight DJs including Claude Vonstroke, Ardalan and Walker & Royce. His biggest track to date is Fo Free, which was released on Dirtybird Records on March 30.

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Cody Lee, AKA OMNOM, chose to host his single release party at MDA Wednesday to the pure elation of the cave dwellers. Fo Free entry until 10:30pm resonated with the crowd as the place was packed from when the doors first opened.

Diamond Heist and Magda Halina slayed their sets and warmed up the night perfectly. Throughout their sets, I was constantly out Shazaming the tracks they were curating. OMNOM took the stage at midnight and kept the energetic vibe with quality house and techno.

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Near the end of the night, OMNOM dropped Fo Free and the crowd absolutely ate it up. The place had been going off the entire night, but this brought the energy even higher than thought possible. He then unleashed a barrage of unreleased remixes of Fo Free, all capping off with a dubstep remix which was a delightful surprise.

Before his set, I caught up with Cody and asked him some questions. Here is what he had to say:

Kagan: How long have you been producing music? Have you been DJing that entire time?
Cody: It was three years in March, so just over three years. I’ve been writing music since fifth or sixth grade just because I’ve always been involved with music school and stuff like that. I’ve gotten into production later especially with house music but I never actually DJ’d any events until after I was already putting out tracks. I was just messing around with DJing in my free time.
Kagan: What inspired you to become a producer?
Cody: I always wanted to do something with music, and when you’re performing in an academic setting you’re never really performing stuff that you make. The more and more I listened to electronic music in high school and college I was kinda like you know what, I might be able to try my hand at this and be a producer rather than just listening to other people’s stuff all the time.
One of the toughest things is it takes so long for your ability to match with your taste. You’re gonna hate what you make for years. I still kinda hate the music I make, but when I started getting good feedback on tracks like Fo Free it really boosted my confidence enough to keep doing it.
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Kagan: How does it feel to have your first release on Dirtybird Records?
Cody: When I search for music theory and concepts of classical music in electronic music, Ardalan, Justin Martin, Walker & Royce, they’re the best. Those guys are ridiculously musically talented. For them to start get my track and start playing my track out across their Self Help Tour, it was a really big reality check. I mean that album is the only one on my phone. If I was playing guitar or something like that, that would be like Led Zeppelin playing my track. It is really hard to comprehend.
Everything after that too. Getting signed to Dirtybird, Claude Vonstroke playing it, seeing Justin Martin play it, Ardalan, all these guys I’ve been listening to for the past few years especially when I was living in San Francisco. You start to look at those guys as these huge icons and then to have them messaging you on Twitter asking for unreleased tracks, its insane.
Kagan: What was that process like when Dirtybird signed Fo Free?
Cody: I had met Gavin Royce of Walker & Royce at a party in Costa Mesa. It just so happened that they wanted everybody to come up and play a few tracks for this big back to back to back family-style set at the end of this night at some random party our friend VNSSA was playing.
I played a track and Gavin came up and was like, "Is this you?" I said yeah and he asked me to send him some stuff. I actually finished Fo Free between then so I sent it to him as well. A few days later people were like hey check out Walker & Royce’s Snapchat. They tagged me in their story and it showed them playing my track. It happened again the next day, and again in New York at a back to back with Ardalan. It kept happening again and again and became a part of their touring set. I was blown away.
Eventually they said they were going to send the track to Claude in the next few weeks or so. Claude’s big thing is he’ll only sign something if he plays it out and gets a good response. He won’t just listen to something and sign it. He said that he liked the track but hadn’t gotten to play it yet. East Coast Dirtybird Campout comes along and it just so happens they cancelled the first day of the festival so they moved Walker & Royce’s set to being a back to back with Claude Vonstroke. They played it then and Claude looked at Elevator Musik, his A&R, and was like I get it now.
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Who knows if he would’ve ever played it but it just so happens the stars aligned and they turned Walker & Royce’s set into a back to back with Claude, and the rest is history I guess. It was chaos on Instagram and Facebook pages, people were like what’s this track so there was this hype around it. Dirtybird saw this and signed it a few weeks after.
It’s kinda like what happened with Ryan Forever’s track Nasty. After the family set at West Coast Campout, that’s what everyone was looking for. I feel like it was kinda the same deal because he then got an official single on Dirtybird. I thought this was unheard of at the time because who does singles on Dirtybird? Claude Vonstroke, Fisher, it was crazy for them to bring this guy in but they ended up doing it with my track. It was crazy how it all happened.
There was such a hype around it already that people knew it was my track before they even knew who I was. It has been chaotic how everything started going down. People were like oh you have a track on Dirtybird lets get you playing here here and here. It’s all been happening really fast.
Kagan: What is next for OMNOM?
Cody: I just got announced for Hard Summer in August. I’m bottom line, like the smallest font, but at that point, it’s more about getting on the lineup with those names. The ultimate goal is to end up at Dirtybird Campout but right now we’re trying to back it up with some solid shows and other releases when I start sending more tracks out. We basically don’t want to sit there and ride the wave of Fo Free for very long.
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Kagan: What is the inspiration behind your name?

Cody: I wanted something kinda silly. I didn’t want it to be my name or any iteration of my name or anything like that. OMNOM was just a cool sound like eating, like the cookie monster or something. Then when I thought of that I thought of the face and the letters in the mouth. It just seemed like it would work. Being able to make it all capital letters is something I was kinda looking for too. The face was just something I drew in class when I was bored. I actually haven’t changed it since day one.

Kagan: When producing what is your favorite piece of hardware?

Cody: My Novation Bass Station 2. Prior to that my first hardware synthesizer was an Arturia Microbrute. That was cool, you could get some really gritty sounds out of there but it seemed more meant for the G Jones, Eprom, and Bleep Bloop type stuff. I got the Bass Station because I had seen other producers I liked using it on Instagram and Snapchat. Come to find out that’s what Walker & Royce uses so when I listen to their stuff or other people I know who use it, I can pick it out. That’s my go to for bass lines in a lot of my tracks.

Kagan: What is your favorite piece of software?

Cody: I use Ableton and pitch shifting is something I have in pretty much all of my tracks, it’s all my own voice. If I want to do something more than just pitch bending in Ableton though, I’ll use a plugin called Manipulator by Infected Mushroom. It’s a really really sick plugin. You get a lot of crazy effects. You can make it sound like a robot and you can make it sound really gritty, it’s really cool. If you get familiar with that plugin you’ll hear it in all my tracks.

Kagan: You said you do all of the vocals on your tracks? So that’s all you on Fo Free?

Cody: Yeah actually one of the biggest responses I got was that people could recognize my voice on the track because it was the least that I’ve had to pitch down my vocals to get that “I’m gonna give it up for free”. Everybody I sent it to, like my sister and roommate, were like I can totally tell that’s you, that’s the way you talk even though it’s pitched down.

Kagan: What do you think of the electronic music scene out here in Orange County?

Cody: I think it’s a lot better for up and coming artists than pretty much anywhere in the world. I started producing house music in 2015 up in San Francisco. My stuff was getting no traction up there just because I wasn’t playing anywhere and I didn’t know anyone who was. I was just making stuff and throwing it up on Soundcloud. Then I moved back to Orange County where where it was a lot easier to get things heard. Why it still blows my mind that so many people are into my stuff is because I was making it for so long without getting any response. One of the first tracks I ever made in San Francisco in 2015, Magda just said she plays it every set. It’s Bromosapiens and that’s my voice too.

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Kagan: Do you have any advice for producers trying to get their first release on a major label?

Cody: Just keep at it and always put the music first. I didn’t make an Instagram until I had already been making music for about two and a half years. I know so many people who’s whole hype is their Instagram or their Twitter. It’s like I have 3000 followers on Twitter I get 1000 retweets but you go on Soundcloud and they have like 10 followers. Put the music first and everything else will follow. Once people start playing your music and start realizing your music is the shit, they’ll care about what you’re doing on Twitter or Instagram or something like that but don’t let that be the gateway to your music.

It’s gonna take time. If you’re not willing to put the time in in the studio, it’s gonna hurt you in the long run. Walker & Royce have only been blowing up in the past three years and now they’re at the top of the top in terms of Dirtybird and house music, but they’ve been making music for a decade prior to that. It takes X amount of years to make an overnight success.  

Those are some very wise words from a rising star at Dirtybird and in the dance music scene as a whole. I think we have a lot to look forward to from Cody as he progresses in his budding career as a DJ and producer. Be sure to follow him on Soundcloud and other social media channels so you don’t miss a bit.

Until next time, Ambassadors.

Kagan

AKA DJ Moose Trax