One Productions teams up with Nuwave to bring Johannesburg yet another banging #BIGCITYLIFE experience. Two dancefloors are offering only the best SA has to offer in a main-stage and deep house floor format. On the main floor you can catch Vimo, Richard Santana, Zaxx and Stefan Viljoen, and as international headliner the multitalented producer, composer and DJ Max Graham. House-floor support will be provided by Metro Ticket, Pimp Squad, Kyle Worde, and Weston & Engine.
Max Graham is acclaimed internationally for his energetic and emotional releases and his much talked about “open to close” sets. Flawlessly blending Techno, Tech House, Progressive and Trance into a complete journey, he is respected by his peers and takes his craft very seriously. You’ll never hear the same set twice from him as he is obsessive about finding new music. His love for the art form of mixing can be found in his weekly radio show “Cycles Radio”, syndicated to over 40 countries worldwide, and growing. Pulse Radio’s Suraya Rose got a few words with him ahead of the SA gig.
Welcome Max. Word on the interweb is that you started DJing hip-hop at a rather young age. Tell us more about your journey since then and how you discovered your passion for dance music.
Haha, well yes, in the mid 80’s I was into “rap” groups like Run DMC and LL Cool J and was a little scratch DJ before moving on to DJing in hip hop and Top 40 clubs. In the mid 90’s after high school I discovered the underground side of things and have been hooked ever since. My first production was in 1999 and I started touring internationally in about 2000.
What are your feelings towards being labeled a “Trance DJ” when trance isn’t the only genre you play?
Well it’s tedious at times, not (only) for me but for people coming to hear me, expecting only trance. I have always played a wide variety of music, going back 15 years, but as my production has always had a melodic and energetic feel it’s quite fairly been labeled as trance. Most DJs do play only what they make genre wise, so it’s to be expected - but I’ve always been a bit left field. I play music from a variety of genre’s like techno, tech house and melodic progressive. It’s why I love the open to close sets, as it gives me six or eight hours to really cover all the bases of the music I find and love.
Can you share with us some of the hardest challenges you have faced in the industry thus far?
Well it’s stressful. Getting people to understand that I’m a diverse DJ, rather than one who sticks to one style, has been difficult. As in the previous answer it is expected that if you make trance, you should play only that at a gig - and that’s just not me. There’s been some confusion and overcoming that has been difficult, but thanks to my show Cycles Radio I feel I’ve been able to achieve that this past couple of years.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not a trance sensation?
Haha, well, I produce a lot in the studio. I’m also very hands on with my business side of things and I love to book my own flights and travel etc. Down time is usually catching up on TV shows I like, I guess I’m kinda boring, but career is 16 hours a day and I love it - so I guess it’s all good (smiles).
It’s been said that “A Max Graham live set is definitely something you do not want to miss!” Tell us why?
I think the long sets are something special. I like to think I’m pretty good at moving between genres, and people don’t get to hear that too often at shows. So if you have a varied taste then it’s definitely a special night to hear them all as part of one story.
What are you most looking forward to about your South African gig?
As my first gig in South Africa I’m looking forward to the culture and the food. As far as the gig itself the world is one giant dance music tribe now so I'm pretty sure what to expect. But it’s the food and culture I’m most excited about. Talking to people and seeing what South Africa is all about. It’s one of the few places I’ve never been so I’m super excited.
Thank you for having me!