If 2009 has been of year plenty of success for Max Cooper, to the extent that he has been considered the new star of such a respectable label as the german imprint Traum, the present 2010 seems to keep Max on the peak of the wave. Mixside had the opportunity of interviewing Max, thanks to his recent visit to Bristol to play in Headrush @ Timbuk2. Let’s see what the man has to tell…
MixSide: Can you introduce yourself briefly to our readers? Who is the man behind Max Cooper?
Max Cooper: I’m a scientist turned producer based in London, and I make melodic electronic music. And my favourite possession is a barnacle factory.
MS: How much did your life change last year? What can we expect for the near future?
MC: It changed a lot, as I made a transition from working as research scientist to doing music full time. Next is an album and a new musical project incorporating my genetics research – I’m missing this side of things at the moment. And monobrow is coming.
MS: How does it work the process of production and creation inside your studio? What kind of equipment can we find there? Where do you look for inspiration?
MC: It’s all computational for me, no analogue gear, just nice monit0rs (Genelec’s and KRK’s at the moment), pc and midi controllers. I use ableton live and NI software mainly. And when I need inspiration I look out the window – the trees are always full of it.
MS: You have a Phd in genetics… Is there any relation between science and music? What’s the role of genetics and mathematics in your music? Is that the concept behind ‘ Harmonisch / Stochastisch / Chaotisch Series’?
MC: Yes, fundamentally, music is our appreciation of form, and maths is the study of form, on which science is built. So there is a strong link between science and music. These ideas are central to my personal interests, which drive my research and music, with the serie releases for example, where I have associated these sorts of ideas with the tracks and music videos. I am also working on a more explicit association, whereby scientific ideas will drive my music in a direct and audible sense.
MS: Your sound, defined as melodic techno by some critics, has some kind of own special flavour… Which artists do you consider that are your main influences?
MC: Max Richter, Philip Glass, Jon Hopkins, Ulrich Schnaus, Helios, Stephan Bodzin, Nathan Fake.
MS: How would you describe your live sets? What’s the difference between Max live and Max Dj?
MC: My live sets are deeper and more melodic, venturing more into electronica and dubstep, and generally a little more downtempo than my DJ sets.
MS: What’s your opinion about the current music industry? It’s said that nowadays quantity is over quality… What’s your opinion about this controversial topic? Do you think this situation is going to change or will keep increasing?
MC: Yeah, the consequence of there being so much music out there now is that most things have a short shelf life, and people have to release a lot more music to stay at the top of the pile – not a great situation for the producers, but good for the listeners who can find their own personal selection of music to their specific tastes, if they have time! This is all driven by computer power and accessibility which mean anyone can make music to a decent standard at home, and this is unlikely to change, so I can only see a continuation along the current trend. Personally, it takes me a long time to write each track, so this is bad news!
MS: I personally find your sound pretty similar to some Spanish producers such as Marc Marzenit or Henry Saiz. Very melodic techno, even progressive… Is a new generation of fresh and young techno producers knocking at the door?
MC: Marc Marzenit is a great producer, who I played in Paris with recently, and who is also a top guy. Then there’s SQL, Applescal, Raw Hedroom, Leeks, Kanio, Kellerkind, Perc, Reset Robot, Kaiserdisco etc etc….a whole load of amazing new acts are here!
MS: What advice can you give to all newcomers in the world of electronic music?
MC: Work like a maniacal dog.
MS: If I tell you the name of three cities… Can you tell what do they mean to you?
London, Detroit, Berlin.
MC: London is home, Detroit is ghost-town, Berlin is dark-rooms.
MS: To finish, can you tell us how is a normal day in Max Cooper’s life?
MC: Writing music all day, and tending to my prize barnacle collection when my tinnitus takes over.
Thank you very much to Max and Grant from X-Agency for the opportunity to do this interview.
If you want to listen to one of the latest Max’s live sets follow this link:
(To download just do right click and save as)
The video for Max’s latest release is here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy1-Eg–Zjo
Interview in Spanish HERE