||Baltimore, MD 1978
||Jeff Mills, Dj Hell,
Frankie Bones, Dave Clarke, Hardfloor,
Thomas Schumacher, Commander Tom,
Circuit Breaker and so many more.
Some DJs are always on the lookout for
the next big thing, but some know that
banging it hard with a raw underground
energy will keep the dance floor moving
and the remixes rolling in. Meet
Maximus, East Coast DJ turned all-American rising techno star and
one to watch! His clean cut image hides a dirty talent for mixing
up classic, unforgettable sets, remixes and original productions
. We got a pile of his promo mix CDs, his upcoming original "20 White Doves" and had to know more. Here's what
we found out for our Raves.com interview!
Raves.com: How did you
get started DJing?
Maximus: Unlike many kids today
who go to one party and decide that they
are going to be the next big thing, I
went to parties because I loved the music
and the dark and moody vibe. I started
going to the early warehouse parties in
Baltimore and Washington D.C. which were
held by now legendary promoters such as
Lonnie Fisher (Ultraworld), Scott Henry
and Charles Feelgood, the two founders
of Buzz and Fever. Ultraworld, Buzz and
Fever were events that drew large crowds
of people and I had the opportunity to
see and hear some of the world's greatest
djs and live acts. In the early to mid-nineties,
Baltimore and Washington D.C. were teeming
with both underground and legitimate events
and parties and every weekend the two
cities would have international talent
gracing the stages. The "new" music was
exactly what I was looking for. At first
I had no intentions of becoming a dj.
The music was great and the vibe was strong
but things began to change. Melody took
over the grittiness and trance was just
starting to get its name. The pounding
acid techno that fueled my weekends was
slowly giving way to a more uplifting
sound and so I took the do-it-yourself
avenue. In 1997 I bought my first set
of decks and went on a mission to find
many of the records that I had heard at
the early raves, which brought me into
the underworld in the first place. I have
found many of those special records and
I still include one or two in every set
that I play. It's all about evolution,
not revolution and I'll never forget one
day of the past.
What was the 1st record you ever
The first record was My Definition of
House by Dj Hell. To this day I have never
heard a record sound anything like it.
I always wonder what he was thinking when
he made it and where he was mentally - absolutely
a timeless piece of music.
Where was your 1st gig?
My first time playing out was in a basement
of a row home in East Baltimore. It was
an underground party, of course! It was
dirty, smelled like mold and we had one
little strobe light but everyone danced
like it was their last night on Earth.
I often wish I could go back and relive
that night just once.
How did you end up in Nashville?
This was a spur of the moment move for
me. I needed a change and I wanted to
see other places and meet new people.
Baltimore's scene was nearly dead and
most of my friends had moved away, so
one day I packed up the car and drove
to my aunt's home in Nashville. I had
two turntables, a mixer and about 750
records packed to the ceiling of my car
with a couple of bags of clothes. My parents
had planned to move back to my mom's hometown
of Nashville and they did so about a year
ago. While there is not a very strong
scene here in Nashville, I'm close to
my family and right now, that's the most
important thing to me.
Do you currently have any residencies?
Yes, I hold the longest and most consistent
residency in Nashville at Club eXceSs
/ Orbit where I have played every Saturday
night for almost two years.
Do you currently have any albums out?
No but I have a ton of unreleased tracks
and mixes just waiting for licensing!
Are you in the studio now, do we have
anything to look forward to in the near
Yes, I live in my home studio. It's quite
scary actually. Some weekends I don't
even see the light of day! I'm working
on my first artist album and I have no
idea when it will be finished. I'm a perfectionist
and I sometimes work on a track for weeks
only to scrap it and start all over. Expect
something totally different from anything
you've ever heard though. I'm working
with some classical strings and woodwind
sounds combined with heavy lead lines
to give the tracks a dark orchestral sound.
What do you think about all this mainstream
techno on the radio these days? Do you
think it is good for the scene or are
you 100% against selling out?
First of all, I don't know if I have heard
mainstream techno. I've hard a ton of
mainstream house and trance but when you
get into the true techno genre, I don't
see anything mainstream about it. Techno
will probably never get to be mainstream
just because most people think it's boring
or repetitive. Commercialization is a
factor that we will always deal with especially
in the music and entertainment business.
The only way to combat it is to keep pushing
the boundaries of the music and then you
will never have to worry about it. I don't
follow dance charts so I really don't
know most of the big commercial tracks
and what they sound like. Commercialization
does not exist in my world, nor will it
ever. I will always try to find the more
What are your thoughts on the scene
right now locally?
The scene across the US is in a rebuilding
phase right now. I think great things
are to happen but a relationship must
be built with the local and federal governments.
The Rave Act, if passed will destroy the
US scene and people need to realize that
once it becomes law, that's it. Amendments
are a rarity and if you want to keep going
to events you have to do something NOW.
What type of music do you listen to
when you are not spinning?
I rarely have the time to listen to anything
but techno. I'm always listening to my
mixes and tracks and thinking of ways
to improve them. If I'm not "proofreading"
my own stuff, I'm listening to mixes from
my idols as they provide me with great
inspiration. Every now and then I'll pop
in something from the eighties that will
bring me back to my childhood for a moment.
Have you ever worked on a Movie Soundtrack?
No and I don't know if I would really
be interested unless the movie was about
people dancing all night to techno. If
that's the case then I'm totally in!
In the many places that you have played,
which one is your favorite.
I would have to say my current residency
at club excess / Orbit. The venue holds
only about 400 people but those who attend
are great. They dance all night and they
love new sounds, which makes it so much
fun when I play more cutting edge tracks.
They have a great time and I vibe off
of that tremendously.
Do you have any favorite early club/rave/party
I have so many favorite moments, I can't
pick just one. I saw Dave Clarke in a
totally illegal venue when I was about
16. The floor was dirt and half the roof
in the warehouse was missing! It was amazing,
you could see the moon through the missing
part of the roof and Dave played a very
euphoric tech-trance set. This could never
happen in today's scene unless the police
didn't know about it. The spontaneity
is what made the early parties so memorable.
How has your creativity changed over
the last 6 years? Do you tend to stay
with your own styles/ideas or do you allow
the mainstream to influence you and your
I play what I like and I always have.
That's why I became a dj, so I could play
what I like and give people an alternative
to the mainstream. I have always played
the techno genre but I have gotten more
creative and my days of pounding hardcore
stuff have given way to the more intricate
sounds. That's not to say that I don't
break out and old stomper every now and
then. I just try to play what I'm feeling
at the time and hopefully the crowd will
What is your current goal as a DJ?
I'm focusing more and more on production
now more than ever but my first love is
playing for people. I want to play as
much as possible and I hope that I will
be able to do this for a very long time.
Where do you see yourself in the next
I hope to be doing what I'm doing now
and having fun. One day at a time though.