Ukraine is a country that seems to be really on the cusp of something great with regards to electronic music. With knowledgeable, up-for-it crowds pretty much a given in the likes of Kiev, the country has increasingly become a favourite haunt of international DJs. Closer to home, the likes of ARTBAT have firmly established themselves as serious players on the international circuit. Another individual who looks set to follow a similar path is Max Freegrant. The owner of the Freegrant Music label, Max exhibits a sound that’s both fresh and captivating at the same time — as evidenced by his latest EP, a brilliant collaboration with Slow Fish entitled Elon on Mars. Not your typical EP name, but then again this is one where the music really does speak for itself. We put a few questions Max’s way on the eve of the release…
Hi Max, great to catch up with you here. So… let’s start by chatting about this year. From a professional and personal standpoint, what have you found most challenging? And how have you overcome this?
Hi guys! This is a very difficult year for all of us. Many people in the industry have lost their jobs, businesses. The worst thing is that we don’t know when the pandemic will end. At the moment we are seeing a second wave that will entail new restrictions. Anyway, since I have always been focused specifically on the studio work and music in general, the isolation didn’t affect me much, I was able to focus on my work even more.
Do you find it difficult to make music at a time like this? Or have you adapted quite easily in the studio?
In fact, it was very easy, because I was able to concentrate on creativity and music only. I wasn’t distracted by other things, as it was before.
Can you talk us a bit about your studio? What’s your favourite machine that you use? And what machines etc would you love to add to your collection?
I have a simple setup in my studio. There are “Yamaha” studio monitors, sound card “RME Babyface Pro”, analog synthesizer “KORG MINILOGUE”, midi keyboard. This is enough for my work and to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of analog machines. We live in a digital world, and we have a lot of quality VSTs that sound as good as analog machines.
You just released a great EP on your label, Freegrant Music. Can you tell us a bit about the vibe you were going for with this one?
My latest release is called “Elon On Mars”. Based on the name, I wanted to show a mysterious and cosmic atmosphere combined with my signature deep progressive groove and some old school elements. I think I did it well 🙂
Is there one label you really aspire to be like? From a sound and aesthetic perspective?
Nope. I’m focused on my label Freegrant Music. Over the past two years, we have shown very good results and my main goal is to continue to develop it.
Obviously 2020 was set to be a big year for you before all of this kicked off. But what are your plans for the next year? Will you be making new years resolutions this around? And are you someone who sets yourself goals like this?
I have already planned everything for the first half of 2021. This applies to studio work, releases and label management. Of course, I have set certain goals that my team and I must achieve, but I don’t want to reveal all the cards for now 🙂
Growing up in Ukraine, what was the first gig you went to? And what was it about electronic music that you loved so much once you found it?
It was a Depeche Mode gig that I went to with my brother, I was then about 12 years old.
This was my first meeting with electronic music and I think it was love at first sight 🙂
Can you tell me some pieces of music you’ve been loving during lockdown that have really helped from a therapeutic perspective? And any books or other pieces of art you could recommend to our audience?
During the lockdown, I listened to soundtracks for various films, it always inspires and adjusts to the right thoughts. I can recommend listening to Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, Geoff Zanelli, Jon Brion, Ennio Morricone. If we are talking about books, I really like fantasy and science fiction. I recommend paying attention to authors such as Robert Wilson, George Martin, Mark Lawrence, John Tolkien.
Can you tell us a bit about what else is going to be coming soon for you and the label?
I plan to release two more singles before the end of 2020. This will be a collaboration with a talented producer Ivan Aliaga and my solo track called “Dreamland”. Also, we have some huge releases on Freegrant Music from Rick Pier O’Neil, Max Wexem, Donna-Marie (NZ), and Auditoria
And finally, if you were to introduce yourself to someone who’s yet to encounter your music, can you pass us three tracks of yours that you’d recommend?
It’s difficult because every track is important to me. But I will recommend “Sweet Lies”, “Nazar” and “French Kisses” because all these tracks were made during special periods of my life. It’s a good choice for getting to know my music.