Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: Andreina Sergi
[In collaboration with Krake Festival]
Catch Max Durante at Krake Festival Day III on the 26th of July at Urban Spree.
What’s it like to be you?
Hard! I’m a person who demands a lot from himself. Sometimes I hate myself. But I am an optimistic person who does not know fear. I lost my mom when I was really small and my dad when I was a young adult. My childhood was very hard, I had to grow up very fast. Many of my records speak of anger, sadness, loneliness, rebellion; through my music, I want to express strength because life can teach you to be strong even where pain does not let you live. Being me means fighting, loving and respecting. I love helping those who are sincere, those who show me things that are true. I love people in silence, I love those who are factual, those who create, those who do not complain and fight, those who are present, those who do not judge, those who are by your side instead of just talking about it, those who laugh and those who cry. I am exactly what I love and love life! TO BE AND NOT TO APPEAR.
What excites you the most in what you do?
The pleasure of exchanging energy between yourself and the crowd is perhaps what I really love. But to be honest, manipulating music, changing it, creating – that’s what excites me. I’m not looking for success with my work, I want success in friendship. Every time I touch the vinyl I get excited. I’ve been a DJ since 1987. It’s my life! I don’t care to listen to music, what turns me on is touching it, I like to dominate it. I love vinyl and every time the needle goes to the groove – it’s like I’m making love with music.
In one of your interviews you’ve mentioned that ‘we must not become a product’. Do you think that with the rise of social media and the ever-increasing focus on self-image it is still possible to remain entirely authentic?
Depends on us. It depends on how you think, who you are, your personality. I have never accepted compromises and I will never accept them. I was born in 1970, I grew up in the 80s and I fought in the 90s, my life made me a rebel, so it’s hard for me to answer this question. Look at me, I joined social networks because I was forced to but I let them grow naturally without any tricks. I don’t care and I’m happy like that because most of the people in the music industry have created more pages, then they merged them creating only one page. Look at those Facebook pages, they’re ridiculous with those millions of followers. I think this is a disease: modern society shows us that appearing is much stronger than being, but in this way, they are creating a monster that is called the ego and it eats your brain every day. If you are pumping your image then you just risk of becoming a product on a supermarket shelf. It’s a double-edged sword… I’m not interested in that. I conquered my audience through my music.
We are in the ‘FAKE AGE’ so we must expect that thousands of clowns are born. We are in the circus now. What scares me is the problem of modern society that wants everything immediately. Most build a fake image because, in reality, you tend to be a product nowadays. People look at the numbers where you arrive, they no longer listen to music. They sell you like animals in the window. It’s wrong.
Life teaches me that you can’t even answer in the name of others. I could tell you I am the answer because I am and I will remain authentic, I always ran away from everything that would lead me to sell my image, but I don’t care!
Being underground does not mean living in a squat or playing for free: I have a fee, I get paid for my gig, I pay taxes and I have my apartment. To be underground means to be for few, it means doing things seriously, it means being the answer to mass culture.
STAY TRUE, STAY UNDERGROUND!
Marcel Duchamp was the first to use the word ‘underground’ in the 60s, in order to defend himself from future manipulation he said that we need to be underground, we need to be for few, we need to avoid being surrounded by mediocrity.
The great artist of tomorrow will go underground. ~ Marcel Duchamp
We are experiencing a phenomenon that Marcel Duchamp had predicted that far back. He explained at the time that it was necessary to defend oneself from the mainstream. In reality, social media is not the real evil. But we, humans, we are selfish and opportunistic, we are hypocritical narcissists. The problem has always existed because it is not the social media that commands us, but the money, and the power of the money that always creates the monsters. Now it is extreme because everyone wants to be protagonists and money seems to make everyone ‘prostitutes’. So staying authentic doesn’t depend on how and when – it depends if you are true or false. Let’s say the truth.
What is the enemy of creativity and how do you battle it?
Creativity grows in solitude, so any kind of distraction is the real enemy. Discipline and sacrifice are the food of creativity. Loneliness matures creativity. I avoid going to parties when I don’t play, I don’t want to mess around. Silence and research expand my creativity. So the worst enemy of creativity is us and our mind that lies and distracts us. Being creative means being free, not having rules. In creativity, you must not limit yourself. I don’t care about anyone, I experiment, I do a lot of sound research, I barricade myself in the studio also because friends and girlfriend are the ones you love and they are the ones who support you, but they are a source of distraction too. So sometimes you have to isolate yourself. They must be strong and understand that sometimes we need to escape from everything. The presence of other people inevitably tends to make you lose focus. Most of the greatest geniuses of history have given birth to their discoveries in the enclosure of a room, in perfect solitude. I defend myself by hiding in silence. That way we can create the magical dimension of listening to our inner rhythm. In isolation, it is easier to listen to one’s thoughts and process them: “Loneliness borders with territories that can help us better express our identity.”
And another enemy of creativity is mediocrity where judgment lives. Picasso used to say that the enemy of creativity was common sense. I fully agree that judgment is lethal and we always return to the fact that we need to escape from mediocrity.
What would your eternity look like?
Since I have fought so much and I have given so much and since I will have to continue to do it, I would love to think that I will float in the sky like a free eagle. After all these battles I would like to fly.
You’re about to return to Krake Festival again this year. How did it evolve over the years for you and what would you say makes it and Killekill stand out?
I am very happy indeed! I lost the count, it should be the fourth edition I will perform at. I have a great esteem of the founders and of the whole team and those who make and have been part of it. Killekill is a big family where there is a lot of passion and they invest a lot of time: about a year to be able to realize a week of events in locations scattered in the city of Berlin. An event that has evolved over time, dedicating itself to research new stimuli, new forms of entertainment, from the label market to the synths, to art performances and installations, to DJ sets and live sets. Krake is more than just a festival, it’s more than a ‘rave’ – it’s an active ‘village’ for about seven days. KRAKE is a temporary planet that presents itself every year in different forms, from the graphic form to artistic research. What makes them different and unique is that they don’t feed on new trends, they don’t follow the hype because this is exactly what they hate! Killekill has a human antenna called Nico, he picks up and sniffs those who have a lot to say. It’s a very valid platform that instead of thinking about gain, they give support and support a scene, by cultivating new input, new codes. They do not accept compromises, perhaps this makes them stand out. They give a word to the artists, they leave freedom of expression and they involve you, they listen to your ideas and your suggestions. This means that the event becomes a form of expression of all those who are part of it. And this is fundamental to make a scene grow and keep it alive.
What do you realize as you get older?
When you begin to be wise, and you understand that everything slips away then you no longer seek answers, because you understand that they are inside you. The important thing is to grow without falling into judgment, not to oppose the young. Indeed, in order to stay young, we need to collaborate with the young and our support is essential. I don’t feel old at all… I don’t really want to grow old.
What is the most valuable lesson your parents have taught you?
As I’ve said, unfortunately, I could live with my parents for a very short time. My mother had to suffer until the end. Through her life, she showed me that there is no fear, that we must never complain, we must face things immediately so that they do not become problems. Before falling ill she showed me that what sets us free is being honest and true. And if you have to love you must love hard! With my father, I was lucky enough to have him in my life for longer a little longer. He always said that if you complain, they throw stones at you. His life had taught me to be constantly devoted to my passion and profession. They have been much more than a lesson, in that short time they gave me so much love and so much strength: the biggest thing I realized was that you have to take care of yourself, that you have to live with more serenity and that the real enemy of ourselves is us! Let’s respect each other because life is a gift. So the great lesson is ‘respect’ for yourself, everything, and everyone. And that life is precious.
Could you describe the world you are trying to create during your performances?
I perform and I follow the flow of emotions. Connecting with the crowd and creating an exchange of energy – that’s what makes a good DJ. It’s not easy, yet the experience allows music to be used as a vehicle of communication. However, I am fascinated by science fiction films and I like to reproduce through my music or my DJ sets a futurist world, where humans are dominated by machines. I like to create hypnotic atmospheres characterized by a repetitive hard groove, as if a ritual, but I love intervening with the things that surround me. Based on where I am I can be harder or I can be softer… I simply go through emotions.
What do you think really matters at the end of life?
Health. Many times we think too much. Maybe the best solution is to say what the fuck! As I said before the mind lies to you.
Why do you think there is an urge to associate techno with darkness and aggression?
Don’t believe in that, they are all clowns. I don’t think there’s an urgency or a reason. Me, or better we – Italians, producers from Rome in the 1990s, we started to produce the first wave of industrial techno where it was intrinsic of dark and aggressive sound. There was no reason why we were so dark and hard, the ’90s are years of the regression, the years of anger. We were full of adrenaline, we were 20 years old and we were creating a new genre. To return to the question… Now they just want to simulate those years. They do this because it’s considered cool and nowadays it generates hype. They don’t do research, they copy and they are just a bunch of clowns. The music now sounds all the same.
Techno is dark because it’s born in warehouses and its aggressiveness because is synonymous of rebellion. Only that maybe now they are abusing it. Many people think that techno is, ‘I have to dress in black, I have to create a dystopian atmosphere and I have to look tough and aggressive, even on photos’. Sorry but “fuck you”. They pretend. Two years ago I have produced a song for the29nov titled ‘Aggressive Behavior’ but I didn’t do it to be cool, but because I am really pissed off! I am a bad boy haha.
I’ve loved hard and dark sounds from the beginning. As I said before I’ve started DJin in 1987, then I started producing in the 90s with the D’Arcangelo brothers under the pseudonym of Automatic Sound Unlimited. We were dark and hard! In 1992 we created the first wave of Italian industrial techno! We were born before techno was born, so our sources of inspiration were from other directions.
I was inspired by art, for example, by futurists like Luigi Russolo. In 1913 he wrote the book ‘The Art Of Noise’ – a brilliant book. I was impressed by his theory that you need to search for sound in the noise.
What is your idea of God in the modern world?
God is no longer a spiritual form. Politics uses religion to fuel racism and hatred. God in modern society becomes a vehicle of war. Religion Against Religion – my new song that is released on Aufnahme + Wiedergabe, speaks about this where religion no longer exists: religion became a political form and nobody believes in God anymore. But again, I could tell you that in the modern world God is money.
How do you seek the best within yourself?
In the absolute silence of my home in Berlin. Sometimes in total darkness. I love floating in the living silence. My profession produces noise, silence is a luxury in modern days. It is in the darkness that we think, it is in the darkness that we grow!
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
Do you think what we live is true? Do you think you really exist? Who are you?
Great question haha… Sometimes I ask myself that too and I don’t know!