New mix and chat with Max Pask - Musical Host of the week
by Herb Essntls
A year ago
Photo by Sean Dack
Today we are happy to introduce Max Pask as this weeks Musical Host. Max is a Parisien, a New Yorker, a synth-lover, DJ and musician.
His mix is chill overall but also "not impossible to dance to".
Enjoy our chat below where we talk about Manhattan vs Brooklyn, analog vs digital, Heavy Metal vs Electronic music and more.
Thank you for being our Musical Host this week! We always ask our hosts to set the mood for NYC. What tone are you hoping to set with your curation?
Thanks for having me! This is a mix I've recorded in my studio. I tend to not overthink my mixes in general, just trying to put together a coherent blend of quality tunes, something I'd want to listen to myself really. This mix stays fairly mellow throughout, but it’s not impossible to dance to either.
You’ve cited Guns & Roses, Metallica, and Morbid Angel as past musical inspirations, that you were first a fan of heavy metal, before converting to electronic music. What sparked this interest and transition?
Going out raving was what sparked it! For a teenager like me, There was something incomparably fresh and exciting about raves in the 90’s. It was somewhat secret and even a bit dangerous at times, the feeling of being part of something new and exciting was special. Once I got a taste of it and I fully immersed myself in it.
Photo by Seze Devres
The music scene in the city of Chicago, home to Jeff Mills’ Axis Records, was an early guidance to your passion. What signifies the Chicago sound?
Jeff Mills is actually from Detroit! Both Chicago and Detroit (and NYC!) played fundamental roles in the development of dance music. Detroit is regarded as the birthplace of techno thanks to Jeff Mills, Underground Resistance and Juan Atkins for example, and Chicago is typically seen as the origin of House Music, thanks to DJ’s and producers like Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, Jesse Saunders or Marshal Jefferson to name a few. However, saying Detroit = Techno and Chicago = House is a bit reducing. There’s more to it than that.
How about New York’s influence on your life as a DJ? The story goes that you traveled, from Paris, to New York for business, fell in love and then moved your life here. What is it about New York that you have found so enchanting?
New York had a huge impact on me musically. It opened up my ears to so much and still does. There are so many amazing artists from all horizons living and coming through here, it can only have a positive influence on you as a DJ.
I think New York always had a certain mystique to it even before I went there, thanks to music and film. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was so “enchanting” about it. What I know is that it felt like home right away.
You’ve been regarded as a key player in the Brooklyn music scene. From your experience, what sets Brooklyn apart from the city (Manhattan’s) in sound and crowd?
In regards to nightlife and clubbing, Manhattan is where things happened from the 70’s to the 90’s, and things naturally migrated to Brooklyn in the new millennium. Most of Manhattan nightlife is geared towards a mainstream / bottle service crowd these days, so i guess what sets Brooklyn apart is where the more artistically inclined crowd is, if that makes any sense.
Through this musical program, we’ve seen how well connected the music community really is. You released “ Be Nice to Each Other, with Justin Strauss, a past host, and you both met at Lloyd Harris’ (another host) Tiki Disco. Though NYC is truly a small world in itself, music brings people together. What is it about the industry, and community of creatives that is so tight knit?
I wouldn’t say me and Justin met at Tiki Disco, but we sure both attended those parties regularly. Me Justin and Lloyd did have a summer, I think in 2010 or 2011, when we played a lot of fun gigs together, and that sort of sealed our friendship.
And of course the social aspect plays a huge part. Most of us don’t have enough space at home to gather a lot of people, so a lot of connections happen while out.
You have a recording label called Throne of Blood. There is not much background behind the label beyond it’s epic mix releases, and its Soundcloud bio reads “Get to know us through music.” For those reading who are learning about the industry, why do many DJs create their own record label, and share with us the meaning behind the name, Throne of Blood.
I run the label with my friend James Friedman, but I didn't start the label. It was founded by James and the guys from the Rapture. They came up with the name and it’s a reference to Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 adaptation of Macbeth. I started as an artist on the label, and gradually took on a few responsibilities over the years.
Many DJ’s create their own labels to be able to put the music they believe in, which is often their own. But running a successful label also can translate in DJ bookings, so i think a lot of labels are created with that hope in mind, it’s a branding move. “Get to know us through music” is James’s clever way of saying this label is not about that, it’s really about putting forth artists we love and respect and that’s it.
In an interview with Review for the Good Room Podcast, you said that “Play[ing] live was more fun.” As live music events are on pause for the immediate, how have you translated this fun and kept connected to your community in this time?
Like everyone, I've been a livestream DJ since lockdown began. I’ve done a lot of podcasts and streams on top of my monthly radio show. That’s all we can do for the time being!!
Review also mentioned that you own a great collection of synthesizers. The instrument carved the history of electronic music and has been an influential tool to modern music. Why do you collect synths, what emblematic meaning do they have for you?
I just think they’re wonderful objects. They look amazing, sound amazing, and I love figuring them out and connecting them with each other. Even though they can be tedious and expensive to maintain, they’re still magical to me. And I prefer working on real objects as opposed to do everything by clicking on a mouse. But that doesn’t mean i don’t love digital technology too, i’m not one of those analog snobs!
You had a short stand-up comedy stint. Where in Brooklyn did you perform, and tell us a story about it.
Haha! I did try it a couple times. Once before a Rapture show in Philadelphia last summer and a few days later at my friends Jay Green and Andrew Raposo’s comedy night.
I was going through a very difficult time personally, so I decided to challenge myself and try something that I would have considered too scary to try before. I was feeling down and I needed to “stand up”. It was a way to give myself a jolt of new energy. I’m glad i did it, it was equally terrifying and rewarding.