Interview with Max Vangeli

Interview with Max Vangeli

by Taryn Haight
09.21.2010

With electronic dance music on the rise in the U.S. it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a few new names pop up this summer—some which will likely fade and others, like Max Vangeli, who seem to be attracting a permanent following. The 25-year-old prodigy was first noticed by Pete Tong back in 2008 and has since gained widespread support from some of the world’s most notable DJs. Steve Angello, Axwell, Tiesto, David Guetta, Erick Morillo and Dirty South are just a few of the EDM gurus who have all taken a liking to Vangeli’s banging beats. The power-trio known as Swedish House Mafia, in particular, have taken Vangeli under their wing both in the studio and on tour in Ibiza.

Max Vangeli’s deep personal and working relationship with AN21 has also fostered some of Summer 2010’s biggest club anthems and festival tracks. The two have combined forces, remixing the likes of Ellie Goulding, Switchfoot and The Prodigy, even teaming up with Steve Angello on one of our favorite club bangers out right now, Pendulum’s ‘The Island.”

We got a chance to catch up with Vangeli during his mini U.S. tour to hear all about his newfound fame, what it’s like to party with the Swedish House Mafia guys and what he thinks about all the haters out there. Check out the interview below.

Clubplanet: Where are you from originally? How did you get involved in electronic music to begin with?
Max Vangeli:
I'm originally from Moldova in Europe and now live in San Francisco full time. I was always into music, but electronic music sort of grabbed my attention in college and I never looked back.

Clubplanet: You moved to San Francisco when you were a teen. What was the electronic music scene like in SF when you were growing up? How has that experience shaped you into the artist you are today?
Max Vangeli:
I am very fortunate to be based in San Francisco because the scene has always been strong there. We have underground raves, afterhours stuff plus legit nightclubs. If I came to some other city without a big scene, my life would have been shaped very differently. To everybody out there who hasn't been to my city yet: come visit, it's amazing.

Clubplanet: What are your favorite clubs to play in SF? What are your favorite clubs to play in the U.S.?
Max Vangeli:
I don’t get to play much in San Francisco anymore due to all the traveling, but if I had to name one - Ruby Skye is my favorite. Miami is always amazing with every club offering something special. My favorites in Miami so far are Mansion and Cameo.

Clubplanet: Are there any cities in the U.S. that you think are ahead of the curve as far as electronic music goes?
Max Vangeli:
Places like Miami and New York are definitely ahead of the game... San Francisco is also leading the way! The cool thing: America is the fastest growing market for electronic music right now so we're seeing a bunch of cities like Dallas and Seattle who have growing scenes. I feel like we're at the beginning of something really amazing. People are gonna look back at 2010 in the next few years as the time when electronic music blew up in the U.S.

Clubplanet: Was there ever a “holy shit” moment when you’ve thought “Wow, I’ve really made a name for myself?”
Max Vangeli:
I wake up with a “holy shit” moment every morning [laughs]. It's absolutely amazing what we were able to accomplish this year. I'm very happy! But honestly, I don't ever wanna feel like "I've made it" because that's when you put your feet on the table and slow down.

Clubplanet: What was it like playing in Ibiza for the first time this summer (especially playing with the SHM guys). Any crazy stories?
Max Vangeli:
It's amazing to be in the booth with the guys because the energy level is absolutely insane! We are like a big happy family who get to make banging tracks for the world.

I'll tell you one crazy ass Ibiza story. The last night on the island I partied so hard with Kim Fai, Erick Morillo and the crew at Pacha that I came back to my hotel two hours before my flight and passed out. One hour later, I'm being woken up by two random men, so I gave them a "Who the fuck are you?" look before quickly realizing that they were my drivers. I passed out with all my clothes on, so I quickly jumped up, threw my shit in the bags and made the flight 5 minutes before the departure. I had the biggest hangover all the way back to San Francisco!

Clubplanet: In one interview you mentioned that the comments from critics or haters on blogs can be so hurtful that it can sometimes hinder an artist from coming out with new tracks. Was this a challenge for you starting out? What made you push through and continue to make music? Do you have any advice for producers who may be facing the same challenge?
Max Vangeli:
All I have to say is “Fuck all the haters!” I work so hard every day to be where I am, but it never seems to satisfy this unique bunch of losers. My own city of San Francisco seems to find ways to put me down as well. I guess some people get a kick out of putting others down. A lot of us get trapped in that, which can lead to failure especially for beginners who don't know how to deal with it yet. My advice to all the new guys: stop listening to these dumb fucks who have never even been to a club or attempted to produce a quality record. Follow your heart and listen to the people that matter. I'm officially starting a war with all you haters out there!

Clubplanet: How did you get linked up with AN21? And how would you describe the
working relationship the two of you have developed?
Max Vangeli:
We met through a mutual friend from Sweden and just clicked hardcore. Our relationship is amazing, it started out as making tracks together but and now it’s more than just music. Our friendship has been amazing, especially after all the time we spent together this summer. Music is important in life, but I think the reason why we are doing so well is because we look at it on a bigger scale and are just enjoying life in general!

Clubplanet: Who is your favorite producer at the moment? Who are your favorite artists/bands in general (either in electronic music or any kind of music, really)?
Max Vangeli:
All the Swedish House Mafia boys of course. Steve is a big motivation for me because of how much he has guided me thus far in my career. Antoine and I owe a lot to him, he is a mentor and a friend. As far as others, I love Dirty South and Kim Fai... they always produce on the top level.

Clubplanet: What are your plans once the tour is up?
Max Vangeli:
Studio, studio and more studio. Antoine and I are putting in all the time in our upcoming album for Size Records. We are going to make something completely different and unique. Get ready for it!

Check out Max Vangeli on tour!
09/24 - Vain, Detroit (USA)
10/08 - LED, Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
11/05 - SpyBar, Chicago (USA)
11/06 - Avalon, Los Angeles (USA)

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