When I was 18 I got myself the 2000XL and became somewhat obsessed. Interview with Max I Million
Some people don’t know about the beat making scene, and less that we have one in sweden. What do you think about the swedish beat making scene?
It's insane how much talent there is in such a small country. Since the technology allowed any little kid to make beats, there has been a tremendous development in production skills and the internet has made it possible for anyone with a fair amount of ambition to get heard by thousands. In Sweden there is a friendly competition thing going on, which has elevated beatmakers to just get better and better. The scene that once was called Swedish Hip Hop has reached a crossroads where it's no longer a matter of genre and has divided into many different styles and forms of expression. We have everything from Trap and club music to jazzy cratedigger Boom Bap and nobody shouts "That's not real Hip Hop!!" anymore. People are doing their own thing.
Is there a typical swedish sound? What’s different about the swedish beat making style if you don’t consider the big commercial music.
Sweden is the worlds third biggest figure in music business and it's hard not to mention the well known expression "The Swedish Pop Wonder". So there is definately -something- about our sound, but I think it has more to do with our culture of more or less introverted people who spend a lot of time indoors, because of the climate. If we break it down and focus on the underground sub-genres, I wouldnt say there is a typical sound, except the high quality and the fact that the musicians try to excel in everyway possible. We have a lot of time on our hands to reflect on ourselves and cultivate individual flavour.
You as a beat maker, whats your history? I believe you fancy hardware?
I've always written and played music. But when I was 18 I got myself the MPC2000XL and became somewhat obsessed. I was making beats everyday, mostly just messing around with sounds for about a year and when I finally had mastered the technology, I started developing a style of my own, though undoubtedly heavily inspired by producers like J Dilla, Pete Rock and Madlib. But it wasn't until around 2007 that I felt like I was ready to get out there. Prior to that, I made a few songs with friends that are now prominent on the Swedish Hip Hop scene, but this was in the middle of the Myspace era, where I could network with anybody, anywhere. It just so happened to be american rappers I collaborated with for the most part. The result was The Maxtape that came out in 2010, a compilation of tracks I produced for various artists. Not long after that, I signed a contract with a local Swedish business providing music for television and movies internationally. I ended the contract in 2013, got back to my "own" music and built the foundation of what I'm working on to this day. The last two years I've been heavily involved with Counterweight Records and it's founder DJ Devastate. I still use the MPC as the core of my production. The workflow is insane and it allows me to incorporate everything from samples to live instruments. The 16-bit sound makes it all blend soundscape-wise, no matter what I elements I throw in.
What did you try to do when you did the mix?
I mostly wanted to showcase the extreme talent I have in my circle of friends. All beatmakers featured are homies and associates of mine. I wanted to to make a purely instrumental composition of music that doesn't need vocals to stand on their own feet, while I wanted a diversity in styles, all knitted together with excerpts from old movies with Swedish references. I picked them out to play around with the stereotypical myths of a liberated, modern nation of free sex, beautiful women and viking-type men with hearts as cold as our winters. I'm very proud of the result.
Which is your favourite track in the mix?
It's all dope, but personally I mostly listen to jazz and funk. Sasac's song "Universal Outreach" is my favourite track, taken from his upcoming album Future Disc, dropping in December. Another one is "The Power" by Academics, which pretty opens the mix after some light introduction.