Podcast 133: Max Durante [Kynant / Sonic Groove] [ +Interview] - IT
Max Durante is a true pioneer of industrial techno, as well as a real wizard and inventor on the turntables. “His hands are so fast that it is difficult to follow his movements, his scratches are balm for the eyes and for the ears,” as the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported. He began his professional DJ career 1987 in Rome after he visited London, where he had fallen for the sound of the acid house parties. Returning to England in 1990 he experienced the early raves. Very much inspired by that sound he started experimenting, mixing techno and electro with industrial sounds in his unique way.
Recent he release his first LP in a 30-year career, 'The Experiment' in Kynant Records, is a new, left-field direction for an artist whose history traces from the birth of techno, through IDM, industrial, and electro.
TF: Hello Max ... where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes? And what were your influences?
Max: Hi, nice to meet you.I studied in Rome, artistic high school. My first influences were undoubtedly received from my family.
In 1981, my father improvised himself as DJ during my birthday party at home. Obviously he did not have a mixer and he was not a DJ, but he had a marvellous HI-FI system and he had 2 turntables because he was a maniac, a great listener and a fanatic of vinyl. However that day I was fascinated, my eyes were kidnapped by the records that were spinning, I was hypnotised. My father wanted to see me dance, but I remained motionless. In fact this was my first contact with turntables. I was so impressed that I stood there in front of them, while my friends all danced.
After that I accompanied my father often to buy new vinyls. My father was very protective of his vinyls (that he called flying saucers) and no one could touch them. He had different tools, because he did not touch them with his hands, total vinyl maniac... I thought he was an alien. But he inspired me a lot and gave me the devotion to vinyl. Maybe because he forbid me to touch his records and his turntables, he caused my desire to have my own turntables and the innate desire to use them as I wish.
My two brothers played guitar, they listened to a lot of music and one played in punk and rock bands, he often took me to punk / new wave evenings. These were important experiences, important inputs that were forming a 12-year-old child. Thanks to the Punk music I discovered the use of the distortion and I fell madly in love with it.
The new wave and dark music made me fall in love with the synths and dark areas. Industrial music and EBM gave me strong interest in the drum patterns. The possibility of using the drums in the studio of my brother's group gave me my sense of rhythm.
In 1983 one of my cousins took me to a disco for the first time, I refused to dance and headed for the DJ and once again I was fascinated by the turntables. From here I realised, I wanted to use turntables, play the records and not the guitar, the sound that I was passionate was the synthetic one. Drums, synths, turntables, these tools became part of my dreams.
In 1984 I discovered the United States, the jeans and basketball shoes. Influenced by a friend of mine I began to practice American Football. Thanks to American Football I discovered the hip hop culture. In the same period watching cult films of Street Art, like Wild Style and Beat Street, I was fascinated by the art of DJing, graffiti and breakdance.
Rome in the 80's was my little New York. It was my window to the world. A city in full breeze. Big DJs, great technique. I started doing Graffiti then I tried to breakdance, but I left everything right away because what really made me fall in love was the art of scratching, I started practicing scratch in 1985, I began to study the art of DJing by listening to many DJs, I started to train my technique, and in 1987 I have started to play as a DJ in clubs Everything went fast, these were dynamic years.
In 1988 in London I was fascinated by acid parties, I returned to Rome and started to program only acid house but initially it was difficult to program this music in Italian clubs.
In 1989 I returned to London. The English DJs escaped from clubs and events called raves started to take the place of the 'acid party'. I went back to Rome, which was extremely exited because I had discovered the future, the Rave!!!
I started to play techno. I've been part of the musical revolution in the '90s! ‘’the rage age’’.
In 1991 I organised one of the most important Italian raves ever together with the D'Arcangelo brothers, PLUS8. In 1992, also together with D’Arcangelo, we produced our first techno / industrial records under the name of Automatic Sound Unlimited.
Techno and the Rave have changed my life! I have always considered myself a DJ more than a producer. As a producer, what has always really influenced me is the theory of the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo, who said in 1917 to search for the sound in noise. And the France avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp, who said in 1961 that art is not for everyone, we need to be underground. They show me the way, I am still on that way, with the same attitude.
TF: You live in Roma and Berlin. How does these place influence you as an artist?
Max: Rome is where I started, where I was born, at the beginning it was my source of inspiration. Then, as in all of Italy, political problems created a city that represses me, Rome gave me the anger, and for that reason I make sometimes angry music.
Berlin is the city who adopted me, who gave me the freedom and in Berlin my anger turned into energy.
They are two very dark cities, very expansive cities, with some similar aspects. Both have a strong influence on my music, Rome remains my starting point and still influences my productions bringing me back to where I started to my roots. Berlin has the gift of making me live again the 90’s, the same freedom, the same energy, this gives me strength to my music and my mood. Berlin is a Rave that never ends.
In Berlin I can have silence and produce ambient or live chaos and produce industrial! Over here I can dedicate myself to sound research again!
TF: Can you describe from beginning to end how your Kynant Records EP and LP were made?
Max: They are free experimentation where techno meets the ambient sounds, industrial sounds, avant-garde rhythms, analog sounds, new sound forms, new sources. DIY instruments and software that reside in digital limbs create the structure.
My ‘Black Light’ EP (KYN001) and new LP ‘The Experiment’ are a compromise between research and instinct. Using electro-acoustic machines, analog machines, field recordings and plug-ins to create a sound that is a cross between grey techno and ambient-industrial drone landscapes.
TF: What new hardwares did you apply to make new EPs? Do you have a particular method while working in the studio?
Max: In the few last EPs I use also the Korg ‘Minilogue’ and Moog ‘Mother 32’ but I already sell this machines, now I am more in love with electro-acoustic instruments, noise generators and self-made instruments. After using CV, SYNCH, MIDI, now I prefer hard disk recordings. Less software sequencer, more live session.
TF: You developed quickly a vast range of techno forms, always remaining strongly coherent but blurring the lines in the same way. How would you describe your musical landscape?
Max: I mainly love techno, I love to express myself through industrial sounds, repetitive patterns, claustrophobic drone sounds… I like the idea of a music that is like a ritual, we can say a form of hypnotism. My musical panorama is very vast because of my different influences. Maybe my musical landscape represents a utopian future inspired by cult movies like Blade Runner or Mad Max. My music represents a bit of this world made of robots, replicants and humans who live together in a dystopian, grey and claustrophobic world made of cement.
TF: Recently, have you seen any movie or documentary, or heard an album that has influenced the way you make music? What other art forms or music inspire you as a person?
Max: Not really. What really influenced the way I make music is what surround me, the real life! My state of mind! Also contemporary art, Italian and Russian Futurism or modernist art like The Bauhaus and then architecture, graphic design, photography. Any expression of art, but must be unique! When I do not play music, I like to do graphic design, it relaxes me and in the same time excites me!
TF: How have you prepared the dj set that became your The Forgotten Podcast?
Max: My intention was to create a journey through my world, ambient landscapes and techno structures where repetitive rhythms and industrial patterns come together. For this podcast I wanted to present my new LP in a megamix, enriching it with unreleased versions created specifically for this occasion. Enjoy it.
TF: Could you tell us a bit more about your future projects?
Max: In this year, two new EP's will be released on the Aufnahme + Widergabe label, I am very happy with this. I am preparing also several remixes, having received many requests. Then I want to produce many other records, create my live act and much more…a very busy future. Thanks for the support, peace.
TF: Thanks for all Max. Welcome to The Forgotten Podcast!.