When I first got Armin’s ‘Intense’ CD, I listened to it over and over again. As much as I loved the first two singles “Waiting for the Night” and “This is What It Feels Like,” it was the one between them, “Beautiful Life,” that I kept going back to. The track is a mix of progressive trance-pop with some electro flourishes – neither too aggressive nor too mellow – but a wonderful blend of both. Cindy’s vocals float on top and express the uplifting message that we all need to hear. Dance music is an escape, whether you are in the club or listening to it at home – and the allusion to falling into a dream with the music guiding you is just about the perfect expression of it. The remixes succeed by taking the vocals into new directions. Kat Krazy’s style could best be described as ADD/EDM, and the mix of random aggressive and pretty phrases is similar to his track “See the Sun” as well as his epic mix of Good Natured “5HT.” Mikkas brings a fusion of big beat and dubstep, while Protoculture goes main room stadium trance. A mix for every DJ to play, and Armin might just have a second radio hit on his hand.
Max Graham is quite the maverick, letting his tastes in music dictate what he plays and produces rather than being tied to any one specific subgenre. Even his record label Re*Brand is named for the way he reinvents himself over the years. With a loyal following and a popular weekly radio show, Cycles (which often trends on Twitter), Max Graham is busy in the studio working on his upcoming artist album due for release in 2013. I caught up with Max backstage at the Armada showcase during the Amsterdam Dance Event to find out more about his varied music career.
RS: Max, are you singed to Armada right now? Max Graham: In 2008, I combined my own label ReBrand with one of Armada’s labels. Technically, I am signed to Armada, but through my own label because I only release on Re*Brand Records.
RS: Does the name Re*Brand have anything to do with how you have changed your sound over the years? Max Graham: Actually in 2007, I was talking about rebranding myself and at the same time trying to figure out a name for the label. One of my friends, Alex K, who owns a club in Montreal called New City Gas, said to me “call it rebrand, it is something that you keep running into whether you are trying to rebrand yourself or not, it is kind of a word that fits you.” From there I had a good friend in Ottawa design the logo and he came up with the red star above the “re,” separating the two words so it fit perfectly. All of this happened over the course of 10 days, so I went from having nothing to having a label with a beautiful logo, it all came together and I was super happy.