Italian producer Maztek has established himself in the drum & bass scene recently with releases on Syndrome, Icarus, Basswerk, Modulate and his own Subculture label. We speak to him about his latest Galactica / Odyssey single on Renegade Hardware and more.
So tell us a little about yourself and how you became Maztek...
I've always loved music. I grew up playing in local bands as a lead guitarist. When I was just a kid, my brother had a sound system in the house (he was a DJ). I used to play with his turntables and his mixer and I started to understand how they work. When I was 18 I started going to clubs where they played drum & bass. The DJs played live in the illegal raves with some of my childhood friends.
One of them gave me my alias Maztek. When I was 23, I was tired of playing in the rave because the rave scene had changed in Rome and in Italy. I felt that I needed to do something else so I started working on a project for myself. In 2005 I founded my own label Subculture and i started doing releases for other labels as well under the name Maztek.
What inspired you to get started into the drum & bass scene?
Here in Rome there was a Club called Blue Cheese. They used to invite all the best drum & bass artists of the moment like Roni Size, Fabio, Grooverider and many others. As a guitarist and musician I was very impressed by the basslines. I remember that I thought drum & bass music was the "rock & roll" of electronic music and had already followed and started producing by that time. I also love to listen and produce trip-hop, techno, hip hop, etc. I decided that i would have focused on that kind of music for a while and i never stopped.
What is the scene in Italy like and what are your favourite places around the world to play?
It is not so bad. There are many clubs in Italy that drive this music and even some established, emerging producers. As for the rest of the world, dubstep reigns supreme at the moment, but here a couple of years ago no one knew what it was. Above all there are many many electro parties which is probably the most popular music here. However there are many established rock bands who are asking for some dnb remixes of their tunes. This makes me think that it will be a very popular genre.
I love to play in UK. I love their style, their clubs, and their audio systems. I've played some great parties in France, Italy and eastern Europe. In the US and Puerto Rico, I had an awesome time too. I would love to play in Australia or Japan though.
How did your relationship and releases come about with Renegade Hardware?
Renegade Hardware has always been a very fascinating label for me. I followed them for years and as a graphic designer, I have always appreciated the artwork of the releases and their logo. I believe that most people tend to magnify something that comes from abroad. For me it was always a goal to be signed on Renegade Hardware. I sent demos for a while until they said they wanted to do a release with me. After that I was invited to play in London. I met Scott, Clayton and the whole Renegade Hardware crew. There is some serious stuff happening, so watch out for what will happen in the future.
How difficult has it been to follow your dreams and become successful at something that is hard to make money in?
I think that if you love something and invest energy in it, it's not such a big sacrifice. Until a couple of years ago, I had a full-time job in a graphic design. I remember that I got up early in the morning just to work on a tune that I had started the night before. I put the song in the iPod and listened to it during the hours of break. Afterwards I came back from work and worked on it some more.
It was very stressful for me to not have enough time for music and do what came naturally to me. When I started playing around I made a difficult decision to leave my job and just focus on the music. The early days were difficult, but I have never regretted my choice. I think if you have a dream or something you believe, you must do everything possible to shape reality as you would like. You should always do it without fear and without giving up.
What would give another up-and-coming producer the edge and ability to land a deal with a larger record company?
Do what is best for you and put feeling into your music. Use your best techniques and do not give up.
What does neurofunk mean to you?
It means everything to me. In neurofunk I find the ultimate expression of what I love and what I like the most. I've always been fascinated by science fiction, space and cyberpunk visions of the future. To me, neurofunk contains all of this.
How do you go about writing patches for your synths and what synths do you use if you don't mind answering?
I use Massive and almost all of the NI synths. I do not have a real method. I play with the synth and when there is something I like, I save it and export it to play with the sounds.
How has the uprising of dubstep and EDM in general effected your view on dance music?
I love all music and new experiments. I prefer certain styles of dubstep. I'm not into what is most popular at the moment. I started to produce dubstep with hip hop beats inspired by it. I've been working on some beats for Dope D.O.D. which is a Dutch hip hop band. One song is already out and others will be on their new album. One of them will also be featuring Jonathan Davis from Korn. So yes they affected my view on dance music in a positive way.
What labels and artists, beside yourself, are the future of drum & bass in your opinion?
There are many artists and labels doing the right thing. Noisia, Phace, Rockwell, Audio, Ed Rush, Black Sun Empire, Break, Gridlok, Prolix, Loadstar, Fourward, InsideInfo, Optiv & BTK, Enei, Dabs, Aeph, Hybris and more just to name a few that are established. Some of the labels are Renegade Hardware, Ram, Hospital, Vision, Neosignal, Shogun, Dispatch, Critical, Mau5trap, and Badtaste.
Emerging artists include Neonlight, L33, Nickbee, Mob Tactics, Subtension and many more alongside labels like BTK’s Dutty Audio, Optiv’s Red Light Records, my label Subculture Recordings, Kano’s Inception Audio and the new Ed Rush label Piranha Pool.
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