Jan 03, 2017
Reflecting On Maxximize Year One
2016 was a big year for Blasterjaxx. They continued their worldwide headlining touring, dropped many big tracks including their hit collaboration “Go Crazy” with Hardwell, and completed their first full year of their label Maxximize Records. We caught up with Thom from Blasterjaxx to focus in on their two final releases for the year, reflect on their first full year of Maxximize Records and look ahead to both their own and their label’s future.
How did you come to remix The Chainsmokers ft. XYLO – “Setting Fires”?
We love The Chainsmokers’ music and they are great guys as well. Their profile is really game changing, having introduced the future bass genre to the world and as we all know that has kind of taken over. They released another song during the summer that we tried to remix, but we couldn’t really work it out in the studio. We wanted to give remixing another song of theirs a shot so I reached out to them and asked if we could make a bootleg of “Setting Fires.” They said sure and sent us the stems and acapella. From that we created this bootleg and they liked it a lot so we decided to do an official remix.
What elements of the original did you know you want to preserve and how do you think you’ve made it your own?
Most important for us was the vocal of course. The only little difference was that we noticed the vocal was really downtempo, like a lot of their tracks, which was the biggest struggle for us. We can make a remix for the same tempo, but that wouldn’t make sense because it’s not club oriented.
How has the track been working in your sets?
We’ve been playing it for quite a few months actually. Slowly people began to recognize the original song, but in the very beginning they had no clue what we were playing. It took some time. Maybe in America, they’d know it and it was different, but especially in Asia where I’ve been playing lately, they are often somewhat behind on the trends.
“No Sleep” certainly sounds like a return to that classic Blasterjaxx sound. Can you talk a little about that?
That was the whole idea; I think a big group of our fans were missing that old school Blasterjaxx sound. Even for us, we kind of lost the vision of that old sound. We are always trying to evolve as artists and producers and we couldn’t really place the feeling of what they were missing. We were just exploring what really attracted them to Blasterjaxx and our music. We came back to the sounds and music we released in 2013 and 2014, some of the harder big room tracks, and thought we’d make a song like that with the same kind of feel and same kind of vibe.
How did the vocal factor into the production?
I found the vocal online as part of a free package. I thought no one else would have found the vocal, but in the end we found out some other artists had. We built the whole thing around that. We had a lot of fun making this tune because we did it like how we did it back in the days, half and half, Idir playing stuff, I’m playing stuff, like how we really did it in the beginning. Basically in two days the whole track was born. We did the mastering and stuff and within one week we had the whole track completely finished.
Obviously DJs and producers are notorious for their lack of sleep from late night studio sessions, to late gigs, to early flights, to constant travel. Did any of that resonate with you making this track?
Well honestly, not really. The original vocal was more ‘no sleep’ or ‘turn me on.’ “Turn Me On” is one of the biggest hits from Kevin Little. Honestly after just a few weeks, I realized the whole term ‘no sleep’ made perfect sense as well.
“No Sleep” features an insane support list already too.
Yeah! We are really, really happy with the support list. The support really surprised us. We knew Hardwell, W&W – guys like that were still looking for this kind of music to play in their sets. But then we added The Chainsmokers and David Guetta which we are really happy about.
You just wrapped up one year of Maxximize Records – can you reflect a little bit on the first year of your own label?
It’s exceeded expectations! I’m really, really happy with how everything developed; there is a great team behind the Maxximize label and their dedication and effort has really launched Maxximize to where we are now. Doing A&R for other artists releases has been a growth process and we credit Jorn from Spinnin' for guiding us a lot in that aspect. Spinnin' overall has been a great partner on the label.
Do you think that for next year you guys will keep up with the same pace of releases?
I definitely think so. There is still a very big fan base for our sound. And there are really just a few labels left bringing and satisfying fans with that sound, so I think it’s even better for us that we started the label this year as opposed to two or three years ago.
Are there any particular artists on the label we should be watching out for?
Wasback – He just released a tune “Let It Go” on our label with M35 and a vocalist called Elle Vee. You should keep your eyes on him. He is really talented and his productions are very musical. All of the chord progressions and melodies are really deep – they aren’t easy. There’s a lot of musicality sitting behind it. Other than that we also have Olly James who has had some big songs on the label and then some other guys I can’t tell you about yet.
We are going to release a lot of music next year. We say that every year, but for 2017 we have a lot of music lined up for the first few months.
Now that’s something we wanted to jump into – you dropped some nice IDs in the Spinnin’ Sessions guest mix [mix + tracklist]. We saw lots of guesses of track titles. Can you tell us anything about those tracks?
The IDers gave them their own names which is a little bit confusing since we have our own names in mind. Right now we are just trying to tease the IDs with the names as we know them. We also have one or two songs on the side that are under a different name too!
What’s going on with your “Move It 2 The Drum” remix?
It’s just something that crossed my mind – that’s a cool song from back in the day. So I called Hardwell and asked him to send me the acapella which he sent right away and we finished the track in one day. We will see what happens with it.
Any other tracks you can concretely say anything about?
“Black Rose” is coming out early next year. That is the official follow up for the “Ghost In The Machine” track with Jonathan Mendelsohn and this track has been going great live! We do have something really big coming up in March too, but can’t say anything about it!
If you want to hear more from Blasterjaxx, you can find all episodes and tracklists for their weekly radio show Maxximize On Air here.
short link 1001.tl/h7rw62