Iman Gerowgan: Hey Max, how are you?
Max Cooper: Pretty good thanks, currently on the plane to St Petersburg, which I've heard is an amazing place, so I'm looking forward to getting there.
Iman Gerowgan: „Music is what feelings sound like". You´re well known for your art of expressing emotions through your music, already titeled as „musical poetry". Where do you get your inspirations and musical concepts from?
Max Cooper: Anything that provokes an emotional response can be the source of inspiration for a piece. Art, a film, nature, music, friends, enemies, disaster, success, a tiktak, almost anything really.
Iman Gerowgan: „Music expresses that, which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." (Victor Hugo). what does your music mean to you personally?
Max Cooper: Good quote. I can't describe the essence of music adequately in words, but I have a strong need to express it nonetheless. It reminds me of the so called "hard-problem" of consciousness, in that no objective description can ever account for the subjective reality that we are all so aware of. We try to make an objective description, but fail, just as with a description of a piece of music, which is also primarily an experience, rather than anything physical.
We can describe in detail a sound wave, a score, a neural network or a brain, but these bare little relevance to the experience of what these things actually are to us. The bottom line is that you can't describe something subjective with a language that by necessity has to be defined by tangible things, things which can be agreed on by everyone. - We can agree on the precise shape, weight and nutritional value of an orange, because these things can be measured and compared, but we can't ever know if our experience of the colour orange, or the taste of an orange, is the same as someone else's. Sadly music can't convey these things either, but it can attempt to convey the feeling of eating an orange. Haha, I'm not sure what that would sound like! Not that I believe you can convey something that specific, music is a blunt language in comparison to words, but what I'm getting at is that it does seem to have the capacity to convey information which words cannot, information which is more representative of our subjective mental states, and perhaps a little closer to the nature of the hard-problem.
Iman Gerowgan: People call your music deep, sensual, soulfull, lovely, happy and heartbreaking, passionate.. In how far does your music reflect the inner world of Max Cooper?
Max Cooper: It completely reflects it, I'm a slave to my prehistoric mind! By that I mean my subconscious and the ancient emotional processing centres of the brain which punish us day to day with their stupid logic and decisions about how we're going to feel about this and that.
Iman Gerowgan: Which emotions drive you the most, when you´re working on productions?
Max Cooper: Light-depression. I find that really focuses the mind, and lends itself well to writing the sort of music I'm most in to - the sort of music which captures an honest glimpse of reality. The real world has both positive and negative aspects, which can both be carried in melancholy pieces. If you start a piece all happy and go down it's not enjoyable. Whereas if you start deep and a little depressed you can go up and experience an enjoyable transition still carrying the clarity of the initial mood. I think this clarity is a natural consequence of the low mood state - looking at an overly simplistic evolutionary argument, if everything is great, you're happy, why bother thinking to change it? Whereas if things aren't so great, the instinct kicks in to start analysing, considering things clearly so that a solution to a more favourable circumstance can be found. It's this mental clarity I associate with light-depression, which I find most productive for making my best music at least. Full on depression is debilitating, and too much of a good mood means I'll make a cheesy club banger.
Iman Gerowgan: How do tragedies, such as war, crime..or the recent earthquakes affect you in your productivity?
Max Cooper: How does bad stuff going on in the world effect my productivity? - I don't think it effects it at all, there is always a lot of bad things happening in the world, you can't let it pull you down. But it does occupy my thoughts, and I always try to only have a positive influence on the world and people around me.
Iman Gerowgan: „Music can change the world, because it can change people" (Bono, U2). What do you think?
Max Cooper: I agree. The degree to which it changes the world is up for debate, but I think it plays a significant role in shaping many aspects of society and human behaviour. More importantly for me personally is the internal effect of music rather than a social one - I find it at its best when I can completely escape into a piece for relaxation and centering of thoughts.
Iman Gerowgan: One could say, nowadays you´re one of few artists without your own record label.
Max Cooper: Yeah a lot of people do. Personally I'd rather focus my time and efforts on my music without having to worry about a label, as it takes me a long time to make each track, so it's a constant struggle to maintain a healthy released schedule. But maybe I'll turn to a label one day, it can ceretainly be a good career move in some cases.
Iman Gerowgan: You just released successfully the Methaphysical EP on Traum Schallplatten – your homebase, as well as a Remix for Kaiserdisco (Holding Up My Life - Max Cooper Remix) on MBF. What are your plans for the near future? We heared you´re planing a new album?
Max Cooper: At the moment I'm working on my next EP for Traum, plus a collaborative LP with Michael Nyman. Also I'm working on album content, but I don't know when that will all come together.
Iman Gerowgan: Which artists you´re dreaming of to remix one day?
Max Cooper: Radiohead, Olafur Arnalds, Stephan Bodzin, Bjork, Jon Hopkins, Max Richter, Boards of Canada, Aphex, Autechre, Philip Glass, Agoria, Helios, Nils Frahm....I could go on and on!
Iman Gerowgan: Which artists you played with recently on events, have inspired you?
Max Cooper: Harde Baas, SQL, Peter Pixel, Kellerkind, Raw Hedroom
Iman Gerowgan: Which 3 tracks are currently your dancefloor weapons?
Max Cooper: I've been caining a new error by moderat recently, not a new track but it's a certified smash every time! Then maybe my track inhale exhale, which always gets a reaction, maybe of confusion as much as anything, and Leeks remix of Stochastisch serie - still loving that mix he did for me.
Iman Gerowgan: What are you plans for the summer? Which events are you looking forward to?
Max Cooper: For now I'm trying to relax a little after a really hectic gig and travel schedule, and also try and get my head back into my music, as it's been hard to focus with so much travelling. As for upcoming gigs, I'm really looking forward to the festivals I'm doing for the early summer - Ovum and Warehoused Off Sonar parties in Barcelona, Gottwood Festival in Wales, Rockit festival in Holland, 10 days off Festival in Belgium, and Piknik electronic in Montreal.
Iman Gerowgan: Thank you for the Interview Max. we wish you all the best!