Max Graham has come a long way since his early interest as a scratch DJ in '86. After travelling to Spain, London, Los Angeles, and New York, Graham settled in Ottawa and was one of the first Canadian DJs to discover the progressive sound coming out of the U.K. It is safe to say that without Max Graham, the progressive scene in Canada would not be as huge as it is today. After his success in Canada and North America, Graham is headed into the global-circuit. He is being booked all over the world, mixed a new CD, Tranceport 4 for Kinetic records and has a Cream compilation in the works. If that wasn't enough, he is also producing tracks himself in addition to remix work for labels like Virgin and Platipus. He's received airtime from Pete Tong, licensed a track for Paul Oakenfold's Another World and is building his own studio. With the progressive sound taking America by storm and DJs reaching superstar status, Graham could easily be he next in line. So what are his thoughts on the state of the scene? Are the big DJs overpaid? Max Graham gave us a brief but interesting insight into the future of the progressive sound.

Could you tell me a little bit about your background as a scratch DJ and why you made the switch to dance music?

Well I moved from hip-hop to top 40 and discovered house along the way, I really enjoy the emotional side of dance music, you don't really get that in hip hop.

Where do you see the progressive sound heading? Do you think the sound has room for further growth?

I don't think it's ever done growing and changing, it encompasses so much and will continue to break new ground.

How did your deal with Hope recordings come about?

I used to talk to Leon Alexander when he was the label head at Lakota records, two years later when I finally made something decent I sent it to him and we met in Miami...we vibed really well so....

There is a lot of big name DJ's receiving a lot of press right now. Do you think they end up with the credit or attention that the producers should be receiving?

No. Does a Conductor get the credit that person who wrote the classical piece get? Of course he does. It's all about interpretation. I could give you the same records Digweed has in his box right now. However, the people who produced it are not going to come over and teach you how to mix it in a coherent manner. The dance-floor must enjoy and understand it, just like when you go to a classical concert, each record/instrument serves it purpose and the DJ /Conductor makes sense of it all.

How long have you been involved in the production side? Was it an easy progression as a DJ? Is all of your material produced with a club environment in mind?

I've been producing for about 16 months now. I think it was an easy progression, it's natural as I spend my days picking songs for the dance-floor, why not be able to pick the sounds also. Right now I'm into music for the club and I'm sure soon I will branch out beyond that genre.

Can you tell us a little about the music scene in Canada right now? What do you like about living there?

It's amazing, it still feels like a new scene, Montreal and Ottawa have such incredible vibes. I always love to go back.

What are your opinions of the UK club scene? What do you feel are the key differences between it and the U.S.?

Once you're past the front door, all the clubs are the same everywhere. Everyone wants to have a good time.

Do you think some of the big name DJ's are overpaid?

Not at all, what people don't understand is that because the demand is so high, the promoters bid up to these levels. If you're someone like Sasha and you're wanted in 20 countries on a Saturday, obviously your going to go for a high rate. The promoters know what they are paying and know what their crowd will pay. The demand for the top 20 right now is so intense.

What current DJ or Production projects are you working on?

Just finished a remix for Uberzone, working on my next single, always something going on really.

What advice would you offer to any aspiring DJ's?

Play what you love and work hard at it. Don't worry about the style or what something is classified as...just play it if you love it.

--Justin Hardison

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