DJ Graham takes a party to the max

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DJ Graham takes a party to the max

These days in the electronic music world, there’s a saying that everyone is a deejay, everyone is a producer. Computer technology provides easy access to programs that let you, yes you, become the superstar deejay/producer you always dreamed of being.
But even with all the tools, there are wanna-bes, and there’s Max Graham. Mr. Graham, who has residencies at clubs such as Circus in Los Angeles, Spundae in San Francisco and Son in Montreal, brought us “Transport 4” and “Cream 2 Compilation,” two influential trance albums.
“I don’t play to have someone stay still, rub their chins and say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’” Mr. Graham says. “I play to make [people] dance.”
Mr. Graham is speaking from his home in Canada, where he’s hailed as the ambassador of trance. Mr. Graham, who is on the line-up for the 2003 Miami Winter Music conference ― possibly the ultimate trance event in the United States ― will be headlining Sickboy Productions’s four-year anniversary bash at the Marriott hotel club Seduce later tonight.
“He’s always played a really good set,” says Rob Harker of Sickboy, referring to Mr. Graham’s two previous gigs here. “[For our anniversary,] we want to enjoy ourselves at a nice, intimate event with a good vibe. Max is a good deejay for that.”
But when Mr. Graham was asked about the last time he went to a club, covered his critical deejay/producer ear and simply danced, he chuckles and says, “It’s been too long.”
When he does slow down ― in 2002, he logged 170 flights for 280,000 miles ― he looks for music that “moves me, or grabs me over time.” Recent album forays have been in techno, breakbeat and melodic music.
Mr. Graham got his start as a scratch deejay in 1986 at the age of 15. His realm is in the long sets, which gives him time to throw in different sounds. He has just finished a remix for Hutchinson and is wrapping up an EP. When the two songs will be released is undetermined.
The underground music industry has reached a strange junction. The proliferation of MP3s has made underground music instantly accessible. Not withstanding the royalty issues, problems include a deluge of songs and the increasing difficulty of staying on the cutting edge.
Some labels have been waiting out the storm by holding back albums. “I hope it’s just a correction period,” Mr. Graham says. “The good labels will survive.”
While the music industry shakes down, Mr. Graham will be honing another skill ― composing. “Writing music is the next phase,” he says. One area that he’s particularly interested in is movie soundtracks.
If the current situation is any indication, his music will be heard ― even with the abundance of music available.

by Joe Yong-hee

The deejay lineup includes Korea’s Sal, Yeun Jun and Dave Benz. Tickets are 30,000 won ($25).
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