We grab five minutes with one of the house world's most in-demand DJs
Since emerging onto the underground house scene at the turn of the decade, Max Chapman's star just hasn't seemed to stop rising.
He first caught our ear with a distinctly Chi Town-influenced cut on a 2011 compilation from Cozzy D's Lower East label, and that first positive impression was soon confirmed by a string of fine singles and EPs on his own Resonance Records, not to mention several for Leftwing & Kody's Lost Records stable. By the time the second half of the decade rolled around, Chapman's work was starting to appear on some of the most high-profile contemporary house labels around - imprint, such as Hot Creations, ViVA Music, Snatch!, Elrow Music and Toolroom - and he'd become a regular fixture in the deep and tech house Top 10s on Beatport.
Released in early 2016 on MadTech, his debut long-player Catch Me If You Can was well-received right across the dance press, and today the 30-year-old maintains the kind of hectic, globe-trotting DJ schedule that a mere seven years ago he could only have dreamed of. Which means pinning the lad down for an interview can be tricky!
When we did manage to catch up with him, recent Beatport No 1 La Fiesta was still riding high in the charts and his remix of George Smeddles & Jimmy D's Hard To Find had just been released, while Max himself had just come back from a two-week US holiday with a bunch of mates - a chance to grab some much-needed R&R, after a summer spent on the White Isle, before jetting off Down Under for a tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The tour kicks off at Sugar in Adelaide this coming Friday (13 October), the same date that a collaborative EP with Secondcity, the Terrace Tales EP, drops on the mightly Relief. And once the Antipodean trek's finished, he's off to the US, Mexico and South America. Little wonder, then, that when we spoke we found him enjoying life to the, er, 'max', but a little weary from all the travelling...
The first Max Chapman track I reviewed was Afterparty, on a compilation called Inner Circles Vol 1 in 2011. You'd only just started producing around then, hadn't you?
"Yeah, that's right. I actually made that tune on Reason 4 in a bedroom on Hall Street, Bondi Beach. I'd like to think my production has improved a bit since then!"
Which makes your current high standing in the global house community, after only six years, all the more impressive! Has it all felt a bit of a whirlwind?
"Yes and no. It's felt like longer to be honest, although if you were to ask me where each year went separately I couldn't tell you! I guess it just goes to show that you get out what you put into these things. I have ticked some massive boxes over the past couple of years, but there are plenty more to tick. When I look back, things were happening around me and I was just reacting to them, whereas now it feels like I'm able to plan and work out exactly where I want to be and how to get there."
You're about to head off on a tour of Australia and New Zealand... looking forward to it?
"I can't even stand a 2.5-hour flight to Ibiza these days! Australia has a big place in my heart though, as I used to live there and it's the place where I really fell in love with dance music. I'm also taking my brother this time, so it's going to be a wicked couple of weeks. I can't wait, but at the same time I'm dreading all that travelling."
And that's coming off the back of a summer spent in Ibiza. So how was The White Isle (Mk2017) for you?
"It was awesome, definitely my best season yet. I played a lot of outdoor parties but I enjoyed the club gigs the most - I think that's where my sound really sits. Playing the terrace at Amnesia for Elrow was a bit of a dream come true, for one, so I can't wait to see what's on offer next season."
It's been a couple of years, nearly, since your debut album Catch Me If You Can. Is a follow-up in the pipeline any time soon?
"I'm hoping so, yes, but at the moment I haven't got much time to play with. I'm currently trying to write a new sample pack, so that's taking most of my time."
That album came on MadTech, but your own Resonance Records is still going strong as well. What's happening Resonance-wise right now?
"Lots of good things are in the pipeline: we have CamelPhat, Wade, Mark Jenkyns, Apollo 84, myself and more before the year is out. Things are definitely starting to grow for the label, which is really exciting - 2018 should be a big year for us."
You've got an EP coming up with Secondcity - how did the two of you come to hook up?
"We met each other playing for ABODE at Sankeys in Ibiza in 2016. Since then we've made eight records together and become good friends. He's a ledge!"
And the EP's on Relief, no less! It must be quite gratifying to see your work featuring on such an iconic label?
"Yes, 100% - it's exactly what you want to follow a Hot Creations EP up with! La Fiesta has done better than I could have ever hoped for, so to know that there's another strong release ready to drop and keep the momentum going is great."
Finally, what else is going on in Max Chapman World right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"Well, I'm slowly going deaf, and the amount of partying I'm doing is getting less and less due to me getting older! Other than that, my life basically involves making tunes and then playing them out. I love it!"
Words: Russell Deeks
Max Chapman & Secondcity's Terrace Tales EP is out on Relief Records on 13 October