Max Cooper



Were you always musical as a child?
I always had music around me. My mum was a music teacher. I always had the sound of her piano lessons in my ears after school ever y day. I was never actively involved. I tried playing violin but I wasn’t good. It sounds horrible if you’re bad at it. It is not a very forgiving instrument. [Laughs] It wasn’t until I was older that I connected with music. Only then did I actively start DJing.

Did you study music in school?
I didn’t study music at all. I was more interested in science. I wanted to become a scientist until three or four years ago. In 1998-9, I started DJing.

How did you come to work with Tom Hodge?
I love classical music, modern in particular. Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm and the Erased Tapes label for example, who I have been lucky enough to do some remix work with recently. I was keen to work with a composer from the start of the process too, and when I met Tom Hodge we realised we had a good compatibility in our interests and goals so we decided to give it a go. The whole thing has been very smooth and enjoyable, he’s a great person to work with.

Tell us about Amorphous Romance?
I wanted the piano to do the talking. My electronic elements are very subtle. An interesting component came along after playing in Manchester at The Warehouse Project, one of my favourite events in the UK. The next day, a friend who I put on the guest list said he had tickets for Manchester United vs Fulham at Old Trafford. So I brought my binaural mics and recorded the crowd in the stadium. Then I chopped the crowd into little bits and used it for the percussion in the track. It doesn’t sound like a stadium crowd of course, but it has a certain nice quality, and does open to some almost recognisable mass human sounds at points.

If you had to choose one song on the new album, what would it be?
From the project with Tom?

Yeah.
Probably the Fragments of Self. It’s the one with a video because it was – to some extent – what spawned the other tracks.  I wanted a track with a beautiful relaxed piano and horrible abrasive electronic computational mess . I wanted to bring the two opposing worlds together. It’s not necessarily the most accessible, but I enjoy the concept. I play it at clubs and people seem to really love it.

Who do you want to collaborate with in the near future?
Björk – that’d be a dream collaboration. She’s so beuatiful, interesting, and original. Radiohead – it’s ridiculous but you did ask. Maybe Trentmøller and Jon Hopkins. Autechre too, though I don’t know if they collaborate. What I’ve been doing recently is a collaboration with jazz musicians.  We’ve been going to the studio and I’ve been providing boards and frameworks and that get out of free jazz improvising. It’s really interesting.

What might we not expect to find on your iTunes?
MIT OpenCourseWare.

What’s one remix that you’re particularly attached to?
My favorite remix of all the ones is of Nils Frahm with Olafur called Peter. I think it is a free download right now actually!

What is that you love about Olafur Arnalds? We all have our reasons.
If I could condense it down, it’s hard to put into words but the honesty is the main draws for me. I find that he just has a knack of being able to express. He puts complex and deep things into a real minimal basics, which is how he can get across in messages. It’s very honest and beautiful music. It’s something I aspire in my own work.

What are your favorite tracks by him?
Poland is beautiful. I probably can’t pronounce most of his tracks but they’re all brilliant.

Where do you hope your music takes you next?
This weekend I’m going to Johannesburg, Cape Town. Another country on the top of my list is Japan. My sister’s husband is Japanese so I have family there. It’s very different and I’m excited. The level of detail in Japan is amazing. In January, I am going to Singapore and Thailand.

Favorite food?
Probably French.

Favorite color?
My niece always ask me this and I always say I haven’t got a favorite color. I don’t know how to choose. It’s hard to have a reason to have a favorite color.

That’s a fair response.
Do you have a favorite color?

I like black because I think it has a lot of emotion without being noisy or overwhelming.
That’s good, you have a legitimate reason. A lot of people say that they like yellow because it looks “nice”. What does nice even mean?

Favorite month?
April. It’s the end of the winter and all the plants are starting to bloom. It’s that transition but there’s a brutal wet cold winter that pawns everyone into the ground. When it finally starts to get warm and you can wear a T-shirt, everyone is so happy. People have seasonal mood swings so when it starts to get warm, everyone’s on good form.

Favorite movie?
Pi.

Favorite TV show?
I’m not big on TV. Game of Thrones, to be fair.

Spirit animal?
Cat.

Unchecked items on your bucket list?
Skydiving and spending a lot of time in a mountain. I spend all my time in one major city to the next. It can be a population overload. It’s a hectic lifestyle. I want to go to Tibet or something and walk on mountains and run off in the world.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. All my family is Australian.
2. I’m claustrophobic. I went to watch Gravity and that was quite good but frightening.
3. Jordan was my favorite holiday [vacation]. Petra is a hidden city with an ancient civilization. Thousands of people lived there centuries ago and it was lost, but it was rediscovered and I visited it.  I walked through mountains and crevices and eventually found a beautiful clearing of a religious building carved into a rock.  It’s beautiful there.

 

For more of Max’s work, check out his Soundcloud.