Argentina is a known hotbed for all things melodic, and Maxi Degrassi is yet another rising young talent that proves this notion. Having become arrested with house, techno, and the genres’ more melodious shades as a child, the producer got his start toying around in FL Studio as soon as he could get his hands on it before being able to upgrade to Ableton Live. He began DJing around this time soon, eventually honing his skills enough to become resident at one of the top parties in his home country, Desert In Me.
His DAW labor has begun bearing fruit over time as well. Bolstered by his reputable curatorial taste, Maxi Degrassi earned invitations to send his own work into renowned labels across the deep and melodic realm. This has translated to releases on Seven Villas, Souksonic, and Magician On Duty, with his most recent conquering being All Day I Dream for a mesmerizing four-tracker titled ‘The Love Goes First.’ Each of its four tracks stay true to the languorous, sentimental tones quintessential of the Lee Burridge-led imprint, with soft strings, complex drum patterns, and soft instrumentals arranged in ways built to whisk their audience into a distant world.
Maxi Degrassi remains a bit of a mystery to the world at large, so we thought we’d learn a bit more about the man behind the music.
When did you first know that you wanted to pursue music production?
When I was very young (16) I did it as a hobby, but my desire to dedicate myself to music was never far away. For this I knew that I had to work hard—not only playing as a DJ, but also as a producer. I will never forget my first tracks; at that time they sounded very different due to my own inexperience, but were already beginning to transmit something to my colleagues, who came back with good feedback. It is there where I began to connect and generate my career as a producer—with much love, effort and commitment.
Are there any unique “signature Maxi” tools that you use in your creative process? How do you use melody and instrumentation to communicate emotions?
Honestly, I am a person who usually improvises when DJing, and this is the same in my productions. When I’m working, I develop the track from the beginning to the moment of break … and when I get to that moment I usually export the project and mix it with any track that I like, usually with music that I usually play. This process helps me a lot as a guide, sometimes to know if I feel comfortable with what I am working on, if it is headed where I want to go …and if not, I close and start with a new one.
I love everything that is melodic. In my case I usually start using long notes that work as a background harmony. With the groove process, I like to incorporate some fun bass, which is usually a short bassline. Once the demo is assembled I add sounds with tones from plugins like the Omnisphere, Kontakt or Diva—they are my favorites. I also try to generate a kind of conversation with melodies that has a call and response element, always using the background, bass and groove as a common thread.
Who are your top 3 artists that have influenced the music that you write?
I was always very open when it came to listening to music, I never limited myself to any genre, I like to be versatile when it comes to producing or DJing.
At present, if I have to choose the artists that feed me a lot of information; they would be Matthew Dekay, Powel and Lost Desert. They are producers that fit excellently with the deep, minimal and house concept integrating organic and melodic content.
Do you think the pandemic has shifted your path? What have you learned in the process?
The pandemic caught me at a time of heavy growth in my career; I probably would have had a little more activity in the clubs, touring the interior of my country and abroad. Regarding what I have learned, precisely, to keep steady and work through my anxiety. After several months without playing, getting to spend hours and hours in my studio working was a great support that kept me focused all this time.
Let’s talk a bit about ‘The Love Goes First’—is there significance to this title? What inspired the tracks in the EP?
These are some of those tracks that producers get out in one day, in a matter of hours …
I remember that at the time I was signed, I was super motivated with some results that I had been achieving in my study of late. There were weeks where I sat down and every day I had at least one finished or super developed track. “The Love Goes First” was the first of several of them. “String Of Feelings,” “Beyond Attraction,” “Liru At Nom” and “Everyone Is Welcome” among others…
I don’t know if the name was so much a coincidence as a manifestation of reality. If you keep positive thoughts in your mind first, like love or others emotions in your performance, whatever you dedicate yourself to, will be successful. This also connects with two other very important pillars of the EP—”Keep Moving” and “About Energies”
When I saw the live set from Lee in Cercle Bali, I saw a connection of happiness reflected between the DJ and the audience. Speaking with Lee days later, he told me that he liked the title track a lot and that he was using it all over the world! It is a track that maintains a super dynamic and positive vibe and energy.
You’re a resident at Desert In Me. How did you get involved with the brand, and how has the brand been handling the pandemic? Are you live streaming?
“Desert In Me” It is one of the best underground series of electronic music in Argentina. Being part of the family makes me very happy, and has been a very important stage in my career as a DJ. The gang highly values the effort and commitment to music; it is reflected in each of their events. They began to make more contact with me after my evolution on the scene. After some events with them, the feedback was very good and I ended up as one of the current residents of the cycle.
During the pandemic, for obvious reasons, as there are no parties, Desert In Me had a fantastic idea: create his first compiled album with all the national artists related to the event. The album is called ‘All in the Desert’ and it is available only through Bandcamp. In a way it was like getting closer to the public we miss so much, and bringing music to their homes.
Argentina is a huge hotbed for progressive/melodic music; why do you think this genre is so popular in your country?
In Argentina we are very passionate about the things we like, to the point of even being hardcore fans—whether it be of a sport, a musical band or another activity. It’s not for nothing that many artists say that we are one of the best audiences in the world.
Hernan Cattaneo plays a very important role in our scene; he taught us how to perceive music from another perspective—whether in shows or sets, with progressive and melodic mixes, combinations of dark climates and other softer ones … anyway, we could talk hours about his techniques, but the most important thing is to emphasize that he is a reference for many and his sets incorporate a lot of sensitivity and information.
You are somewhat of an enigma in the digital world, is there anything you want your fans to know about you?
I am just a normal person, nothing special. Someone who fought and continues to fight for his dreams, and who is proud of what he is generating. My admiration always is for people, who are our life companions and always drive us to give everything.
Any upcoming projects that we can be on the lookout for?
A much better 2021 is coming in every aspect, I hope. Musically with new work, debuting on new record labels, and possibly also developing new musical styles. Some Bandcamp releases too, maybe before the end of the year.
Cover Photo Credit: Nadia Degrassi and Gustavo Danasini