Sunday, April 27, 2008

DISTRICT FEATURE :: Timeless JOC MAX Interview on Vinyl Athletes Blog

Planet: For those who don't know who Joc Max is, tell the people who you are, where ya from, and most importantly what you do..
Max: I'm a husband, father, son, brother who does production, has a love for music of all kinds. I'm a disc jockey and I'm from Kansas City, Kansas.

Planet: You've had a long career of making beats, mostly under the radar productions wouldn't you say? So tell us how you got started in production. Was there someone in your life-a mentor maybe that inspired you to get into making beats, or was it just a natural progression from buying records? This was all before meeting Spinna right?
Max: Yes, it was all prior to meeting spinna. The People that influenced my making music were my mother and my father. I got into making music from making tape loops, as well as, from just digging the whole concept of extending the break and other funky parts of records that were played around my home and places I would go to hear music. My mother is really the most responsible person for my getting into production, because of her I've had my own records for as long as I could remember. Her embracing the changes my taste has gone through musically, as well as, her encouraging me to explore, made it a natural progression from DJing.

Planet: You're definitely one of my favorite producers/MCs for obvious reasons. So let me quote a line from one of your songs for a second so we can talk about your sound. You say, "You'll feel it like an earthquake splitten the ground, with no played out Zap claps & keyboard sounds-strictly raw soul loops from raw soul groups-the kind that give flashbacks to Vietnam troops..". That line is from the song, "Joc Max Preface" from DJ Spinna's album, "Heavy Beats Volume 1". So lets' talk about that for a second. How much does diggin for breaks play a role in your sound? It's got to be huge right? Who did the production on that one?
Max: Spinna did production on that song. We both loved the song it was sampled from, so we just decided to rock it. Yes, digging for breaks, as well as, grooves is imperative to my sound being what it is.

Planet: How often do you dig for dusty records? Do you think prices have gotten out of hand for old records cause I see a lot of common Bob James records going for $20 or more when a few years ago they were never priced for more than $2 a piece? So do you think dealers are exploiting the culture or was all this bound to happen?
Max: I don't dig as much as I would prefer to, but whenever I'm able to steal the time to do so, I do. Yes dealers are exploiting the culture some, yes prices have gotten out of control. With things like ebay and books that list what people have used, it's like hey so and so used this and all of a sudden it's a $100-$200 dollar record. Supply and demand also play a big part, most records were never pressed in large quantities anyway, so that also has to be factored into the equation. But to me, a dollar record will always be a dollar record, no matter who exposes it.

Planet: Do you have any interesting stories of scoring a rare record for really cheap?
Max: I do , but I feel like I'm braggin when I talk about those experiences, and that's a pretty yucky feeling , so I'll refrain from showing the world how much of a Geek I am (ha ha).

Planet: Ha ha, fair enough

Planet: Lets talk about beats for a minute. I love sampling. There's nothing like the raw sound of old samples, so how much do you think strict sampling laws has had an effect on the sound of Hiphop? Do you think it has killed the art form?
Max: YES, YES, YES!!!! It has somewhat destroyed it! Hip Hop was born to the proud parents of Funk, Rock, Jazz, R&B, and Disco( I know that's 5 and not 2) so elements from old records have got be included in order for hip hop to be hip hop!

Planet: What do you think about producers who strictly use sample CDs', keyboards, or computer programs to make beats? Do you think it's laziness or just producers trying to avoid sample clearance laws to hold onto their money?
Max: I think that right now in hip hop there's a spirit of open experimentation, and people are like use whatever's accessable to you. Personally I appreciate this new wave of "use what you've got to get what you want" because these kind of movements are always coupled with artistic inovation.

Planet: DJ Spinna: How did you guys meet and how much of an influence has he had on your sound?
Max: I worked in a record store in KCMO. Spinna had a friend who live in KC, so he would come to visit her from time to time. On one of those visits he found his way to my place of employment. Upon speaking with each other we found out that we shared a mutual love for funk, rock, breaks and grooves, as well as, pure-traditional well-produced hip hop.

Planet: How long after meeting Spinna did Beyond Real manifest?
Max: About 2-3 years

Planet: Talk about Beyond Real recordings for a second. How did Beyond Real form? Was it formed because the majors didn't give shit?
Max: It was formed because the majors have not been connected with what's relevant musically in this country for years, as well as, because the music that was coming out of the B.R. camp was too important to us to be placed in the hands of those who never could truely understand and appreciate it for what it was.

Planet: You did a remix for Das EFX the (Domecracker Remix) right? Give us the story behind that?
Max: The Basement Khemist were introduced to Rick Posada by Spinna, in turn a demo deal with Elektra ensued. On one of those trips to KC, Rick heard that track that would become the Das EFX remix, Liked it, and decided that we should submit it and see what happens.
The Basement Khemist

Planet: At one point you were signed to Elektra records right? Between what years?
Max: Yes, between 95-98

Planet: Were there any recordings that were done for Elektra that have never surfaced? The Domecracker album right? What happened with that? Was it during the time when Elektra had a management change and they were dropping groups from right to left? Give us the lowdown...
Max: Yes, there's a Basement Khemist album. The Domecrackers album is a work in progress that will have a 2006 release. The B. K'.s were dropped after being shelved for a year. Personally I was glad, because during the recording of the album, I was priveledged to receive a copy of the INI album (on cass. tape, 95.) and felt that we needed to overhaul what we were doing to uphold the kind of quality that was put into the INI effort.

Planet: You had a Domecracker 12" single release that dropped in 2004. Will there ever be more singles or an album release for the Domecrackers?
Max: Yes, 2006- new album, Two new singles that will not be on the album, as well as, various other treats.

Planet: I want to get into some of my favorite recordings for a minute so break these down for me. The first one is the Domecracker Mix for J-Live's "Braggin Writes" that was originally released on GAP back in 96. I love that one. Was it a collaborative effort between you and DJ Spinna on production-how did this come about?

Max: Spinna new George Summers, who ran Raw Shack , which J-Live was on. Spinna also new J-Live, we hooked up (Spinna and myself) played a few records for each other, did the beat. Spinna gave it to George and J, George wanted the drums changed , so we obliged, and as a result they were kind enough to release the song.

Planet: The next one is the remix you did for Thrust on a song called, "EMCEE" released on Blueprint in 98. That one is dope. You flipped an O'Donnel Levy sample on that one. How did you hook up with Thrust?

Max: I had the custom of trying to obtain as many numbers of independent lables as I could, call them and solicit my production. One of those calls landed me in contact with JR(Musically Insane) and Samatha from Blue Print. I was a fan of Thrust's work anyway, so going to canada working with thrust was trully a great exjperience.

Planet: Basement Khemists "Everybody" released on Beyond Real recordings in limited quantities right? I love that one. The beat on that record is extremely nice and you guys get a little deep and spiritual on the vocals. Tell us about that.
Max: I'm a spiritual person, Jay Lee had a very spirtitual upbringing, so that's just us giving thanks and praise to the most high God, Jehovah. That record was supposed to have all the Khemists on it, but Kaliq(Taha) was not able to be on it. We're not thugs, gangstas, drug dealers, killers, etc. We're God fearing people, so putting out a record praising Jah, and exposing the devils plot to destroy us all, was-and is the right thing to do!

Planet: There's one last record I wanted to ask you about. There is a record that I have on a UK label called Sole Music. The release is under the artist name, Jayigees and it's called "Across The Globe". You did the remix for that. What's the deal with that project? I know the single was for a compilation on that label, is there a Jayigees album that we don't know about?
Max: In the B.R vault lies many hidden treasures(lol). That's just something Spinna urged me to do ( the "Across The Globe" remix), so i did it, it came out and was buried immediately. But to answer you questions, there's many Jay-i-gee's cuts that will most likely never see the light of day.

Planet: A few more short questions. Are there any producers that you always check for and why?
Max: PeteRock- His ear, his funkiness, his drums!!!, his layers, and because he's the reason produciton sounds like it does today.

Jay Dee- The future is now and it's name is DILLA!!! He's the king of the beats right now. No one steps out on a limb and BODIES IT!! everytime like him.
Spinna- Ambidextrous, the most versatile producer in the game. He's naturally funky. I've never witnessed anyone make a keeper with the same speed and skill as him. He's able to deal with feeling while making music, not hearing the music, but feeling it to the depths of his soul. He' s also able to get the music he hears in his head out, but using records, that's not easy!
Madlib- It must feel beautiful to be that free musically. He's in a league, world, solar system of his own.
Kev Brown- Landover, Stand UP! He's great. I love his chops and oh yea, of course those Bass lines. Whew Weeee!!!!!!!

Planet: Wurrrd- I would strongly agree on those picks. Those are definitely some of my favorite producers for obvious reasons.

Planet: What's your favorite record at the moment? Your favorite Hiphop record or records? Could you give me a few of your favorite Soul, Funk, Rock, Jazz, Lounge, or whatever titles too?
Max: Phil Moore Jr. "Right On". So many hip hop records changed my life and became the soundtrack to my existence, who could answer such a question? (lol).
Kool and the Gang- "Kool And The gang"
Ohio Players- " Pleasure, Pain, Climax, Ecstacy"
James Brown- Come on man, it's the Godfather, who could name all those classics"

Planet: What's your favorite piece of production equipment? Why?
Max: SP1200- put the funk in that machine and it still comes out Funk. The greatest grit ever.

Planet: So what's next for Joc Max , DJ Spinna and Beyond Real Recordings?
Max: New records, New sneakers, and hopefully new fans.

Planet: Any last words of wisdom, shout outs, websites?
Max: Praise Jah you people, fear God and give him Glory, for that is the whole obligation of man. Thank you to all who have supported my art, I love you all, and may Jah bless you.

And we're out!

Interviewed by: DJ Planet 2005
Found on

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