Claude VonStroke realized his dreams of integrating his favorite childhood camping activities into a boutique festival centered around his Dirtybird label in October 2015 in hosting the debut Dirtybird Campout. Aided by organizer pros the Do Lab, he created a gathering that went far beyond the usual offerings and into sleepaway camp territory. Label members and guest DJs such as Justin Martin, Danny Daze, and J. Phlip played the role of camp counselors, guiding the energy of the festival forward in addition to leading immersive activities such as waterballon fights, archery, and tug-of-war.
The combination of nostalgic elements with quality music proved a winning one for the Dirtybird Campout, leading to its return to Southern California’s picturesque Oak Canyon Park for round 2 from October 7-9. Ahead of the festival, we’ve teamed up with Dirtybird for an ongoing interview series spotlighting both the imprint’s own stars, as well as the myriad of world-class artists on the bill.
Hailing from the UK bass scene, veteran duo MAXIMONO take over the third installment of the series as we get an inside glimpse of their artistic background. Their break into the house music world stems from their unique production approach, which draws upon their extensive experience in drum ‘n’ bass and jungle to create bumping pieces that have earned them the attention of venerated curators such as Claude VonStroke. Having made it onto prolific labels such as CUFF, Confessions, and of course Dirtybird, MAXIMONO are definitively an act to keep an eye on moving forward, and are not to be missed at Campout 2016.
How long have you been DJing for & how did you get your start?
We’ve both been DJing since the late 90s. We got into dance music through Jungle and Drum&Bass back in the days by listening to Pirate Radio Stations and going to record stores in London (Nick as a London resident and I as an exchange student). Nick was always musical, playing instruments and studying music, and learnt to produce even before he got into DJing. I got into producing a couple of years later (around 2007). For ages we wanted to start a collab project that was totally different to what we had both done before, so we started the MAXIMONO project around three years ago, not really taking it that seriously to start with, just having fun. Actually 3 years later, we’ve still got exactly the same attitude!
What was your first label release? Would you still play it?
As MM our first label release was on a local label from Hannover called “YIPPIEE.“ The track is called “Stellar,“ and it’s a fairly epic 11 minute-long arrangement! Music-wise, we were doing quite a different style in those early days as MAXIMONO, trying to find our direction, so we would hardly play it now, but it’s nice to listen back to old tracks every once in a while.
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
Funnily enough the biggest breakthrough moment so far is actually “Campout“ related – without us even being there. We sent some music to Ardalan through a friend Nick shared a studio with in London (Pedestrian). Ardy passed it on to Justin and Barclay and they started playing the track (“Don’t Give A Fuck Style“). It looked like the track killed it at Campout and we woke up with lots of messages in our inbox about that tune and what happened with it at the Campout. It pretty much all picked up on from there, the track was signed to Dirtybird followed shortly by our first official single “Sorry / So Hot“ and we built a very nice relationship with the whole Dirtybird family. So it’s a bit unreal that only a year later we’re playing at the Campout ourselves!
If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
Great question as there’s so many amazing artists out there obviously. We’d love to be anyone who uses the Synesthesia process to make music, that would be so mad. A producer like Oshi for example.
What are you looking forward to most about Dirtybird campout?
We heard so many great things about the festival, it’s crazy. We can’t wait to see the whole label crew again after meeting most of them for the very first time in Miami at their WMC event. It’s hard to describe, but there’s just so much positive energy coming from everyone around Dirtybird (the label guys, artists and fans) that the whole experience will be a massive inspiration for our next productions. So it’s pretty much the same reasons everyone else is going to Campout: meeting awesome people, listening to sick music, playing weird games, drink and talking shit!
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Justin Martin – his sets are always so sick, and he dropped “Don’t Give A Fuck Style“ at Campout last year which got the ball rolling for us. Wicked guy, and serious DJ.
Walker & Royce – the guys are killing it for us right now.
Reggie Watts – we love that guy and have even sampled his voice for one of our tracks.
What are three essential items you wouldn’t go camping without?
Gin, Tonic, Ice. Erm and a tent.
Do you have a favorite (or funny) camping memory?
i went camping in the woods with a friend when i was around 16. some other pals of ours followed us and tried to spook us out when it got dark. They started their freak show by making weird noises close to our tent pretending to be wild animals and other creepy shit and even ended up shooting our tent with paintballs. We had no idea that it was someone we knew so we properly freaked out, went home in the middle of the night completely petrified. We didn’t go camping for quite a while as they didn’t tell us it was them until about 2 months later. So i got a pretty special relationship with camping ever since…as in completely scarred for life! So leave our tent alone please!! :))))
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