Maxmillion Dunbar is the solo guise of Andrew Field-Pickering, who is perhaps better known as one half of Beautiful Swimmers. The Washington D.C.-based artist did this fine DJ mix a couple of months back and we’re really happy to present it now. If you haven’t come across Max D via his excellent Future Times imprint, you may have heard his Polo track being released on Live at Robert Johnson. Also, you should buy the great Precious System mashup just out on Future Times. Yay, that voice from Planet Love never sounded as suave as here, arm in arm with Don Carlos. Proof needed? Just listen to this mix!
ROOF.FM: In the middle of what did we catch you?
Maxmillion: I was just going through my e-mails: Digital promo world doesn’t get too much of a hold on me. A lot of it is like: Dubstep mixed with electro mixed with Russian trance and pop. Cool. Later. (laughs)
You’d rather get the nice-sounding physical stuff, of course.
Yeah, I just had this record delivered by the postman. That track is called Amen by Plutonic, and it’s from around 1992. I discovered it via an old Fabio and Grooverider. Early Drum-n-bass I was thinking, or actually weird proto Drum-n-bass that’s still house? A lot of stuff is probably common knowledge for people in Europe, but to me it’s this totally weird record. I’m really into this world.
So you’re mostly buying older releases?
I’m not sure if people are aware of how many second hand records there are in the US. It’s less about the collector’s thing there, stroke my beard. It’s more about finding something that’s so off the wall, so it’s basically like playing new records.
But you’re still an obsessive record collector?
Each time we go to Europe, my Beautiful Swimmers partner Ari (Goldmann) and I always end up buying so many records, even though we know we shouldn’t. Getting back to the States with all the weight, that’s truly heavy shit. Once, before we went home, we shipped all our clothes before hand, so we’d have room for the records. The humongous bag with clothes then stayed in transit for a month, so I didn’t have any clothes when we got back. I was just waiting for my clothes.
Ambient records, jazz records, dolphin sounds IS WHAT we Mix. Keeping things normal is not that fun. Life’s too short FOR THAT.
When you were starting to make music back in the day, what were you into?
As a kid I was in a punk band as a kid, we were into stuff like Fugazi. And then I was in this band Food for Animals. A very experimental rap group of sorts. I was always heavily into hip hop since I was in high school. But I’m pretty much insistent to get into new sounds all the time. Like house, disco, techno and electro struck such a chord over the past couple of years.
There is this East Coast thing soaring right now, with 100% Silk, L.I.E.S, Future Times and W.T.
Yeah, I guess that whole home crew has been working pretty hard. Five years ago, we were a couple of guys hanging out when we could, because we were all East Coast US, but living in different cities. Ron from L.I.E.S is in that crew, Will from WT, Ital and Magic Touch, Inner Gaze, a lot of us come from DC. Not sure, if it’s kind of like a scene. At some point, some guy will come up with a bad name for our music, and then I”m going to be upset ((laughs).
How did Future Times start?
I had a couple of tracks that I wanted to put them out, two tracks. And from then on Mike (Petillo) started to get on board, because we started hanging out together. This dude Jason (Letkiewicz) who does Steve Summers, Rhythm Based Lovers, Confused House, Malvax, Mike and his group started doing stuff and it started really well. And suddenly we had more reasons do more things. In terms of making money, we release our own stuff, so each of us is getting a couple of hundred dollars. It’s just nice. We actually earn some money, which we never did in any of our old bands…
“Things will be better in Future Times.”
Well, in fact it’s not ironic, it’s our motto, but if you take it non-ironically, then we agree with it as well (laughs). That’s actually a lyric from a song which I will not reveal. We have a couple of phrases we like: Strictly for the freaks. And Beautiful Swimmers, the name comes from a book around here, it rolls of the tongue, it sounds cool.
You have a knack for goofy messages…
Yeah, we like to have our giggles. Like “Russian Machine Never Breaks”. That’s hinting at Alex Ovechkin, a hockey player for the Washington Capitals.
There’s this somewhat watery sound with Future Times. Where does it come from?
It’s a vibe we latched onto and incorporated into our music, kind of tropical, a lot of the synthesizer sounds are vaguely wet. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but a lot of the mixtures just appeal to us, like a lot of hard drumming sounds with that aqua aesthetic. We just like that vibe. Future Times is as psychedelic as people want it to be.
There’s your monthly club night called The Whale in D.C…
Well, we have our club night, which attracts some attention. But of course, the club thing wasn’t really happening here. While you guys in Europe had raves, we had Nirvana. I mean Berlin, it’s a whole different ballgame. Playing unto 9 o’clock in the morning, it does never happen here, like in Soju Bar. Here all clubs around 3 pm. Speaking of Soju Bar, that’s a great place, I’m actually thinking about setting up a place like this here.
Do you play live as Beautiful Swimmers?
No, we just DJ. If we would play live, it would be so boring. With the Maxmillion Dunbar show on the other hand I create something of a live thing, I DJ with drum tracks on CD and manipulate them, all sorts of effects on top of the mix.
And how would you sum up your philosophy as a DJ?
I will definitely play what I want. Ambient records, jazz records, dolphin sounds, if we go late enough. Keeping things normal is not that fun. Life’s too short.