Max Dahlhaus – I don’t want to hide behind a pseudonym

Max Dahlhaus is a name that you may not be too familiar with but if I tell you that his pseudonym was Max Farlane you will more than likely know who I am talking about. The man currently resides in Berlin, Germany and first appeared on our radar in 2012 with his first release alongside Marc Poppcke, “Penzium” which was released on Marc’s label, Crossfrontier Audio. Since then Max has gone on to release tracks on labels such as Cinematique, Inlab Recordings, and of course Fairmont’s label, Beachcoma where he currently resides.

Max’s tracks have already gained big support from the big names in the industry and his tracks have been remixed by the likes of David Durango, Sid Le Rock, and Marc Poppcke. I expect this man to have a very positive 2015, and continue on his rise through both his productions and his DJ sets. Max kindly gave a few minutes of his time to talk to me about what he has planned for 2015, his production techniques, and why he decided to change his production name.

Hi Max. Many thanks for spending the time to speak to use today. How have you been?

Hi Ian. I am good thank you. Thank you for having me.

Can you spend a few minutes telling our readers about your music past? How did you get into music in general?

Sure. My grandparents owned a piano store, that’s why I got in contact with music pretty early. As a child I played the piano and I loved all kinds of music. Later my older sister introduced me to Punk Rock. I liked some parts of that music, but the scene seemed a bit too freaky to me at that time. Then I got into some old classics like Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground and David Bowie.

When was your first exposure to electronic music, and was it an instant attraction?

Sometimes as a child when I could not sleep at night I listened to the Radio. I don’t remember the name, but there was this one channel with a techno radio show. This industrial kind of music sounded really weird to me. Because my parents never had an affinity to electronic music, I didn’t know what this was. Somehow I liked it, but on the other hand I was sort of scared by it. Later during my first parties I started to understand, and suddenly I fell in love.

What made you want to move into music production?

On the NachtDigital in 2010 I have had my first contact with Border Community. James Holden’s set was mind blowing. After this nice weekend, filled with new discoveries and impressions I decided to try doing the stuff all these great artists showed me. Then I totally got sucked into the world of music. NachtDigital and its vibes are still giving me new ideas each year and I am just having a wonderful time with friends there. If you haven’t checked it out yet you should give it a try!

You have been successfully releasing music now since 2012. What have been some of your biggest barriers when releasing music, and trying to get noticed?

The biggest one was to find a label. As you already said, my first release was with my friend Marc Poppcke. He has been teaching me a lot about producing music. With him I mastered the barrier of getting a first release out into the world. The next step was to get my first own release. I left this barrier behind me with releasing “Red Jeans” on Beachcoma. This EP brought me a lot of attention. From that point on everything got a little bit easier. Now I am waiting and looking forward to all the upcoming barriers to climb over!

We recently spoke to Sid Le Rock who is the A&R man at Beachcoma along with Fairmont. How did you come to be discovered by the label?

I was lucky. Since the beginning, Beachcoma has been releasing really high quality music, so I supported every release and event on Facebook and shared them with my fb-friends. At some point I received a massage by Jake. He decided to say thank me by writing me on the guest list for a label night in Berlin. We talked and had a couple of beers, we met again, he listened to my music, he liked it, and released it.
Easy story now, but it was the greatest thing that could have happened to my at that point in my career. As you can see the Beachcoma-guys and I, we are still in love. They are releasing my music although I changed my name from Max Farlane. I think that’s a good sign.

Many people will know you as Max Farlane in terms of music production. Why have you decided to move back to your real name, and can we expect a very different sound?

Hard to explain why I did it. After a few years I had the feeling that I wanted to go with my real name. Maybe because I don’t want to hide behind a pseudonym. Sure I know that a lot of people know me by the name Farlane, but I think they are going to forgive my if I keep up doing “my” music. My sound changed a little bit over the last years, but I am not trying to do something different on purpose. It is just happening.

What do you feel are some of the benefits of using a pseudonym, and can we expect to see the name Max Farlane again?

The benefits are that you can do different music with different pseudonyms. At the moment I am concentrating on Dahlhaus, but maybe there will be a Farlane release somewhere in the future.

You released “Above” on Beachcoma on 12th January 2015 which features the tracks “Above” and “Zwoelf”, which we love here at Decoded Magazine. What were your aims when making the tracks? Did you have a specific sound in mind?

I have to admit that I am really unorganized. Most of the time the ideas are simply popping up in my head. Sometimes when I have an idea, for example in a random place like the U-Bahn, I am singing it into my phone. Or I am recording elements and soundscapes outside. The idea to “Zwoelf” was somewhere in my head, and at some point just fell out. I helped a friend recording stuff in his studio and during that process it appeared. The idea for “Above”, on the other hand, came to me in my home studio. I worked on it for a week and felt really good with the groove. I just had to send it to my Beachcoma boys.

Let’s talk about your studio for a little bit. What is your current studio setup, and which are some of your favourite gadgets when putting together a track?

At the moment I am working on my studio, because I moved to a new flat. My favorite DAW is Ableton and some sounds are coming from the computer. The latest and one upcoming EP are filled with analog sounds. Most of them are from two borrowed machines. A Prophet12 and a Moon-Modular-System. Experimenting with those two is so much fun!

As a DJ and producer you must be on the move constantly. Do you like producing tracks whilst on the move, using laptops, or do you only ever create your music in the studio?

Usually I am writing music in my studio, but sometimes when I get good ideas on the run I start working on them on my laptop. Cool thing about doing music outside is, that you have a lot of things happening around you which could give you ideas. I like being spontaneous and work with what I have at that moment.

Can you tell us anything about any future releases you have planned for 2015?

This year is really exiting for me. My label KODX is coming up this month and it’s first release will be by me. There are some other releases and remixes planed.

For people who may not have heard your sound before, can you categorise your sound in one sentence?

It is always hard to describe your own sound. Usually I don’t want to put my style into some kind of box. But maybe you could call it harmonic-noise-kraut-electronica?!

As well as producing your also a DJ. When playing out what is your preferred DJ setup?

I played with Traktor-Vinyl-Scratch a lot, but stopped it a few month ago. Now my preferred setup consists of two CDJs and USB sticks.

What were some of your favourite gigs of 2014, and why?

My favorite gig was in Prague. The promoters made this weekend really special for me. What I liked about these guys was their love for the music. It wasn’t about any profit, it was about fun, interesting sound and a good time. Of course it is also always great to play in Berlin because I can be sure to see loads of my friends.

Electronic music has evolved a lot over the years, and the number of quality producers out there seems to be getting greater in number. What are your thoughts on the electronic music scene at present, and what would you change if anything?

The reason to that phenomenon is clearly that it is not a privilege to the people, who can afford expensive synth anymore. It is easier to get into it. On the one hand that’s cool and it helps many people (it is also how I got started), but on the other hand the market is getting bigger and bigger, which doesn’t makes it easier for each individual to get recognized.

You currently reside in Berlin which is a city that needs no introduction. What are some of your favourite places to party when you get the chance?

I am afraid I am not the kind of guy who is going to this one special club every weekend. It totally depends on who is playing that night. But if you are in Berlin for a weekend and I had to choose a club for you, I would definitely recommend these (probably well known) three: Berghain, Stattbad and Sisyphos. If you are looking for a rather small venue, you should check out “Süss. War gestern” in Friedrichshain. I started my DJ- career here and still love the place.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your time, and ask is there anything else you would like to mention that you have planned for 2015?

Thank you as well, it was really fun doing this interview! Of course my new label KODX is something that I am really looking forward to in 2015. There will be a release party in Berlin on Feb 20th at “Süss. War gestern” and the first release is coming up just three days later. But that is just the beginning!

Track list

01 Clark – Hours (Original Mix) – Warp
02 Jori Hulkkonen – Journey To A Spectral Mind (Original Mix) – My Favorite Robot Records
03 Abstraxion – Around Me (Fairmont Remix) – HAKT Recordings
04 Simon Haydo – Infiltrate Imagination (Original Mix) – Studio Barnhus
05 Mind Against – Polarstern (Original Mix) – Life And Death
06 Atom TM – Ich Bin Meine Maschine (Boys Noize Remix) – Raster-Noton
07 Sid Le Rock – Aurora Heights (Original Mix) – Beachcoma
08 Max Dahlhaus – Shugo (Original Mix) – KODX
09 Red Axes – Na Da (Original Mix) – I’m A Cliche
10 Beacon – Fault Lines (Dauwd Remix) – Ghostly International
11 Nathan Fake – Black Drift (Original Mix) – Cambria
12 Tim Hecker, Dorian Concept – The Sky Opposite feat. Tim Hecker (Tim Hecker Remix) – Ninja Tune
13 Lake People – Distance (Original Mix) – Permanent Vacation
14 Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto – Mircroon (Original Mix) – Raster-Noton

About the Author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and House. A man that lives in a world of beats and bass, and total confusion about life!