While summer draws to a close and winter takes over. We take a look back to the invigorating essence of summer. A big part of that for the versatile artist Maxwell Owin is Brainchild Festival : a get-together amongst his contemporaries and friends at a festival that they have been representing since the dawn of it’s days.
At this weekend fuelled of artistic endeavours, Maxwell Owin is a common name to be heard, and it is here that he reminisced through his music career. After playing his third set of the weekend, this DJ came and sat on one of the hand-made benches crafted from wooden pallets while he caught his breathe from his DJing performance for SE Dub Collective. This musician has quickly become a backbone in South London’s music scene by creating his own unique sounds within the electronic music genre. A musician who cunningly inserts his stylistic creations collaborating with many contemporary names in the music scene, has a capacity to adapt with different musicians in an astounding manner.
His broad musical knowledge, technical and theoretical can be heard through his production abilities. This extensive musical awareness, developed through growing up, while he managed to grasp an interest within most music genres hands-on while collaborating with a diverse amount of artists. From a young age Maxwell Owin was exposed to a variety of different musical tastes which would then continue to develop through his connections. Growing up in Oxford he was exposed through family, friends and his own curiosity to a lot of classical music, old jazz ,as well rock. This would create the foundation of his interest in music that he would push throughout his education and would be pursued in his music GCSE’s.
He would first put his own mind to creation while using DAW producing software, prominent and profound moment where suddenly the ideas in his head oozed into an effortless flow. This passion would be the beginning of a long progression in his journey of becoming a DJ. Whilst a teenager his music taste evolved during the birth of Dubstep which aroused new musical excitement which would prime his own taste with his adoration of Jazz and rock, to more chilled out electronic vibes.
It was then that he retreated to London where his music ability would flourish while he was immersed in a rich diverse group of individuals who all had the same intentions: pushing the music scene in a new, unique direction. This young and fresh musician would meet the likes of Ragofoot and Jackal Wyfried who would introduce this producer into their talented social sphere and also involve in many creative musical projects. Ragofoot and Jackal Wyfried participated in the first sessions where Steez first began in a Pub South of the river. Here, Maxwell Owin would tie-in by doing sets and meeting many artists. Steez, a South-London collective composed of bands, DJ’s, poets, merging all their creative abilities in this night would encompass many of the musical inspirations that would drive Maxwell Owin in the music scene. This blend of musical tastes would seep through into this musician’s own talent creating his exclusive genre. Steez would be the beginning of many collaborations but also friendships. It would be the origin of his alliance with MC Pinty. Looking back, Maxwell Owin recalls this debut of his music career with a ‘weird nostalgia’. Maxwell Owin’s musical journey has varied, from playing in warehouses with 2-step garage under MC Pinty’s jumpy bars which would proceed to meeting up with different artists encompassing many different genres and sets. These alliances would allow him to tackle his devotion of all his diverse musical tastes. From working with his colleague Izzy Bizu he worked on more chilled-out vibes, to then being part of SE Dub Collective where Dub was able to take a new arousing form of movement conceiving a new name for the genre in London.
Maxwell Owins role in Steez became more and more prominent as he supported this new musical platform, constantly stimulating new musical talent. While he played in Rotterdam aside Steez at the beginning of his career as well as supporting Brainchild festival from the start, his position as a multi-talented artist ingrained itself as his alliance with Steez solidified. This love for supporting artists not only comes from making music but also his investment in different mediums such as radio shows or his immersion in South London’s music scene by devoting a lot of time working with Yam Records, a record shop in Peckham exposing independant labels.
Since being overtly exposed to South-London’s current artistic scene, his hunger to grasp many different musical atmospheres derives from his inspiration to ‘challenge people’. He explains that by mastering different genres and altering them to create a new taste of music and putting it out to the public, it allows a certain drive in his musical creations. This musical passion can be observed in his performances. While doing his sets he enters a personal trance where each transition into a new track becomes an esthetic game for mind and ear. This derives from his experience of ‘DJing to empty rooms and not looking at the audience’. This attention to creating unique senses by mixing specific tracks comes from his foremost musical inspirations. Burial, being his most favored producer who allowed him to gain his interest in London on a musical and personal level added with his involvement with Steez encouraging him to fuse Jazz into his productions can illustrate his tracks once listened to. His music blends electronic and acoustic on different levels which Owin said rooted from ‘working with love and respect to other people’s craft’. This once again presents Maxwell Owin as a DJ whose work is established through different relationships. He is constantly working with individuals ‘I see them at gigs, house’s I’m always thrust into company especially in Steez’. This cohesive core and friendships that is created through the musical medium allows a certain openness which is identified through his work due to the nature of improvement and improvisation. By ramming different genres in his work he is not one for pigeon-holeing his music, instead he works through ‘phases’. From mixing Jazz, to garage, to his recent collaboration with Jamie Isaac where his work can be seen as futuristic. This multi-talented artist’s work can be densified into his new EP that was out the 8th of September. Here you may see an array of genres and artists that he has compressed into a musical project that describes his London journey.
© Molly Sisson aka vulgairefinesse