NEW YORK — Up-and-coming DJ/producer Max Vangeli is one of the most promising artists for 2011. He capped off 2010 with a bash at Miami's Fountainbleu, where he rang in the new year poolside performing with Tiësto, and the San Franciscan's rise to the upper echelon of dance music has seemingly come out of nowhere.
"I remember when I started playing in San Francisco," the 25-year-old recalled to MTV News recently. "I would play in front of, like, 15 people, and then slowly going to, like, maybe 20,25, 30 to 150, and now I'm doing New Year's with Tiësto? It's overwhelming, but I'm ready!"
So how does Max, who was born in the tiny European nation Moldova, plan to top what he achieved in 2010? Simple: He'll be cranking out even more killer music. Together with production partner AN21 (pronounced "Antoine"), who just happens to be the younger brother of Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello, the duo are out to prove that they're by no means tagging along for the ride.
"It's difficult, because everything we do is associated with Swedish House Mafia," Vangeli said. "But we're still our own producers, and we do our own things. The fact that we're associated with the guys isn't necessarily a bad thing for us; it only helps our careers. We learn a lot from them, and it just pushes us to work as hard as they do."
In the past 12 months or so, the duo have proved just that. Exploding on the radar during WMC 2010 with their anthemic remix of Steve Angello's "Monday" and their own original smash "Swedish Beauty," the duo showed no signs of slowing down. Followed by remixes for Switchfoot, Ellie Goulding and Gorillaz; a resurrection of the Prodigy's controversial '90s tune "Smack My Bitch Up"; and their latest remix smash remix of the Pendulum hit "The Island," Max and AN21 have solidified their spot on the international scene.
"When we were offered to do the [Pendulum] remix, we loved the record already, so it was hard to remix because it's already really, really good," Max said.
Co-produced by AN21 and Steve, the "Island" remix came together rather quickly, Max said. In fact, it began en route to the perennially epic Mystery Land Festival in Holland's capital city, where they were set to perform along with Tiësto and scores of others. "We just sat with our laptops the entire night and put some ideas together and ended up doing it literally in one night," Max recalled. "We didn't sleep at all. Then we flew into Amsterdam and played it, and it just went off."
It should come as no surprise that due to the massive success of "The Island" and their many other remixes, these gentlemen have been in high demand. However, instead of speeding down the remix-highway, the pair have decided to focus on their debut album, tentatively slated for release in late summer.
"We have a lot of remix requests, especially right now. It's almost every day we have a remix request from great artists that we'd like to work with," Max said. "[However], at one point you want to get away from that and get on your own productions, because when you're doing remixes constantly, you don't have time to really be more creative about new sounds and things like that. This was the perfect opportunity for us to do the album, where we step away from all the work on remixes and just focus on our own sound."
Vangeli said the idea behind the album is to collaborate with those they've loved working with and doing remixes for in the past. Tracks have already been confirmed with Tiësto and Steve, as well as another with Kim Fai, which is already being played in many of the Swede's sets. While keeping the rest of the collaborators a secret, Max assured us that the album will have at least four or five in total.
"Overall, it's pretty shaped up," he said. "We have a lot of great collaborations on it."
Fans will get to hear much of the new music in Miami come the end of March, as he and AN21's dates will align with those of the Swedish House Mafia, but like the rest of the crew, they will not partake in Ultra Music Festival.
"Right now, we have nothing planned for the early part of Winter Music Conference," Max said. "So we're all planning to go the regular dates, because it's such a standard for everyone. I don't know why they pushed it back early."
He, like many others, agreed that the date change couldn't come at a worse time, when dance music here in the States is seemingly hitting its stride with the masses.
"I don't think it's ever been this big," Max said. "Right now, all of the hip-hop guys are getting into dance beats and stuff like that, so it's an amazing stage, and I think it's going to be one of those waves where it's remembered for a long time."
What do you think of Max Vangeli and AN21? Let us know in the comments!