Born and bred in London, Max Dean is an artist on an undeniably impressive trajectory. Whilst still relatively juvenile in his tenure, his seasoned knowledge of the House music space and homage to the culture it stands upon have already shown an excitingly mature side to one of the industry’s most sought-after rising talents.
After a successful summer of international touring and lauded releases, including several Beatport #1s, Max recently unveiled the final piece of the puzzle in his rapidly rising neXup brand vision – neXup recz.
You can download/stream the label’s first release, their “NX-GEN” VA, here.
To mark such an incredible few months for Max, we invited him to join us for a Little Talk, exploring his highlights, thoughts on House music, upcoming gigs/projects and loads in between:
WWD: Hey Max, thanks for joining us for a Little Talk. It’s been a great year for you; talk us through some of your 2023 highlights.
Thanks for having me! It’s a pleasure to join you! My biggest highlights this year are definitely playing DC-10, Amnesia, Cova Santa and Warehouse Project for parties such as Paradise, Solid Grooves, Eastenderz and Kaluki. Not forgetting, I’ve started my own brand/label (neXup) and completed my first UK.
WWD: You recently launched the label arm of your neXup brand. What can you tell us about that?
Super exciting. We introduced the brand early this year with a UK tour, which did really well, selling out 8 out of 10 shows in weeks. Then, across the summer, I focused on gathering music for various artist releases, which made up the first release on the label. I played all the tracks in my sets across the summer.
The label launch went really well, backed by a quality day and night of events in London at 93 Feet East and E1. The response to our “NX-GEN” VA was unreal. I’m really happy to already have several genre #1s on Beatport attached to the label at such an early stage.
WWD: Who has influenced you most musically over the years?
I’d have to say the Deep House era influenced me the most. Artists such as AZARI & III, Infinity INK & Hot Natured! Growing up, I also listened to a lot of funk and soul from the 70s / 80s. This definitely helped me mature musically and always listen to new genres growing up, making sure I could take influence and samples into my own music.
WWD: What’s your take on the state of authentic “House” music?
I think original authentic house music obviously originated in the 80s in cities such as Chicago & Detroit, then slowly expanding across the globe as time went by. The 90s rave scene definitely cultivated house music and really brought it to life. A lot of artists nowadays try to imitate the 90s house sound, and I think there are some amazing artists creating their own sounds within the genre. Mixing the old with the new!
WWD: You nailed a Beatport genre #1 with your recent Wheats’ BOX RED label release. Tell us about the importance of that release, given what you have lined up for the rest of the year.
This release was a special one as WHEATS was the first DJ to ever help me when I was younger to get my music heard. WHEATS was still coming through the industry, and I was literally just starting out. I pinged him some music, and he would forward it to Jamie Jones for me in the hope Jamie might play my music. So, to fast forward a few years and to be working with him on a release for his label means a lot! Full circle moment, that’s for sure.
WWD: You’re building quite a community with neXup; how do you envision the bigger overall picture of the brand? What does it look like in an ideal world?
I see neXup bringing through lots of grassroots artists. I am striving to provide DJs with a platform to kickstart their careers within this industry. I want to take it globally. All the way to the top! Ibiza residencies. Big shows in the USA. All the while remembering that the aim is to create lineups and opportunities for the next generation!
WWD: You clearly have a great team around you. How important is it for artists to surround themselves with the right people, and how conducive to your growth do you think this has been?
I have been blessed with the best people to join me on my journey. It’s so important. Communication is key. Always plotting ideas and scheduling calls to execute them. Positivity is key. Glass is always half full mentally. Writing down our goals and ticketing them off as time goes by. I’m so grateful for my team, and to think we are only getting started is a scary thought. Anyone who can surround themselves with like-minded people is a very lucky person. I am one very lucky person!
WWD: Lastly, what upcoming gigs or projects are you really excited about?
I have my first AUS & USA Tours over the next few months, so I’m super excited to be playing so far from home!
WWD: Thanks, Max. It’s been a pleasure to catch up with you!
Likewise! Thanks for having me 🙂