DJ Maiz / Kalin

DJ Maiz aka Kalin hails from the small town of Nova Zagora, Bulgaria. His love affair with electronic music started more than two decades ago when he got hooked onto this new sound via a cassette tape with tracks from the likes of Snap!, Technotronic, and Culture Beat. Maiz quickly discovered the myriad of styles and variations this new music had to offer and house and techno became his favorite dishes. Laying hands on fresh music was hard in those early days and a lot of his spare time was spent taping radio shows and turning them into mixtapes. Those mixtapes soon found their way blasting through the speaker system at his high school every Friday. A couple of years later Maiz helped his cousin - renowned Bulgarian DJ Versus, set up the first electronic music night in their home town. He was promoting the night, passing flyers out, carrying speaker stacks, and occasionally getting a taste of what it feels like to be behind the decks.

Fast forward to 2006 and you'd find Maiz on the other side of the Atlantic in Philadelphia, USA. He had just bought a pair of second-hand Technics 1200s and a handful of records. Long nights of practice soon followed and in a short time Maiz mastered the art of creative track blending. The sleepless nights soon paid off and thanks to a carefully crafted promo CD Maiz got his first bookings at the Vango nightclub, playing alongside Philadelphia's own Adrock, DJ Nico, Christian James, and Deep C of Tigerhook fame. Gigs at other high-profile venues followed including the legendary Lounge OneTwoFive and Z Bar. Nowadays Maiz has the pleasure of playing at one of the city's newest nightclubs - Mousai, run by Philadelphia's legendary Diva of the Deep - DJ Venus7. When Maiz makes the trip back to Bulgaria he gigs with DJ Versus at clubs in Sofia, Plovdiv and their home town of Nova.

DJ Maiz indulges in playing a tasty blend of house, tech-house and modern techno. His sets are heavily influenced by the technical prowess of DJ legends such as Jeff Mills, Carl Cox and Danny Tenaglia. Among Maiz' favorite labels you'll find Stereo, Suara, Material, Toolroom, Intec, Drumcode - just to name a few. While playing Maiz always strives to create an eclectic blend of quality grooves that relentlessly move the dance floor.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hello there and thank you for being our special guest in Artist of the Weekend? Where are we catching you now?

Hi, first, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be a guest on the Artist of the Weekend show on EILO. Right now you’re finding me relaxing at my home in Philadelphia after last night’s party. We had a blast, and since no-one wanted to stop after the party was over, naturally, we had an after-party, so it’s time for a well-deserved rest.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself, who are you, where do you come from?

I come from the small town of Nova Zagora in Bulgaria – that’s where I was born and spent my childhood. However, I’ve been living in the beautiful city of Philadelphia, USA for quite some time now, ever since I had to leave Bulgaria to start college over here.

When was your first touch with music? Who was your biggest influence back in the day?

Well, my uncle had a firm that produced custom-built audio equipment for discos and clubs and I used to hang around the workshop when he was testing new designs … That’s how I got into audio in general. That was when I was like 7-8 years old. A few years later I got a few cassettes with stuff from 2 Unlimited and SNAP, and, of course, The Prodigy. I’d say – The Prodigy were probably my biggest influence back then.

How did you fall into electronic music? Do you remember your first parties?

Josh Wink and his “Higher State of Consciousness” came along a few years after I was into the Prodigy sound. I couldn’t resist that sound, it was love from first “hearing”.

Actually, I remember the first parties very well – my cousin Daniel – DJ Versus, put together an electronic music night in Nova Zagora back around 1998, so I helped around with setting the places up, carrying gear, etc. Those were the first parties I also got to attend, and also DJed for a bit at.

When did you realise you wanted to start making mixes?

Back in the day in my small town it was very hard to get your hands on new music – we had to tape shows off the radio and we’d get together with my buddy and make mixtapes off those recordings. So we were dreaming of the days when we’d have proper equipment – turntables and records, so we could do this properly. Many years later on, though, I was lucky enough to actually acquire a pair of Technics decks and a handful of records and was able to put my first “proper” DJ mix together.

What has changed since then in terms of your style? Do you follow the music trends when you make your selection?

I don’t think much has changed in terms of my style from the time I put together my first mix. I’ve always been into quality house music so that’s what I always try to find and then mix with. Probably the major thing that changed is the tempo – it used to be more into the 128-130 BPM, but nowadays I rarely go over 125-6. And yea, I don’t play *that* much progressive/tribal house,
I’m not that much into following the “trends” – I simply try to find stuff that sounds well-made, and that makes people move. Frankly speaking, when sometimes I check out what’s “trending” out on the big music outlets – I’m like – nope, not for me.

How would you describe your style at the moment?

Right now I’m into deep-tech-house, and some techno. I really like how my favorite techno producers from back in the day found a way to translate their sound into the new times of slower BPM. When I play, I always try to tell a story, so I try to find material that is intricate and has some underlying “meaning”.

Who is your all time favourite Dj and why?

It is Danny Tenaglia. Ever since I first heard his GlobalUndergound “Athens” mixes, I was captivated by his ability to tell stories though music. I have had the chance to hear him play live out in New York – marathon 8-10 hour sets, and those are always nights to remember. This guy really takes you on a journey, and when he’s done, you feel a lot richer in terms of musical experiences.

Can you try to describe your perspective for a perfect venue?

A big, dark warehouse, with a proper sound system, not that many lights, but good visuals too. I’m not into the whole bling-bling and flashy bottle service style. I go out to listen to music, not pretend I have millions of dollars in my bank account =)

Do you have time to go out and listen to other artists in the US? What is your opinion on the dance scene in the States?

I still do go out to parties, maybe not as often as before though … I must be getting old hahaha. No, really, right now the scene in the States is blooming, here in Philadelphia too. There are a lot of quality DJs getting booked by the local promoters. But it has to do with the whole EDM thing which explored here a few years ago. Although I don’t like the EDM style, it brought attention to electronic music again, and the scene is benefitting from that.

What do you think about the fact that some artists do not become popular in spite of their talent?

Right now I think you need to be a good marketer to get popular. It has nothing to do with talent. CDJs have a “sync” button, you can download Beatport’s top 100 and you’re a “DJ” … Back in the day you needed talent because you could not sync up two records with a magic wand =) People recognized that talent and you had a chance. Nowadays you need marketing talent. And that kind of pisses me off because people who really deserve recognition don’t get it, but then you have Paris Hilton playing Amnesia …

Have you ever considered getting into producing? Do you think DJing and producing should go together?

I have, but I don’t think I have the musical background and proper training to do it well. That’s why I haven’t tried to mess round with producing yet. If I do, I want to do it properly, get to learn music theory first, then start producing. I don’t’ think it’s necessary for DJs to be producers, if they don’t feel like it. However, it’s very beneficial, because that gives you exposure and people learn about you.

When you building up your mix do you try to tell a story or is your aim just to make people dance?

I think I already hit on this one - I think it’s necessary to do both – you need to tell them a story, but also have to do it in a way that makes them dance. It’s called dance music after all =)

Where do you prefer DJing indoors or outdoors and why?

Frankly, I don’t have a preference – all I need is the proper gear, and some people who are willing to dance. We will make it happen regardless of the place.

Where was your last gig? What was the venue like? Did you enjoy it?

My last gig was actually last night. It was at this relatively new club – Club Mousai, which a pretty famous DJ from Philly is trying to build up – DJ Venus7. The venue is not that big, but it has a nice sound system that throws a proper punch. People seemed to have a really good time, we had some girls in their 50s throw old school moves on the dance floor, so, yeah, I really enjoyed it.

Can you please share with us your future plans? Are you working on anything exciting?

Right now I’m working with Venus7 to try and get Mousai established on the Philadelphia scene. She has been around the block – she started in New York in the 90s, so she knows how to do it. It’s a work in progress still, but we’re making some nice headway. Hopefully by fall we’ll be a Philly household name.

EILO radio wishes you a good luck and looking forward to hear from you soon.

Again, thanks a lot for the invite to be part of EILO’s Artist of the Weekend. It has been a pleasure and an honor!