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Interview - Max Armata, Yahtzel - acid stag

Interview: Max Armata, Yahtzel

Words by Vicki Winter.

Who likes free stuff? Yeah us too, which is one of the many reasons why we have a massive music crush on Australian producer/DJ Max Armata, aka Yahtzel. Solidified as a festival favourite and an all-round good times guy, we thought we would have a quick chat with Max about what he’s been up to before we catch him at Listen Out festival later this year.

There’s been a bit of a festival lull in the past few months, has that given you a chance to work on a new EP or album?
Yeah, I’ve made a ton of new songs, it’s just been a problem with me choosing which songs I want to come out at what time and the artwork and the sound. There’s been allot of writing but allot of confusion. There is a lot of material on its way soon though, I’m really pumped up.

You can’t actually get your Girls EP on iTunes and there are only two tracks of it on your SoundCloud… Was it a deliberate move to take it down?
Yeah, in a sense… I wasn’t completely satisfied with them and wanted to make some changes – so it was a happy mistake in the end that I took them down. Now every couple of months I will upload one song just for a day and see how many people can download it. It makes its own way around the internet without me having to do anything, so it’s become this special thing I created by accident as a surprise for listeners.

Everything that you have up online is free to download, is that something you will continue in the future?
Yeah, I’d love to do everything for free. I’m a massive believer in free music and these days with the internet you can download it anyway. My songs are all free downloads yet there are still pirated copies of them everywhere! One day I might put an EP or an album on iTunes or something but as for singles and the general view of releases, yeah they will be free.

Do you feel like you might be missing out on earning money or do you think that the benefit of fans getting free downloads outweighs what you might be losing?
I think these days with bookings and the booking structure; stats have a lot to do with it, so the act of releasing a free download will naturally get it a little more gravity on the internet and make those stats look better to the promoters. That’s my opinion, whether that’s true or not though…

We are dying to ask about your chummy bromance with LDRU, how did you guys meet?
We met at a gig in Brisbane, it was probably my third or fourth show and Drew hadn’t been playing many shows yet either… the night got massively wild and we invited people back to my hotel room and got completely schomozled… and kicked out… After that, combined with our similar music taste, we have been making tunes and playing shows together ever since.

When you play shows or go on tour, are there any quirky items that can be found in your carry on?
I have a book, it looks like a creepy old spell book from Harry Potter – I bought it off eBay. I take that to most gigs and people will draw a picture, or write a message, or some weird thing from that night. It’s just a book of hilarious slurred notes.

It must be getting pretty full now?
Yeah it is! I unfortunately put it away for a couple of months and missed out on a lot of good shows, but I’m going to crack it back out for Splendour and see what I can get in there.

You’re also playing Listen Out festival in September. Do you ever feel intimidated or nervous playing alongside other Australian sound artists like Flume, Chet Faker, and Four Tet?
Nerves yeah, but not so much intimidated. I think everyone out there has their own sound and does their own thing so Listen Out choosing the line-up and wanting my type of sound on there is special. I’m nervous to meet a few of my idols but not intimidated.

Is there anyone in particular you are looking forward to seeing at Listen Out that you haven’t seen perform before?
I’m looking forward to seeing Zhu, he‘s super mysterious and not many people know much about him. It’s a set that is hot to watch, everyone will be there.

As a known party guy, do you have any tips on how to get to get through the Festival and any parties that follow?
1. A healthy breakfast
2. Three of your best friends minimum
3. A good attitude

Yahtzel has assured us that there will be new material in the next couple of months, but until then you can get your fix (for free) from his SoundCloud and book your tickets to Listen Out festival below.

WHAT: Listen Out 2014
WHERE: Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane
WHEN: September 27 to October 5
TICKETS: on sale June 19 at 12pm |

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Filed: Featured, Interviews, Music News

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