RAD Spotlight: Maor Levi Interview

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From Israel to the ASOT stage, Maor Levi hit the ground running and has established himself as a global artist.

Producing from the age of 11 and taking the dance music world by storm at 15 with his Anjunadeep debut, the DJ and producer has proven himself to be one of the most creative and innovative artists in the scene. I had the chance to sit down with him after his performance at ASOT900 in Utrecht and discuss everything from his personal life to upcoming releases and a potential album, as well as why he carried a framed photo of ‘The Hoff’ around Jaarbeurs all night! 

How did it feel playing at ASOT900?

It’s been great. Armin and Armada and everyone, they’ve been very supportive of my new stuff; and I’m just very happy to see that people actually like it again. I’ve had a long break but I came back really inspired and it’s been good. 

How do you think the crowd responded to your music? 

They loved it! I’m glad because I played a lot of new stuff and always when you play new stuff, you don’t know if people will like it or not. This was like the first time I test drove those tracks and the reaction was really good, I’m really happy. 

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

You know what, it might sound funny – even in the trance world, but people like Skrillex, Axwell, Swedish House Mafia, Armin of course, Tiesto (the old Tiesto). A lot of names like some tech house, Dubfire, Carl Cox, Sasha and Digweed. The list goes on and on, but those are the main characters that really shaped me as a producer when I started. 

Photo credit: Maor Levi

Going off of that, if you could collaborate with any of those artists, which one would it be and why? 

Axwell. I’m a huge fan of Axwell. A lot of people can hear it through my music, and I think he’s one of the most creative producers out there. Every time I see an Axwell record, I know it’s going to blow my mind so that’s what I want to do with my music; so people can expect a record and be mind blown. 

You’ve been inspired by a lot of non-trance sounds. If you weren’t doing trance, what genre do you think you would be doing?

I’m really into film scoring. I enjoy doing film scores, just for myself, I never really publish anything. It’s between that and techno, I love techno; but when I say techno, I mean the really minimal stuff, like the heavy, bassy stuff. Bottom line is, I’m really into bass music, I love it; and when I mean bass music I don’t mean dubstep and drum and bass. I’m into all of that as well, but I mean just in general, the baseline is just what gets me going personally.

Being a touring DJ, have you been able to find the balance between your personal and professional life? 

It’s very tough, every DJ’s life is always a tough task. I think it’s just important to sometimes take a break; so I took a year break from touring and decided to focus purely on music, to just kind of get my sanity back. Touring… even today, I was really stressed because I haven’t played a show in a year, and there’s always this feeling like you’re really nervous and your body is shaking. People don’t know that stuff, but every show I’ve had in my whole career (and I’ve been DJing for a very long time), I will still be nervous; even if it’s a festival or even it’s a small club, I’ll always be nervous. But you know what, if you’re not nervous, then it’s not for you. If you’re not nervous anymore and you don’t feel that kind of stuff, then it’s not the job for you. You have to be nervous because you really want to make a good impression on the audience and I think that the number one thing about being a DJ is interacting with the crowd. At the end of the day, they’re the reason I’m there. 

Photo credit: Maor Levi

So you mentioned playing for different crowds, do you prefer playing for larger festival crowds or smaller intimate club shows? 

I love the intimate stuff. I like a sweaty club where people rage and they scream every track, every drop they just scream their lungs out; that’s what I like to see. To me, it gives me this hit in my heart like ‘wow, people love this, people are actually feeling this’. With festivals, you have so many people from different genres. It’s still gonna feel so great to present your music, but when you have those hardcore fans that understand what you’re doing, for me, that’s like pure satisfaction. 

Do you have any routines or rituals for before you go on stage to perform?

Not drinking. I don’t drink until I’m done with my set. I drink a lot of water… usually, because I’m so nervous before my shows that not even a drink would help me; so I just pass on it. When I’m on stage, I’m trying to be really focused on everything and then when I’m done, I wanna loosen up and let everything go. So it’s been really good, it’s been working for me for a few years now. 

Is there anything interesting on or unusual on your tour rider? 

A framed picture of David Hasselhoff with a shrine and a bunch of candles next to it. So yeah… they actually did it tonight! I never expected that in a million years. I mean to me, putting a David Hasselhoff picture, which is the most random thing ever, on a rider is actually measuring how serious the promotor/club really is about their job. So far, only six or seven venues and clubs did it. 

Do you take them all home with you?

Yes, I straight up have like seven or eight pictures of David Hasselhoff framed, not up on the wall but just in a box. Usually, it’s the same picture that you’re looking at right now, the same picture most of the time. But I get it, it’s iconic, it’s something you never forget, this picture is insane. So usually when clubs do it, I take the picture with me and put in the DJ booth where David is facing me and it gives me a lot more confidence. It sounds funny but I think like… he’s the man! The Hoff! 

Photo credit: Maor Levi

If you could play on any stage in the world at any festival, club or venue, which one would it be and why?

Wow, that’s a tough one! I would love to play Woodstock… because it’s Woodstock! No explanation needed. Coachella would be nice as well, just to try and bring trance to that area would be really cool! 

So what can we expect to see from you music-wise this year? 

A lot of stuff on Armada, I’ve already released nine or ten records. I have more stuff coming, more collaborations, more remixes. But yeah, 2019 hopefully I get to work on an album, but right now I’m just trying to focus a lot more on my own material; not even collaborations, mostly singles.

Do you have any big upcoming shows planned? 

There’s gonna be a lot of surprises but I’m just getting back into touring so there’s gonna be a lot more.

Did you want to add anything before we finish?

David Hasselhoff is the man. That’s it. 

Relive Maor Levi’s ASOT900 set below and keep up to date with him on Facebook and Instagram.

Read more on our ASOT Interview Series below:

RAD Spotlight Rodg

RAD Spotlight FUTURECODE 

RAD Spotlight MaRLo

RAD Spotlight Estiva

Feature Image Credit: A State Of Trance
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Katarina Cvetko

Katarina is an international journalist and photographer from Sydney, Australia with a strong passion for music festivals. Since her first solo adventure in 2015, Katarina has travelled to over 30 countries in 5 continents and has attended over 100 music festivals worldwide. After conquering a bucket list journey of 52 music festivals in 52 weeks in 2018, Katarina continues to live a digital nomad lifestyle, travelling to festivals in a different country every week and sharing her experiences on social media.

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