DJ Romax’s Musical Journey
Summer was coming; the line-ups uploaded. Kingdome was on full-reach – awaiting the set-lists from the plethora of sweaty dance-floor summer events. The Lebanese club scene was exploding with the meanest sounds of groovy deep and sexy House Music. A sound only summer brings. The heightened dance experiences Beirut is synonymous for. Among the few true Music talents that shaped my 2016 summer in Beirut was Romax Maurer, a Dutch DJ that has left his mark one dance-floor at a time, usually finding him spinning the decks at überhaus, and it’s summer’s hot spot, The Gärten or tune in to his two weekly radio shows on Light FM (The Weekender and Soul Sessions). On silent nights you would usually find Romax in his studio cooking up tracks for the club goers and party starters to enjoy. His creativity behind the decks has made him a much desired DJ everywhere he goes.
How did it all begin?
Well, there were a few moments that seriously set things in motion. One of them was mixing seven vinyls effortlessly for the first time I stood behind a DJ set-up at somebody’s place. People asking me ‘where do you play?’ got me thinking. Hmmm, maybe this is something for me, haha.
Where did the name come from?
It’s a combination of Rogier and my father’s name, Max.
What gave you that initial push to become a DJ?
What genre would you describe your tracks?
Wow, tough one. Funk, groovy, sexy, dance-y, bass-driven, soulful and electronic fun with serious edges and then some.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Who do you have a lot of respect for?
I think we shape ourselves from so many ideas, people and sounds etc. I respect everybody and everything in their own right.
What sub-genre do you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
Disco and house. It’s funny actually how house became a sub-genre.
What was the first event you ever played at?
Edde Sands on a Sunday in 2004 on vinyls.
When you play is it a pre-planned set or is it live?
Live. Although, I don’t think that’s the way to say it. A DJ’s set is basically always ‘set’ since you selected those tracks from the start.
Then again, my playlist is always huge and ready for whatever. Since my early days in 2000, I’ve played and still play all kinds of styles. I also love to crossover styles during a set so it doesn’t get boring.
What other countries have you played in?
Holland, Germany, Spain, USA, Dubai, the moon, etc.
What single night out has been the most memorable for you as a DJ?
Every first gig in a new country always seems special.
What is the best event you’ve played at?
That would be sad if there were only one wouldn’t it?
What was the funniest thing that ever happened at an event?
The nights are always full of funny little secrets and it should stay like that. It’s what makes us come back. What story is there tonight? How’s the music? Who will be there? What will happen? It’s an intimate journey, if you are aware of it.
What do you love about the scene?
That people can dance themselves clean. Oh, and disco balls!
What is something that bugs you about the DJ scene?
If you had to be eternally stuck on a single year’s music scene, which year would it be and why?
It would be ‘the forever now.’ It’s interesting and people always seem to want to go back in time for ‘better’ days or music but I think the best music is being produced now. There are records being made that nobody could have dreamed of ten, 20 or 30 years ago.
What was the first record you purchased?
I wish I knew. As a kid, all my weekly allowances were spent on 45″ records. My first ‘DJ’ vinyl was Around the World by Daft Punk.
What is one popular track that you can’t stand?
The radio edit of Fade Out Lines by Phoebe Killdeer and The Short. The acoustic version is so much better.
What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
Too many, too many, too many!
Out of all the tracks you have, which one “never fails?”
Tensnake – Around the House (DJ T.’s 2011 Edit)
What is your favorite track of all time?
Sorry? It’s breaking up… hello?
Are you able to share any of your secret tricks with me?
Feel it, love it and let passion and intuition guide you.
What is your opinion regarding the difference between old-school DJ-ing, where everything was restricted to vinyl, and modern DJ-ing, where most tracks are never put on any physical medium before or after release?
I embrace both, as long as it’s out there for us to play and for people to listen to and download. As for old-school DJ-ing, it has two sides. Vinyls are “limited press” so you could stand out and be more original. On the other hand, today you can be more creative on the mixer thanks to technology (looping, effects, a capella, changing a record really fast, etc.) It gives you more time to be creative and the possibilities are limitless, which is what makes digital so much more fun.
Do you think this stops DJs from having a distinctly recognizable sound or “unique” style? Is having your own style, different from all other DJs, even important in modern DJ-ing?
There you go, standing out is hugely important, to me at least, yeah. It should be for everybody. It means you are dedicating all your energy to your own best product. It shows you care what you let them listen to and are not just playing tunes everybody else is playing.
When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?
Riding my bike across the country and late night studio sessions.
What do you do aside from the dance music scene?
Besides being the resident of überhaus, producing my own music, two radio shows and tons of other parties. I try to sleep.
Where do you think the scene is headed one year and five years from now?
We will dance. We always have been and always will be. As long as we have loud music (less talking) under starry nights, we’re good.
What is one mistake you see a lot of up-and-coming DJs making and what advice would you give them?
Keep an eye on the crowd. Holding down the energy of the room and telling a story are things you can’t just “learn.” It’s a feeling or awareness that comes through time, I think. Also, Knowing when you’re not ready yet is key. Knowing how to mix does not make you a DJ. I waited for a long time before playing in public. I wanted to be ready. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be great, technically and creatively. Same goes to productions. There is no use in making records that nobody plays or will be forgotten. If you do it, do it with full dedication and honesty, do it right!