Connect with us


Exclusive Interview: Label Owner Max Kessler Talks KESS Records



Max Kessler
Max Kessler
is no stranger to the music business world, his experience and drive have taken him to new heights with each project he embarks upon; known for his passion for music, and his eagerness and vision that takes every artist that comes his way really far, it’s no surprise his record label KESS Records portrays the values and characteristics he’s known for; powerful and increasingly popular releases from the hottest names in the Dance music world like VAVO, TWINSICK, and LZRD, that have already amassed millions of streams on digital platforms and reached the top slots on the most important Electronic music charts like the Billboard Dance charts or the Beatport Top 25, the successful journey of KESS Records as a prominent label in the Dance music world with Max Kessler at the head shows this is just the beginning.

1 — Hello Max, how are you?

I am doing very well, thank you. Glad to be chatting!

2 — Can you walk us through your first steps in the music industry? How did you start?

Absolutely! I would say it really dates back to when I was a student at Tulane University. During my sophomore year, I became very into DJing and my passion for electronic music grew. One day my roommate tells me about this new class called “Intro To The Music Business” and I immediately knew I needed to take it. Of course, the class was already full, so I sent the professor a huge email (people who know me well, know these emails can really be huge) explaining why I would love to be in his class to which he responded by saying I can join the class. He did also say I would need to sit on the floor because there isn’t enough room. Excited by his response, I joined and made sure I arrived early so I didn’t have to sit on the floor.

Following that class, I was still DJing and explored making my own music. One day I came across a music production summer class that would admit about 4-5 kids at a time, was interviewed by phone, and later admitted. In that class, I learned everything about producing, but during the last week, the producer’s manager came in and something clicked. I realized I would rather work with artists and help them achieve their dreams.

Fast forward another year, going into my senior year, I meet some very talented artists at my university and ask them if I could help. I became their “manager” and we just started making things happen. We were going to studio sessions, releasing music on Soundcloud, doing PR pitches, etc. At the same time, I sought out a job working with a promotions company in New Orleans that was putting on EDM events because I figured that would be a great experience as well. This became my every day so when graduation came around it was only natural that I wanted to continue what I was building toward. I graduated school without a “real job,” took the risk of becoming an artist manager, and worked 24/7.

KESS Records Label Owner Max Kessler
3 — When did you realize you wanted to create your own music label?

After a few years of working with VAVO, I felt like there was an opportunity to really level them up. I had a few meetings with some of the more well-known labels, but based on our conversations, I felt like what we needed was something different. We needed a label that was focused on development. Plus, who would be more patient and understanding than the artist’s own manager? So, I proposed the idea to the guys, and they gave me their full trust. A couple of months later, we end up releasing our first single and it found its way to the Billboard Dance charts. It was truly an unbelievable moment and proved we were on the right path.

4 — What would you say it’s the most important thing when managing a label?

Personally, I believe the most important thing is knowing what the artist’s goals are and working closely with them to achieve them. As someone who is a manager and as a manager first, I started KESS Records to be a partner to the artists. Whether that is to aid in their development, help them achieve chart-topping releases or execute some unique thorough release campaign, we are here for them. We will always fight to do what’s in the artist’s best interests and will always be looking to create opportunities.

5 — What do you look for when releasing new music with KESS Records?

When it comes to releasing new music, I look at several factors, but the most important is the music itself. I don’t necessarily care if an artist is just starting out or doesn’t have a massive following. If they present a song that I feel is very strong, I will happily support them. Having said that, we have become known for being a label focused on songs that lean into the Dance House and Dance Pop/Electronic Pop Lane, but I take an open approach with everything I do.

6 — And, what do you look for when signing new artists to the label?

It starts with the music of course, but removing that from the equation and it would be synergy. Synergy is key. Synergy, drive, vision, and morals. KESS is the first four letters of my last name, which makes this label very personal to me. When signing new artists, I not only look for great music but also great people who are driven and motivated. These artists are also passionate about their craft and most importantly are good kindhearted people. I hope that the artists we work with are people that can be role models to the next generation of aspiring artists. Those kinds of artists are artists I will always go to bat for and are artists I am proud to either represent or support however best I can.

On a side note, music-wise, we look for artists we can grow long-term with.

7 — Which advice did you receive when you started your career as a label boss that you still carry with you?

I honestly didn’t really get much advice when starting. I didn’t begin my career well connected or have real guidance. Were there people who gave me opportunities early on? Absolutely! And, I remain very close with them to this day. Having said that, I would say I received a lot of advice indirectly through being a student of the business. The legends that have made such a positive impact are people I pick from. I learned everything along the way. I studied what the greats did and put my own flare on it.

8 — Whose input is the most important to you before making a new move with the label?

This is dependent on what moves we’re talking about. I typically have a grasp on the moves I want to make, but I always value the input from people on my team. I also like to get input from my fiancé. She’s incredibly smart and always has good insight.

9 — What are you currently working on with KESS Records?

I’m honestly working on a ton of exciting projects for KESS Records right now. We have amazing new releases on the way that will easily be the biggest and best releases yet. We also have a lot of new concepts and ideas we’re developing. These will be focused on the fan experience and the relationship between artist, label, and fan. For those interested in that, connect with us on social media because that’s where we share most of the updates.

10 — What would you like to achieve with the label in the near future?

That’s a tough one because there is so much, I’d like to achieve in the near future. For one, I’d love for one of our artists to win their first Grammy. I feel very strongly about the quality of music we’re releasing, so I don’t think it’s too crazy to hope for that. I’d also love to build out a strong roster of incredibly talented artists I can champion. KESS was built on a family-oriented mindset. I hope to have a group of artists that are not only connected with the label, but also with each other.



Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.


Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’



One Life Paul Mayson Interview

Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!

1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?

My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.

2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.

It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.

3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?

I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.

4 – Can you share more details about the process of integrating experimental elements into the music production of your album?

A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.

6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?

It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.

Paul Mayson One Life
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?

We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!

8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?

I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.

9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?

Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.



Continue Reading


Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!




In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.

1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.

Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.

2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?

We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.

3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?

I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.

4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?

We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.

5 — Is this tune part of an upcoming album or EP?

It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.

6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?

It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.

7 — Has your signature sound as Tobtok undergone changes over the years?

Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.

8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?

Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.

9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?

I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.

10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?

Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.



Continue Reading


From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”




You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.

1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?

My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.

2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?

The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.

3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?

When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.

4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?

Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.

5 — What’s the story behind the song title?

“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.

6 — Anna Kline’s presence on “Can’t Go Back” adds a unique dynamic. How did this collaboration come about?

I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!

7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?

I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.

8 — For “Can’t Go Back,” did you experiment with a combination of electronic elements and live instruments?

Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.

9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?

I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.

10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?

Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.



Continue Reading
Don't miss out!
Subscribe To Newsletter
Invalid email address