Brixton boy turned Streatham local Maxi Jazz is reuniting with Sister Bliss for a one-off Faithless gig, their first since ‘break-up gig’ ‘Passing the Baton’ in Brixton two years ago.
The event at the Electric Brixton is in aid of Maxi’s pet passion: Crystal Palace Foot ball Club, so don’t get your hopes up about them playing again any time soon.
After DJ-ing in Miami last month, Maxi is currently working on solo material in Jamaica, where he’s built a studio at his Mum’s ocean-side house. Nice job if you can get it! When he DJs he plays hip-hop, RnB, soul and reggae – not the thumping house we know and love from Faithless, and his own stuff includes rapping on a laidback hip-hop track from up and coming producer Benji Boko.
When he’s not in his island home-away-from-home the musician lives in Streatham, the West Norwood bit. “It’s much quieter than Railton Road in Brixton but that was the best place to live when I didn’t have any money,” he recalls fondly. “There are so many creative people in Brixton and there was always something going on that was free or cheap; it was a great place to be if you were aspiring and creative and open minded.”
Originally growing up in Croydon, Maxi moved to Brixton when he was seventeen. “I consider myself a Brixton boy,” he admits. “There’s nothing like playing in your home town. You can be anywhere on tour giving it your best but when you’re actually in Brixton and all your mates are there pushing to the front row, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s a proper homecoming.”
He observes Brixton’s music scene has changed “out of all proportion”. “Back in the day if you wanted to go record some music and make it sound good, you had to have a record deal and go to a studio to record. Now if you can save like £3000 you’ve got a properly working studio in your bedroom, you can upload your music onto the internet and become an overnight sensation,” he says. “As a young artist nowadays you’re less reliant on record companies and can be more self-sufficient but the drawback is that no one pays for music, which is a huge problem at the moment.” Is he worried about the industry’s future? “Things are fairly cyclical in this world. Something will sort itself out at some point,” he muses. “I’m barely computer literature; I was on Facebook for a day and it scared the life out of me!”
The event at the Electric Brixton is aiming to raise money for Crystal Palace FC’s youth academy: the “life blood of the club” and its means for bringing up new talent, Maxi explains. “For a club like us, it’s the way forward,” he says. “It gives me such pleasure to see the team doing so well. It really lifts the town.”
The vocalist and rapper has been with Crystal Palace through thick and thin, supporting the club loyally since he was nine-years-old. “When I was a teenager during the ‘70s we used to get chased by rabid Liverpool fans and Manchester United fans. I remember being seventeen-years-old and we beat Man U 5-0. I lost all my money, my scarf got stolen from these red and white yetis but it was a fantastic afternoon and lives long in my memory.”
By Laura Burgoine