Having embarked on his musical journey at the young age of twelve, Israeli born Maor Levi, looked to the stylistic choices of his countries limited dance music scene for direction and inspiration. Maor may have been greatly hindered by the shortcomings of his primitive home studio (an outdate desktop computer), nonetheless, his productions quickly found global praise.
At seventeen Levi released his first track, Lital, on Above & Beyond’s Anjunadeep and the very next year he landed an original production, Reflect, on Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise 6 Ibiza. Levi’s career was taking off and everything seemed to be falling into place, but life had a different plan for up and coming trance titan: after being drafted into the Israeli Defence Force Levi’s career was put on hold only to pick up right where it left off three years later.
Last year Levi was the most featured artist, with three tracks, on Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats Volume 10 and the trio “can’t remember the last time [they] played a set without at least one of his productions in it.” Branching out from the Anjuna family Levi’s multi-genre supporters are vast and diverse: including Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, Knife Party, and Nicky Romero, and Bassjackers just to name a few.
Tonight, Maor Levi will be performing at Celebrities Nightclub alongside Norin & Rad for an always coveted Anjunabeats party. With the Vancouver Trance Family prepped and ready for the must see event we at Blueprint believe it is high time that everyone took a minute to really get to know more about Maor Levi’s whirlwind past.
Blueprint: First and foremost, I think what people really want to know is: in your opinion how many Beatport Top 10 tracks does it take to work a VIP table into a frenzy?
Maor Levi: Just one with a catchy and familiar hook by a famous rapper/singer Music tastes and people’s swag these days is a big thing.
On January 31st you are playing Celebrities in Vancouver with Norin and Rad and you recently expressed your excitement on Facebook. Is it the audience or the city that keeps you coming back to Vancouver for more?
Maor Levi: I love Canada and it’s always fun to play there. I don’t get too many Canadian gigs yet but the last time I played Vancouver it was great fun—great vibes and great people. It’s always exciting there.
Blueprint: How did growing up in Israel guide your artistic sensibilities early on and who first inspired you to start producing?
My first inspiration came from Psy-Trance. Israel is known around the world for big names in the Psy industry: Infected Mushroom & Astrix, are both brilliant and that’s what really got me into Electronic music. Also the foundation of Goa and pure Psy-Trance, Israel has a small amount of big artists that breakthrough worldwide. Each of these artists has their own unique style and they went a long way in making my style diverse as well.
Blueprint: How has becoming increasingly immersed in the North American scene changed your sound from the initial vision you had for yourself as an artist?
Maor Levi: Once you get a handle on DJ’ing and performing to mass crowds with a very high frequency of gigs per week/month, you adjust yourself to the crowd. I’ve never been a slave to one style in my music, which is really a big part of what expresses my live DJ’ing style. I Play pretty much everything, most of the material is my own stuff and I try to break the Top 10 Beatport cliché while I’m mixing.
Blueprint: Trance purists. Thoughts?
Maor Levi: I don’t have anything against them, but I also don’t have anything with them. A person who doesn’t appreciate any artist for his/her success clearly has no soul for music in general, being a one genre purist won’t get you anywhere. As an artist you want to express yourself and you shouldn’t be caged into one regular template: I try to make most of my singles/remixes sound completely different from one another while still maintaining my ‘Signature’ sound. Trance purists can go on and on about how Trance is better than everything, but most of them don’t realize what it is to express yourself musically as an artist.
Blueprint: You spent a three year stint in the Israeli army. How did serving your country affect your sound?
Maor Levi: It created a lot of good memories and kept me inspired for years. Every adventure or unique moment I experienced during my time in the service is now expressed in my singles.
Blueprint: In the service where there ever moments when you questioned your life goals and momentarily second guessed your path as a DJ and producer?
Maor Levi: I never really planned on being a musician, it was very random. However, once I started messing around when I was 12 I knew I wanted to take it to the next level. The army was a good break for me to adjust myself and get my shit together and strive for success. So yes it is an important phase in my life.
Blueprint: On a lighter note, your twitter profile name recently dubbed you DJ SaggyBoobs and I’ve got to ask, what would a SaggyBoob’s set sound like?
Maor Levi: ‘Very ‘Milky’
Blueprint: In a 2013 interview when asked about your growing presence in the North American EDM scene you said: “it’s great realizing that actually you do have value and that people appreciate you and that it is just fun blending in.” Can you elaborate and explain how growing as a solo act has changed how you see yourself as an individual?
Maor Levi: It didn’t really change me, but it made me believe that there’s hope in what I do. In my country EDM is small compared to North America, but once I came here and played to many people, met fans and started networking with others it made me realize it’s all worth it and I should never give up.
Blueprint: Deep dish or thin crust pizza?
Maor Levi: Both, in my mouth.
Blueprint: Musically speaking what are your plans for 2014? What can your fans expect from you in terms of sound, releases, and tours?
Maor Levi: I’m hoping to finally get an album done as I’ve been constantly reworking and scraping 4 albums for the past 4 years. Hopefully I will get a lot more gigs and play in festivals (which are my favorite) and keep releasing good music.
Blueprint: One spotlight, a microphone, and Maor Levi belting out the beats while standing up on the decks: this is how I imagine you performing your remix of Animals live. Will Vancouver be lucky enough to experience such a rare performance?
Maor Levi: Hahaha, I was thinking about it after many DJs played it live…it’s hilarious!!!!
Limited to tickets tonight’s Anjunabeats show at Celebrities Nightclub are still available, so grab them while you still can.
– Ryan Hayesget tickets