When Belgian producer Maxime Firket (a.k.a. Compuphonic) collaborated with vocalist Marques Toliver on their hazy, utterly intoxicating deep-house collaboration “Sunset,” he never expected their effort to become one of 2012’s most heralded underground dance floor anthems. Before it was even available for purchase “Sunset” garnered over two million views on YouTube, and the song’s minimal brilliance quickly catapulted Firket’s career to the next level. After “Sunset” was picked up by Get Physical and issued in March 2013, Firket, who had previously produced tracks and cut remixes for assorted other imprints, took his newly found notoriety in stride and wisely kept his focus on his music, not becoming a star.
Firket’s latest offering is the Radio Atlantis EP, a gallant two-song effort whose sound falls within the same lush blueprint he sketched out on “Sunset.” Though more people around the world have now been exposed to Firket’s music, he says success hasn’t changed him at all and his background in classical music continues to inspire his unique melodies.
“It’s great a feeling when you see that your hard work pays off,” says Firket. “Apart from more international booking offers, it didn’t really change my life though. I’m still the same person.”
“Sunset” was one of the most memorable house tracks of 2012. Did the song’s success surprise you? How did it change your life?
Maxime Firket: For sure I was surprised when it arrived. When you produce a track, you always do it with the same energy and for some reason you always have doubts when it’s finished. I think this has something to do with the fact you already heard it too often after such a production. But anyway, after a few months, when I saw the success, I was stoked. It’s great a feeling when you see that your hard work pays off. Apart from more international booking offers, it didn’t really change my life though. I’m still the same person.
How did you connect with Marques Toliver? Will you work together in the future?
My manager introduced him to me. He discovered him at a garden party. The day after we met in Jet Studio in Brussels for a improvisation session. He started to sing on all sorts of different instrumental parts I already made. I recorded all the vocals of that session, took it back home and searched the right vibe. There were some unbelievable vocal takes in that session. I spiced this up with the beats that these vocals needed to create the right mindset and “Sunset” was born.
Although you were releasing tracks for some time, a wider audience found out about you and some thought of you as a new artist. How did you deal with that and the song’s success?
Well, I really did discover a totally new and wider public because the track was played on major radios. The audience in Belgium at the festivals I played during the first summer following the release of the track was really impressive. I was also happy to bring one of my productions at the same time to radio and clubs around the world, but to be honest my approach in studio was not different from other tracks I did.
“The beat strength comes from the clubs and electronic music knowledge. But my experience with cello helps me to find the right note in the melodies. More than theoretical approach, Romantic classical artists like Mozart, Chopin, Haydn or Beethoven can be an inspiration for me.”
Once “Sunset” blew up, I’m sure offers to do remixes, etc. came flooding in. What was this time like for you?
Yes, that’s true. However, my management and I always believe you can only do remix sessions if it fits, if it feels right and if the mindset is the same. We got some good offers but there wasn’t too much time to do studio sessions because I was traveling the world to play and promote my tracks so we really had to choose the right remix opportunities — which were fun by the way. After this period, it took a bit of rest and I started working on new tracks. These tracks are just signed on Exploited.
You have a classical music background and have dabbled with rock music. How does your work in these genres inform your productions for the dance floor?
It mainly helps about the melodies, compositions, harmonies. The beat strength comes from the clubs and electronic music knowledge. But my experience with cello helps me to find the right note in the melodies. More than theoretical approach, Romantic classical artists like Mozart, Chopin, Haydn or Beethoven can be an inspiration for me. I feel Mozart is almost pop classical in some works.
“Radio Atlantis” is equally as deep and majestic as “Sunset.” How did this track come about? What’s the significance of the title?
Thank you. The track came at the end of a day of studio work. Very fast. The track was finished in less than ten hours. Firstly, I found the chords introduction, then the vocal and the bassline. Afterwards it was a productional matter to “shape” the song. About the title… the vocal includes the word “boat” so I looked for a signification around electronic music and ocean. I found this name “Radio Atlantis” which was a Belgian-owned offshore pirate radio station, which operated between 1973 and 1974 from the coast of The Netherlands. I also like the concept and the word Atlantis.
I hear you have additional music coming on Exploited. What does the future hold?
I have the next EP ready. I really like the sound of Exploited. I incorporate quite some tracks from the label in my sets. It’s house music with a lot of soul, emotions, magical feelings. Not this sterile highway tech-house music we find too often on music platforms. I already signed music on several labels like Turbo, 20:20 Vision, Systematic, Parquet and Get Physical. Honestly, I feel Exploited is the closest label to my music atmosphere. I’m highly motivated to announce more music soon! Let’s go back to work!
Compuphonic’s Radio Atlantis EP is out now on Exploited Records.