From Tel Aviv through to the big cities of Europe and the United States, the Israeli artist known for his remix work for Gabriel & Dresden, The Killers and Kill Paris is no stranger to sold out crowds and producing on his own. From his cutting-edge track “Chasing Love” featuring vocalist Ashley Tomberlin to his latest release on Armada Music “Nova,” it’s a sure bet that the man who’s found his way into the sets of superstar DJs Above & Beyond will keep delivering us trailblazing hits well into the future.
1.) What turns you on about EDM? How did you get involved with it?
I’ve been listening to electronic music since the age of 10. I was always into punk-rock and classical music. But when one of my friends introduced me to Psy-Trance, I was hooked.
So I started delving deep into it and discovered artists such as Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and many more … The sound was refreshing and interesting to me and I wanted to know more about it. I was always curious about how the artists made the music and how the whole process was being done, so I started exploring into it and realized it’s a lot of fun. And with technology advancing so fast, I had all the tools needed to work on this kind of music right at my fingertips. Once I started teaching myself and realizing the endless possibilities, it gave me a good background of music production in general. I was extremely intrigued. And still am.
Latest Track: Maor Levi – Nova
2.) Tell us a bit about how you go about starting the process of creating your music. What does it entail?
The process was always very random when it comes to my workflow. I mean, now I’ve developed a “template” of how to start working on a track, but I usually try to gain inspiration from every place I visit or every person I meet and just general day-to-day life. From traveling to chillin’, or being in the studio with someone, I think developing your own way of working and being able to adapt into it helps a lot. I got to a point where I could imagine and hear sounds in my head and then translate them, or at least close enough into the computer. But yeah, I usually always try and come up with hooks. Those can be random samples or vocals or melodies or even me humming an idea into my phone. The possibilities are endless.
3.) You started off producing under the alias “Pillow One.” Explain how the sounds released under your former moniker differ from the sounds of Maor Levi.
“Pillow One” was a project I started when I was 14. I’m really funny when it comes to naming my projects or tracks, I usually keep it simple. “Pillow One” was just something I used for the sake of it. I didn’t have any clue my career will take off, but then I got signed to Anjunabeats when I was only 15. The tremendous support of Above & Beyond and the Anjuna crew, which mentored and guided me and gave me their input, was great. I gladly took it. So when things got serious, I decided to use my own name because I figured it also sounds and looks cool in english. When it comes to the style/genre it isn’t much different from that of “Pillow One,” really. The name change was more because of legal reasons.
4.) You’ve remixed songs for the likes of Gabriel & Dresden, The Killers and Skrillex’s OWSLA label. What’s your favorite part about the remix process?
I think the best part of remixing is when you get a solid track to work with. When you get the stems or just an acapella, it’s always a good starting point which automatically triggers your brain flooding it with ideas. So the process is a lot easier than coming up with your own stuff. I guess when it comes to my personal sound, I have always tried to take my remixes on a whole different route from the original mix. So the process of turning it into something completely different is what really excited me. And of course, the freedom of doing it and labels putting their trust into my craft is great, too.
Gabriel & Dresden feat. Betsie Larkin – Play It Back (Maor Levi Remix)
The Killers – Miss Atomic Bomb (Maor Levi Remix)
Kill Paris – Slap Me (Maor Levi Remix)
5.) Continuing with the above question, tell us about how some of these collaborations came about.
I never had any connections in the industry until I got signed to a management company so I wasn’t sure how the industry worked when it comes to getting remix requests or signing too many records, syncing etc. So yes, signing to a management company did help because it made it a lot easier for me to focus on music and not worry about a lot of things that held me back from making decisions in the past. That applies to your manager putting your name out there and pushing the boundaries as far as possible. From getting big remixes to big features, I was always open to try my sound in different routes, artists and record labels, especially with remixes.
6.) List three (3) of your favorite idols or influences in EDM and tell us how they have influenced your music.
That’s a really tough question. There are so many and there’s so much great music out there. I can definitely say that my influences came from artists such as Infected Mushroom, Tiesto and Armin back in the 90s. That also involves some hard-trance from big guns like Pulsedriver, Deepack and many more. But all in all, naming three favorites won’t do justice to the amount of inspiration I’ve gathered over the years.
7.) One of your latest releases “Supernova” just debuted on the Armada Records label. Tell us about the inspiration behind it.
The inspiration behind “Supernova” was obviously aimed towards to my love for Space & Time. As a majority of my recent records named after Planets and Space, this one was another one out of the bunch. I was always known for my atmospheric textures and sound during my breakdowns and the aggressive touch on my basslines, so that one is a classic “Maor Levi” sound with a modern-twist. My good friend EL Waves from the UK did the vocal hook on it. You’ll hear a lot from her soon. But once I got the vocals from her, it was done deal. Originally, I used a Coldplay vocal as a placeholder, but ultimately, I felt it needed a female touch. I actually finished that record a year ago, but it was never done until recently. I just had to sit down and fine-tune things precisely and it did the trick.
8.) What kind of social responsibility do you feel you have as an artist representing the EDM industry? What are your favorite causes?
I think the majority of the responsibility lies in being humble and respectful towards your fans. You know those people who made you what you are as an artist. A lot of artists forget it these days and there’s a lot of ego in this vicious industry. It’s a big competition. I try to support new artists that support me and are as humble as I am. That goes to social media or hanging out with fans at shows and just bringing positive energy and love for music to it. I love showing people what EDM is all about and trying to preserve the wonderful roots I grew up with.
9.) So what’s next for you? Any new collaborations on the horizon? How can we stay up to date with you as an artist?
I always try and keep my socials updated with everything from touring to new music and collabs, I have a lot of stuff in the horizon with Armada and Anjunabeats, too. I’ve also got two brand new tracks on Ilan Bluestone’s upcoming album which I’m really excited for. But the majority of it will be new music and touring (soon). I’m really excited for the future.