Biography

  • Early Life (1977-1991)

    Maxim was born in a musical family, both his father and brother are parttime musicians and his mother has always been into dancing. His brother Roman Escalda was a multi-instrumentalist in alternative popband Templo Diez. As a young kid Maxim was exposed to a lot of music and instruments. As a small boy he tried guitar lessons with his father but he was a little to impatient to pull through. Despite he always loved music and his early musical memories are that of Elvis and The Shadows. His real musical awareness came when he turned into a young teenager when he listened to a lot of metal, partly due to his older brother who was in a death-metal band called Disfigure at that time.

    First musical productions (1992-1993)

    His first interest to make music himself derived when Maxim got in touch with industrial bands like Godflesh and Nine Inch Nails and the electronics of Front 242. The use and world of electronics opened a totally new and mesmerizing world for him. The endless possibilities and total independance was everything he searched for. At the age of 14 he started to experiment with a second hand keyboard that was available in the elderly home. The keyboard had a experimental synthesizer feature where you could alter and manipulate the sound and Maxim became hooked on this. In combination with his fathers mixer and analog 4-track recorder, he made his very first recordings, where he played everything by hand because he had no sequencer option. With the support of his mother and father Maxim received his first synthesizer, a Roland JX-1. From that point it just went on and he started to invest more time and money into it. At that time MIDI and computers where not that popular in his environment yet, so he became a true auto-didact and developped a lot of skills and knowledge in this area. In that time and at that age you had to be creative and very patient to deal with all the limitations. It was complicated and time-consuming but results were rewarding and he learned a lot of it.

    First demo tapes (1993)

    After a few single experimental recordings Maxim got more influenced by upcoming “house-music” at that time.  He decided to bring out his first official demo-tape at the age of 16 under the project-name G-GAP (Generation Gap), completed with custom made covers and logos. Remember this was the pre-photoshop time, so he actually used a scissor, glue, paper and pencils! It was brought out on his own ‘SMALL ROOM recordings’, which he started at that time and still exists today. He always thought that you don’t need big budgets and a professional studio in order to work out ‘big ideas’, (do it with what you’ve got, experiment, after all creativity is in the mind.) The name ‘SMALL ROOM recordings’ is named after that filosophy and the actual small size of a home-studio.

    Record deal offer at age of 16 (1993)

    He send his first demo to a Dutch record company called “Sound Wave Productions” and the next day they called him right away to tell him they wanted to offer him a full record deal. Not just for one single but for an entire album. Since Maxim was a minor back then, his parents had to sign for the contract as well. They decided to do some research and contacted someone who knew more about contracts in the music industry. It came out that young Maxim was persuaded with a diktat, nevertheless his father tried to negotiate about the contract, but the record company didn’t want to change anything, so his parents decided and were advised that it was best not to sign. A big setback for the young musician, it’s not everyday that you receive a record deal at the age of 16 after all.  Later one of the songs of the 1st demo was still used for a local dance event. Despite the dissappoitment of the lost record deal it was also a stimulance and a form of recognition, so Maxim went on producing different demos and kept investing into new equipment.

    Development and influence (1993-1996)

    His skills, style and songs grew with every demo, he received many good reviews and got aired on small radiostations. He spread his skills and knowledge about synths and MIDI also among relatives, friends and future DJ’s. Former friend Perry van de Vrede, nowadays better known now as techno DJ Patchpark was one of them. Together with other friends they were regular visitors of the Belgium clubscene back then. It was on one of those occassions that Maxim ran into best friend Stephan Schwencke, a.k.a. Mr. Swanky with whom he later started Tuxedo Bandido. Stephan was also interested into electronics (but also just like Maxim had a guitar history as well) and he wanted to know more about electronic music production. A mutual friend told him to get in touch with Maxim and they have remained friends since than.

    They both did some random free projects together, just like he did with DJ Patchpark and other friends and family.

    Reviews and recognition (1997-2003)

    Maxim kept sending demos to recordcompanies on a regular basis and he often received letters back that they thought it was very good but not suitable enough for the ruling music style or vision, he was often told it was too complicated. This was in a time where there wasn’t internet yet, so it was not easy to get noticed or to get out there. It got him frustrated and he derived more away from the narrow minded “dancemusic”-scene and turned more into soundscaping and experimental electronics with vocals, just like his former idols. His talent and knowledge did get noticed by a well known Dutch Music magazine called ‘Music Maker’ in 1997. A well known journalist, Jan van der Plas, reviewed and nominated his demo “Aspects of life” (SMRR 6) as “demo of the month” in June of 1997 and by the end of the year it was also chosen as one of “the best 15 demos of that year”. An impressive result since that magazine has a more traditional music approach as well as traditional readers.

    As a result he got asked for gigs and he even got nominated for a former well known and influential national music contest called “The big price of The Netherlands” (De Grote Prijs van Nederland). However Maxim wasn’t interested in performing live, he just felt it was technically not possible and he also suffered from stage-fright for a long time. For a long time he did not even know about the nomination, he only found out years later while surfing on the internet that he actually came so close to serious recognition.

    G-GAP kinda stopped when Maxim started something totally different with Tuxedo Bandido in 2003, nevertheless the last official release was also the first commercial release of G-GAP, which was a remix job for a tribute album called “Replicate 01 (A Tribute to Front Line Assembly)”, one of Maxim’s former favourite electronic bands, on MoMT records, UK. G-GAP provided a remix of “Search & Destroy” which appeared as number 2 on that compilation album.

    In retrospect G-GAP was considered by the Gothtronic webzine as one of the industrial pioneers of the industrial sound of the Lowlands just behind Tom Holkenborg (Nerve/Junkie XL).

    Tuxedo Bandido (2003 – present)

    Within all those years his musical taste grew even wider and more diverse than ever. The love for guitar also returned. It was at that time that old friend Mr. Swanky returned to the scene and they decided to combine Maxim’s production and technical skills, singing and lyrics with Mr. Swanky’s guitar playing. Before they knew it the song ‘Me and Companion’ was born, which was the beginning of Tuxedo Bandido (first written as Tuxedo Bandito). TB is named after a lyric about a made up action-hero Maxim wrote. He also began using the artist name ‘Maxim S. Calda’, which is a symbolic way of phrasing ‘Maxim Escalda’, where the ‘S’ stands for Maxim’s real last name and also stands for the “plural form’ of Maxim which expresses all the different projects and tasks he does.

    With a total new fresh organic sound the old compadres where united again and had serious plans with Tuxedo Bandido. In 2004 their self-produced debut CD “A splendid idea, compadre” came out and received great reviews. As a result they received offers for live-concerts, something they both had no experience in which they needed help with.

    In that time Maxim spent a lot of time in a local venue called “De Piek” where a lot of bands played, there he met old childhood friend Peter Wisse, better known as bassplayer Peetman. They hang out on a regular base and one time Maxim asked him to provide some basstracks for a new song of Tuxedo Bandido. Peetman was really excited about the whole Tuxedo Bandido project and earned his membership within the band by helping out Maxim and Stephan with whatever help was needed. The ‘TB3′ was born. Performing live was inevitable, so with help of Peetman his live-experience both Maxim and Stephan finally stepped on stage after all those musical years. It was a huge milestone and burden, but it happened and the crowd was waiting and begging for it, since Tuxedo Bandido is not just a few guys playing, it’s an experience for eyes and ears. Along with a new free party-hit “To the Max again” they kicked off the first live-show with their own ‘VJ’ in a sold out venue. TB was on the move and is now still known for their creative and different (musical) approach.

    Solo Projects (2013 – present)

    Maxim is producing new work with Tuxedo Bandido, in 2016 a long-awaited new single and video Ghost Town is expected. These last years Tuxedo Bandido has been less active for a number of reasons. One of them is that TB or Maxim is time consuming, especially the live part,  in regards to many of his other solo desires. He always has been doing several solo remix jobs in between (Front Line Assembly Tribute, Templo DiezDanny Vera), see music section for the remixes . So these last years Maxim focused on a different number of solo projects for the sake of creativity and the art of creating. In 2015 he introduced ‘El Maxicano’, in which he shows a more traditional side of himself; chamber pop with twangy guitars. As a skilled Desktop publisher Maxim naturally has always been visually involved with all of his projects, this also lead to experiment more with video production. The video Twenty Years for ‘El Maxicano’ was his first solo video production, shot entirely with an old iphone. Recently, in 2016,  he came up with a new single and video for ‘Maximum Electric Field’, a project which shows a more darker side  of him in which he returns to his electronic roots. Another project, which is inspired by retro spyfi filmmusic, called ‘Massimo Tutti’, is also in the making. Plans for even another project are there and material for a new single of  ’El Maxicano’ is also waiting. So it might be clear that we haven’t seen and heard the last from mister ‘S. Calda.’