Biography of Maxim S. Calda
Maxim was born in a musical family, both his father and brother were part-time musicians and his mother has always been into dancing and piano. As a young boy, he tried guitar lessons with his father but he was a little too impatient to pull through. Nevertheless, he still loved music and his early musical memories are that of Elvis and The Shadows. His real musical awareness came when he was a young teenager and listened to a lot of metal music, partly due to his older brother who was in a death-metal band called Disfigure at that time.
His first interest in making music came when Maxim got in touch with industrial bands like Godflesh and Nine Inch Nails and the electronics of Front 242. The endless possibilities and total independence 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 an experimental synthesizer feature where you could alter and manipulate the sound and Maxim became hooked on this. In combination with his father’s mixer and analog 4-track recorder, he made his very first recordings. 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.
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 handmade covers and logos. It was brought out on his own ‘SMALL ROOM recordings’, which still exists today. The name ‘SMALL ROOM recordings’ is named after that philosophy and the actual small size of a home-studio.Toggle Content
He sent his first demo to a Dutch record company called “Sound Wave Productions”. Next day they called him right back to offer 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. Unfortunately, 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. Disappointed but determined Maxim went on producing different demos and kept investing into new equipment.
His skills, style and songs grew with every demo, he received many good reviews and got aired on small radio stations. He spread his skills and knowledge about synths and MIDI also among relatives, friends and future DJ’s. Old friend Perry van de Vrede, also known as DJ Perry O’neill, Patchpark and duo On/Off was one of them. Together with other friends they were regular visitors of the Belgium club scene back then. It was on one of those occassions that Maxim ran into friend Stephan Schwencke, a.k.a.Mr. Swankywith whom he later started Tuxedo Bandido with. Stephan was also interested into electronics (but had a guitar history like Maxim 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 then. They both did some random projects together, just like he did with DJ Patchpark and other friends and family.
Maxim kept sending demos to record companies 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. It got him frustrated and he derived more away from the narrow minded “dance music”-scene and turned more into soundscapes and experimental electronics with vocals, just like his former idols. His talent and creativity 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 had 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 years, he did not even know about the nomination, he only found out 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).
Within all those years his musical taste grew even wider and more diversed 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 and 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. They hang out on a regular base and one time Maxim asked him to provide some basstracks for a new song of Tuxedo Bandido. Peter 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 due to public demand, so Maxim finally stepped on stage after all those musical years. It was a huge milestone and burden, but also a success. Along with a new free party-hit “To the Max again” they kicked off their first live-show ever with their own ‘VJ’ in a sold-out venue. TB was on the move and was known for their creative and different (musical) approach. Throughout their 12,5-year existence they did a lot of different regional and national gigs and they also were support-act for several national and international artists. TB also had national airplay on different radiochannels such as 3FM, Kink FM etc. New work was produced until 2016 when TB said goodbye with the long-awaited milestone single and video Ghost Town. The chemistry within TB was over and Maxim also felt disappointed with the way things were going. It didn’t feel like a band or group performance anymore, so he decided to stop and to focus on new awaited solo projects.
Since he always did several solo remix jobs in between (Front Line Assembly Tribute, Templo Diez, Danny Vera, now was the time to do more with all of his these solo aspirations. It started off with ‘El Maxicano’ in 2015. This project 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. 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 and cocktail music, called ‘Massimo Tutti’ has already seen the release of four singles and videos which eventually will be part of The Dark Rum files. He also made the choice to focus more on the creativity and production part, so currently he has no live aspirations anymore. More details about these last projects you can find in the ‘music-projects’ menu.
Since there is still a lot of plans and work on the shelf it is clear that we haven’t seen and heard the last from mister ‘S. Calda’…