Max Vangeli—known as one half of the duo “AN21 and Max Vangeli”—has been gaining momentum as a solo act and radio DJ with Las Vegas dominating his touring schedule. However, the former San Franciscan just took his love for Las Vegas to the next level with a recent move to a residence near his Wynn residency. Welcome our new neighbor December 6 at XS.
Why did you decide to move from San Francisco to Las Vegas?
To be honest with you, I don’t really play that much in San Francisco. I started my career there, playing a lot more often, obviously, but I do maybe two shows a year. I spend so much time in Vegas, and I spend a lot of time in L.A. as well, work-wise. Out of all the places that I work around the world, I play Vegas the most. I have a residency with Wynn, and a lot of my friends come here.
What do you do when you’re here but not DJing?
I started setting up a little studio here for myself, so I’m going to be doing a lot of music at my desk. The last two weeks, I’ve just been sorting out the DMV, insurance, all that basic stuff. But once everything is set up, I’m going to start exploring a little bit. It’s crazy how many times I’ve been to Vegas, and I’ve been touring here for years, but I don’t know shit about Vegas. It’s going to be nice to finally get out and see things besides the club and the casino itself.
What’s the biggest difference between San Francisco and Las Vegas nightlife?
In Vegas you have so many [people from] different states and countries who come into the club. You can’t really pinpoint the specific style that Vegas nightlife has, because it’s so mixed. If you live in Vegas, you can go to the same club every single night and not get bored, because every night it’s different. In San Francisco, there are a few clubs that we always go to, and after a while it’s the same faces, the same bartenders. In Vegas, even the bartenders and the staff are constantly coming in and out. You’re always seeing a change, which is nice to keep it fresh.
You come from a family of doctors. What’s been your family’s reaction to your career choice?
Initially, it was a bit tough. I went to UC Santa Barbara. I graduated with a business-economics degree, so my parents were definitely hoping for a little bit of a different outcome initially for me. Then the years went by. Recently, I brought my parents to their first big show I was playing, Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland in the Bay Area. It was overwhelming—they are very, very excited and happy for my career now. When your kid tells you that they want to become a musician, the automatic reaction from any parent is, “Are you crazy?”
Did UC Santa Barbara’s famous party scene play a role in your career path?
Yeah, for sure. I started my career basically doing parties in Santa Barbara. When I was a senior, we lived in Isla Vista, where all the parties where happening. I was born in Europe, so I decided to bring some of that house music vibe. I started playing house music while all the others were playing hip-hop. We just started throwing our own events for fun. Then, when I graduated, I wanted to start doing some shows in the club.
What are the challenges associated with trying to create your own brand, when so many people know you as a duo?
The biggest challenge is trying to create your own sound in the studio itself and come up with something a bit different. You don’t want to do the same thing as a solo artist that you’ve been doing for years with another musician. We’ve been fortunate to have a strong following individually, and our fan base is very similar. So, when we do shows—and we do most shows solo nowadays, unless its really big festivals—we’re both fortunate to have a very strong following. AN21 started his radio show. I’ve been doing my podcast, which I converted into a weekly radio show as well. And that’s been able to grow our individual fan bases.
You make big-room, progressive, melodic house music that has become so popular. I’m predicting a bubble there. Any idea what the next big sound is going to be?
[The sound is] getting harder and harder. As you can see now, it’s hard style. I’m not a huge fan of it all. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t see it getting any harder. It’s going to be a cycle of back and forth. Now, I’m hearing a lot of trance coming back. Not necessarily the full-on trance, but I think it’s going to be very recycled stuff, like what was big maybe three to four years ago. A little bit more vocals and things like that.
What does 2014 have in store for you?
I’m finishing up a bunch of solo records I’m going to launch in a few months; you’ll hear my first solo release apart from AN21. I’m working on another vocal record that I’m probably going to prepare for Winter Music Conference. And then just continue growing my Code Radio, which is getting really good traction. I’m extending my Wynn residency as well.