“Music chooses you, and then you spend the rest of your life figuring out how to make a living out of it!” says Maxime Sokolinski. We catch him after he finished his solo album called ‘Before the Rain Stops’. As he said making solo project is a “lonely process” but you will see how good is he to handle this. We had a brief disclosure between Istanbul and Paris with Maxime and his thoughts; his answers are to the point.

What kind of music was playing at home while growing up?

Growing up in France, if you just listen to the radio, you’re not going get a good musical education, so it took buying my first CDs to be introduced to good music. ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’ by Oasis was a starting point!

Which city inspires your music more L.A. or Paris?

They are inspiring to me in different ways. The music scene in L.A is really good, it’s really inspiring to see what everybody else is up to, going to concerts, hanging out with other musicians…
But Paris as a city is inspiring in itself. There is such a great tradition of art, beauty, culture and philosophy, it makes you want to think, get to the bottom of things and create something substantial. At least it does that to me!

And what are some of the emotions that urge you to make music?

I create far more easily when I feel melancholic or sad. Breakups, rainy days, disappointments, or even a good hangover is always inspiring!

How do you find the current music industry now that you are in it? Were there any misconceptions you had previously?

It’s a really interesting time. Globally the idea of owning music is disappearing. You don’t have to own it because it’s here; it’s available everywhere and to everyone. Even though it’s not great for the artist, I still love Spotify. It stills amazes me that most of the music ever created is on there, available to us… The hardest thing is deciding what to listen to.

What is the biggest difference and challenge that you face when comparing to being in a band and going solo?

Being in a band is a wonderful thing, you get to share really incredible moments with your bandmates/friends, create, travel, and play concerts together. Composing can be effortless, you just jam with your together, something comes up, somebody finds a verse, somebody else finds a good hook, and before you know you’ve made a great song. The hardest thing in a band is keeping everyone happy, and making sure everybody’s ego is kept in-check. Sometimes, people grow tired of each other, their music tastes change, they want start a family, move to a different city, so many things can happen and it’s very natural. When you do a solo project, the only person you have to make happy is yourself, however it can be a lonely process. In my case, since I produce and mix my record myself, I didn’t get to share it with anyone until it was complete. That said, it can also very rewarding when you finally come through and think ‘wow I did this myself’.

You are composing for commercials, fashion labels and films as well… Could you please tell us about that works of yours?

It’s something I really enjoy. I like the fact that every project is different, and sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and conceive something you wouldn’t have usually created. I have worked on projects requiring any thing from classical music to hip hop, folk, industrial techno, psychedelic jazz and any kind of hybrid – mixing different genres. I find it incredibly exciting every time!

Does your success on working for different areas depend on being a better observer or a better creator?

Observing only gets you so far. You can see something a million times, think you understand it, but until you’ve tried to do it yourself, you just don’t know. Of course it’s important to observe to learn new things and get inspired but ultimately, only practice makes perfect!

Photography by NICOLAS LORIEUX