Since opening its doors to the public for the first time in 2007, Woei has left its mark on the international sneaker and streetwear community with several collaborations including Asics, Patta, and Stüssy along the way.
But the interests and passions of the Woei crew reach far beyond just shoes and apparel. Besides providing the streets with the latest from Nike, Adidas, and Co., music has always been at the heart of the store. Considering the highly curated playlists and mixes that can be heard in the store, as well as hosting some of Rotterdam's most notorious parties, the belief that music unites is deeply ingrained in the Woei DNA.
Based on this deep connection, we want to shine a spotlight on some of our favourite local musicians to talk about what sparked their passion for music and hear their take on common dilemmas in the music industry.
A few weeks ago, we caught up with a man of many talents in the streets of Istanbul during his holiday with friends. He finally took a step back for a few days as co-founder of Fat Crayon Creative and Buyer & Account Manager at Patta. We're happy to welcome Max B for WOEI FM episode #14!
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Max, 23 years old, born in The Hague, living in Rotterdam for a few years now
What does a typical day look like? How do you combine so many things, such as Patta and the Fat Crayon projects?
I work at Patta Amsterdam as part of the buying team, managing accounts, and the co-owner of Fat Crayon Creative. So it really depends on the day, every day is a different adventure.
If I were to describe one day: It starts pretty early in the morning with opening emails; regular Patta stuff. I work from Patta´s office in Amsterdam and from my own office here in Rotterdam. My days usually end around 5 or 6 pm, and afterward,I put most of my spare time into Fat Crayon. We are constantly looking for the new things that we want to achieve. It can be either designing with Jari or being on the phone with potential partners we could do cool stuff with.
Tell us more about fat crayon.
It started just over a year ago, in the summer of 2020. I went to a photo exhibition where I met Jari. After a week, we started linking up and playing football at the court behind Witte de With. We came up with the idea to create a football jersey for the people we are playing with to give them a feeling of representation. We made the football jersey without even having a brand name, which sold out immediately.
After this, we talked to each other, and we wanted to keep this going. We then came up with the name. It's from a tune by Rakim, your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. In one of his songs, he mentions fat crayons; the idea behind the name is when something is colored in a thick layer, it becomes hard to erase. So it is all about leaving stuff behind and leaving your mark.
Now we are at a point where we're constantly releasing stuff we want to wear ourselves. Most of our pieces reflect on our community and the people around us. And our pieces have a message we want to spread.
What from patta did u bring to your own brand?
I've done many things in the last two years for Patta. I've dealt with anything from finance, copywriting, bits of marketing and sales, and now more into buying. What these positions had in common was thinking of the effects of what you're doing and trying to make a positive impact. Not only on the world but also the people around you. It's all about giving back and making sure that everybody is making steps with what you do, and it's not only about what you do as a person or brand in Patta's case. There are many things, but if I had to mention one thing; it's about giving back to your community and going up with everyone around you.
Anything coming up?
We recently dropped our tracksuits with Fat Crayon, a very successful launch. Our next big thing is our first pop-up in the city, at our friend's store, Maison Maas. It's happening on the 18th and 19th of December, basically this upcoming weekend. We're doing a capsule release that ties into our own radio show here at Operator. Stay in the loop through all your regular social channels and we will see you there.
When did you realise that music was going to play a big role in your life?
When I was 13-15, my whole life in my parents' living room, there had been a jukebox. First, it was my granddad's, and he passed it on to us. That was their passion, always playing around, getting new records, and fixing the jukebox. It was a lot of rock, rock and roll, bits of soul, disco, jazz and funk, call it eclectic! I thought that it was cool. However, once I turned 15, my pops gave me Illmatic from Nas on vinyl. This was my first record. When I started listening to that itt all kind of exploded. I was listening to hip hop before, but once I got that vinyl into my hands, I saw the cover, looked at the record, and started looking up everybody involved on that record. I still do this to this day because the people behind the music are interesting. It gives depth and puts you on to new stuff. After that, the real digging started, and that's where I developed a more personal style.
How did you start moving within Hip-Hop?
I was already listening to Dutch Hip Hop, Hef, Kempi, those guys. I also listened to American music, but I didn't know where to start. So once I received that record, that started me off nicely. Then, I moved on from Nas to Jay Z, and you know you go deeper and deeper. What I always found interesting is how the people themselves are connected. In a way that it wasn't only about music, but about who they are. Artists like Ghostface, Big L, and Rakim and what they did, what their inspiration was. The hustle, why they got into music, and the clothes they wore I took on many of these lessons, and that is also how I move in my day-to-day life.
I still watch old interviews, every sample that I look up, I look behind the person who made the song. For me the unique thing about hip hop is that you're able to go deeper into a piece, it's about hustle, there's a lot of great footage of these people, and you can take a deep dive into their lives and inspiration.
How are you currently involved in the music industry
When I was about 17-18, I started DJing. I only did a few small things, but I quickly realized that the clubscene in that current state wasn't for me. So I let that slide a bit because I was also moving and starting at Patta, so it was a hectic time for me.
Maybe about a year, one and a half year ago, I met the guys from Operator when I moved into their old office. They kind of ejuvenated my passion for music once I started listening to all the shows from them. I already knew a lot about music, but I just needed to get back into the swing of it. So now, for just over a year, I have been doing more gigs here and there, just stuff that I like, a bit more on the curated side of things. Sometimes I play at stores. I have been playing at some international stores lately, which has been really good. I like this type of work because I can play what I want without feeling obligated to the crowd. Aside from that also do some playlist stuff for Fat Crayon, other businesses, brands, and collectives and try to tell a story. I like to curate a lot. I'm not the guy to fire up a crowd. I just play what I like and what inspires me. This feeling I try to resonate with the crowd.
you dont hear alot of young people having this mindset, tell us more about it?
I mean, with everything I do, I just move how I want to move, so this also applies to music. My roster of tunes really has a lot of layers and the potential to inspire people, more so than getting them on the dance floor. It's an approach very similar to how I look at my brand and apparel in general. It's about making someone think. This is not to say that I don't enjoy a good party every once in a while, of course. However, it has to be something that fits with who I am.
What was the most absurd or challenging gig during your career? What made it so crazy?
The most challenging was Helsinki. It was just over a month ago. Salute to Getting and Mikko for having me over. I was playing two gigs in one day. During the day, I played in a parking garage for an anniversary of a store, which was very chill. There was a great vibe, just people coming in and out, and I could play whatever I wanted. A long gig as well, about 2 or 3 hours. It was awesome. Everything was going smooth until after.
Later on, I had to play at a club. I had two-time slots, opening up and closing down, which was great. Yet, the challenging part was that they lacked fully compatible equipment. I came into the venue, and they had a different kind of set-up compared to how we roll here. Everybody uses different laptop software instead of USB's etc., hence why they lacked a link cable. This was common sense to me hence why I didn't put it on the technical rider, my bad.
I had to ask someone that lived nearby to bring me a second USB. He came back and gave me his USB with his holiday pictures on it. I had to erase all of that, but my music was on the USB, so I could plug it in, and that was just really messy to get it going, but it was great and nice experience.
Always double-check your equipment; bring a spare USB all the time, just in case.
Digital or vinyl?
Vinyl for listening, digital for DJing.
How do you usually select and organise music for upcoming events or mixes?
Well, I don't look at it that way. I select music every week for myself anyway. The music I like is particular. I like a very specific side of Hip Hop. I'm just interested in lo-fi, good sample usage, and just bars and stories on an unique beat. I'm not looking for gimmicky rhymes or catchy tunes.
I mostly find it on Griselda tapes nowadays. The exciting thing about that specific scene is; that they influence the current state of HipHop as a whole. We got all these new cats joining the game with their own take on that. This group of new blood is small. So I follow them all in every step down the way.
There is just this new wave below that. They haven't surfaced on the regular playlists yet. I am waiting to discover the uncut gems. You've got guys like ElCamino, Rick Hyde, and Reek Osama, all crazy good in their own way. There is also this guy, Mach Hommy; you've sent me his latest album, which also gave me loads of inspiration. All of this is developing every week, and I cherry-pick the best, put it on my playlist, and after it survives the cut after a few days, it goes onto my USB. There's a really fun social side to it as well. I talk about music all the time, whether that be with Osman on the fourth floor or with Vic in Amsterdam. We all put each other on old & new stuff on a weekly basis.
Club or festival?
If you could play at your dream venue, which one would that be?
I don't really have one, but If I had to pick one, it would have to be Cake Shop in Seoul. I heard about it from word of mouth. When I was 18, I traveled Asia for a bit and ended up in this one club in Seoul, Korea. The atmosphere was excellent, and I just walked down the stairs; everything was dark, there was a lot of incense and crazy dimmed lights. They played more hip-hop, grime, and up-tempo music when I was there. Around that time, the new Skepta album dropped, and I hadn't heard it in a club until then. This place was dark, packed, and everything was made of concrete.
In the Netherlands. I'd love to play at Bitterzoet in Amsterdam once. Just because I've been there so many times.
Do you have a current favorite song that you would like to share with the readers?
El Camino - My Baby
His EP dropped maybe 2 months ago, and I was browsing through it, and when I clicked this tune, I instantly heard The Piece of Me sample. So from that first second, I loved it. How the song flows, it's one flow on this crazy sample. It'll be in the show, so keep your ears open.
Opening or closing set?
The opening set, obviously