120 Max aka Andres Franco is a Colombian selector based in Miami. Nestled within the vibrant soundscape of Miami’s music scene, 120 Max stands out as a selector with a unique fusion of influences. His eclectic style seamlessly blends house rhythms with the pulsating energy of Latin music. A sweet soul with an unwavering passion for freshness, 120 Max’s refined ear guides listeners through sonic journeys that transcend boundaries. Today, we’re thrilled to unveil his latest mix. Listen here!

Could you share a bit about your journey from Colombia to Miami and how it has influenced your music style?

Yeah, I guess my journey is more like Miami to Colombia to Miami. I left in my late teens for Colombia with the intent of going to university there. At the tender age of 17, I was riding the wave of big EDM names like Swedish House Mafia and Avicii. This was my preferred musical taste until I discovered Boiler Room in its early days, around 2010-2011, and it became my gateway into the deep end of the electronic sea. Aside from this, moving to Colombia and being exposed to general Colombian folklore music, like what you hear in the countryside or the music you hear in December in the Valle del Cauca region, and all over the country really, started to move my hips mainly but apart from that just general musical taste buds that were asleep because, well, there is none of that in Miami. It can only be explained if you’ve been in Colombia during December. Not that I’m trying to gatekeep it; it’s just a bit difficult for me to put a finger on it and describe what it’s like. There I also met some good people like Mario, who were also just getting into electronic music and DJing, so being close to them and growing up and going to parties in Cali broadened my liking for all this. I moved back to Miami when I was 26, and well, it’s been constant personal growth, I’d say. I think I’ve grown a lot and have just kept exploring sounds, Latin and Electronic alike.

What sparked your interest in collecting vinyl records, and how do you go about curating your collection?

It really started after inheriting my grandfather’s collection. There were about 250 records, mostly folklore Colombian music, salsa, and a few Brazilian records, much to my surprise. I must have been around 19. So, I started looking for more salsa records around town, in flea markets or just houses where people were trying to get rid of them. I also began buying some electronic records when I would visit my family back in Miami.”

How do you balance your passion for Latin music with your love for house music in your DJ sets?

To be honest, it does not happen often. But here, in the spaces like these where musical freedom thrives, it felt organic to make a set with these two genres. 

Can you highlight some of your favorite Latin music artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your style?

In terms of orchestras, I’d say off the top of my head, my top three are Orquesta Flamboyan, from which 2 of the 3 Latin tracks in this set are. The first track is from Rafi Rojas y su Orquesta La Batalla. Next, I would go with The Lat Teens, and lastly, the ever-eternal Johnny Colon.

How do you approach blending traditional Latin rhythms with modern electronic elements in your mixes?

In my experience, it is very carefully just because of the massive difference in the sounds that make up both genres. 

As a selector, what factors do you consider when choosing tracks for a set, particularly when playing to a Miami audience?

With Latin music, a lot has to do with how the audience reacts to the different styles of Salsa that I might be playing. The great thing about salsa albums is that, in their 8-10 track repertoire, there’s a lot of variety in styles. For example, you can have an album that includes guaguanco, bolero, son montuno, and salsa all crammed into one record. This gives you the advantage of choosing what people are feeling from just one record.”

Are there any particular venues or events in Miami that have been especially influential or memorable for you as a DJ?

I take a little from all of them, really—from Space to Dantes. I have a great time at Jolene. However, I hold Miami Sound Bar dearest, as they’ve been the ones that have really let me explore my sound with their fantastic sound system.

What advice would you give to aspiring DJs, especially those interested in exploring Latin music and vinyl culture?

Dig, and dig some more. Also, be nice. 

Checkout 120 Max’s Soundcloud here:

Pictures by: Leonardo Caraballi

Music editor/director: Joiah Luminosa