Photo: James Clothier
In the space of little more than a year, Midland has earned a reputation as a DJ and producer of serious class.
His carefully-honed brand of bass-heavy but fleet-footed house music has been showcased on EPs for Aus Music (including a collaboration with Ramadanman), Phonica and More Music, and he’s lent his remixing talents to the likes of Lone, The 2 Bears, Lee Jones, Hurts, Sei A and Julio Bashmore.
With a new EP on Aus imminent, Midland is playing the Trix party for FOUND at London’s Hidden club on Friday 9 March. With Simon Baker, George Fitzgerald, Deadboy and Randomer also set to appear, it looks likely to be a memorable night – you can grab advance tickets here.
FACT took the opportunity to have a quick catch-up with Midland, to talk about his new projects – including a song-based collaboration with Robbie Redway – and to find out what he’s been listening to of late.
“I’m not someone who produces 24/7, I’m much more of a vibe person.”
How’s the last year been for you?
“Its been great…being able to support myself from a job which although sometimes stressful and worrying is essentially what I love to do the most is amazing, and more importantly very humbling. I couldn’t single out any one highlight from the last year, but the opportunity to travel and play music, to meet sound people in other cities into the same music as yourself, to experience other cultures and eat some great food is all part of it.”
Has an increasingly hectic DJ schedule made it harder, or easier, to find time and energy to focus on your production?
“I’m not someone who produces 24/7, I’m much more of a vibe person, and so in that sense it hasn’t been much harder as such. I view the weekend as time fore DJing and the week for producing and finding new music. I’m not a good multitasker, so if I’m working on something I’m working on it 100%, or at least feeling guilty about not doing it – whether its a remix, a mix or original stuff.
“I have a pretty solid routine in the week in terms of exercising regularly and eating well so it means I’m back on track pretty much straight away come Monday.”
“I’m working on some dusty electronica-pop with more focus on songwriting and structure.”
What are you working on at the moment?
“I just finished my 4-track EP for Aus; I wanted to do something more substantial and everything on there was written in the same period, which was a challenge. I’ve just finished a new podcast which in true ‘me’ fashion took ages, lots of digging, planning and edits. Apart from that, the focus is to tie up my collabs with Breach and Pariah respectively and then work on a lot more original stuff. I’ve been working with a good friend called Robbie Redway, who’s a singer from a band called Youth Imperial, on some dusty electronica-pop with more focus on songwriting and structure. This is slowly yielding some lovely results.”
Any new producers or old discoveries floating your boat at the moment?
“New producers-wise, Trevino, who you’ll also know as Marcus Intalex, is making some killer music. As a junglist in a previous life, he was up there as one of my favourite producers and now his house and techno stuff is in every set I play. Also guy called Endian, who’s had his fingers in many pies, is making rough analogue (and not in that 2012 ‘in vogue’ sort of way) stuff which is all about the groove. Lastly a guy called Fort Romeau, who recently hit me up with some music; he’s just about to release his debut EP on 100% Silk and it’s beautiful stuff, kind of poppy, kind of melancholy, a bit lo-fi and just really great. I always think I have a favourite and then another one comes along and gets me.
“In terms of old producers, I’d have to say Armando and Redshape at the moment. Redshape especially I’ve had a bit of an epiphany with: he is so underrated, and has made so much great and odd music. Check his remix of ‘Seventy Four’ by Martyn for proof, basically it’s in every set I play.
“As for albums, one that was recently recommended to me on a completely different tip is Luminarium by Tape. It’s a beautiful collection of dusty analogue acoustic music and has been on constant playback. Lastly an album by Sleep:Over called Forever – it really is something else. It’s like a pop album recored in a bleak future but which still has these moments of utter tenderness.”
“We’ve become a generation of people with much shorter attention spans and much more focussed, yet oddly disparate, tastes.”
What are your ambitions for 2012 in general? What are you looking forward to?
“To not get complacent and just keep trying to do the best I can in any given situation, whether musical or otherwise. I always feel after writing music that I can better myself the next time, which can sometimes be detrimental to actually enjoying the process, but does push me to work harder.”
We saw you got roped into a recent discussion about the – ahem – “bass/house” divide/union recently…are you bored of all that chat? Why do you think people are still having these debates about what is and isn’t house?
“Ah, that old chesnut. Here’s my two pennies’ worth. I think that the internet has given everyone a voice, and whilst that’s great in some respects, it also means that anyone with an internet connection and an opinion is suddenly a critic. I think that in many respects the internet has changed not only our relationship with others but with how we process and interact with information and music, and it often has quite a detrimental effect on our enjoyment of it. We’ve become a generation of people with much shorter attention spans and much more focussed, yet oddly disparate, tastes.
“The sheer amount of information we’re bombarded with daily, be it on music and news websites, Twitter or Facebook means we – myself included – seem to just skim read/listen to everything. I recently saw a promo company post a pretty damning review of a record they were handling the PR for and it struck me as odd that they obviously hadn’t read the review properly but had seen it on a good website so posted it up automatically. If i’m honest, I am a bit bored of all the analysis. How does music make you feel. Good? Then it is good. If you’re enjoying it, who cares what other people think about it, or whether the vocal makes it hark back to garage and the drum pattern has a sort of yearning techno swing with a house chaser?!”
“How does music make you feel. Good? Then it is good.”
Where would you place your own music in the scheme of things?
“I have no idea what space my music occupies, it’s really about context, how you are viewed, how you view yourself and how you believe people view you. I personally believe I make electronic music, which sometimes gets played in clubs and sometimes people listen to at home.”
Best track you’ve heard all month?
“I really like that new Bullion single on R&S, it’s really poppy and kind of harks back to the eighties but not in a contrived way, and the new Recloose single on Rush Hour called ‘UHF’ – it’s this constantly building, rave-tinged beauty, can see this getting a great reaction if deployed at the right time. Finally a new one from Pariah called ‘Amongst those metal trees’ – a beautiful droney piece of ambience. I envy his way with unusual melodies.”