Your excellent new single: Demuir & Friends EP is due out on Classic Music Company, August 15. Featuring three equally fiery tracks can you talk us through the influences and situations that went into inspiring the creation of the EP?
The track selection and setup of this EP was mainly a result of Luke Solomon’s feedback. He had first listen to a bunch of tracks I already had finished and I’m happy with what it has morphed into.
As far as influences and situations, we both wanted tracks that told a story that people can relate to while showcasing a diverse musical landscape. For example, “My Predictable Locals” recounts what many DJs / Producers feel in their hometown in terms of acknowledgement. I find it ironic, when a headline DJ comes to your town playing a bunch of your songs, but the local factions are either not interested or aware of what’s in their backyard. I placed this over a Jackin’ House beat and some pointed vocals that underscore the point.
We also wanted to feature collaborations. Mark Farina found some great vocals for “Story of A DJ” that describes a DJ’s evolutions that spoke to both of us. The reference to Hip Hop is especially clever because that’s where I started my journey in DJ’ing and Production and I think the same goes for Mark considering his Mushroom Jazz background.
Lastly, Cynthia Amoah is a stellar vocalist who spoke about how she gets through the week in, “Here’s To Friday”. She steps us through each day with positive vibes all the way through. The beat was originally written for a collaboration project with Colette that just didn’t pan out in time. I wanted something upbeat and Cynthia nailed it 10 fold.
Can you also talk us through the production process of one of the tracks, including any favorite pieces of software/ hardware that you like to use when developing your ideas?
I’m a big believer in digging for records as a primary sample source because I learn so much in the process about the music, artists, and history. So I lean very heavily on that to find unique sounds that you just won’t find in an iTunes mp3 library.
I use a combination of software and live instrumentation. My main software / hardware gear is Logic Pro X along with Native Instruments Maschine. I love these tools along with UAD plug-ins because of the flexibility and impact they have in modern production.
How did the relationship with Classic Music happen and how important do you feel it is in 2016 to have the right label behind you to get your music heard?
DJ Sneak introduced me to Luke several months before and Luke was familiar with my music as he charted a few of my tunes and saw that I had releases on I’m A House Gangster. It just so happened that Luke had a gig in Toronto (my hometown) and Sneak thought it a good idea for us to all connect and hang out. Unfortunately, we all couldn’t get together, but I went to see Luke at his gig and he was banging out, “Ode to Chicago II” and a couple of my songs when I got to the club. It’s always a nice feeling to see people enjoying your music that way.
I think it’s important to have the right labels representing your music for exposure and to distinguish yourself as serious artist. Anyone can buy a laptop and put out songs now. So the distinction is important for your brand and the people you’re looking to reach.
Is it true that you can do 100 Meters in 10.2 seconds!?! Can you still do it? And how would you compare the rush of running with the emotions of DJ’ing?
Hahaha! That was so many years ago! I can probably give it a go, but I may blow my hamstring out. It is similar rush to taking people to a peak in your set, but not nearly in as short of that time!
How would you contrast the Funk/ Soul & Disco of the past in relation to song-writing and musicianship with today’s production styles?
Great question! I would have to say the past is similar in some ways, but we miss a lot of human element in production today. I don’t say that to criticize anyone today, but rather, it’s the reality of having a higher presence of technology in music production and song writing today. In the past, you had live musicianship with no ‘click’ track and much older singers and musicians putting paper what they were going through to create very believable and not-so-perfectly synched beats that gave things an organic feel at every turn. However, I can say the technology does allow us to get more creativity if you allow yourself to put in the work.
How much time to you spend in the studio, can you talk us through a typical working day?
I’m in the studio as much as I possibly can be depending on travel and anything else that’s going on. My typical day involves me going through stacks of records from a recent dig, chopping samples, and making beats.
What do you listen to (or read, or watch) to relax?
To relax, I like to take in a good documentary to learn something new and to broaden my perspective. I’m also a member of an art gallery and I try to go see what they got going on, which often leads to inspiration in some form.
Can you share with us any forthcoming projects for the remainder of the year and beyond?
Certainly. In talks to release my,“TruSkool” album on DJ Sneak’s Magnetic imprint, which will feature Jackin’, Techno, Tech House, and Brazilian tracks to keep this interesting. We are all pretty excited about the release. Aside from this, I was lucky to have remixed Linda Clifford and Tiger Stripes for King Street and also did a remix for Luke Solomon and Justin Harris’ Music For Freaks label.