Interview mit MikalVerfasst von Darius Thies am
Mikal gilt als "Assassine" der Metalheadz Crew. Wir haben mit ihm sprechen dürfen und so einige coole Informationen aus ihm herauslocken können.
How did you get in touch with Drum & Bass music?
I guess, from when it sort of startet I suppose. I grew up in Sweden and in England when I was a child, so I moved back and forth a bit. And when I moved back permanently to London to live, it was sort of beginning - the whole jungle thing. So as soon as I turnt up in England in 1993 it was all sort of jungle sound that startet kind of really coming out. Right from there really so from quite early on, I suppose.
So your first raves were jungle raves?
Oh, I was a bit too young at that time, cause I were about 12/13, when we got back. A few years later - 1996 I think - I managed to get into a couple of places, where they weren’t too strickt on age. You could get in, without them asking too many questions.
In Germany all the major raves are 18+ as well…
I mean back then there were some clubs where you could go to. I think it helped going out with my older brother and his friends were all 18 when I was 15, you know. They would kind of help so get through the security anyway. Just tuning up with them and nobody sort of asked questions. But there were only some clubs which let you in. You’d have to go out and try really.
Your song are very deep. Do you love especially this fact about Drum & Bass?
I’m not sure really. It just seems to kind of come out that way, when I write. I love all sorts of Drum & Bass. Really. I don’t really stick to one genre within the main genre. I try and draw from it as much as I can from outside of it as well. A lot of ideas - sounds or samples, sounddesign - do come from outside the genre itself. I guess it’s just the way I work, the habits I throw into, how I like my music to sound. And it ends coming out like that. Mix as much ideas as much as I can. Just influences from everywhere.
So you do listen to many other genres?
Yeah, I listen to all types of music, as much as I can. It’s hard, when you’re writing all the time. I’d like to spent more time listening to music. I listen to all sorts of stuff. At the moment I’m listening to more stuff from the 70s. Soul and Funk and things like that. Been listening to all sort recent things and before. I mean, just about anything. If it sounds good, I like it.
As time goes by, you hear a lot of sounds, that influenced those records. And you kind of want to know more about those. So I think DnB been responsible for me listening to a whole lot of other music, from getting into writing it. Just working out where people got samples from and things like that and then listening to the albums and their original arists. Basically everything.
Do you remember which was the first record you ever bought on vinyl?
Oh god. I can’t remember. I was buying like Suburban Bass and stuff like that. From that label at the time. But I can’t remember my first one. It’s to long ago.
And favorite track?
Oh this is impossible.
What do you prefer most: DJing or producing?
I do like the studio side. I enjoy writing a lot and just making sounds and noises. But it’s also again really hard to say which I prefer more, because the really rewarding part of all the studio work you put in is going to play it out and get reaction from the crowd. And work out if there is anything more you need to do to that track, before you send it off to be released. So it’s quite difficult so say. At the moment I enjoy studio more and spending more time doing that. But then there are times I just don’t want to be stuck in front of the computer. I want to be out and playing that music. So it does change from time to time.
How do you actually know if a track is ready?
It’s never finished, I found out. You can keep adjusting it and tinkering it forever. And not letting the track go. But often when I write I try to get as much as I can down in one or two days. Trying capture sort of feeling and the vibe you had in your studio that day. And then I probably start to testing that out. If there is anything need to be adjusted it would be within the mix itself. A lot of the writing I try to do in one or two days and then for me that’s it. If it doesn’t work beyond that then I would probably won’t do anything more about it and just forget it and would go with a new track.
Do you separate you mixdown and sound design sessions?
Recently I prefer to separate the two. If I don’t feel like writing something - write a full track or something like this - I would mess around with sounds for one or two days. If I’m not in the mood for anything else, then I make a lot of folders with sounds. Pads, Breaks maybe processing basses - things like that. When I actually feel like writing I open those folders up. There were a whole lot of sessions I had something in mind, but hadn’t the material in front of me. I had a good go making it - the sound. But genually I would prefer to separate the two.
Music for you is like a passion and you forget about the job…
Yeah, I mean time just disappears quickly, when you are in the studio. Even if you work on someone else project. You run out of time very quickly. Remind yourself you should have gone to bed hours ago.
Where did you get your knowledge from? Are you self tought?
I startet messing around with music when I left school. I didn’t really get into it to seriously till my 20s. Before that I was just playing around. There was a youth centre I used to go to, maybe once or twice a week and spend like two or three hours a week. Just using a sampler and Cubase. I started in a collage for like one year. That’s the only formal music education I’ve had. Apart from that it’s just trying to work out, what I can do myself and learn from others around you that are doing it. Them showing you techniques, ways to write music and how to mix and all those things. So I’ve learned half by myself and half trough others aswell.
Which production technique really got you to the next level?
It’s a combination of a few things. It was just kind of realizing that you have to work with good sounds to begin with. For instance, if you using samples, like drum loops or breaks you’r sampling it’s got to be good quality to get a good quality out of your mix. I thing understand having a good sound source is really important. That was a big one. And then learning how to EQ properly. Those were those moments I really noticed. Where my music started to change and I started to appreciate it and starting to play it.
When you hit the studio, do you have any rituals?
Not especially. But some things I tend to do over and over. Like some people just write beats to start a track. Sometimes I start with just a noise, a sample or a pad or anything really. And then the beat comes in later. So sometimes that’s a thing I get a bit stuck on. Otherwise, no not really. You can get it that way. Whatever sound gives me a good idea, gives me a good vibe for a track is where it starts from.
How did you get in touch with the labels, when you first released music?
When I did it, I guess with Metalheadz and some of the guys, it was the days of using AIM. So it was just of kind getting contact through that. So you speak to some people that you knew and they could speak to someone they knew and you got contact details that way. And then I just sent a track. Some friends of mine had some contacts of a few people who kind of share with me the first deal. With Metalheadz it was through AIM, I think. Sending tracks to DJs who were playing either for Metalheadz or were connected with those people. I used to sent it quite a lot to people these days. Just to get people to play it. Play the music, get feedback you know.
You’r very long part of the Drum & Bass scene. How has it progressed?
I don’t know. I guess I’m hearing a lot more people turning up with music. So a lot more people getting involved. From when I first knew about this music, many years ago. It seems to change. Whatever sounds good at the moment changes in the years. Some labels are on top of the scene for a little while and then it’s another label. And sometimes I’ve noticed it goes around in circle. Few years ago I hear a lot of reggae/jungley came out. Lots and lots of it. And a year later I’m not hearing anything. And then a few years gone by and your hear it again. Apart from that the production always evolves. More producers getting involved and how the technology is advancing with that and that seems to have an effect on everybodys production I think.
Analog vs. Digital gear?
I wasn’t to great at mixing my own stuff when I had all analog gear. I’ve only got some bits left. I kept my AKAI Sampler, and a couple of FX units. But to be fair I don’t really use it that much. I wanna start using that again a bit more. Probably the sampler. It sounds different from when it was all analog it wasn’t as bright as it is right now. I find everything is very shiny and trebley and maybe too much. With the older equipment it was more warmer bass and kind of more mid-rangey and it wasn’t super sharp treble. I quite like working on software to be honest, because when working with samplers it took so long to get the sound that you wanted. But it probably was a bit more experimental, cause you didn’t had that many options. You had to work out your own ways with very limited equipment to try to sound different. Back in those days I wasn’t that developed as an artist at all.
Do you have tips and tricks for upcoming producers?
Just try and go with what’s in your head! When it comes to forge your own sound, just go with what’s in your head and do be frightened it not going well to begin with.
Last but not least… Ant Tc1 told us about new tunes you’r working on. What can we expect in the near future?
I got some singles lined up for a couple of labels and stuff for Ants as well. But I am working on some tracks for Metalheadz, but it’s too soon to say wether it’s going to be an album or anything. More than likely some kind of single or EP. Again it’s too early to say. I’m still working on the tracks so I’ve got a whole loaded Tracks, that are kind of nearly there. Just some little mixdown tweaks, that would of kind of sort out. So yeah hopefully at least a single for Metalhead or an EP this year if there is time to release it this year. A couple of newish labels this year. Had one on counterpoint, a Portuguese label. I’ve got a couple more releases coming up, but I can’t quite say yet, because I know wether they wanna announce them first. News on that very soon!
Cheers! Thank You.