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Interview: Muirdel

Written by on April 17, 2018

Featured guest on Purple Infusion Show with A.S.R & Justin Blanc this month…

Tell us about your early years when you were studying music? What are your influences?

I started DJing when I was 15 and producing when I was 17. I had help from a few people around my area, the most was received from DJ/Producer Dan Vanhinsbergh (Resident at Hush, Ibiza). Dan gave me a fair few production tips and he also helped me a lot when it came to DJing, for example at 17 years old he got me my first set in Ministry of Sound. From this I spent a lot of time playing sets and learning how to create music. Over the past few years I’ve focused heavily on music production by putting all my energy into it; I even went as far as gaining a degree in music production. When it comes to my main influences it has to be soul music, I grew up listening to late 70’s to early 80’s Disco, R&B and Hip Hop, I was always hooked by a funky bassline. When selecting music, I always listen for a grooving bassline and this also takes effect in my recent productions. If you check out my Instagram page I normally post video previews of stuff I’m working on and you will hear I try to steer away from the normal type of Tech House groove.

We have heard some of your albums you produced during your University years. We really like it. What are the top three tunes from that era you made?

Well the album I made in university was copied onto about 30 disks and the only people that got them was close family and friends. They are pretty much unheard of but regardless here’s my top 3:

  1. ‘Deep Down Feat. Nicole Hove’ because I put a lot of work into this track. I got a singer who was recommended by one of my peers and she was great but she lacked confidence in the studio so to get the final outcome took a while but when we got there we had a track fit for Hed Kandi. The sad thing was they never listened to it when I sent it to them haha.
  2. ‘My Name Is’ It’s the leading track for the album. It has a lot of Rhode samples, guitar stabs, light percussion and a funky bassline that holds the groove. The main part is the vocal hook which was recorded by me, even in my productions today I still use my own vocals and this is where it all stems from. I recorded my own vocals on ‘The Rebellion’ which was released on Snatch Records. Vinny Caparatti and me layered together our vocals on a track named ‘Fade To Black’ and that was released beginning of this year (If you’re interested in hearing ‘My Name Is’ head to ‘Alex Muirden’ on soundcloud and you can hear a 2:30 minute preview).
  3. ‘Last Stop = Hip Hop’ it’s the last track on the album and of course its Hip Hop. It’s a summer vibe with a lot of funky guitar, pianos and percussion. I played all the guitar parts and it took about 5 hours to make, everything worked so well making it a pleasure to make.

As a producer what do you look for when producing a track? What’s the flow?

As a producer you can always get better so I’m normally looking out for tutorials and master classes, I recently bought a class from Rene Amesz which shows you how he made 1080p. I started following the way he worked by starting with the kick, clap and bass and it sounds funny but getting the levels right of these 3 elements makes a track easier to build when adding the hats and percussion. Doing this has helped my workflow but I still struggle to finish tracks as I never feel they are complete. This is where I use all my producer friends who are normally very critical about my work, I love this because it helps get the track to a professional standard.

When I start I normally load up a kick I built in Kick 2 by Sonic Academy, I then build a funky bassline. If I’m not feeling very creative I will play in a loop that lasts about 4 bars, I chop that bassline up and I normally find something that works. This is the most important part of any track I build because it’s the first thing I listen for when hunting new music. From there I will build the groove using single drum hits and mix them together to create my own loop, I don’t use audio loops because I respect my tracks so much more when finished. This however doesn’t mean I disrespect people who use loops because most people do and I enjoy their tracks, it’s just a personal thing I do for myself.

What has been your favourite night out and why.

When I used to play in Ministry of Sounds 103 for Electronic Sessions and Plastic Fondu I loved Ministry’s own event Saturday Sessions. The reason why is because they always booked Electro and Progressive House producers in the main room and Tech House and House producers in the 103, this meant everybody in the 103 was in there because they preferred Tech House. Most of the time I was placed just before the main acts which was perfect for me because I enjoy warming up because you can get experimental and move around the style more, this would build a lot of tension and keep the crowd excited. I never went to heavy though I would leave this for the headliners.

Do you often collaborate? What are your upcoming releases looking like? With who?

I have collaborated in the past with show host A.S.R but we haven’t had any luck with signings. It’s ashame because it’s a great track, it has a lot of energy, it stays interesting throughout and its current. Persistence is key so we will keep sending it out. If any A&Rs are reading this the tracks called Compleks; feel free to message me I’ll send it over haha. I have been working with Vinny Caparatti who has recently started a Techno label named Kreis. He’s a close friend who has been DJing for a while now and reads a crowd well. His productions are getting there too but he’s a pleasure to have in the studio because we work well together, we have the occasional disagreement but we get final products. I am working with another producer named Matt Kirk and he’s another close friend. He focuses on summer progressive house music and is very talented at it. We have a lot of ideas together and will make a cross over between the two which I’m very excited about, we plan to have this done for IMS 2018.

If you were to name your top three projects you have worked on which ones which ones would they be and why?

  1. My latest project called ‘No One Else’ I bought a Korg Minilogue and have been desperate to get it in a track and this is the first track I have worked it in to. To me it’s my most professional piece of work and has been one of them projects that has changed about 4 times, I dropped the whole track by 2 octaves and pitched the synth from the Minilogue to fit and its now at a stage where a final mix down will finish the track.
  2. A track I made over a year ago called ‘Angels Lie’ I’ve had no luck signing it because it’s way out there (like most of the tracks I make). It has a massive groove, a heavy drop and a breakdown that would switch the vibe. I could see it lifting the spirit of a dance floor because it breaks down into a soulful piano piece layered with saxophones, brass and breakbeat to keep the breakdown alive. I spent a lot of time working these elements together and I am very happy with the outcome.
  3. It has to be ‘The Rebellion’ because it’s the one I had most success with. I always wanted to sign to Snatch Records even more so after a night in 2013 at Ministry of Sound where Riva Starr headlined for Defected. I was completely sober, it was 5am and I had to drive home. Riva Starr opened with ‘Im Sorry’ By Astin and it picked the vibe up, that moment will always stick with me.

– How do you compare the nightlife from where you live to that of London?

I live in Southend and I’ll be honest, the clubs aren’t half of some you find in London but the nights are top notch. We have Sense Traxxs which has booked people such as Sidney Charles, Riva Starr, Josh Butler and loads more. They are also a label and they have some wicked tracks there. There’s another night called Klik and it has been around for a long time now. Recently it has been known for bringing a lot of the Fuse residents in and its great because Sense and Klik have a complete different feel. I know some of the DJs and party owners and they are all nice people so it’s a pleasure to be around them. Not forgetting to mention Too Damn Glam which is another event around my area that pushes the boundaries by setting venues up around the area and turning it into a club, they have had bookings such as Roger Sanchez, Mark Knight, Hot Since 82 and loads more. I used to be a resident here and so did most of the people who run nights in Southend now. London on the other hand is a completely different animal, the clubs are powerful, the sound systems are 100x better and instead of one headliner you get a night full of them, there’s no comparison. But I’m not rich and I can’t afford to go London every weekend so to have the privilege of these nights on my door step is brilliant and its worth experiencing what Southend has to offer.

Where did the name Muirdel come about?

It’s my second name but you replace the last letter with an ‘L’. I didn’t even come up with it my friends Matt Kirk and Harrison Walker came up with it and it stuck. Matt has named a fair few of my tracks as well.

What are your aims for this year? Will we see you on some prominent labels?

I have no set released apart from Kreis Recordings which is still a start-up label but has big plans for the future so it’s one to watch. Honestly, I send my music to labels and they don’t listen so it’s a struggle to get to prominent labels. However, I’m a face to face guy so I’m going to Brighton Music Conference at the end of the month to force A&Rs to listen to my music haha. I have my eyes set on ADE this year too, I met Riva Starr there in 2016 at his label party and shortly after ‘The Rebellion’ was signed so it’s worked better for me so far.

– Which artist would you love to collaborate with in the future and why?

Rene Amesz because he always makes tracks I fall in love with, his productions are great. Yade because her sound is spot on, it reminds me of the stuff I used to play in the 103 and to see someone signing that vibe who is current is brilliant. Rich Wakley, I have followed his career since he was Filthy Rich through to his sound now as Rich Wakley. I have met him a few times and he had a lot of time for me so to work with him would be a box ticked for sure. Honestly, I would love to collaborate with loads of artists but they are all professionals who do it for a career. I would need to sign to a few more mega labels before having the opportunity to collaborate with one of these haha.

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