The first time I met Miguel Márquez was for a meeting to gather DJs and promoters for a new club night launching at Lounge in the city. Since then we’ve met sporadically on different music occasions and we always end up chatting about music and production. I’m happy to have him on-board for the 3rd episode of the UNRELEASED SERIES – Melbourne edition, and very excited about his track “Packard Plant” that’s exclusively being released at Whono’s Music. We met up for a cup of coffee on Chapel Street in Prahran and had a nice chat about how he started producing music and his love for getting immersed in various genres.
Did you start DJ-ing before you started producing music, or the opposite?
“I actually did music before I started DJing, I started in September 2009.”
Why did you start producing music?
“I guess I was just interested to see how it was made, and see if I could do it. I started making bootlegs and all that tacky cheesy stuff!”
What’s cheesy stuff?
“It was kind of electro with samples and… it was weird, I don’t know. After that I moved to garage and deep house which was pretty much in the end of 2009. I got a pirated copy of Ableton, a friend to teach me the basics and I also watched tutorials. I was listening to this guy called Danny J Lewis who’s a tutor at a school in London. That was a good way to get to know the program. “
I listened to some of your previous music and there’s a lot of Detroit and old school house influences in there I feel. Is that the sort of style that you’re into at the moment?
“I get really restless with genres and I never stick to one thing. So say one or two weeks I get stuck in a bubble where I only know how to make ‘this’, or really want to make ‘that’. Then I get over it and start to make something completely else. “
What was your last thing that you worked on before this new track for Whono’s?
“It was actually a Brazilian beat with deep house, I made that last night. “
When did you start DJ-ing?
“I moved out of home at 20, and I was kind of broke but I was able to save up for a couple of CD players from Cash Converters. It was a shit pair of Stanton’s, with no BPM or anything, just CDs. It was an all-in-one thing with a Numark mixer and the turntables in a road case. That was a good way of learning it but I had no idea what I was doing! When they broke later I got money back on my warranty, and I bought a pair on e-Bay from New York which was the new model Stanton. “
Where did you play your first gigs?
“I played one time in Brisbane (before moving to Melbourne) at a place called Empire. When I got to Melbourne I knew this chick who used to go out a lot and knew a lot of places and I didn’t know anywhere in Melbourne. I remembered I had a residency at Q-Bar; that was pretty funny. It was alright though because I could play whatever I wanted. I started out playing house; it was a lot of night slugs back then so I used to play that a lot. Later on I started to get more gigs and I’ve played at places like Roxanne Parlour, Liberty Social, Revolver and Lounge. “
Your told me before that you were keen on starting your own night?
“Yeah, I want to do something like once every three months. I don’t want to make a weekly club night; I feel it’s too much of that happening. Melbourne has hit a point where it’s getting a bit stale and something new and fresh has to happen again. Which is a good thing; every environment needs it in every area. So I think I’m going to do that and start a blog, do some interviews and podcast series. I and my friends want to link it up between London, San Francisco, New York and Melbourne. It will be presenting what’s happening in your own city, but it’s not going to be only music it’ll be lifestyle, exploring, fashion and photography. ”
What sort of music genres have you delved into in your productions?
“I’ve done typical UK Garage like Todd Edwards and M. J. Cole; heaps of US garage like Kerry Chandler and Masters At Work; Chicago footwork as well which is like 160 BPM, very fast; also typical Detroit techno like Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson; Manchester Warehouse which is a very ravy sound and also acid where I do a blend of Detroit, Chicago and Manchester. “
Do you study genres a lot?
“Definitely! I’ve got stoned way too many nights. I get lost with it and I do a lot of research like reading and educating because I’m just genuinely interested in it. “
What music style do you play when you DJ?
“I like diversity, so I can go from like 90’s vocal house with a strict rhythm, organs and high pitched vocals, to washed-out, rough New York house like Huerco S or Anthony Naples, to a George Fitzgerald sound to Theo Parrish. Just as long as it works it keeps moving. “
What are your favourite venues to play at?
“Boney is always fun, and I like the Liberty Social, although I haven’t been to it in a while so I’m not sure how much it has changed. “
What inspired you to make “Packard Plant”?
“I was just making a bunch of average tracks, the kinds that you just finish but they’re “okay”, and then I just started to fuck around with this one. So I started to play around with the acid line until I got something I was confident with and I added percussion and got everything to sit well together. In this track I used a 909 sample pack where the kick drum is my staple kick at the moment, and I love putting a bit of saturator on it. I also had this vocal in the beginning that I was playing around with and ended up keeping. I got most of it all down in one night, that’s the thing when you have the creative juices flowing! “
This track is more acid as opposed to the other tracks I’ve heard from you– did you have a 303 in there?
“Yeah, it was a 303 but a clone version that I borrowed. “
What software and hardware do you use?
“Just Ableton Live and I’ve got the Mashine that I’m still getting the hang of. I’ve had it for 2 years but only really started to learn it about 6 months ago. I also have the microKORG which is good for basslines and bleepy-bloopy kind of space sounds, and a little Arturia midi keyboard that links up to their midi pack which is really good; you get heaps of good presets.“
Do you have a plan for your music making?
“No, I don’t really plan, it’s a personal thing. I’d like to get my music signed but I don’t go in with any expectations. Even if I get any releases in the future I’ll still try to keep it that way, but obviously things changes when you start to get releases out. I will always keep music on the side of my career regardless of the level I achieve with it. I would really like to release on vinyl in the future though, not just because it’s a “flavour of the year” thing. “
Do you have a dream artist that you would like to collaborate with?
“It would probably be Delroy Edwards who’s on the New York label L.I.E.S. He’s so forward thinking and every release he puts out is like “wow, I didn’t see this one coming”. That’s why I’d like to work with him, he’s so unexpected. “
Have you collaborated with others before?
“Yes, I have worked with a few other friends. It’s fun but it can be hard too because you go in all ego and with two completely different visions and it’s difficult to meet in the middle. It’s interesting though, one of my friends works with Reason and it’s completely different from what I’m used to. “
UNRELEASED SERIES will feature music producers who will share an unsigned track exclusively at Whono’s Music. This first round will be a Melbourne edition with 6 local producers, 2 each month from January to March. Each blog post will contain an interview with the producer to get an insight into their musical world and who they are.