Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The second interview taken from backstage at the CULT room at this years Detonate Indoor Festival. We spoke to Manchester legend and self confessed cynic, Marcus Intalex.

You’ve just played an hour or so in the CULT room at the Detonate Indoor Festival. How was that?

76 minutes and 30 seconds of pure bliss!

Lovely! So you’ve been a producer for over 15 years but you describe yourself predominantly as a DJ. What made you get into production back then?

Well to be honest it was difficult to get gigs. I always knew that I could DJ, I always enjoyed it. At the time the scene in Manchester wasn’t great, and I was working in a record shop not making much money. So I knew that in order to progress myself I needed to make that step. Plus having a serious love for the music it seemed worth a try! L Double used to run a van service delivering records to the shops and he said “do you wanna come down to the studio?”, so we did!

You’ve had quite a quiet 2009 production wise, have you been working on something?

I’m working on an album. I don’t know why I decided to do it! I go through periods when I enjoy making music, and periods where it’s difficult. When it’s difficult I just tend to not bother with it, because I know at some point later I will get back in the mood. I’ll sit in the studio and write a couple of loops, if it’s not happening I’ll save them and turn the computer off, and if it is happening I’ll try and finish them. That’s the beauty of making music on a computer.

About six months ago I listened back to all the stuff I had that was half finished and there was a lot of stuff I actually quite liked. Sometimes you don’t even realise you’re making an alright tune, you’re just not in the right frame of mind! I’d been in the studio with Calibre and Zed Bias, and before you know it I’d amassed a load of music. I’ve been in the business for 21 years and I’ve not got an album to show for it, I’ve got to stop being lazy!

I’ve always been worried about what people will think; you’re putting something down and it will be there forever. It’s a stamp and I’m really conscious of that. When I was younger it meant so much to me, every single record you put out was so important. These days it’s not exactly the same because there’s so much music out there already. And the only way to counter it is to put out music yourself. We’ve sat on music for ages for no particular reason other than we don’t think its good enough and then you listen to some of the other shit that’s coming out!

You mentioned Zed Bias; you have been known to produce other tempos, I imagine the album won’t just be Drum and Bass?

It’s mostly gonna be for the club, I‘m not gonna go too noodley! I write music for the clubs. There might be a couple of other tempos on there. I’ll mix it up a little, but it will be mostly drum & bass.

MIST - Clockwork / Entropy was probably one of the strongest 12’s of last year. Can we expect some more stuff from MIST anytime soon?

Possibly! We hadn’t done anything for a bit and we wanted to put out a couple of tunes that were a little bit more “dancefloor” than maybe what MIST where probably known for. At the time the music out there, I thought, was either a little bit too minimal and a bit depressing, or too excitable and too cheesy! Obviously from a DJ’s point of view, we wanted to put out a couple of tunes that work for the listeners at home but still have a good dancey vibe about them.

Would you say that’s what you do when signing tunes for Soul:R? Is there a Soul:R sound?

I’d like to think there isn’t. I guess people think the label has got a “sound” about it. That’s up to them. In my opinion it’s just music I really like, music I’d buy to play out. My ears are open really. I like things that are slightly progressive but at the same time have the right ingredients to get people dancing - there’s a fine line. I like to hear people do something different and that’s what excites me but keeping it within the confines of DJ friendly music. That’s basically a weird summary of it I guess!

As a DJ you’ve got to want to cover all the sounds, take people on a journey. I originally started off as a House DJ, and the DJ’s who inspired me you could listen to for four hours and you go through a whole range of emotions. I still look for that now in the tunes I play and I sign for the label; I get likened to more of a techno DJ in the way that I play.

You play some techno sets, have you not ever been tempted to switch it up in the same set? A lot of people I’ve spoken too recently have said how it’s become more acceptable to play multiple tempos in the same set nowadays.

I find it difficult because drum and bass is at such an alienated speed; it’s out there on its own. You can’t mix it into techno. It’s such a high tempo and energy compared to other types of music that I personally don’t like seeing it mixed up. When things are around 120 – 130bpm you’ve got room and scope, you can go where you want along that tempo, there are lots of different styles. Unfortunately once you’re stuck up at 175bpm there’s not really anywhere else you can go!

I’ve yet to hear it done well enough for me to think “yeah I’d like to start doing that”. It’s easy to start your set off playing a bit of dubstep or whatever, but to me that just looks token. It’s like a D&B DJ’s not really in love with his music enough anymore, so he’s thought “oh right dubstep, that’s popular”. I’m a cynic, there’s no getting away from that!

You’ve been putting out some dubstep yourself on the Revolve:R label. Is that going to become an output purely for that type of music?

What we’ve wanted to make Revolve:R is a “non D&B label” not necessarily just dubstep. I’d also like to be putting out a bit of house and techno on it eventually.
I don’t even know if what we’ve put out before can be called dubstep. It’s that tempo definitely. I do like some dubstep, it’s a very interesting tempo to play with as a producer. You take everything you’ve learnt making drum and bass and do it at a different tempo - it can be a lot of fun. I played in Dublin last night and caught some of N-Type. If I’d have heard most of that music at a different time or in a different set I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it. It’s a sign of a good DJ to get you into something you’re not sure you would like - he did a really good job.

Dubstep has done a lot for D&B, it’s made people realise that you don’t have to smash things along at a hundred miles an hour. It’s changed the face of the music. It’s also brought more people into electronic music. Dubstep is the sound of the younger generation nowadays, it’s very similar to D&B but it’s something they can call their own because it’s developed during their generation. Maybe D&B is for old people now!

Dubstep has brought a lot of people over to beats and bass music. That sound is probably the predominate sound in the UK right now, bigger than house & techno, which has never been the case. It’s like they’ve almost amalgamated together to create one massive scene. There are 5000 people here tonight, and there’s not really many 4x4 things going off, its all about beats and bass. The scene’s as good as it’s ever been in terms of being able to play what you want as a DJ, which is all I ever ask for. Five years ago, everyone was playing the same tunes, you’d go to a rave and hear the same six fucking tunes all night! You don’t get that as much any more, everyone’s got their own little thing; it’s completely the opposite almost. It’s very healthy.

So what’s coming up for Soul:R then?

This year we’ve got some pretty big projects on the go. Next single is from a new guy called Phil Tangent, two very true liquid tunes. I hate that word “liquid”, but it is what it is. It’s good musical drum & bass! He looks pretty promising for the future, because it’s basically the first couple of tunes he’s made really and they’re outstanding.

We’ve got a Hobzee & Zyon Bass album to put out, which is not dancefloor at all. It’s a home listening thing, almost ambient drum and bass. Musically it’s amazing, really well produced.

My album’s due, a S.P.Y album later in the year, maybe early next year and also there’s gonna be a DRS album as well. He’s collaborated with nearly everyone in the scene on that, but I’ve yet to hear a single track off it! I’m told by DRS that they’re really good!

There’s a lot to get on with, the difficult side is the business side because it’s a difficult market out there at the moment. This music needs to be heard so it’s coming out regardless!

Just some quick fire ones:

Vinyl, CD or Serato


Favourite release on Soul:R

Hypnotise, or maybe Fire & Water, or maybe the first Mistical EP!

Your last Non D&B purchase

The new Kings of Convenience album, I like a bit of folk! Its good anti-D&B music!

If you could have one other producer’s laptop, whose would it be.

Mark Pritchard, Floating Points or J Dilla

Words: Nidal

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