Nick Muir is a musician, composer and electronic music producer. He is best known as one half of the production team Bedrock, which consists of himself and DJ John Digweed, although he has enjoyed considerable success as an artist in his own right.
We had the chance to talk with Nick ahead of his latest release on Bedrock.
EG: Hello Nick, thanks for the time to chat with us. How has the start of 2018 been so far?
Nick Muir: Hi guys. It’s been busy, which is of course great! So far, I’ve scored a short film, redone all the idents and audio imaging for John Digweed’s ‘Transitions’ radio show, written a new track with John, finished our collaboration with Eagles & Butterflies, and done a gig in the States – and it’s only the first week of February!
EG: You’re releasing your new EP ‘Mirror Walk / In The Room’ on the legendary Bedrock Records. What makes this label so special for so many people?
Nick Muir: John has fought so hard to maintain the integrity of the label and I think people who are fans of the music that the label releases realize this and love it for that. It’s the commitment to quality that people appreciate and they know that the music is curated solely on that basis. Also, there is a thread to the music even though stylistically the output is varied. The tracks are not just lowest common denominator material – the repertoire is carefully chosen to fit in with what John feels to be the best of serious-minded, cool house music around at the moment. It’s a passion, an obsession, and a great joy.
EG: What was the inspiration for ‘Mirror Walk’?
Nick Muir: I love to hear house music that locks you in, grooves that sit comfortably in the pocket and that you can stretch out on without feeling they necessarily have to go anywhere in a hurry. I’m always looking for beats and lines, little sequences that fit together in a satisfying way and that you can get lost in. If you can set that up properly, then, when as a producer you do decide to take it somewhere, you will be taking people with you. That’s what I was trying to achieve with ‘Mirror Walk’. The title itself is something I heard someone mention on the radio in relation to a technique used by stage magicians. It’s a type of illusion, apparently, but I haven’t been able to find out much about it. I just liked the phrase – it’s suggestive of a certain frame of mind.
EG: What are some key life moments that have influenced you and the music you make?
Nick Muir: My career in music (if you can call it that) is pretty much divided into two sections. I was a keyboard player for the first part, playing mostly piano and organ in rock bands. I was in various bands, some more famous than others, but it was all a bit random. I’m a trained pianist and could play most styles, which meant I kept working but never really felt moved to write my own material. Then the bomb dropped – all of a sudden you could get hold of an Atari computer, some cracked software and a sampler at a fraction of the price it had been just a couple of years previously. I did so, started going to raves, met John about the same time and boom – my musical life completely changed course.
EG: Your unique music style blurs genre boundaries – how would you say that your sound has evolved over the years?
Nick Muir: It’s a lot of years that we’ve been doing this now and the musical landscape has changed considerably over that time. When we started, the genres hadn’t really been defined. It was pretty much an open field – you could go to a club and hear.
Italian house music back-to-back with what we called hardcore, which used breakbeats in the pre-drum & bass era. We always preferred the more “musical” approach and it’s that that eventually led to the progressive tag. These days you can hear that type of sequence-led house music on the label alongside the harder, more techno influenced side of things. That was another underlying theme to my upcoming EP, ‘Mirror Walk’ being the more housey cut and ‘In The Room’ more tech-influenced.
“I’m a music fan – that’s the biggest factor in keeping abreast of what’s going on. I want to hear new stuff all the time”
EG: Where in the world that you’ve travelled to play would you say things are most exciting right now?
Nick Muir: Argentina is such a wonderful place to play for DJs and producers in the sort of field that we work in. It’s a simply wonderful scene, our friend Hernan Cattaneo has had a lot to do with this and he has always championed the sound we like to play. The people are so warm, friendly and enthusiastic – such a musical nation! Germany is also very important, the Germans have had so much to do with developing the software that we use, their genius in that respect is otherworldly and their pedigree in electronic music is unrivaled. The music that comes out of Berlin is imaginative, varied and uncompromising.
EG: With the dance music landscape in constant flux, what do you do keep up to speed?
Nick Muir: It’s not rocket science really, I think you have to go out now and again to gigs (which aren’t your own), listen to other DJs, listen to genres which you don’t necessarily play, listen to as much music as you can, go through your promos and don’t discount material before you’ve actually heard it. I find my interest in a wide variety of styles has increased as I’ve got older and I feel like that feeds into my productions and the sets I play. I’m a music fan – that’s the biggest factor in keeping abreast of what’s going on. I want to hear new stuff all the time.
EG: What are your thoughts about the current scene? Are things going in a positive direction?
Nick Muir: In many ways, now is a golden era for our type of music. There’s a LOT of music being made and available to listen to, but my experience is that the quality is high as long as you’re looking in the right places. The means of production are so cheap, the quality and amount of tools for music creation are mind-boggling and some people are just astonishingly adept at putting productions together. Also, the spirit of club and rave music is intact – it ebbs and flows but I’m quite regularly involved in nights that take my breath away in terms of how fantastic the vibe is. All human life is out there but if you take the time to search out nights that suit your particular tastes then there are amazing times to be had, of course.
EG: What have you got lined up in 2018 after this new Bedrock release?
Nick Muir: This year is the Bedrock label’s 20th anniversary and we’ll be supporting this important landmark with releases and events, some of which we’re working on right now. I want to make at least one album and release EP’s as regularly as I can put together worthy material. There is more soundtrack work to do and also I’m trying to play out more in a DJ capacity – be prolific as I can. Now is the time!
Nick Muir’s ‘Mirror Walk / In The Room’ will be available February 26th on Bedrock. Pre-order your copy here.
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