A chat with Miles Sagnia
March 6, 2012
This Friday we welcome Miles Sagnia, one of our favourite producers and DJs to Wax’d at the Horse & Groom. Ahead of the party, we caught up with Miles to chat about his influences, his favourite club moments, his plans for the year ahead and much more.
For more information and advance tickets, visit the event page on Resident Advisor.
When did you first realise you wanted to work in the music industry?
Very early on. Music has always ran concurrently with everything else I’ve ever done. It is a passion that has been 100% natural, always been drawn to it, there was never really a certain time where i decided to embark on collecting, performing and writing music, as it has always been there as far back as i can remember.
What artists first influenced your sound?
I have been writing material for a lot longer than i have been releasing it, so with that in mind, a mixture of a few artists off the top of my head from that earlier era that i spent a lot of time listening to, whether it be Albums or otherwise, which influenced me in some way I guess…. Larry Heard, Dan Curtin, Blaze, Nuyorican Soul, Luke Slater, Dave Angel, Stasis, Colin Dale, Dave Clarke, FSOL, System 7, The Black Dog, Photek, Kenny Larkin, 16B, Claude Young, Stephen Brown, Swag, Muzique Tropique, Glenn Underground, DJ Q, Biosphere, Brian Eno, King Tubby & Glenn Brown, Boards of Canada, Nuron, Kirk Degiorgio, you get the picture….
Can you tell us a little about your first experience on the decks and first attempts at producing?
There were many possible situations that could have been my first introduction to mixing with turntables, there were many early moments messing around with friends, who were lucky enough to have acquired them somehow. Come to think of it, it was probably their older siblings equipment and records (if only they knew!) from about 1993, but I do remember writing my first proper track. Up until that point it was spending time on gear familiarization, so just disjointed sounds, noises and drum loops pretty much and half finished compositions. It was a question of getting my small amount of kit up and running with a small mixer and leaving things on loop, while i jammed on the keyboard over the top, playing baselines, stabs, keys etc. All rigged into a Roland JV-2080, which was the main synth I had. It was quite a minimal setup. Think this went on most of the day that I had off at the time, there is a DAT somewhere of it, I had an XV-3080 few years later in about 2000, made it do some things that blew me away. I never bothered with any manuals or tutorials, I just kept mucking about with it till it and everything else made sense. There were some great lost musical moments, frustrating times and silly mistakes, probably stumbling my way through the learning process, but I got there in the end. I taught myself Logic Audio the same way around that time, along with my mate Kirby who approached it in a very methodical manner. Helped to have someone stumbling through the same ‘self taught’ process. 1997 was the year I wrote the first track though.
What was your best party you’ve been to as a punter?
Too many good parties to remember a best ‘moment’ on a dancefloor as a paid up punter, but my best memories of parties are the ones of the warehouse and outdoor party variety, free from constraints of the nightclub environment. There are some special memories of some of those, under the stars, sunrise moments, the way the soundsystem sounds through morning mist, the fresh air enhancing perceptions, the scenery. That all helps me to remember those nights more clearly. A lot of early club nights were often very dark with mad visuals, so more of a cerebral experience. I remember a couple of visits to the DiY crews ‘Bounce’ nights, along with LOST nights and random excursions around the UK to known parties at the time.
What was the best party you have played at?
Could not pick one out. I’m one of these DJs who is not bothered about playing everywhere just to round up gigs and grab the money. I’m happy to always swerve those nights where you feel that the music does not matter. I prefer to play to and for people who want to hear good music, music loving people, I always have the best times and play well at those nights, therefore gigs are carefully selected, because there is nothing worse than playing to a load of people who have no interest or feel for the music, it’s demoralizing and i’d rather stay at home and play records! To all those Londoners that couldn’t care less about the music, you work hard, your entitled to fall about the dancefloor if you wish, but treading on everyone and elbowing your way about the room because you overdone it is no excuse for ruining others downtime. Please try and be more courteous to fellow people, who also work hard and wish to lose themselves in the music, and maybe even close their eyes for a bit, without being taken out! ) .. It gets like that a lot nowadays in London, but that being said, there is a great crop of nights springing up around London, alongside some of the more recognizable nights, which have great atmosphere and feeling that i’ve had the pleasure of attending, Kit, Kiss me again, Transition, Beyond the Clouds, Machine, Until My Heart Stops. Also look out for new night ‘Night Moves’ curated by Jane Fitz and Jade Seatle, featuring as first guest somebody who’s music i love and a UK debut, Jenifa Mayanja of Bu-Mako recordings….
I guess some gigs were more memorable from a musical point of view, whether it be deeper, more slower moody House driven sets, or more abstract upbeat Techno sets. It’s all about the contrast for me. The marvelous Freerotation festival last year (where i overheard a freerotator describing it as a ‘House and Techno Utopia’) and Manchester’s ‘up for it underground followers of the top Bohemian Grove’ nights spring to mind as recent memorable gigs…..
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a remix for the legendary Aubrey’s new label DOT records. DOT is a subsidiary of his prolific label ‘Solid Grooves’. It features an Aubrey original, along with remixes from Paul Mac and myself. Should be hitting the shops on vinyl 12″ soon via Clone distribution. I’ve a track featuring on Finale Sessions which is part of Balance Music Group, sometime in the near future on vinyl 12″.
I am currently working on my first album, which is going well and great fun. Very happy with it so far, hope to have it wrapped up in the next couple of months.
My record label Atmospheric Existence Recordings has some great new material forthcoming, keep your eyes peeled for that, these will be dropping firstly through Juno.
What motivates you in music?
Quality music from around the world, Feeling, exploring chord & harmony, synthesis, rhythm & sound, people, hard times, good times, environment, expression, struggle, curiosity and above all that need to create something that is memorable and emotive in some way.
What new artists have caught your attention in the last six months?
There is such a huge amount of good music out there, a lot of stuff i have been listening to of late is a world away from electronic music, it’s refreshing and interesting. I have a load of stuff that i need to go through but some of it sounds very promising. Look out for some superb music coming from Nick Dunton (65D Mavericks) and his imprint Surface recordings. Nick’s a great producer, he has some great new releases forthcoming. Also Brad Peterson is back at the helm and has some great stuff forthcoming. I’ll have to take a rain check on the new producer stuff as it’s getting late and i’m bleary eyed!
What music do you listern to in your car and what’s on your iPod?
I don’t own an ipod and my car stereo is broken. So mostly the sound of the heating fan along with engine grooves at the moment. Needs to be sorted asap as the car is a sanctuary for music. The combination of movement, ever changing scenery and great music has given me many enduring memories. Also great to listen to new productions. What do i listen to? All sorts, as one does, although i tend to shy away from mainstream radio ‘playlist’ stations and listen to mixes. Got some killer northern soul mixes that are old favourites along with various mixes from mates.
Whats coming up for you in 2012?
Music wise, i’m excited about this year. Getting my album finished off and out there, some great gigs lined up for the summer, along with some great releases lined up for my label A.E.R.
Thanks for the interview, always nice to be asked. Thanks for taking the time to read this far.