Interview with Middleman

PS: Hey Middleman, how’s tricks?

M: I’m great thanks.

PS: Firstly, a huge welcome to Proud Sound Records, it’s great to have you on board. We have been following your music for a while now and I’m really pleased to release ‘More than Friends’ as your debut with Proud Sound Records.

M: It’s a pleasure.

PS: Let’s get straight to it, tell us a little background on Middleman?

M: So, I’m a House/Tech House UK Producer:DJ with definite ties to funky, breakbeat and garage. I originally started out djing with Garage back in 2000 and from there, moved on to study Music Technology at the LCM University of London where I also came to appreciate the finer sounds of house music from the city's clubbing scene. Since then, I've been starting to slowly put out releases up until the point where we now find ourselves.

PS: When do your ideas generally come to you?

M: I feel I should say over a glass of wine..... Truth be told, in the studio, amongst my gear and in the moment. I try to find as many ways to ensure unrestricted creativity at this stage of track development. Quick access to equipment, settings etc as needed is definitely important. The last thing you want to be doing when an idea is evolving is switching over cables, finding directories or moving around equipment.

PS: What inspired the name Middleman?

M: Choosing a performance name isn’t ever easy I imagine, but for me, Middleman felt right. I suppose it’s partly an acknowledgement of an overwhelming movement in our society, one that seems to almost define a moment in time. It’s also partly, the way I see myself as a musician. It kind of relates to that feeling when a musical idea presents itself out of nothing, like it’s always been there. Then I lay out a track with it and present it to the listener. I guess there are many reasons why I choose the name.

PS: When did you first have an interest in music?

M: It had to be my first experience of garage music that sparked a deeper interest in music. Up until that point, occasional tracks may have grabbed my attention, but in all honesty, I hadn’t really experienced much music outside of 90’s pop music and of course 70’s/80’s classics at family get togethers. It’s strange to me now as since that moment, I’ve moved across and found so much inspiration within many genres that have helped define my sound, but until that moment, it was almost like music and I hadn’t been properly introduced. I remember it vividly though. I was on a school bus and a friend called me over to listen to some garage mixtape, offering a headphone lead to share. Just like that I was hooked. The groove, the tempo, synths, short punchy vocal lines and effects showed me a sound I’d never experienced before. It seemed to immediately shift my focus on to music from that moment onward. It wasn’t long after that I got my first set of turntables…. Kam Silver Dwarfs - DD’s :).

PS: Which of your tracks so far is your favourite and why?

M: My favourite track so far would have to be ‘More Than Friends’. I’m still a relatively new artist in all fairness, so I would base this on it being, what I feel is my best example of production to date. Asides from production, I do like how this track came together. The arrangement seems to resonate with the energy of the vocals, whilst keeping a strong groove. It was a fun track to create.

PS: Totally agree we love it too !

PS: What’s your favourite emoji?

M: Probably the upside down smiley face. It’s playful, fun, not too serious. Kind of a reminder to enjoy the process and not to always take oneself too seriously. Strive to refine your craft, but have some fun with it also.

PS: Describe your main inspirations and greatest influences?

M: I am a big fan of controllerism. So in that light, I have a lot of respect for individuals like Richie Hawtin and Ean Golden. They are definitely two artists that inspire me when it comes to the pushing boundaries of DJ performances and sound design. In terms of musical influences, from a production perspective, they are pretty far reaching and span across many different genres. Not necessarily all of an artists work either. It wouldn’t be fair to name any particular artist to give an idea of my musical identity. Genres that I do show a great interest in outside of house music include Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, Garage, Breakbeat, R’n’B, Blues, Jazz. It seriously is a mixed bag and I really get a lot out of each of them. One of my greatest appreciations of house music however, is its ability to encompass so many of these influential genres. It’s what seemed to draw me towards it in the first place. Whilst there will always be certain flavours of the moment, House welcomes them all, allowing it to be the powerhouse genre it is.

PS: What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you whilst working on a track?

M: Not sure I’ve had any weird moments whilst working on a track…. Yet anyways. I imagine that will happen with more releases maybe. I guess as a general experience, my mind is drawn towards studio sessions back at uni. We had 24 hour access to Ealing Recording Studios in London. There was just so much interesting and diverse music coming out of those studios, it was a pleasure to be a part of it. Had some great studio sessions in the early hours of the morning. I’d end up in different studio sessions during a visit and experience such varied musical styles from one room to the next. Great Times!

PS: What are you up to next and what does the future hold?

M: Well from here, I will next be releasing my first EP. I really enjoy producing vocal house tracks and will be collaborating more in the future, but am keen for my next set of releases to delve into a series of more rhythm based house grooves. Alongside this, I’ve been working hard to put together a new DJ:Production performance that I intend to start touring with soon. Definitely check out my website or social pages for more info coming soon.