After setting high standards with an impressive first release, the exciting NRTHRN XPRSS label is back with ‘Universal Control’, a much anticipated follow up that packs in both big names and mysterious new monikers. The release features two remixes of an original by Harkonnen— a new guise born from a well decorated dance duo—the standout of which is by the legendary Steve Mac and marks the debut of his ‘These Machines’ pseudonym. As well as remixing for everyone from Amy Winehouse to Jamiroquai over 20 years plus, the pioneering Rhythm Masters man has become synonymous with a certain sound, but now wants to branch out and show his diversity. Dan Prince checks in with the main man on Britain’s south coast…
A huge welcome back to DMCWORLD Steve, where on planet earth are you today?
Hi Dan, always a pleasure to chat to you my friend. Today I am in my Brighton recording studio The Bunker finishing off all my new music for the summer.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
Well to be honest I have been in the studio since the start of this year mixing my new stuff for the year and have not been listening to anything new. Mind you, I’m about to go on holiday so this will be the time I’ll be looking for new stuff to listen to. Not sure what yet!
Well, a really exciting start to 2018 for you thanks largely to your new production under your These Machines alias on the NRTHRN XPRSS label. You have set Ricky Stone’s and Jonathan M Waller’s label alight this time with your remix of ‘Universal Control’, a rework that shifts seamlessly through house, acid and breaks with plenty of big pianos. Please talk us through your mix and the story behind/direction of These Machines…
Ok, well I just wanted to do something different, so I set up These Machines as my new artist name and my new direction. I have been recording with lots of musicians, friends, vocalists, you name it – anyone I can drag to my place gets recorded. It’s been great fun and you can hear it in the music – vibe and passion. Basically, I don’t give a shit what this DJ that DJ are playing, what style etc., as you end up just making that fodder and copying the last big track on Beatport and that’s exactly what a large amount of producers are doing, you know what I mean, right? So I’m just doing my own thing working with friends and very talented people. I’m having the best fun I have had in the studio for a very long time. It’s working for me. The ‘Universal Control’ remix came about when I was in Amsterdam for ADE. I met up with Johnathan Waller (my very long time friend and the original Rhythm Masters manager) and Ricky Stone (The Legend). We were chatting away and they were telling me they were setting a new label up together and would I be up for doing the first remix. So Ricky played me the track and I said yeah, why not. Yeah, it’s a bit nuts. It has the 303 going on with the big prog pads, vocal sample then piano and the Amen Break cut to fuck. Bonkers.
Word on the street is that there is a These Machines single coming our way on NRTHRN XPRSS later in the year? What can you tell us?
Yes, there is something in the pipeline. I have started it, just need to finish it (that’s what every producer says…)
Three big tunes in your record box this weekend…
1. Astronaut Edits Vol 1. ‘Ipkiss’ & ‘Goldhawk Road’ (Phonica Records)
Cheeky disco edits EP on vinyl only. I do play digital but still love playing from vinyl when I get the chance. This EP is killer.
2. Harkonnen ‘Universal Control’ These Machines Remix (NRTHRN XPRSS)
Of course this is going off right now as it’s the first piece of music to come out my studio under the These Machines alias.
3. These Machines feat Rafael Berrio ‘Martina’
This is going to be one of my first singles from my new project, These Machines. It features a Columbian band who are good friends of mine. Columbian music with a touch of soul and 303. Bonkers record.
How is your town of Brighton doing these days? Once a bastion of essential clubbing with the likes of The Zap and Escape leading the way, what’s worth a shuffle in 2018 on the south coast?
If I’m honest, it’s definitely not what it used to be (all the oldies say that). I don’t go out much to clubs in Brighton these days. I usually go out if a mate is coming down to play and I’m around. Personally, it’s because I am so busy doing stuff that I hardly get that time to myself anymore. Not complaining as I love what I do.
You have been DJing since the age of 11. When was the last time you got a major buzz from slipping behind the ones and twos?
Thats’ always a tough question. It was probably New Year’s Eve just outside of Brighton in a warehouse, it was pretty bonkers.
Producers you are rating in 2018?
My favourite is Kink hands down, he’s such a talented guy. He just has the right vibe that I’m into – quality house music.
True or false? When you were at school the big dream was to be an architect?
False. I started buying records at 11 so that was my career carved out.
If you saw the following current reads doing the rounds on t’internet, which one you would be most interested in exploring…
Swedish House Mafia reforming for Ultra shows in 2018
Jon Carter’s pad making it into the Daily Telegraph’s Most Luxurious Retreats feature
UK Producer Steve Mac rumored to be Prince Harry’s wedding DJ
Jon Carter’s pad all day long…
And finally, what else has the mighty Steve Mac got flooding out of the studio in the future months…
I have so much new music it’s insane. This year I’m gonna get it all out there – been mixing them all for the last 2 months. This includes an album and a new label. Watch this space.
‘Universal Control’ by Harkonnen THE REMIXES is out now on NRTHRN XPRSS exclusively via Beatport. Including These Machines & Bakerloo edits… https://www.beatport.com/release/universal-control/2204005