Earlier this week, the fabric office was filled with smiling faces and charmed ears after watching the brand- new video for “Can’t Leave You’, taken from Maceo Plex latest EP, ‘Sweating Tears’ out now on Crosstown Rebels. To accompany the video, we gave you a short but sweet synopsis of the Maceo Plex journey so far, with an emphasis on the Crosstown homeboy’s production style that thumps with soul and alluring eccentricities, in a deliriously good dose of heartfelt house and sun-kissed vocals.
In just two days, Room One will be charged by the deep emotion and energy of Maceo Plex live show for the first time, alongside Crosstown darlings, Damian Lazarus, Art Department and jozif. But before this Saturdays night of adventure and artistic integrity kicks off, we got the full story on Maceo Plex, as he tells us about life in the rebel camp, dOP influences, romance, his new label Ellum, as well as a second album on Crosstown next year and whole load more.
Hi Eric..how are you looking forward to the Rebel Rave takeover in Room One this Saturday?
It's one of the parties that I'm most looking forward to. Anytime we get together it's madness, let alone doing it at FABRIC? Crazy..!
What do you enjoy most about being a rebel raver? What’s been the highlight so far if you had to pick one?
Well the Get Lost party at WMC Miami last March is a given - perfect weather, perfect vibe all night and day. Damian put me right in the middle at the best time to show off my live show and the rest is history. I can't wait for the next one.
You’ve been super busy with the release of ‘Life Index LP’ on Crosstown earlier this year. How have you received the feedback?
The feedback was great. Many people loved it but there still were some critics that found things wrong with it. Of course at first it always hurts your feelings to read anything negative, but after so many years, I’ve learned to channel that energy into my next projects. The feedback made me better and with every release and remix after Life Index I'm just getting better.
There’s buckets of soul and good feeling in your productions as Maceo Plex. What’s been the main inspirations?
It's really quite simple what my inspiration is. All of the songs are basically in a way love songs set to a good groove. Anybody that really "gets" my music probably could guess that my main inspiration is my girl Christine and our relaxed life together here in Spain. The Maceo Plex project was born from our loving and sunny lifestyle...so in that case it's not any artist or any sound that inspires me. It's romance and good music.
Who are some of the artists you perceive to be the real soul machines on the music scene?
Not to sound cliché, but all my homies in the Rebels camp are so soulful it's incredible. Everyone has their sound they're pushing, but it's all so centered around the resurgence of new sound ideas and soulful vibes. There's also people like Aquarius Heaven, NRP, Guy, Seuil, Cesar Marchese, etc.
You took your debut live show to Miami’s’ Get Lost 6 months ago. Were you nervous of bringing something totally new to the crowd and in what ways have you been working on your live show since then?
Yeah I was tremendously nervous. I worked hard on it...and was able to pull it off even under pretty difficult circumstances. It wasn't exactly a good setup for a live show. It was a zoo up in there....but by it going off anyways, I found a confidence in myself that I didn't have before and the creativity has blossomed since. Ever since then I’ve been just working on tightening up my live show, trying to improve my vocals and getting better at the vocal effects and their sound in the mix. Also I’ve been switching out different tools and keyboards trying to find the right setup for what I need to do. I think it's gotten even better, but I’m still working on it. I'll probably be accepting even less live shows after fabric to keep it extra special. After all, it is a lot of work.
You have a huge talent for song writing and powerful vocal performance, where do you think your big stage presence comes from & who do you look to for inspiration on the scene today?
Mike, Mike, Mike! I'd be lying if I mentioned a bunch of other "cool" artists. It's all about Mike. dOP are amazing. I'm trying to get together friends of mine to perform with me at the few live show appearances I’ll be accepting. I want to try to come up with a bit more of band feel. I can't do everything myself...and I like how dOP are three guys that work so well together.
You've been also Djing at some really amazing places. Do your DJ sets reflect the sound of your productions?
Yes and no. I play plenty of my own material of course, but I like to travel and play a lot of different types of things and using good timing to keep the crowd going. I'll play plenty of music my friends give me, but also plenty of older tracks that people aren't really aware of. I worked at a record store since the early nineties and all the way up to 2005, so my record collection is beyond huge. I like to go back in it....and drop things people have no idea about.
Have you ever considered starting up your own label?
Yes I did consider it through most of the year. And now with the amount of music I’m working on and the amount of demos I’m getting it made sense to launch Ellum. Ellum is the name of my label with the launch set for the 2nd week of November 2011. It's being run under the same umbrella as Crosstown Rebels, Visionquest and Hot Creations with the first release by me to establish the sound of the label. And there are some pretty amazing remixers onboard like Seth Troxler (by himself), Jonny White of Art Department, Catz & Dogz, Subb-An, Danny Daze, Martin Dawson, etc....I mean some of the best of the best.
How do you approach remixing a track? What remixes are you working on right now?
I like to approach remixing a track by first concentrating on one thing that I like about the original. Then just building on that one element. Therefore usually my remixes sound totally different but have one element from the original being translated in a different way. I just finished remixing Martin Dawson for Pets Recordings, Tale Of US for Crosstown, and Laura Jones for Leftroom. Right now I’m not accepting anymore remix requests so that I can concentrate on Ellum and finishing my 2nd album for Crosstown. I enjoy creating my own music more than remixing...but remixing is also necessary in the business.
You're good friends with Jamie & Lee and released “Alpha” on Hotwaves earlier this year. What’s it like working with the boys, was it a case of work hard, play hard? What would you say is the secret to their success?
Working with them is quite easy. They either like it a lot or they don't. Jamie, Lee and Richy aren't typical label owners but more like music geeks really into what they DJ and what they produce. It either floats their boat or it doesn't....thankfully because of that, they have a very special sound that you can only find on the Hot Creations group of labels. When I wrote Alpha I showed it to Jamie and it didn't take long for him to figure out what to do with it. The boys have great taste and aren't afraid to take chances on special productions. The secret to their success is obviously being themselves and letting the labels reflect that.
What do you enjoy most about living in Spain? How do you like to relax when away from the clubs?
I enjoy relaxing the most. I'm not in my 20s anymore so I’m enjoying my off time just as much as my party time. It helps me concentrate on myself and family. And come up with great ideas without too much outside influence.
What are your top three guilty pleasures?
Writing music butt naked, watching love stories and hiding the tears, and trying to guess Damian's next outfit.
What else can we look forward to from you for 2011?
My EP coming out on my label Ellum which includes the tracks "Stay High Baby" and "Ain't That Love"...Also a track on Jonny White's label No.19 called "Under The Sheets", and some really nice remixes I’ve done. And Spring 2012 is all about my 2nd album on Crosstown there are some really great collaborations in there as well. Without revealing too much....it'll be a special album.