Jose Marquez Takes Us Inside His New Track: "Mali Blues"
This year has already seen a healthy output from Zepherin Saint’s Tribe Records, with solid releases from the man himself alongside Souldynamic, and Afro Warriors. This month, the label returns with yet another vibrant tribal belter from Jose Marquez ‘Mali Blues’ – we went to find out more about the release..
Congratulations on your new release. How is it being received in your sets? & how are other club DJs responding to the release?
Thank you, it’s been really well received at all the events I’ve played it at. Other club DJ’s are responding with “Yo, why don’t I have this !?” I’ve kept it to myself since it’s creation :P
Tell us more about the track. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted the musical direction on this?
It’s actually interesting how this track came about. I was in Paris for the week as part of a tour and by chance some musicians from Mali that Zepherin Saint knew were also in town. Zepherin more than anyone knows my love for various styles of African music. He instantly knew something had to go down, so he connected us together. It was a vocalist, guitar and ballafon player. One of the guys said “Too bad our drummer is not here”. “No worries, I’ll handle that part” I said. So we booked a studio session and with no initial plan in mind, jumped in and recorded some music. I took the material home, added the finishing touches and what you have here is the final outcome of that recording session that began in Paris.
Production wise, what is it about the track that makes it work?
The track is full of pounding drums & rhythms that really stand out and grab you. I think also the way it slowly builds is what makes it work on the dance floor. It starts off minimally and little by little more percussion elements are added. The vocal starts to become more intense and at the 6 minute mark you are expectantly slapped with a distorted electric guitar solo that elevates the song to a different place.
“There are no shortcuts. If you want to jump into the production side of music as I did, respect the craft, take your time to learn and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.”
What is the one machine, program, sound, drum machine, technique that characterizes your sound?
The one thing that characterizes my music the most is the live percussion element, lot’s of it! I don’t rely on sample libraries, percussion plug-ins, or certain drum programs to build my sound palette, I make my own drum kit around every track. Pictured here is just some of the percussion arsenal that I own. I record and sample a lot of my instruments in my music. I also record with a lot of multi-percussionist and musicians to help add additional parts/solos, direction or inspiration to a track. I believe sample libraries are ok to start off with or for initial ideas but it could never replicate the emotion and vibe that is captured live.
What is the one piece of kit that you simply cannot do without?
I’d have to say the one thing I can’t do without is my DAW of choice, Pro-Tools. I’ve been using it since day one and I have become really efficient with it, especially with shortcut key command editing which is essential when you have multiple recording takes and need to make quick adjustments on the fly when ideas come at you. When I get arrangement ideas I need to be able to make these changes quick or it’s forgotten and lost. I also really love the powerful elastic audio plug-in that it comes with. It’s what I use on all my remixes that need significant tempo adjustments without compromising the original key of the vocal or track.
Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast-paced game?
There are no shortcuts. If you want to jump into the production side of music as I did, respect the craft, take your time to learn and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Too many dj’s are becoming overnight producers for quick fame and to try and get their name out, but premature made music ends up hurting you in the long run. I don’t have a music or recording engineering background, but I knew deep inside this is something I really wanted to do. It took me over 2 years of learning, researching, and discipline before I ever considered putting something out that I felt was finished. And when you finally find your sound, stay original and consistent and slowly but surely you will see that you can build an audience around your style.