Miguel Migs talks 'Dim Division' Album
Miguel Migs grew up in Northern California on his parent’s diverse collection of classic rock, blues, funk, soul and reggae records – which helped set the tone for his musical inspirations. He infuses these creative influences into his own sound, which combines this wide range of styles, blending them together into his own unique artistry.
Migs emerged from the 90’s deep house underground scene to become the kind of artist who transcends the stylistic limitations of a genre so very few can. His musical journey began after picking up a guitar in his early teenage years and his first outlet was writing songs and playing in Dub/Reggae bands. Although Migs always loved and listened to all different styles of music, in the early 90’s he connected to the soulful sounds of Deep House. By the mid ’90s he began experimenting with producing electronic dance music. And by the time the new millennium dawned, a string of releases and remixes on numerous leading indie dance labels earned him an enviable reputation among discerning dance music fans worldwide. As , he’d also become a stalwart of the hugely influential stable with his original productions, remixes and compilations.
His latest Album project ‘Dim Division’ is a collection of house and down tempo gems that exemplify the very best aspects of Miguel Migs’ production aesthetic; fresh, buoyant and deeply soulful music that lifts the spirit, from the languorous chords of opener ‘I Can Feel It’, through the neon-flecked bounce of ‘Just Fade Away’ to the infectious groove of ‘Heartbeat’. On ‘Dim Division’, Migs has also collaborated with an impressive international selection of artists including UK soul singer Omar, long-time collaborator Lisa Shaw, Andy Allo (who toured with Prince on guitar and vocals) and many more all making remarkable additions to the album.
In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Miguel Migs, he discusses with us the inspirations for the ‘Dim Division’ Album, stories behind some of the artists he collaborated with and much more.
‘Dim Division’ is available now at Traxsource.
1) Hey Miguel, thanks for chatting with us, where are you right now and how do you feel?
Feeling alright thanks, I’m actually in Miami right now but about to fly back home to san francisco…
2) Let’s jump right in and talk about the album, what was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted its musical direction?
I’m always working on various new material in the studio, but at the end of last year I was in this song writing mode and creative space, so i started writing some new songs with an album in mind. my last artist album ‘outside the skyline’ was released in 2011 so it seemed like a good time to dive into a new one. I love the whole process of writing songs, recording and experimenting with sounds and the dynamic aspects of crafting music, but on this project I wanted to keeps things sort of stripped down with more space – not using as many live instrumentation elements, so there are not a lot of live guitars or live horns, its more focused on the actual lyrics, vocals/songs keeping things subtle. the album is more created for the listener in mind than the DJ or dance floor, which is usually how i approach my albums…
3) Who are some of the first time collaborators on the album? And how did you hook up with them?
I worked with a few singers that I had not worked with before which is always exciting for me to do for instance a singer named martin luther, he had reached out to me last year about doing some work together and I checked out his sound and voice and was really stoked by the idea because I love the tone and range of his voice. I usually gravitate towards a soulful approach when I write, it just comes out that way naturally and his voice is super soulful, plus he was very open minded to my songs and ideas. I also featured a singer named Andy Allo, who actually played and toured with prince for awhile playing guitar and singing. She reached out to me last year about doing a remix for her new solo album, and I really liked her unique vocal style, its a little more on the indie rock edge of things but really smooth with nice texture, so I thought it would be an interesting collaboration and it turned out pretty cool. There is also a singer named Jason Brock who I randomly met at a bar, he was on that big TV singing show called the X-factor and made it pretty far. He has larger more powerful voice than what I’m used to working with, but I wanted to do something more toned down and subtle with him, so that was another interesting collaboration. I also featured my friends daughter Gabrilelle Walter-Clay, she is a young singer that has a great future ahead if she plays her cards right. Her range is impressive and she has a lot of open creative energy, she loves old classic soul music and you can hear that influence in her style.
4) You have an amazing cast of collaborators – were they all “house music” friendly?
The cool thing about the artists I like to work with, is that they are “music” fans in general, and even though they might not listen to a lot “house” music or know much about it, they love and appreciate what i do, so its always cool to work with diverse and open minded artists.
5) Any favourite tracks on the album?
I gravitate towards ‘runnin away’, ‘what do you want’, ‘this feelin’, ‘free my mind’, ‘come into my life’ for personal reasons and expression, but it depends on my mood of course.
6) What is playing on your downtime? Do other genres influence you?
My first love is classic rock, soul, blues and reggae music, That’s all I listen to at home. Everything from Jimi Hendrix, The Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Prince, Burning Spear, D’angelo, The Black Keys, The Police, The Cure, Sade, etc. As a music producer and song writer I take influence and inspiration from all different styles when I write, but I usually gravitate towards a soulful approach by nature when I write songs and music its usually more for the music listener in mind than for the dance floor, but it can be a fine line with dance music and infusing different styles into the music. Creating songs that people who don’t necessarily listen to house music can still relate to and enjoy and as a DJ I enjoy creating dubs and tracks for my sets that I would play out, but with an album I want to make something I would enjoy listening to, while still having a groove to it.
7) Curve ball, what was the last great meal you had?
A couple days ago at one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants call ‘The Slanted Door‘…
8) What is a traveling must when you’re giging?
Just the basics, I’m pretty low maintenance and easy going.
9) What’s in your ice bucket while you play?
Like on my rider? I usually drink Tequila.
10) What’s you’re opinion on the current state of house music?
To each their own… I just do what I feel and play what I like.
11) What’s the best advice you’d give a DJ / Producer trying to make a name for himself in the industry?
Do what you feel, don’t just follow the trends, do your own thing. If you don’t have any passion or connection to your work, then whats the point.
12) Where can we catch you performing next?
This weekend, in San Francisco, for a Halloween Event.
13) If you could collaborate with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
That list would be way too long! Billie Holiday, Sade, D’angelo, Marvin Gaye, Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, and the list goes on and on and on…
14) Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Always keep a positive open mind and support indie artists and music of all kinds…