The Many Moods of Mansur
DJ Meme has flipped the script a little with his latest Mansur project. Using the new pseudonym for his latest release ‘Son of a Gun’ on his own imprint Memix Recordings, we sat down with the top Brazilian DJ and producer to discuss his new guise and the many moods of Mansur.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now.
Right now I’m in Italy, but on my way to Brazil to cherish my newborn ‘baby’ Memix Recordings. The label just launched officially on Traxsource with the 1st release by Mansur ‘Son Of A Gun’. It’s almost unbelievable how the idea of creating a record label to host my own new music brought me a unique spark of excitement. I’m sleeping less, but happier than I’ve been for a long time!
Tell us more out ‘Son Of A Gun’. How did you come up with it’s musical concept?
House music is my natural choice since I was bred in the disco era, though I love many other genres like jazz, soul, funk D&B, techno, jazz, soul and bossa nova. It’s about the song itself; not the genre. People tend to expect from you the same kind of music that made you known to them, which in my case was full lyrics songs with rich harmonies. The obligation to repeat it in every track makes you feel like you’re in a type of artistic prison, like you’re creating limits for any different idea you may have. I just refused to live that.
The funny part is that even knowing it’s me, the human mind has a different perception when the name is changed, allowing you to experiment with different directions in the music. It’s crazy but true. Using different alias is how I’m going to bring some different sides of myself to the table, but at the same time I’ll be protecting my original artistic name. If nothing goes right, I’ll go back to my room! ha
Where does the new artist name emanate from?
That’s the easy part: my full name is Marcello MANSUR. That’s where the nickname Meme orginally came from. I’m Jewish with a Lebanese origin. A bit confusing I know, but it works somehow!
Tell us more about the ‘Son Of A Gun’ track. What was the main inspiration behind it and what prompted it’s musical direction?
That track was made in one night after I decided to create the label. Everything started with bass line and then some 909 sounds. I felt happy and was celebrating house music, you know? I felt like freedom. My main idea was to recreate sounds and the feeling of the best house music records we had in the past.
What kind of equipment did you use to record the track?
The bass comes from my old TX-81Z. No biggie cause it has been used since Moses opened the Dead Sea! ha! Drums are a mix of sample pack loops and the original 909 sound. Keys are a bunch of usual things like Massive and even cheap sounds from the Xpander. Everything was recorded and mixed in Pro Tools, which is my main platform since 1999. I have never changed, only upgraded. Very simple.
Who has been your biggest musical inspiration?
The first time I noticed the music in my life it was a Bossa Nova track called ‘Tarde em Itapoa’, a song my father used to play in his car. Bossa nova is very close to jazz from the chords perspective. Then I grew up and disco was the music of my generation when I was about 12 years old. Both genres are pretty much based on chords and melodies, so I can certainly say it’s not ‘who’ but ‘what’ inspires me. Melodies and harmonies have caught attention since then, no matter what type of music it is.
What is your favorite track of all time?
That’s easy! The Salsoul Orchestra feat. Loleatta Holloway ‘Runaway’. That’s my number 1 and also number 2 track of all time. I still can’t find another song to replace it!
Is there anything that you would like to achieve away from music?
That’s funny, because my son asked me the same thing yesterday. I’m still trying to find an answer for that.
What distinguishes you from others in the industry?
Probably the rich musical experience I had in my life. From being a radio DJ, producing movies soundtracks, DJing in a cheap cocktail bar, to directing an orchestra and telling a violinist how he should play a certain note. I’m a mix of all of those things, but with a DJ’s perspective.
Thoughts on the current house music scene?
Since its creation, the term house music has never been so current in everybody’s mind like today. Everything and everyone are house. Ironically, this genre of music had to be deconstructed, ‘tortured’, mixed with a variety of other influences, distorted and even tagged as ‘beach music’ to finally make a big turn and come back exactly how it was before. The Roland TR-909 is having a lot of ‘gigs’ nowadays. The irony lives when you notice that the more cutting edge the producer is, the more he’s close to the classic sound that has been done before. It’s good to see and celebrate vocals coming back after it had been suffocated by thousand of experiences in the name of modernity and hypeness. How can I hold my laugh when now I see the term ‘deep house’ being abbreviated to its original name? It’s history repeating!
Well, now we can REALLY say HOUSE MUSIC IS BACK, almost on the same shape and vibe we saw when it all begun in the 90’s. It’s the best retro movement I have ever seen. I feel like I’m at the Warehouse in Chicago!
Whats the next step for Mansur and Memix Recordings?
Mansur is the guy who will always produce with a strong foot in the roots of house music. That’s ‘his’ part on the label! ha! Memix is living a golden moment right now with some other tracks ready to be released in the pipeline. We’ll have a DJ Meme record, with its classic disco-house sound and 2 more from the newcomer Mordechai, which is more electronic-based. I can’t wait to see the DJs reaction to it. The moment we build a nice relationship with the DJs and crowd, I will be bringing some more artist on board.