Having a chat with California finest Miguel Migs

Californian house legend Miguel Migs has just delivered his highly anticipated album ‘Shaping Visions’ on Soulfuric Deep, his first LP since ‘Dim Division’ on Soul Heaven Records/Defected in 2014.

Produced during the height of lockdown, the intimate connection between the listener and the 13 tracks on the album reflects a laid back and deeply emotive side of Migs’ repertoire.

We caught up with him ahead of its release and learnt a little bit more about the concept, and him as an artist. Enjoy!

1. Where are you now and how do you feel?

Im at home in san francisco at the moment, feeling ok thanks, just juggling everything like most people these days and trying to keep things flowing and moving forward after such a heavy past year.

2. What is the concept behind the album?

I had been working on some of the songs prior to the pandemic situation with the intention of finishing a new album, but when the lock down occurred I dove deep into the creative realm finishing the project that I had already set in motion… Although the vibe and feel of the songs changed and shifted a bit based on my creative and emotional state – as an artist being in that bubble creating was an intense space, as it was a very heavy time frame and I was questioning everything. Everything slowed down of course, and the songs became much more moody and mellow than I had originally visioned. But it’s a reflection of my head space and self expression during that time frame captured in this album, and it’s more focused on being an intimate listening experience, not a club driven album.

3. Tell us about some of the featured artists and collaborations?

I have always loved the whole process of writing and recording songs, and although I am not really a singer I love to write songs and envision what vocalist would be able to connect with the song style and melody, and bring it to life. Most of the featured singers on this project are artists i have worked with before many times and long time collaborators. such as the lovely Lisa Shaw and Aya who I have written with for many moons now. And also Martin Luther, an awesome soul singer with such a diverse range and rich vocal tone… Andy Allo was featured on my last album Dim Division, and she has such a lovely unique voice and delicate tone with so many nuances that I try to capture when working with her. Also it was a pleasure to write and work on a song with Samantha James who I have known for many years now from the Om Records days. Also I featured Oakland based soul singer Luqman Frank and had him come in and perform a song I wrote called “Follow Through”… And a friend from LA Stephen James has such a diverse unique vocal tone and approach, and he is featured on a couple songs as well.

4. What is your favorite cut and why?

Probably “To The Other Side” because it has alot of deep personal meaning to me, as I wrote that song years ago but never recorded it. I was in a dark state of mind at the time of writing it, and the song was a personal note of hope and inspiration, and the chorus is self explanatory. I sent my vocal demo to Stephen to see if it would work, and he came up to my studio and we recorded it, and I was thankful that he was able to deliver the vocals in the frame of what I had written and visioned, allowing for the balance of elements to connect and breathe.

5. How does this project differ from your other work?

I approach “album” projects very differently than my other “tracks’‘ or remixes and material that is more for the dance floor in mind – but with the albums I take another route and veer more into musical structured landscape territory more about the songs and vocals, layers, textures and nuances… It’s a more intimate and delicate work approach that is much more focused on being intended as a listening experience for music fans of all different styles to be able to connect with, rather than just being about the dance floor/club/DJ/charting… The albums I create are more about exploring self expression through the craft of song writing and pushing myself as an artist and producer, and working with amazing vocalists who’s voices inspire me, and on many levels that is a big part of what keeps me motivated to create.

6. Where can we catch you playing this summer?

Im taking things slowly, not trying to pack my calendar, it’s been an intense past year and im still getting back on my feat and dealing with getting back on track. As a self employed artist i can definitely use the work now, but also feel that i need to go at my pace for mental stability… I slowed way down on the touring/gigs many years ago due to severe herniated disc issues in my lower back and a blown out knee, and through this whole pandemic I have really realized that i can only take on so much these days, mentally and physically. But i will be doing more gigs/events coming up in the near future.

7. Tell us something we don’t know about yourself?

I got my first guitar for $10 at a flea market when i was a kid and taught myself how to play, and wrote my first songs that way… And that was when i knew i would be involved with music for my lifetime… I have always loved to cook, i love to ride my bike, i’m always out in nature, the beach, the park, etc…

8. Where did you draw the majority of the influences from for this project?

My intention was to create an album that is a cohesive dynamic listening experience that can resonate with people who connect with all different styles of music. I grew up mainly listening to alot of classic rock, reggae and soul, so i have always taken inspiration from everything, growing up on steely dan, tom petty, prince, fleetwood mac, the stones – basically all the records my classic hippie parents played every day growing up, it’s still the music i listen to every single day. Taking my own path and approach within the realm of dance music and based on all of these influences the work tends to be a bit more song-driven focused highlighting the vocals, and i’ve taken that laid back sort of approach on all my other past albums as well. Hopefully people can understand, resonate and connect with that aspect.

9. What role does Traxsource play in your artistic journey?

I started my little boutique label Salted Music as a creative outlet project in 2004 and Traxsource/Soulfuric were our very first distributor on that journey, Brian and Sheldon have always been amazing to work with since day one, they have always nurtured quality music and stayed true to that… I have nothing but respect for what they have built and the team of truly good people they have put together. And being a Jazz-N-Groove fan from back in the day and always playing the Soulfuric Records releases (as a DJ before the digital era) so I was honoured when they wanted to release this album, as i know its a bit different and unique for them to release as their first ever full length album project on the label – and they are in great hands with the Defected Team helping with the distribution and logistics. Traxsource has been my go to record shop as a DJ since the beginning of the DJ digital era and thankfully they have always focused on highlighting quality diverse sounds that i can appreciate.

Miguel’s latest album is Available now, don’t forget to check it out for a truly special listening experience.