Experimental yet functional: this is how Midland tames dancefloors - Features - Mixmag

Experimental yet functional: this is how Midland tames dancefloors

The London-based producer is one of the most consistent artists in operation

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Portraits: Ben Eagle | Live shot: Niels Freidel
  • 17 May 2016

Midland’s all-night-long tour of the UK last autumn showcased a DJ at the top of his game. He captivated crowds with five-hour stints that showed a masterful control of energy. Areas charted spanned from Λένα Πλάτωνος’s 1980s Greek spoken word-pop down to Matthew Jonson’s minimal rollers, the mind-bending, chaotic techno hybrids of A Made Up Sound to Radiohead. Packed-out dancefloors thrived upon precise selections, hooked to the London-based DJ's unfaltering approach to ebbs and flows.

As a producer, Midland is among the most consistent in the house and techno sphere. Since making his debut release in 2010 he’s built up a potent back catalogue, with that record and each thereafter standing out among each respective year’s best.

It’s not often that a label that's just two releases into its life pulls a dedicated fanbase, but the launch of Midland's own Graded imprint in 2013 did just that. ‘Archive01'/'Realtime’ made a splash with its combination of beguiling vocal chops and murky sub-lines, while ‘Drumtrak’ on the second EP stunned with its richter scale-charting bass that blows the roof off any club it’s drawn for in. The records created a clamour for Graded material that didn’t dip in fervency across the two and a half years that passed before the mighty ‘Blush’ dropped last month.

During that time Midland additionally founded his ReGraded sublabel to pursue an interest in sample-led house, hitting quickly towards the end of 2015 with two massive releases in as many months that lit up dancefloors across the globe. His own ‘Double Feature’ provided a smooth glide through strings, while Hubie Davison’s track ‘Sanctified’ pushed the dynamism up considerably with euphoric vocals and swirling disco samples merged into a track with the vigour to send any dancefloor wild, reflected in its support by DJs from Gerd Janson to Seth Troxler. It was a free download on SoundCloud when Midland first heard it, and now it’s sold out multiple represses. He knows how to pick them as well as he makes them.

The next ReGraded EP from Midland is out on June 3 and once again it’s a near-flawless release, fronted with the finely-crafted 'Final Credits' on the A-side which is an irresistible seven-minute groove. We’ve got the exclusive premiere alongside a Q+A below.

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