Who is M.A.K.Z.?
M.A.K.Z. is a producer/DJ that uses influences from all over to create the most natural, organic sounding tracks and mixes.
What got you into mixing and producing dubstep? How would you describe your production style?
I first got into producing when I started my music technology course at college (which was 2 years ago now). Before then, I played the drums and have done for almost 8 years – I had been playing with a few bands and had done quite a few gigs around the local area since I was about 14. I think the first time I ever heard real dubstep was in one of Beezy’s old GetDarker mixes that I downloaded because it looked interesting. It blew me away – I’d never heard music like that before and I just really loved the sound of it, after that I got into all the old school stuff – artists like Skream, D1, Mala etc. and it’s progressed from there really. The mixing just came about – I would say I’m more of a producer, but I like to have a mix from time to time. I would say my production style is a blend of deep subs, strange pads, weird eastern samples, varied percussion and natural sounding drums – I try not to go with the whole processed sound, I do like a natural feel to my productions.
How long have you been producing and DJing?
I’ve been producing for a couple of years now – when I first started I used to catch the bus home from school early pretty much every day just so I could work on new tracks haha! I just found it amazing how you could make music with only an idea in your head. I’ve not been DJing too long, I’d say about a year. I just listened to loads of radio shows and wanted to try my hand at it, I used to DJ with a friend of mine who would walk from his house to mine with a suitcase packed with his turntables and mixer and we would do this most days after work when we were both on together.
How do you go about building your tunes? Is there a process behind each one? What software do you use?
I usually start with the drums – I use a program outside of my DAW that has all my samples in (it sequences the beats as well after I programme them), so they’re all the same tempo and not just loose samples. I do tend to layer my drums loads – at the end of bouncing down all my drum tracks to put into my DAW I’ll usually end up with about 5 snares/claps, 3-4 kicks and a variety of different hats/shakers/percussion. Then I start with the main instruments – pads will come first, then the sub and then the other synths and finally I’ll pick and choose samples that I’ve never used before or might recycle old ones. The process behind my tunes is an idea – once I get an idea in my head and I think it’ll sound good I’ll start on the track. I use Cubase 5, I learned to produce using that so it’s familiar to me – if you sat me in front of a Mac running Logic I wouldn’t have a clue what to do! I’ve just started to really find my sound – a lot of my older productions were a jumble of different sounds, but I would say I’ve finally found my way.
Well I started the group one day (which was a while ago!), a lot of unknown producers were submitting tracks that I thought were amazing and produced to a high quality. That gave me the idea to set up the blog which would be a platform to get their music heard. Since then it’s got more popular, not as popular as some blogs, but enough so that people know about it and what it’s all about. I keep trying to come up with new ideas for the blog, which is how the exclusive downloads and the mix series came along – I’d hit up producers/DJs that submitted tracks to my group and they’d usually all be up for it – a lot of people will probably think I’m trying to copy other blogs with the same sort of theme (for example Trusik), but I mainly focus on the underground artists and producers that not everyone might have heard of before. I’ll also be starting a podcast sort of mix (‘DDDDcast’) that will be regular and will be mixed by me, also got quite a few big mixes in the pipeline for the series – that’s all I’m saying…!
Turntables or CDJs for when you play out?
I’ve honestly never played out before haha!! I’ve always mixed in my studio (aka bedroom), but have never had the opportunity to play out because I live in an area of the Midlands where people don’t seem to know the first thing about true dubstep and there’s not a lot of venues here either. But if I was to play out it would be CDJs seeing as though they’re easier for playing unreleased music on – I wouldn’t know where to start with the whole cutting dubplates business!
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?
If I could DJ alongside anyone in the world, it would have to be Hatcha back in the days when dark garage was the rage and the clubs consisted of only big sound systems and decks.
Who are your top 5 dubstep producers at the moment; and why? Any labels you’re feeling?
- Camu – His beats are really flavoursome – every production is genius
- Be-1ne – I’ve always been a fan of his, his perspective on dubstep is one I share and his tunes are always really soulful. His label ‘Area Recordings’ is also one of my favourites, he always seems to put out some deep music. And he’s from the Midlands!
- Gantz – His music is very creative and I love his polished production style
- Perverse – They’ve always been favourites of mine since the day they were relatively unknown and were submitting their amazing productions to my SoundCloud group (haha)!
- Vaun – All of his productions are unbelievably smooth and crisp.
I’m really feeling the music coming out on Tribe12 at the moment. Deep Medi and Tempa are also doing big things as always and of course Osiris. I’ve been hearing some good things on Redshift One too.
What’s the future of dubstep - where do you see the genre going? Do you think the ‘deep and dark’ side of things has been overdone yet? If so, what’s next?
Personally I don’t think it’s been overdone yet – there’s still a load of producers bringing different styles to the table and making the music more interesting, it’s a controversial topic to be fair – everyone has their own opinion. It’s the same thing with my blog – ‘Deep, Dark, Dungeon Dubstep’ paints the wrong picture really – it’s a music blog that covers all areas of bass music, not just the typical dark, minimal sound. I think techno will be the next big craze – I like it in little chunks, but I don’t think you’ll ever see me produce a techno beat! I’d love to see 140 jungle come about more – I’ve got respect for that sub-genre.
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to?
I’ve got a 4-track grime EP that I will be doing the pre-masters for soon and sending those out – if the labels don’t want it then it’ll probably be a self-release thing on bandcamp, I’ve put a lot of time into it and the concept behind it so would be nice to have a label to support it – dropped a couple of the tracks from it in my mix too.
Tell us about your MIG x FKOF mix…
I had a lot of dubs as it was and was still getting more from producers – I tried to include as much new music as I could, also played a classic from Cyrus, one of my most favourite dubstep/grime crossover tunes and that beautiful production from Vaun.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/producers looking to get their music heard or signed?
I think I’m the one who needs advice about getting signed! But for getting heard, you just need to know the right people and send your music out to DJs that will appreciate it.
I just want to say a big thank you and respect out to all the producers/DJs contributing to my blog with downloads and the mixes and to all the supporters so far, also out to all the DJs who play my music – cheers and of course Wil for putting up the best mixes/free downloads around and for letting me contribute to that!
3 people (dead or alive) you’d go for a beer with (and why)?
- The Notorious B.I.G – a very inspirational figure and an amazing rapper
- Camu – so I could ask him how he get’s his percussion so tight
- Wayfarer – so I could ask him how he produced ‘Fall Of The Zulu’ – always been on my mind where he got those samples from.
Best dubstep track ever produced?
It’s got to be be ‘Midnight Request Line’ by Skream – an old school classic and it was one of the first real dubstep tracks I ever heard.
Best dubstep producer out there?
That’s a tough one, but I’m gonna have to say Icicle – all of his music is flawless and his productions are outstanding, no matter what genre.
17/20 dubs in his mix for MIG x FKOF and a truly weighty little FKOF free download. M.A.K.Z. is definitely a DJ and producer to look out for in the future! Keep eyes on the SoundCloud group (I’ve found a good few gems in there) and the DDDD Tumblr and Facebook page - and keep tabs on M.A.K.Z. on SoundCloud and Mixcloud…
Click to DOWNLOAD
1. Camu - Bloodwood [dub]
2. Boofy - Subculture [dub]
3. Aiko - Mystic [dub]
4. Biak - 045 [dub]
5. M.A.K.Z. - Headhunter [dub]
6. Cyntel - Trolls [dub]
7. Baku - Deep Breaths [dub]
8. Gatekeeper ft. Grilza - Truth In The Booth [Nu Labels]
9. Deafblind & Format - My Fate [dub]
10. Geode - Aliased Fever [dub]
11. Kong - Enemies [dub]
12. Cyrus - Paradise Dub [Tectonic]
13. Camu - Kikuyu [dub]
14. Pressa - Solar Flare [dub]
15. M.A.K.Z. - The Sleeperhold [dub]
16. Alias. ft. Lowdose - Bristol 2 Tha Bay (Cyntel’s Grime VIP) [dub]
17. M.A.K.Z. - K.O. [dub]
18. Boofy - Since When [dub]
19. M.A.K.Z. - Straight Roller [dub]
20. Vaun - Colourful [Redshift One]