Party Proactive try to escape My Digital Enemy
Reported by Joanna McEwen
Submitted 06-08-07 09:14
Even if summer hasn’t been a scorcher, the My Digital Enemy musical trio are so hot they’d give a sun tan as soon as look at you. With credentials as long as your ‘to pack’ list for the long haul out of here, they give you every reason to stay, because, quite frankly, being at the start of something huge is far more satisfying than an all-inclusive stay at the I’m-a-Celebrity-So-Spoil-Me-Rotten luxury beachside villa with complimentary wash bag. Trust me, these guys are set for the top.
Proving that, for them, three is better than one, the Brighton based Harry Diamond, Kieron McTernan and Sergei Hall have already had success with tracks reaching number 3 and 21 in the UK Nationals (Sunset Strippers, ‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’ and Lost Brothers, ‘Cry Little Sister’) and, as My Digital Enemy, they’re most definitely heading in the same direction. After remixes for Pink and Rogue Traders, amongst others, their latest release, a dirty electro dub of Groove Armada’s ‘Song 4 Mutya’, is being hailed by some as the ‘first amazing pop record of 2007’ yet they continue to cane dancefloors of clubs across the globe with their tough, melodic, electro house. Consistently appearing in the Buzz and Cool Cut Charts supported by Eddie Halliwell, Judge Jules, Pete Tong and Paul van Dyk, and with the music press pricking up their jaded ears, My Digital Enemy’s reputation is ever growing. From an appearance for DTPM at Fabric to gigs in Germany, an up-coming tour of Brazil and now the musical extravaganza that is Party Proactive at Turnmills, these boys are definitely on the up. Booowai!
Success is a marvellous thing, and to make things even more interesting the My Digital Enemy history includes the immortal words of Nukleuz, Tidy Trax, Elasticman, Black Hole, Kaktai, Banging Tunes, Nick Sentience, Dogzilla, Frantic and Project Mayhem, to name but a few of the hard scene entries. Intriguing and I feel a few questions coming on so I managed to corner one of the trio to get the complete lowdown.
Hello. I hope you’re all keeping well. I suppose now I’ve thrown the cat amongst the pigeons by mentioning your mysterious connection with hard dance we should start by a bit of illumination!
When did you first start making music and what were you making?
Hi there, I (Harry) first started making music back when I was at school, must of been around the age of 15 I think. I used to sneak out at lunch and go round to my friend’s studio which was just down the road as much as I could. It was something I always knew I wanted to do so toward the end of my school days it became a more and more frequent thing. Serg and Kieron, I think, did pretty much the same thing, they both went to music college as well and both graduated there. At the time I was trying to write hardcore, it was so fast that listening back to it now almost sends me delirious with a nose bleed, haha. The guys were just experimenting I think with different stuff still learning the ropes and then moved into the hard dance scene.
Was the Carnival track, released on Nukleuz’s DJ Nation in 2003, the first time the three of you worked together?
It wasn’t the first time we worked together but certainly the first time we had some sort of success I think. It always takes a while to settle in to the way other people work and to find out each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Do you still keep up with hard scene now your own style has evolved?
Honestly no. It was a great period of time for us but we have moved on musically now. It's strange but it seems the older we have got, the slower we like everything. It was getting ridiculous I think at one point with hard dance. It was becoming so hard and fast, I think it lost its way a bit. There were some really amazing tracks at one point coming out but then everyone jumped on the band wagon and lots of rubbish started to filter through. However, we do check in with a couple of friends from the scene every once in the while just to see what they are up to and how their doing.
Have you found the contacts you’ve made over the past ten years helped with your latest project or do the worlds of hard dance and electro generally not mix?
No, every contact we have made still helps. People from the hard dance world have evolved too. You have to keep up with the times. Most of the producers and people who used to work at all the record labels are still involved in the music industry one way or another today. Of course every day is a new day and you are always meeting new contacts involved in different areas but if you love music you’re still going to be involved in the industry somewhere so regardless of what’s hot at the moment you’ll still be in the scene.
Now you’ve worked together for some time, do you have defined roles within the production outfit? Does someone have a better ear for basslines and another for the melody? Who does the engineering?
We all sort of do a bit of everything, each of us have our strengths and weaknesses though. For example, Kieron is amazing at writing riffs, musically I would say he is the best out of us, I really enjoy mixing the tracks down and also adding onto what Kieron has already done, maybe changing it slightly. That in turn will give him another idea so the track starts to evolve. Sergei is just generally brilliant with computers (bit of a nerd that way) and also writes. All three of us do the engineering of the records. What will normally happen is one of us will start a record, get the basics of it done and then hand it over to someone else who will do some more work to it and vice versa. As there are three studios now it allows us to work individually and to swap round so you don't get bored of the track. Though normally when we are about to finish something we are all in the room together.
Your original tracks such as ‘Runaway’ and ‘Storm Breaks’ and your remixes including Loose Canons’, ‘Girls in Hats’ and Bleach Eating Pimps’, ‘Mistake’, seem to be equally as popular. Do you find it easier to take a sample and build upon it or to start with a completely blank page?
Hmmm, good question. Depends on what kind of sample it is. Using a sample that is actually the main part of someone else’s track with singing and a chord structure gives you an idea straight away. You then build you track round that so you immediately know where you are going with it basing your song around what is already there, you are sort of governed by the sample if you like. If you are using say a drum loop sample from someone else’s track then you can do what you like still as there is no musical element to it. Writing you own record just gives you a blank canvas but may take a bit longer. Both ways of working have pro's and con's so I would say they are just the same in how easy or hard it is.
You’ve set up your own label to release My Digital Enemy music. As Project Mayhem, Keiron and Sergei also released through their own label. What was behind the decision behind MDE going independent? Are there things you’re doing differently this time round?
We actually co run our label with Tim Binns at New State Entertainment. The way tracks are released these days has totally changed with downloading becoming the number one format. We have made the decision now to go totally digital unless the track really calls for other formats whereas before we would have done vinyl as well. Learning from previous experiences, running a label all by your self is hard work and time consuming which is why we wanted to do it with someone like Tim who has the experience and the resources to get your tracks out there to the right people. It allows us to get on with writing the music more which is what we are good at, then hand over to someone like Tim who uses his platform to get the tracks out there which is what he is good at. We all are involved in all aspects of the label though and keep in regular contact as to what is going on.
Does your focus on the business side and selling of music affect its creation? For example 1: where do you find the time and 2: do you find yourself being less free artistically and more commercial minded?
We all do music as our job, if your hobby is in fact your work, it's brilliant. So we are in the studio nearly every day. Writing commercial music is something that we all like doing but there is no doubt about, it's a good money earner. There still is money to be made in the music industry even though it's getting harder and harder so you have to explore other areas of music like adverts, films, computer games etc to keep going. Unless of course you can write chart hit after chart hit which is great if you can do it. For us though it's a bit of everything which is cool because it always pushes you to learn new stuff which you can then incorporate into say house music. If you love music in general, which we all do, then writing different forms of it for different things is just the same as writing the dance stuff.
What’s the process for getting tracks signed to other mediums? Is it a ‘not what you know but who you know’ situation or are there agencies who you send your tracks to?
Our publishers and management are very good at getting our stuff to the right people. How it normally works with ads is that a group email will be sent out to publishers saying something like Audi are looking for a bit of music for their new advert with a brief of what they want. Then the publishers get the people they publish to have a go at writing something for it, sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. Of course it's a case of 'who you know' to get the stuff out there and you are constantly building your contacts up, but it's hard, you are competing against a lot of other really amazing and talented people out there so the music has to be up to scratch. The movie and advert world is so big and there are so many agencies and people to meet. To get a track into a movie I think you have to be quite lucky unless of course you are a huge band or artist. Both our management and I go to L.A. quite a lot as that is really where it's at with regards to meeting people in the movie world for your music.
A bit of a side step bearing in mind you’re playing for Party Proactive under your My Digital enemy guise, but I am intrigued by your side project, Machines Wielding Weapons. You say it’s a “breakbeat grunge rock-type band”. Does that mean you get to play drums and guitar as well as twiddle knobs in the studio?
Yep, we all love band and rock music so it gives us a chance to put on our massive 80's wigs, dress up in tight leather and spandex and rock out for the day, great fun!
You’ve had some great support from Judge Jules with your track, ‘Wasted’, being his ‘Funky Tried and Tested’ tune of the week six times and now included on his new Ministry of Sound compilation. With the radio edit being released soon do you hope it might become a UK chart contender?
We hope so, we wanted to something that was cool but still commercial at the same time and totally original to really put MDE on the map, it's still a fairly new project and we are still building the name. You never can tell though, it’s a good song so would love for it to chart but if not we will just have to move onto the next one, fingers crossed though.
You’ve already had an appearance on Top of the Pops (RIP), as Sunset Strippers. What was it like? Tell us a story!
Erm, it was really, really, really good actually! You arrive at the BBC and get taken downstairs to where your dressing rooms are. Then you get called up to do your rehearsals throughout the day, I think we did three in all. After you finish them it's just a case of waiting around for the big moment. We got given some drinks vouchers so in between rehearsals and the performance we were just bumbling round the BBC finding various bars and canteens getting smashed! Think by the time we actually went on we were totally fucked, highly professional I know but hey, it's not every time you’re on TOTP. At the time 50 Cent was there so he had about five dressing rooms with these people outside the doors who basically look like houses and if you looked in their general direction they looked like they wanted to kill you! Overall though it was an amazing experience and something we had all wanted to do ever since we first started writing music so to actually do it was awesome, even though it was really cheesy.
You’ve described yourselves as Producers, DJs and Live performing artists. Which of these hats will you be wearing on the 1st September?
I think it's just a DJ set on the 1st, however will probably bring the old laptop along and see if we can get it to work (always a bonus) so we can integrate a few things.
As there are three members of MDE, will all three of you be coming down to Turnmills?
Yep all three of us should be there I think so unfortunately for the viewers they will probably have to see all three ugly mugs as opposed to one. Only one of us does the DJing though so I am sure the other two will be causing havoc somewhere, that’s what normally happens!
How tall are you because the booth in T2 is going to be very cosy with you all in it!
Kieron is 8ft, Harry 3ft and Sergei is 7ft wide.
Who’s rocking the spot for you musically at the moment?
Well for me it's Eric Prydz, no other producer writes music like him and get's tracks to sound the way he does, he truly is a proper artist and as a producer someone to aspire to. Also a guy called Richie Kayvan, like Eric is an amazing talent! Sergei really likes a guy called D-Nox who does like tech trance stuff and Kieron is really into a guy called Fonzerelli who also goes under the name Aaron McClelland. All amazing producers doing it at the moment.
Will you be playing a mix of those tracks alongside your own My Digital Enemy tracks or will Party Proactive be treated to an entire set of MDE originals?
We will be playing some of our new stuff as well as some oldies but goldies along with a variety of other music from different producers.
And finally, the inspiration behind your MDE illustration of the three of you is the old brass monkeys see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil image, allegedly because it sums up your collective personas perfectly! So who is who?
God knows, I suppose I’m hear no because I listen to everything way too loud and am basically deaf (what?). Kieron is see no as he has to wear glasses and Serg is speak no because he doesn’t shut up, haha! To be honest I think all of us are all three.
Thanks guys. That wave you’ve been riding is taking you on a spectacular journey, what an adventure! Congratulations on all your successes – I have a feeling there’s going to be many more to come. The next one being Party Proactive on the 1 September, of course Getcha Freak On! X x X
Awesome, right back at you, thanks.....Harry, Kieron and Serg x o x o x
Pictures courtesy of MDE. Not to be reproduced without permission
Party Proactive present Getcha Freak On!
Saturday 1st September
22:00 TO 06:00
£14 IN ADVANCE / £16 GUEST LIST / £18 DOOR
Tickets and Paying Guest List
Advance Tickets £14 / Paying Guest List £16 / Door £18
Ticketweb (24hr Credit Card Bookings): 08700600100 / www.ticketweb.co.uk
Clubtickets (by 5 get 1 free): 08702462050 / www.clubtickets.com
Proactive HQ: 07814179946 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Vince (Midlands): 07878619504
Cyberdog (Camden Market): 0207 4822842
Maria: email@example.com / 07813684399
Click here to buy tickets
PARTY PROACTIVE PRESENT GETCHA FREAK ON
SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER 2007
TURNMILLS – 10PM TO 6AM
Oooh my, my, my, things are getting heady.
Are you ready for the steady turn of things a little loose?
It’s time to Getcha Freak On, People - be your own Decider
of who is what and when is when and how the why is used!
That’s right my fabulous Party People, summer may be past its zenith but you know the time is always right for us to shake that something loose. When we put this line up together and looked at the final result we knew we were on to something that truly was unmissable and haven’t stopped looking at the flyer since we got it printed! The last party had something magical about it and I know this party on the 1st September is going to do us equally as proud. But only if you come and join us to Party of course Because as much as we can provide the best music our imaginations can muster, its you guys who make the Party. Thank You to all of you who’ve made it down to our events over the past four years. We’ve had some crazy times putting on this party of ours and meeting some, if not all, of you always reminds us just why it is we do this – because we Love To PARTY!!! And so, without further ado, we at Party Proactive would like to Present to you – GETCHA FREAK ON!
In global demand, Valentino Kanzyani (Slovenia), Recycles his Loops to rock the techno.
Festival highlight, Eskimo (UK), leads all imitators with his genre bending hard psytrance.
Proactive residents Andy Farley (UK) and Pete Wardman (UK) deliver in style their different yet equally satisfying, perception changing, quality hard house.
Danny Freakazoid (Switzerland) bites the bag from Deep Dish and Sander Kleinenberg to shake his deep and dark house.
My Digital Enemy, so hot they squeal, revel in the energy of their grinding electro with a heart.
To which add the support of Kris Angelis (DTPM), Clewz and an eclectic throw of London’s best and you know your freak is ready to be tweaked.
Come Colourful, Courageous and Ready to Party!
Trance. Hard Trance. Tech Trance. Psy Trance. Nu NRG. House. Deep House. Funky House. Hard House. Prog House. Tribal House. Vocal House. Deep Techno. Funky Techno. Techno. Breaks.
T1: TECHNO / PSY TRANCE / HARD BEATS / PROGRESSIVE
T2: HOUSE / ELECTRO / BREAKS / TRIBAL / MINIMAL
MY DIGITAL ENEMY
KRIS DI ANGELIS
THE Juno ROOM: RELIGION PROMOTIONS
ALEKSEI / MATT HARDIN / PAUL EDGE / STEREO BITCHES / PAUL KC
V.I.P. HOSTED BY F.A.B
DJ FELIX / MIDGE / MARTIN SHARPE / DEAN SHEPPARD / MISS CELLBLOCK
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Other Features By Joanna McEwen:
Ticon the matter seriously
Riding the frequencies with Hertz
The Many Faces of Paul Maddox
Axel Karakasis Gets Proactive
Proactive Gets Dejavoo!
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.