Liverpudlian tune wrangler, Mele, is no stranger to the art of nocturnal party guiding. His artful mish mashing of tunes dip between the crevices of genres from hip-hop to grime and even Spandau Ballet comes out for the type of Sunday that Smooth FM would deify. This week’s Touching Bass caught up with him for a well deserved lambasting of the new iTunes as well as yakking on about childhood movie classics and getting starry-eyed over Mike Skinner.
Noisey: Watching Beavis & Butthead the other day somehow linked my mind to childhood movies. Which one was your favourite?
Mele: When me and my best friend were around 10, we were obsessed with ‘Kevin & Perry Go Large’. We had the soundtrack, the VHS, everything. ‘Mighty Ducks’ is a big one too! I bought a vintage Mighty Ducks hat recently from America. I remember when you could buy all of that stuff from JD Sports.
RIP VHS. What was the first piece of software you used to make music?
The first thing I had was Reason 3. I was about 13 and before that I messed around with Dance Ejay, but Reason was the first proper piece of software I used. I would just make everything I was listening to so there was hip-hop, drum and bass, jungle and grime. Back then I had this really old Windows 2000 computer that used to break down all the time.
And how does your current set up differ?
I’ve got a studio that’s just down the road from where I live but I prefer my headphones and Logic on my Mac. In my studio, I've got some old school Juno synths and drum machines but I always end up just going back to my laptop. I use a lot of VSTs too. A lot of people I know get caught up in the hype of having the latest equipment and sounds but I think you can keep it simple and still make good stuff.
If its not broke, don’t fix it. So what genres are currently floating your musical boat?
I really like the stuff from Manchester with Dub Phizix and his half time drum and bass. It’s really percussive and his stuff sounds amazing. I still really like the bassy stuff coming out of London too. People like Lil Silva and Champion are keeping the UK Funky sound alive. That sound is where I'm getting the most influence for my new material because I like to keep my sound moving.
Out of interest, how many songs have you got on your iTunes?
I ended up deleting my iTunes because I got a new computer and the new iTunes is so shit, I can’t even so how many songs I have. I’ve got quite a few albums on there but I also have loads of random shit. I think I have about 2000 songs at the moment. I know a lot of people that are really structured with their library and do all the albums and get the genres all correct, I want to get back into doing that because I lost my iPod but this new iTunes is putting me off. The last one was so much better.
I’m genuinely thinking of downgrading to the old school one. On the topic of songs, what’s been the weirdest request you’ve ever received?
I remember playing in Bournemouth about three years ago and it was in the back of this bar. There was hardly anyone there and this girl came up to me and asked me if I had any Disney music. It was one of those moments when you actually can’t believe what someone has just said. I also did this gig in Liverpool when I was supporting SBTRKT. I didn’t know that he was playing after me and some girl came up to the booth and wanted me to go from Chase & Status’ ‘Take Me Away’ into Lady Gaga. She really knew what she wanted. I just told her to ask the next DJ coming on and then SBTRKT comes into the booth with his mask on and she’s there pestering him for a good 20 minutes.
I remember seeing you play at the Nest in January alongside Mike Skinner. Was he cool bloke?
I think the second album I ever bought was ‘Original Pirate Material’ and then the first proper book I ever bought after Harry Potter and all the other shit ones you read was Mike Skinner’s autobiography. He was talking about his studio and how he had his recording booth in his wardrobe. Even though I wasn’t recording vocals, I turned my wardrobe into a little recording studio. It was the first time when I’ve actually been a bit star-struck but he was proper cool.
Your style that night, and has always been, a mash-up of different genres. What would you have on your Sunday playlist though?
Maybe it’s not the most relaxing thing, but I always end up going back to Westwood CDs. The really, really old ones. I love club music but I really love East coast hip-hop; DJ Premier and that kind of stuff. If I’ve been DJing or in the studio all week, it’s hard to come back and listen to loads of grime or something. I don’t listen to that many bands and even when I go to a festival, I don’t really get it a lot of the time. I do really like 80s pop if I'm just trying to switch off.
Are we talking Spandau Ballet?
Yeah, proper karaoke shit. Duran Duran, and stuff like that. I really wish I were into more bands. Where I'm from, none of my friends were really into music but I got into Mike Skinner and stuff like that. Then came Limewire and that’s where I first started hearing about ‘Eskimo’ [by Wiley] and that was the only way I could get hold of grime.
How’s it feel to be chosen to play with Rodigan?
We did the first one in Bournemouth a few weeks ago and I was supposed to be on first but I ended up going on after Rodigan and after Shy FX for a 3-4am set. I thought everyone was gonna go after Rodigan’s set, but the venue capacity was about 1000 and everyone stayed in there right until the end. I just love the way that Rodigan can get away with playing anything and people will accept it. I think he played a half hour section of educational, roots-type stuff but people were so in awe of him. It’s practically the perfect line-up.
And away from music, what do you like to get up to?
I really need to stop with the Internet shopping, I'm trying. I just moved to London and I haven’t really been in this area for a long time so I'm getting to know where stuff is. I like going back up North to see my mum too for Sunday roast.
And in terms of upcoming material, what’s to look forward to?
My next release is on Digital Soundboy so there’s three tracks and that will be out before the summer. All of the tracks are finished but we’re just trying to finalise a vocal on one of them. We’re really trying to go in on the vocal side of things, but I also don’t want there to be too much of a gap between this EP and the next. I'm trying not to use every vocalist on the first. I played the track I made last year at Creamfields and it would be really cool to have a track that everyone knows at the festivals. I think I'm doing around 10 festivals so far, so I wanted to do some tracks that represent me on a festival stage.
Mele plays Rodigan’s Ram Jam on May 17 at The Forum, London. For tickets go here
Artwork - Rolex Riddim
DJ Snake - Bird Machine
French Montana - Freaks
Lumidee - Never Leave You
Champion - Hydra Island
Zed Bias - Neighbourhood
Masterstepz - Melody
Telesa - Hackney Parrot
Liquid - Sweet Harmony
Melé - Uppercut Rhythm
Martelo X Dexplicit - Shorty Swing Forward
Southside Allstars - Southside (Instrumental)
Plasticman - Shallow Grave (Melé Re-Edit)
Kahn - Dread
Melé - Metal Gear
Rustie - Triadzz
The Cool Kids - Mikey Rocks
Dub Phizix & Skittles - I'm A Creator