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Mr G interview

Interview with DJ and Producer Mr G

An interview with DJ and producer Mr G, courtesy of the team at Sounds To Sample

Mr G interview

A stalwart of house music for more than two decades with releases on Defected, Skint and Rekids and with remixes of everyone from Roger Sanchez to Miss Kitten, Mr G is a genuine house legend. Now he talks exclusively to S2S about his studio methods.

The term ‘legend’ is often banded around willy nilly in the dance music realm, but Mr. G, aka Colin McBean, is one of the few who can rightfully lay claim to this accolade. Having been in the game for around two decades now, Mr. G is widely considered to be one of the most under-rated artists about – with only true music fans appreciating his vast contribution to dance music. We caught up with the living legend to talk shop…

1.What is the prognosis for the music industry: terminal decline or steady recovery?

Terminal decline. People aren’t going out there and digging for new beats. They’re relying on being spoonfed instead of going out there and looking for a sound of their own like my peers always used to do. It’s not good that so many people don’t dare to try and do things that are out of the box.

2.Does the industry these days dictate that artists need to be both creative artists and businessmen in equal measure?

Definitely, and for people like me that’s hard because I’m not a business man – I simply love making beats. So for people like me who don’t have the time or understanding to do that it’ll seem like we’re not at the top of our game, which I find sad. You work so hard as an artist and go through so much but if you’re not that way inclined you can go unnoticed. That’s why I’m grateful to both Rekids (James and Matt) and Bass Culture (D’Julz) for believing in me and working so hard to put me out there.

3. As an international touring artist who can regularly find themselves on different continents in the same week, how do you strike a balance between your touring schedule and time in the studio?

I’m not on the road as much as I should be so finding a balance is easy – it’s a way of life and I’m just built that way.

4.Who’s currently rocking your world as a producer and why?

The greats are always rocking my world – Jeff, Joey, Luke, Matt, Moody, Theo, Moritz, Carl. These guys love or hate ‘em have all been around a good while and they still continue to evolve while still retaining their own sound.

5.What one piece of kit or plug-in can you not live without?

My dear mpc200xl that’s been modified to the way I work and sound.


6.When building a track how do you normally work? Do you start with the drums and build from that?

It’s just whatever I’m feeling on that day. It can start anywhere – it’s the final destination that rocks me. If I’m dancing away in the studio then that’s me and I’m happy. Oh, and don’t forget the workings off a great RUM. ?

7.Do you prefer to use loops or one-shots? Do you use samples or sound design from scratch, or a mix of both? Do you like to record your own sounds?

Make my own sounds then sample and mangle them. It’s all good. I just make ‘em fit the way I feel and if it sounds right to me it’s good. Also I don’t make the sounds fit too tight, it needs that swing.

8.Any advice on monitoring? Quiet? Loud? Do you prefer flat and boring speakers, headphones or big, phat and chunky monitors? Do you reference on multiple systems?

What! You’re asking a lot here, can’t give it all away… ha ha! No but really, I’m using a bit of every thing. Quiet when building a track, loud when checking the weight and sound and I sometimes mix down using two sets of flat monitors which make me work sooo hard to get things right. I want hear what’s really there unenhanced.

9.What are the biggest barriers new producers face?

There are no barriers in the music world if you’ve got the money. It’s now a place you can do just what you like. Only one thing though – you’ve got to make great music and try to find your own picture to paint. And even then you can’t be sure you’ll get your due rewards…

10.What three pieces of kit / software could you not mix without?

Good old analogue synths my MPC and a great set a monitors. Also, all my mixes are done live on the board, cuts and all. Whether it’s mix one or mix 101, I work until it’s right. Oh, and I also need rum to get me going , haha!

11. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you started out in music, what would it be?

That’s a tough one. You’ve got to really love what you do above any fame or money and stay true to yourself. Don’t follow fashions – make your own path. Be humble. Start well, end well. Good in, good out, as they say!

12.What do you find hardest to get right when making a track?

It’s always the balance between the drums and bass, and the weight in the two. I’m an old skool sound boy so the low end is what I’m all about.

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