When listening to genre-splicing, in-demand producer Travis Stewart’s work (from his Machinedrum alias, or collaborative projects Sepalcure and JETS, or even his work with Azealia Banks), it’s hard not to feel that his brain is positively fizzing with musical ideas at any given minute of the day, and his Clash DJ mix only confirms this hypothesis.
Thus, Machinedrum here shows us the soulful side of footwork, and in case you didn’t know, it’s a beauty. It’s a colourful, enticing selection, thoroughly contemporary yet warmly nostalgic at points.
But here’s our chat with Stewart to explain a little more.
Tell us about your mix:
This mix is a soundtrack to your Indian summer, if you’re having one right now, or a mix for those people that are in need of a lil’ sunshine. It’s a very summery/sunny mix to bring you out of your fall funk. Lots of juke/footwork and a lil’ jungle thrown in for good measure. There’s some jokes in there too. I went for the more soulful style of footwork instead of the colder minimal tunes meant more for the dancefloor. I played this exact set at the XLR8R boat party at Dimensions festival in Croatia this summer.
Do you have an idea of how you want a mix to sound before you start it?
Yes, generally. I know there are DJs that just kinda go with a freestyle flow with their mixes, but I look at mixes/mixtapes as a nice opportunity to take some time to find tracks that really work together and almost tell a story. Often during that selection process I end up by chance finding things that go together quite well lyrically and sonically, which always feels great when it comes together.
What have you been working on recently?
Music always! New Machinedrum material every day almost it seems. There are a few collaborations going on. I’m finishing a Sepalcure EP at the moment with Praveen, doing some more production with Jimmy Edgar as JETS and I’ve been involved in producing several vocalists, including Jesse Boykins III and Azealia Banks.
Your back catalogue is extremely varied in terms of the ground you covered, yet there’s nearly always an identifiable Machinedrum element. Do you feel you’ve created a Machinedrum sound?
I hope so, that’s what we all want as producers, right? My music is very reliant on influence and I try to embrace all of the things that influence me into one sound, so maybe the Machinedrum sound is a combination of technique and influence.
What made you choose to base yourself in Berlin? Has the scene there (or anything else) influenced your attitude to making music?
The move to Berlin was more-so a move to Europe. At the time when I moved (spring 2011) the quality and quantity of shows in Europe far surpassed that of the USA. Berlin is geographically and economically perfect for the touring DJ, it’s cheap and central. I also have a good amount of friends I am close with here so it made a lot of sense at the time. Things have dramatically changed on the acceptance of electronic music in the states since I’ve moved already so we’ll see how long I stay here. I’ve definitely been inspired by a few nights (and days) out at Berghain and Panorama Bar. The summers here are very inspiring, as the weather is beautiful and people are outside and chilling in the park. It gets very laid back and that can reflect in the music. Alternately, the winter can be kind of brutal, but tends to be my busiest time in the studio.
You’ve worked with Azealia Banks on a couple of projects – how was that?
She’s an insanely talented girl and never ceases to amaze and surprise me. I love collaborating with her, we push each other to step outside of the box, which is really inspiring.
What else have you got planned for the coming months – releases, live dates, other projects, etc…?
There’s a JETS release party in December at Berghain, a small US tour in December and some select EU dates until then. Release-wise, there’s the JETS record that drops at the end of October and loads of Machinedrum records slated for 2013, so stay tuned!
1. Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves the Sunshine (Machinedrum Jungle/Footwork Edit)
2. Manny & Phil - Sunshine 2k12
3. Earl & Manny - Bout That Lyfe
4. DJ Deeon - Freak U Rite
5. DJ Clent - Call Tyrone
6. Wheez-ie - Outta My Mind
7. OL - On My Mind
8. Traxman - Say Yeaaaaaaa
9. DJ Manny - Drifting On By
10. Franjazzco - I Just Love You
11. Sun People - Going To
12. DJ Earl – C’mon Back
13. Atki2 - Oh My Part 1
14. Machinedrum - Rain
15. Triple Six Mafia - Lick My Nuts
16. Kirko Bangz - Nasty Nigga Feat. Tyga
17. Traxman - We Takin Over Remixx
18. DJ Clent – Clent’s Dog Catcher
19. Traxman - See Things My Way
20. Mendoza Ticklish - No1ButU
21. Sun People - Alphonze
22. Southern Players - Dickey Ride
23. KP & Envyi - Swing My Way
24. DJ Nephets - I Get High
25. Bitch Ass Darius - Ride
26. DJ Spinn – Feelin’ You
27. Thundercat - Is It Love
28. Dawn Penn - You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)
29. Reggie Stepper - Cu Oonuh (Schlachthofbronx)
30. Aries - Herbsmoke (Lenkemz Jukin Remix)
31. Moresounds - Cannabis
32. Fugees - Ready or Not (Zinc Remix)
33. Dwarde & Tim Reaper - For The Pirates
34. Sister Nancy - What a Bam Bam
Check out the previous episodes of our Dj Mix Series on iTunes HERE
Photo by Matt Barnes
Machinedrum performs live for Soundcrash in London on 23rd November at The Lightbox. Click here to find out more and buy tickets.