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Música é vida: Daniel Maunick In Conversation with Mickey Duke

How do, Dan? You good?
I’m good man thanks for having me on.

Pleasure. Where about are you at the moment?
I’m up in Scotland, in my little studio i’ve got with my uncle. Just finishing mixing down some new tunes, and finishing up some projects for next year.

Nice. Where are you based generally, in London?
I’m normally based in London, but i spend a few months of the year in Brazil as well working out there doing a lot of music productions and stuff. I spend a few months of the year up in Scotland in this little studio we’ve got set-up up here. All over the place! Hot and cold!

So, I normally ask people how they got into music, but that’s a bit of a daft question considering your Dad founded some of the best Soul and Jazz-Funk bands out of the UK (Jean-Paul Maunick – Light Of The World/Incognito/Freeez). So, what age were you when that influence started to take hold?
I was kinda . . . I’ve always been in studios and around music my whole life. Since i was born i was in studio – like in 78 – the year – was born – he was doing the Light Of The World stuff. Then after that he moved onto Incognito and started Freeez and a bunch of other bands. So i was kinda raised in the studio, it’s always been around me.

Was it easy for you to take an interest in music production being from that background and having that around you all the time, or did you kinda go the other way and steer clear as i know a lot of people tend to do if its in their face growing up?
Well, I’ve always loved the studio stuff, and i’ve always loved music – and growing up listening to a lot of Jazz-Funk and well, every form of music pretty much. My Dad used to go to America and bring back the early House records, early Hip-Hop records and more. Growing up with it you know? I didn’t really want to play an instrument cos being around so many good musicians kinda put me off. I always loved the studio though, i loved all the lights and the technology and stuff. And it wasn’t until the more electronic music came around that i found a music that i could do myself. But it wasn’t until the Jungle and Hardcore scenes came about in the very early 90s – when – was 13, 14 years old – that i found a music that i could make on my own and do my thing separate from my Dad.

I’ve clocked that it was around ’94 your first release? You must have been proper young when you dropped those first productions
Yeah. First tune i actually did myself, i was 15. I started DJing when i was 13, i got a set of decks and started DJing. But – yeah – i started very young. I was always into Soul and Jazz-Funk and Jazz but i remember my Dad bringing back Inner City and Public Enemy and all that. I was lucky that i never really had to find that kinda music, i was raised with it.

What turned you on to switch to the more Broken and Deep-House styles of production?
I’ve always made all kinds of music. When I was younger i started off making Jungle and Drum’n’Bass Then i started making stuff that was kinda unclassifiable. I was making music that sounded like weird-prototype-dubstep-house music, deep house, back when i first started but there wasn’t a name for it. It was just stuff i was messing around with. I think a bunch of us who started off in the Jungle scene started making Broken Beat stuff, cos we wanted to use the techniques that we used in that music but we were also into House music and Detroit Techno as well, so we wanted to do stuff at different tempos. That’s where the Broken Beat and Nu-Jazz scenes came from on. Artists like 4 Hero, IG Culture, Bugz In The Attic out of West London. Also the German boys like, Jazzanova, Rainer, Peter Kruder. There was a whole bunch of people making stuff that wasn’t really classifiable that ended up being labelled as Nu-Jazz or Broken Beat or whatever.

Yeh, it was certainly a pivotal time for underground music and the scene in general at that point i feel for sure.
I understand that you and your Dad collaborate quite regularly on productions, Dan?

Yeh, I was part of the Incognito Productions team from the mid-90s up until about the mid 2000s. So a lot of those records on Talkin’ Loud I just started off just helping a bit on the programming, mixing and co-producing and co-writing to being involved pretty much heavily throughout most of those later albums they did for Talkin’ Loud.

I think I first became aware of you as a producer when you did the earlier work with Far Out and also your work as ‘Doktor Venom’
My first alias was probably just ‘Venom’ back in the day. Then i made a few under other guises. I’ve never really settled on one. Viper Squad . . . there were loads of names that have come out but slowly been disbanded. Now because of my production work for Azymuth and Marcos Valle and a lot of these people – and my connection to Incognito – I finally come around to using my birth name.

How did you link up with Joe Davis at Far Out Recordings?
I was hanging out a lot with Gilles Peterson back in the day at Bar Rhumba and the likes and i was making some early experimentations in my music and very like. . . out there big Jazz Breakbeats n stuff. Gilles was playing a lot of my music at Bar Rhumba and Joe Davis was hanging out at the time too. He heard a few of my tunes and was into them, so asked me to do a couple of remixes for his label. He knew that i produced with my Dad, so asked me one day if I wanted to go to Brazil and produce a record with Alex Malheiros, the bass played from Azymuth! It actually ended up being his daughter’s debut album that. So, i went to Brazil in 2002 and produced her first record.

Amazing! I spoke with Ivan Conti a few months ago, who spoke very highly of you. That must have been pretty special to work with both him and Azymuth, as well as the likes of, Marcos Valle
Working with Azymuth was like . . I grew up with Azymuth . . They were a very big influence on my Dad starting Incognito. It was what he was listening to when he first formed their band. They were listening those guys and also, Head Hunters, Earth Wind and Fire, Kool & the Gang, Meters.
I’ve kinda grown up with all that sound me, so to get an opportunity to work with them was a dream come true!

How influential has it been working in Brazil? The Brazilian sound runs through your new record
Yes, it’s good. It’s great to make all different kinds of music! I enjoy making all different genres. Most of the music I make is on my laptop without any external equipment whatsoever, no musicians, just me but i also love going into a studio with great musicians and just concentrating on producing and recording live with instruments and hardware. It’s great to have the opportunity to do that.
With the Azymuth guys it was a real privilege! I learned so much by being around them and watching and observing what they do and just listening to all their music. So to be able to contribute a little bit to that legacy is very big for me!

We’re only just getting to hear your own debut record! How come it took so long for you to get round to that, just from being so busy doing other production for other people i guess?
I actually recorded a mini album for Talkin’ Loud that I signed to right at the very end of the label. That kinda ended up sitting in a vault and never coming out because the label stopped. There’s been a few false starts to albums but yeh, it was just the time to do it. I’ve done plenty of work now and on this album there’s pretty much all the stuff I’ve done for the last 2-3 years. I’ve just kinda give them a little cohesive clean-up at the end.

It’s a cracking record, no doubt. Where was it put together?
DM: Some of it i was did on my laptop in between recording sessions with Marcos and those last couple of other albums I did but yeh, kinda done in between London and Rio and up here in Scotland.
I’m just into that people are enjoying it which is all good. It’s a nice thing to put your work out there and for people to be receptive to it, it’s always good.

Are you looking to do a live set up, are you going to tour it?
A lot of people have asked me that. I’ve never really had an idea of any of that, of doing it live at all. It’s all pretty much made on my laptop, so I don’t know that it would work in that way. It’s something to think about, who knows?!

What’s next for you? What have you got planned?
Well, Marcos Valle’s album that I produced just dropped a few months ago and my album came out a couple of weeks ago. I was in Brazil earlier in the year recording a little Jazz-Funk project that’s going be announced for next year, very soon. Hopefully get back out to Brazil again. I wanna follow up that album I did with Marcos Valle with another one. Just continue doing what I’m doing. Hopefully there’ll be another solo album next year. I’ve got so many tunes I need to get them out!

Well, we will be following with interest mate. I just want to say thanks for your time and congratulations on a great debut record!
Thank you for having me on Mickey!
Honestly, it’s a pleasure! It’s a wicked record, and it’s been really lovely to be able to share it on the radio! Great work!
Cheers Mickey. Thanks for the support brother!

Macumba Quebrada is out now on Far Out Recordings

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