THESE MACHINES heralds a new era and direction for one of UK dance music’s most prolific artists, Steve Mac.
Best known as one half of Rhythm Masters, the Brighton-based DJ and producer released debut single ‘Martina’ last month featuring the vocal talents of Pollito Boogaloo singer Rafael Berrio. The track has become an instant classic with many of the world’s leading tastemakers including Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Annie Mac, Dubfire, Carl Craig, Hot Since 82 and Irvine Welsh all lining up to heap praise on the intoxicating summer groove.
We caught up with Steve to find out more about These Machines and what else he has in the pipeline, plus he has recorded a special edition for The Night Bazaar Sessions featuring forthcoming These Machines music and of course new single Martina.
Your new production alias These Machines has begun to unleash some amazing new music. Why did you decide on a new direction with the alias and where did the name come from? How does the overall sound differ from Rhythm Masters?
Well, I decided to start the project after ADE last year. I had been thinking about it for a while, but I was so busy with other stuff that I didn’t have the time to get stuck into it. My friend Duncan came up with the name when we were at ADE together. He said it just summed me up with the amount of machines I own. I love messing around with synths, drum machines, samplers to make music. I work mostly out of the box with instruments. I just find it much more fun and creative. This whole project is different to what I usually do but it has the hint of my sound. I think I just got bored and needed new challenges. I really love what I do and changing the way I do things just makes you fall in love with it all over again.
The debut release Martina uses vocals from Rafael Berrio. How did you hook up with Rafael?
I met him in my local pub in Brighton, The Paris House. Raf is in a band called Pollito Boogaloo. I was in the pub one night and this band started playing, everyone was dancing like crazy, people ended up dancing on the tables, the bar, it was off the scale and a Wednesday night. I could not believe what I was seeing. When the band had a break, I went and introduced myself to them and told them I had a studio in town and would love to work with them. The rest is history. They are a very cool talented bunch of musicians. It has been great fun working with them.
Why did you choose this record as the first release?
I wanted everything to be new for this project from the sound, approach even with the label releasing the tracks. Another Rhythm is run by two brothers, Al and Billy Webber. I met Al in Brighton after he was doing a talk at a local music college BIMM. We got chatting and had similar friends in the industry. We really hit it off so on the Monday I sent him some bits that I had been working on. He rang me and said him and his brother wanted to come and see me at my studio. I said when? They said right fucking now. I was like, ok. They jumped on a train that moment. We sat in my studio for the rest of the day and I played them lots of music. They signed the record there and then, plus a few others. I have built an amazing relationship with them both and they totally believe in what I am doing.
It was fantastic to see Carl Cox rocking out to Martina in his studio on social media. This must have been great to see? Overall the feedback for the new material has been amazing. Can you tell us a bit about who has been digging the new stuff?
I’m lucky enough that I have been in the industry so long and I have made friends with DJs like Carl. I sent the track to Carl, in fact he gets everything first from me. Carl is honest with his feedback and of course everyone’s hero DJ. He mailed me straight back saying it’s one of the best things he had heard in a long time. It’s amazing how certain DJs have picked up on this record. Joris Voorn, Seth Troxler, Laurent Garnier, Annie Mac, Pete Tong, to name but a few. I really appreciate the support from the DJs They are the people that help break the records.
Can you talk us through some of the other forthcoming tracks? I understand you are sitting on a heap of records!?
Yes. I have been working hard of late. I have an acid house album that is finished and ready to go. Not quite sure what I’m gonna do with it yet, but it’s done. The next single is a track I did with my good friend Bobby Blanco called Half Past Love. It’s like a kind of disco / northern soul record. Big vocal. Another total change of direction. There is also this disco track I did called Sometimes that I have given to a few DJ mates already like Eats Everything. He has been hammering this.
How are you going about choosing the outlets for the release of the material?
I’m setting up a new label called TM. I will be releasing my material on this label. It gives me control on release dates etc. Of course I’m working with Another Rhythm also and whoever else comes along for the ride.
There have been numerous collaborations happening in your bunker lately. I’ve heard you have been working on material with the likes of Danny Rampling and Irvine Welsh among others. Can you spill the beans on the artists you have been working with not just with regard to These Machines material?
I have been working on numerous projects. I work with a lot of my friends like Danny (Rampling) and Irvine (Welsh). I’m working on two other album projects at the moment. One with a friend of mine, Danny Gee. Danny is in a band called Archive and is also known from being in Genaside II. This album is more breaks, rave, hip hop, drum n bass etc. We have written the album already and just recording vocals and instruments at the moment. We are hoping to have this finished by the end of September. It has been real fun working on this and getting away from my normal 4 to the floor. The other album project I’m working on is with a really talented acoustic guitar player called Scott Booth. Me and Scott have been working together for the last couple of years. Basically, Scott plays the acoustic guitar like nobody else I have ever seen. He uses all these different pedals to get crazy sounds out of the guitar and also plays it like percussion, it’s so fresh and different. We have started writing and producing a very electronica album together. It’s really interesting music. I’m buzzing for both of these projects.
What is happening with Rhythm Masters now? Is These Machines the next step for you or will Rhythm Masters and These Machines co-exist?
Well, we gave it another go but we’re both in totally different places musically. We are still good friends. Sometimes, you have to rethink, restructure yourself, to keep it fresh and that’s what I feel I have done with this new project .
You have recorded a mix for our friends at The Night Bazaar Sessions under your These Machines alias which our readers can LISTEN TO HERE. Can you talk us through some of the stand out moments?
OK, this mix is very short. 20 minutes to be precise. The reason being is I want to showcase some of my new stuff. The mix has five of my new tracks, of which three of them are unreleased, so you get to hear what I have been up to. The new tracks are aimed more at the dance-floor. I hope you like them.
These Machines ‘Martina’ is out now on Another Rhythm. Get your copy HERE.