STEVE MAC is one of the UKs best and most respected house music DJs and producers.
There isn’t much Steve hasn’t achieved in his long career but the best is yet to come from the Brighton based Rhythm Master.
In between scoring music for the forthcoming Trainspotting musical for his friend Irvine Welsh, running numerous record labels, providing club remixes for pop stars or helping young artists from Sierra Leone through his work for charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, he’s just dropped his incredible new album, Bless This Acid House. An instant classic, the long player pays homage to the origins of Acid House.
Toni Tambourine caught up with Steve last week for a chat about Bless This Acid House and all of the myriad projects he is working on at the moment. Also be sure to check out Steve’s playlist of influential Acid House following the interview.
For those of us just discovering you what would you say would be your biggest music releases and career highlights for Steve Mac?
I have had many moments over the years. I’ve done some huge remixes over the years. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black, Jamiroquai – Seven Days, plus two other Jamiroquai tracks, Don’t Give Hate and Summer Girl. Also other artists like CeeLo Green, Rihanna, Barry White, Charlotte Church, Michael Jackson, Armand van Helden, Todd Terry… the list goes on. I have remixed over 300 records! Crazy when you think about it! Speaking of Todd Terry, I remixed Jumpin’ back in ’96 which ended up going to number 7 in the pop charts. Quite unheard of for a banging house record. So I would probably say this was one of the biggest. Also my track with Steve Smith (from Dirty Vegas), Loving You More and the controversial Paddy’s Revenge which was also a top 10 hit.
Tell me about your new label Jack Said What – what is the philosophy behind it? What kind of music are you putting out?
We started the label last summer in July. A year of planning went into this before we started. Basically I was working with Carl Loben (DJ Mag Editor ) and Irvine Welsh (Author) on a music project. These guys are my best friends, we spend so much time together going to gigs, festivals etc…. We are just having a lot of fun and creating some amazing art at the same time. We were signed to a label but we had to part ways when the pandemic hit. We had to push pause on the project then we realised we did not have a home for the music. So we thought let’s start a label and do it ourselves. When we spent the year setting up the business, I started to realise that I was sitting on so much music of my own and also many collaborations so it just made sense and everything fell into place. We are now running 3 labels, Jack Said What, Out Yer Box and KAB Records. The reason for setting up the sub labels was so we can put out all types of music as Jack Said What was basically Techno and House. Now we are putting out Leftfield, Breaks and even Pop Music (with an edge).
What artists are you championing?
We have signed some amazing artists. Marshall Jefferson, Serge Santiago (Waze & Odyssey), Jon Carter, Luca LeBleu, Lisa Moorish, ITHURTZ , Martin Badder, EVL Tom, Third Bloom, Mutiny, Cousn, Chad Jackson, Scott Booth, Zoe Devlin and many others lined up.
What has been the biggest release so far on the label?
It’s hard to say, it’s still early days for us. So far we have had over 20 singles and 2 Albums and mine being the 3rd. I think one of my favourites is Jon Carter’s Mighty Horses. This record was team work. The Mutiny boys helped on the production and I mixed it .
Tell me about your album, what’s the story and inspiration behind it? Who are the artists that you have collaborated with on it?
Well it’s kinda funny. One day I just woke up and went ok I am going to write an acid house album so I just started programming the 303 with lots of acid lines, programmed the drum machines, 909, 808, 606 and an MPC and just started working on it. I had my friends and all round legends come to the studio, Robert Owens, Marshall Jefferson, Sleezy D (RIP), Raze and Alena. They were all at my studio at different times working on other projects, but for instance, I played Robert a couple of these tracks I had and he was like ‘wow, I’ve got something for this’, so we just recorded the songs there and then. I just wanted to make an album that paid homage to the original Chicago sound where this music came from and these guys that invented this sound. All I can say is that I am very lucky to call these people my friends. It’s been an honour to work with them all.
Which track from the album works best in clubs? I hear the 313 is pretty strong.
Yes the 313 really goes off. I am so happy with the way this has been received from my fellow DJs. Also Jack Said What goes right off and yes this was the record that gave the label its name!
Where are you now and what are you doing?
I have just got back from West Africa, Sierra Leone, working with charity organisations Last Night A DJ Saved My Life and Way Out. I am now back in my studio in Brighton producing an album which I recorded while I was over there with young street artists. This is a very exciting project as we are helping to change lives and give these talented people a chance in the world. I am hoping to have the project finished by the end of May. It’s going very well and sounding great. This was my second trip, the first one was in November last year. I was so happy to go back and work with these talented artists again and I think it will be an ongoing thing now. I’ve fallen in love with these people and I now feel it’s part of my life .
Have you thought about what your next big release will be?
Well I am working on many projects at the moment. I’m co-producing a couple of albums. The big one which is starting soon is Trainspotting The Musical. Yes it’s happening and going into the west end early next year! I have been working very closely with Irvine on this. We have written all the songs and Irvine has finished the script. All the music has been scored. We have already done two workshops with the cast which has been amazing. Now the big job for me is to record the album. It’s a huge project as its 17 original tracks and 3 covers. I am looking forward to getting stuck into this very soon.
Steve Mac – Bless This Acid House is out now on Jack Said What. Click HERE to download. Steve has also put together a playlist of Acid House influences for us. Listen and read below what he had to say about some of the music that influenced the album.
Steve Mac – The 313
“This record I made with Alana Maria. She is originally from Detroit, she made a record with MK called Burning. Was a huge underground house record in the early 90’s which kicked off MK’s Career. She was an absolute joy to work with. She has mad love for Detroit.”
Aphex Twin – Analogue Bubblebath
“Richard James needs no introduction. The real deal. A true innovator and pioneer in electronic music. Check this out. Wonky acid with them beautiful chords.”
Fast Eddie -Acid thunder
“Was a huge fan of all of Eddie’s records. I was buying his records when I was still at school. Check the acid line in this. Killer base line too. Also check out another of his records, Yo Yo Get Funky.”
Bam Bam – Where’s Your Child
“I remember when I first heard this and thought wow this is some scary s**t ! Samples Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare On Elm Street. Bam also made another killer record called Give It To Me. Check it out.
Sleezy D – I Lost Control
“For me this is one of the first acid tracks but I wont even bother with that argument, seen so much of it online over the years. This record was produced by Marshall Jefferson. Marshall brought Sleezy over to the UK. Me and Marshall were producing an album for Sleezy, sadly he passed away. I was totally heart broken as I loved this man. Luckily he did a vocal for my album called Take You There. Check it out.”
Maurice – This Is Acid
“This is an absolute classic. That rave sound that has been used on tons of records (Todd Terry’s A Day In The Life), just love it. A good friend of mine calls it the knackery ice cream van sound lol! Still play this all the time as it’s timeless.”
Todd Terry – Back To The Beat
“My introduction to Todd Terry. Well thats not entirely true because I think the first record I bought of his was T La Rock which he produced. Anyway, again I was still at school when I bought this 12″ and it just blew my head. All the crazy sampling. Todd went on to become one of the most important producers in house music.”
Marshall Jefferson – Mushrooms
“Marshall has been involved in some of the most important records to come out of house music, I mean a lot and far too many to mention. For me Marshall is just a brilliant song writer and all round vibe man. He calls me his twin brother! Cracks me ups every time. Check out Mushrooms with Marshall on the vocals, such a great tune.”
The It – Donnie
“Quite an unknown Robert Owens record. Man I love this record. Robert is the voice of house music full stop. Also Chip E also worked on this track. Another house music legend. I was lucky enough to have Chip remix the first record from my album.”
Steve Mac – Jack Said What
“The record that started our label.”