For those not in the know, please introduce yourself...
My name is Tom and I produce music under the alias of Menik. I'm originally from a little village called Cuckfield in West Sussex, but I now live in Kingston, just outside of South West London.
How did you first get into music production?
I have always been interested in music and sound. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be involved in the music, be it drumming along to Fleetwood Mac when i was 6, or learning Stevie Ray Vaughn songs on guitar in my teens. When i was about 15, I heard an old Shy Fx mixtape and instantly became obsessed with drum and bass. Naturally I wanted to be involved and producing seemed like the obvious way to do that. Since then I have explored various genres of music and honed my production skills at Northbrook College and Kingston University.
What equipment/programs do you use?
Right now I'm using Logic 9 for sequencing, Adam A5x's for monitoring and my midi controller is the Novation 61sl mk2. I also have a Pod XT Pre Amp and a Godin Artisan Signature Series guitar that I like to play with. Plugs-wise, I dont want to give too much away, but let's just say 2 plugs I'm obsessed with right now are Alchemy by Camel Audio and the Lexicon Verbs. Incredible!
What's your creative process like? Do you go into the studio with a very set idea of what you want to build or is there a large element of improvisation?
It depends. Usually there is an idea in place, even if it's subconscious. Most of the time there will be a chord progression and a certain vibe that I want to go for. For example, there is a track in the mix I have prepared for you guys called Send In The Clowns. I had this music box from when I was a little kid that played this terrible little jingle, but I really liked the sound of the instrument itself, so I recorded it and that was the basis for the production.
You've just had an EP released on Lifestyle. How did that come about?
Yes! Well the Lifestyle boys are from Kingston and a friend of mine, Eric.S, was playing one of the tracks from the EP at one of his nights called Brown Bear (wicked night by the way!) and one of the Lifestyle guys heard it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Although the EP is largely based around the 140 mark, you also work at a number of other tempos and your tunes do not seem to sit that comfortably in any given genre. How would you define the music that you make?
To be honest, I don't even know myself! I am terrible with genre labelling. I usually tend to stay in the realms of 130-140, but I do like to experiment. Im loving some of the 170 vibe tracks at the moment, coming from people like Indigo and Troy Gunner.
Speaking of Indigo, he and CliffHanga both have remixes on the EP. How did you get them involved and how happy were you with the results?
First of all, I was very happy indeed! I have always liked their work and it is an honor to have them on this first release with me! I've known Cliffhanga for ages and we always send bits and pieces back and forth. Once I found out about this release, I thought "what better man to unleash his skills on one of my tracks?" and Surge felt like the obvious one for him. As for Indigo, we met at a selective hearing night (big up Sean Reflec) in Bath and seemed to get along really well. We kept in contact and I asked him to do the remix for Close To You and luckily he accepted! Huge respect for both of them.
In terms of your own remix work, I was a big fan of your rework of Submotion Orchestra's Angel Eyes. Any chance of that one getting a release?
Thanks! This came about when I first heard All Night by Submo and fell in love. A friend of mine plays sax for Gentleman's Dub Club and I noticed they were on the same label. I got him to put me in touch with the Ranking lot (so I could discus a remix of some sort) and I ended up choosing Angel Eyes! As for a release, I am just waiting for the right label!
It must have been nice to work with a vocal like Ruby Wood's. Have you got any plans to work on tracks with your own choice of vocalists?
It was a dream... she has an incredible voice and its pretty much impossible to make her sound bad! I do [plan on working with new vocalists]. In fact, I am working with two at the moment. A guy called Hadi and a girl called Ni Foster - they both have really soulful voices!
You are also involved with your own sound design company, Sound Smiths. How has that been going?
Well, it's more of an alias than a company. Whenever I do freelance work, I work under this name. It also allows me to get other designers on board, such as Cliffhanga and Eric.S (who feature in the mix) and Indigo is also going to be working with me on the next project. It's going really well! We did the new Modestep video, which is out now and has nearly 2,000,000 views. There is also an A&E TV ad on Channel 4 at the moment that I did. I have taken the decision to put jobs on hold now until the end of May, due to my University deadlines. I would also like to give respect to Richard Payne at Creative Immortal for helping us out!
What else have you got in store for 2012, release-wise?
We shall have to wait and see. I am looking to explore new labels though!
Do you DJ and, if so, have you got any bookings lined up?
I am more of a lab geek than a performer, if you get what i mean? And, due to university and freelancing, I would rather keep my focus on that and have one less thing to worry about. But things can change ;)
Anything else to share with the Kmag readers?
Check out the mix! It's packed full of exclusive dubs from everyone I have met over the years... the selection is silly! Also, I am giving away a free track that features in the mix too, so make sure you download it! Oh, and I think you should bring back the hard copies of Kmag!
Words: Jet Vevers
Menik Guest Mix (Tracklist Below):
1. Menik - Easy Summer - DUB
2. Proclaimed knowledge - Eleven - DUB
3. JWT - Night Or Day - DUB
4. Brute Warm - Years I'll Wait - Global Comforts Album - Digi Crates
5. Sublok - New World Order - DUB
6. Towards Green - Keep Your Eyes Closed (Arkist RMX) - Buzzin Fly
7. Porta - ACD19 - Forthcoming Beyond Sound
8. Arkist & Josh T - Fleabag - Forthcoming Odd Socks
9. Versa - Rain Fall In Dub - DUB
10. Occult - Loose Change - DUB
11. Versa - No Speech, Only Body And Mind - DUB
12. Fybe:One - So Soon So Bad - DUB
13. Reflec - Hypnotize - DUB
14. Stickman - The Klixx (Indigo RMX) - DUB
15. Eric.s - Lost voices - DUB
17. My Nu Leng & Troy Gunner - Hybrid - DUB
16. Inkarv - Inner Being - Vulcan Audio
17. Troy Gunner - Obsessions - DUB
18. Zelda Marshal - A Blasphemous Love (Fybe:One RMX)
19. Stickman - Outright (Troy Gunner RMX) - DUB
20. Strangers - Star Like Thingz - DUB
21. RFK - Warmth - DUB
22. Stickman - Floor Music (Troy Gunner RMX) - DUB
23. Menik - Close To You (Indigo Remix) - Lifestyle
24. Menik - Send In The Clowns - DUB
25. Anex - Drowsy - Forthcoming MUD
26. Occult - Cauldron - DUB
27. Sublok - Mindless - DUB
28. Anex - Corrupt - Forthcoming Redshift-One
29. Porta - Lost - Forthcoming Dubstrict
30. Occult - Assassins - Forthcoming Innamind
31. Menik - Surge (CliffHanga RMX) - Lifestyle
32. Talay Riley - Humanoid (Dark Sky RMX) - Jive
33. Menik - Close To You - Lifestyle
34. Eric.S - Feelin You - DUB
35. Menik - Addict - Knowledge Free Track!
36. Inkarv - No Place To Rest - Vulcan Audio
37. Eric.S - Longing - DUB
38. N Dread - Wonderful - DUB
39. Synkro - Heres Your - Box Clever
40. N Dread - Apologies - DUB
41. DFRNT - Monday Morning (Indigo RMX) - Forthcoming On The Edge
44. Troy Gunner - With Me - DUB
45. Hatti Vatti Feat. Cian Finn - You (Indigo RMX) - New Moon
46. Jekyll - Blabbermouth - Forthcoming Diffrent
47. Menik - Sunshine - DUB
48. Sublok & Bringa - Vampstep - DUB
49. Critical Waves - Extended Mags - Forthcoming Lifestyle
50. Jekyll - Drainpipe - Forthcoming Diffrent
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