Who?: Al Quinn & Rob Etherson
Sounds: Tech House meets UK Bass in a reassuring vision of the future
Dance music is constantly evolving - it's constantly moving, constantly growing and never standing still. Over the past twenty years we've seen 2 Step collide with Dub to make Dubstep, Rave & Hardcore morphing in to Drum & Bass and more recently Dutch House & Reggaeton coming together to create Moombahton - dance music's freshest genre. It's this element of limitless development which keeps us hooked and creates the possibilities. And it's here that our fascination with Mia Dora begins.
Much like a test pilot or experiment for musical exploration the Glasgow based production duo of Al Quinn & Rob Etherson have quite possibly the most incompatible credentials imaginable. Al loves all things bass - Dubstep, Garage, Hip Hop and Grime all take precedence over the 4x4, while Rob has always had a passion for House & Techno. But as they say - opposites attract. And in this case the wedding night spawned a turbo-hybrid. The first time we heard 'Random Romantics' we were confounded at just how to label it, our best effort being a measly 'Bass-Tech'- but it's the fact we couldn't pigeonhole it which made it so exciting. Here we had the metallic sheen of Tech House underpinned by a shuffling Garage template - the result being a vision of the future which would probably make the Artful Dodger shit himself.
The best way to get recognised in this industry is to create, not replicate and it's this passion and drive which makes the Mia Dora partnership so invigorating. Let's bear in mind that they've been producing together for less than a year and in our eyes can already lay claim to a sound which is unequivocally theirs. We may be economically shafted, fighting wars we can't win and facing down the barrel of irreversible climate change, but if the future sounds anything like this we'll sleep easy tonight...
Check out the Mia Dora sound along with an interview with the guys below:
Mia Dora - Random Romantics by Mia Dora
Mia Dora - Baby I'm Bored by Mia Dora
Olive - You're Not Alone (Mia Dora Remix) 320 kbps by Mia Dora
S: So let’s firstly talk a bout how Mia Dora came about, obviously you both have quite different individual sounds so what inspired you to start producing together?
Al: We both have very different tastes in music though we share some common interests. We started talking about a colab one night after realising we were both big fans of the likes of Claude Von Stroke and a lot of the Dirtybird material. My musical background is far more rooted in bands rather than dance music, I've sung and played guitar in a few metal bands. Rob has always been a dance music producer and he gave me the idea to start making electronic music.
My metal background is the reason for my taste in really dark, sinister electronic music. This was why I got into Dubstep to begin with. I'm also a big fan of the likes of Massive Attack, Aphex Twin and Modeselektor. Rob has always been a big House and Techno fan so the two different tastes in music coming together has produced some interesting sounds.
S: You’re most recent music has ranged from Garage to Dubstep, Funky to House – all gleaming with a futuristic flare. How would you ultimately describe your music and what sound really represents Mia Dora?
Al: We started off making a few dubstep tracks but our sound has been slowly gravitating towards house. I think this gradual transition between the two is how we've ended up making some interest Garage and Funky sounds. We still don't want to pin a label on ourselves yet, though as Mia Dora matures I’m sure we'll find our sound. At the moment we still have lots of ideas for Hip Hop/House/Techno/Garage/Dubstep tracks and I really don't want to rule anything out.
Rob: We have been doing this for just under a year so it’s still a bit of trial and error for us, though people seem to respond well to us because we are a bit unpredictable. As we have different backgrounds the combination of styles works in our favour, the thing I enjoy most is sitting at the computer and trying something different to the last project.
Rob - four to the floor
S: What is your approach to starting a track, do you decide on its style before you start for example or is it quite a spontaneous process?
Al: It’s been fairly spontaneous so far. The Biggie Smalls bootleg, for example, was just me messing about on the guitar. We recorded it and messed about with it on Ableton before throwing a Hip Hop beat behind it. We sat on the instrumental for the track for a good 6 months before finally throwing a Biggie acapella over the top; I'm a massive 90's Hip Hop fan and couldn't resist turning the beat into a Biggie bootleg.
Most of the tracks have started with a rough idea of what we want, sometimes though we go off on massive tangents during the music making process and end up coming up with new ideas for the song.
Rob: Al is more musical than me so he usually lays down some melodies or drum parts and then I go on to develop the sounds of those parts as I'm better at the geeky stuff, I’m really into taking a synth from a blank patch and developing the sound from there. We are both pretty good at getting the sounds in our head transferred to the computer. Most of our projects are done on Ableton rewired into Logics mixer.
S: Individually you both produce quite different music with Al representing more of a dub flavour while Rob has a techier sound. How do you think these different style’s influence your collaborative work and does it ever cause friction when making a track?
Al: We've never had any friction making tracks. We're both very open minded musically so i'm totally open to experimenting with robs House and Techno sounds, just as he's very open minded about experimenting with Dubstep, Hip Hop and Garage. I think the two influences together are very evident in the sounds we've been making so far.
Al - all about the bass
Rob: We have a good system of working together so if we do something that has more of a housey vibe we add some dubby elements to it to balance it out.
S: Obviously you’ve been producing quite a few unofficial remixes recently, can we look forward to any new original material from Mia Dora in 2011 and how do you see the project progressing in the long run?
Al: Our main focus just now is new original material. We put out a few unofficial remixes as we really wanted to give away some tracks for free to get the Mia Dora name out there. Though we have a few original tracks in the pipeline just now that we are working on. The sound has progressed from dubstep into a interesting House/Garage hybrid so we're looking forward to finishing these tracks and putting them out to hear what people think.
In the long run, it's difficult to say where our sound is going to go. We don't even know ourselves. We don't have any plans for what kind of sound we want to make, we're just going to keep making tracks how we're feeling on the day, keep it as spontaneous as possible.
Rob: The early response and support has been great and also some of our live gigs have been crazy too, I think the next logical step for us is to get some music released and work more in the studio.
Mia Dora play at IAM W/ Koreless 26th April at The Sub Club
Mia Dora on Soundcloud
Mia Dora on Facebook