Faced with a set of challenges whilst writing this new music, Miguel Campbell has managed to find a way to translate some of these issues into music. Given the current state of the music industry, it has been more important for him to stay true to who he is and believe in himself without compromising or giving way to the pressures he has experienced.
Returning to Ibiza for a residency at Ibiza Rocks this summer whilst recently touching down at OFF Sonar, Miguel Campbell releases his album "Theories of a Different Mind" on 22nd June via his own label Outcross Records.
So how's it going, tell us about where you are right now and your current mindset?
Hi, things are going great thanks. I’m at home in Leeds working in the studio and preparing for my extended 3-hour set for my album launch party in Ibiza at the Zoo Project.
It's great to see you back with a new album Theories of a Different Mind, dropping on June 22nd. Can you tell us a bit more about your creative concept and journey whilst writing this?
This album is something that I put together over the last 9 months. At the end of the last summer, I wanted to make a complete piece of music that would hint towards the way I am thinking and feeling about the music, the politics and the people around me. Some very negative things were occurring at the same time as some very positive things, and so I tried to translate some of this into the album. I felt it was time to bring back some of my own signature sound to the main room dancefloors and so I created this album and had an amazing and emotive time throughout the whole process.
The album has a distinct Miguel funk to it which we all love and know so well. Can you tell us a bit more about your studio set up and the hardware and software you tend to use?
At the core of my setup, I have a Mac Pro running Steinberg's Cubase as my main Digital Audio Workstation. Native Instruments FM8 & Reaktor have been very important software instruments for me for many years. The key to my signature sound is the dynamics. Compression and EQ are very important and with the new versions of Cubase, I can do all of this in the box with no third party software needed. Whilst I have lots of different bits of equipment in the studio, these are the most important to my sound.
Who are the vocalists that are featured throughout the album?
There are various vocalists featured on the album. This time around I did things a little differently. A friend of mine in Leeds owns a company that signs different vocalists and musicians and I have access to the catalogue of vocalists and musicians. So when choosing the vocalists to use I was really focusing on the tones & timbres to make sure that they had the sound needed for my music.
There are a few tunes that we particularly like on the project ("I Wanna Be With U", "Turned My Way" and we get totally floated away with "Broken Hearts"). What are the tracks that stand out for you and why?
‘Turned My Way’ is my personal favourite. When producing this track, I managed to capture exactly what I was feeling at the time and it was a great moment for me in the studio. I also now enjoy listening to ‘Down With You’. I used three different bass tones throughout the track which is not something I usually do but I really enjoy listening to this one now.
Josh Butler recently delivered a cracking little remix of your track "The Things I Tell You". What other deejays and producers are you feeling out there right now?
Since the end of the last summer, I have not really focused on any new music by anyone other than my peers and the people around me. Matt Hughes & Iain O'Hare are making some really cool music. Lots of cool stuff coming from the Wolf & Lamb and Soul Clap guys. Also, I love the music by my mate Boston Bun!
In the last few years you have celebrated 10 years of your imprint Outcross Records, so what are the future plans for the label now?
I plan to hold onto our current values and continue to explore the genetics of house music. We have seen lots of change at Outcross and it’s an exciting time for everyone on the team. We are a family and we enjoy what we do to the max. That’s how we have managed to keep this thing going for so long.
You have recently completed a tour down under, how was that for you? Do you have any memorable highlights or any funny stories to share whilst out there?
The Australasia Tour was amazing. I started out in New Zealand and had a really good time there before flying over to Australia and playing the Sunshine Coast. I visited Bali and Indonesia for the first time and it was incredible to be able to dip into yet another culture that this world has to offer. After the lockout laws in Sydney, boat parties were forbidden so it was nice to be playing on the first boat party in the harbour since these rules were imposed. The main highlight for me was playing at my first ever 'Bush Doof' in Byron Bay which is essentially a camping festival in the middle of nowhere. I was lucky because I already had a tent and airbed set up for me so it was cool runnings for me.
Looks like you’re going to be having quite a busy summer with a few dates at Ibiza Rocks and for OFF-Sonar in Barcelona. How do you keep yourself on your A-Game, especially when you're on the road?
I think the most important thing that I have learned over the years is "never peak too early". If you do, you will lose your A-Game, standard. I very rarely party when I am playing and if I do I try to do it at the end of my tours so that I don't burn myself out. There is nothing worse than catching a flight with a hangover and having to go directly to perform in front of loads of people feeling rubbish. I think this is why lots of people just keep the party rocking, but that definitely sees an end to your A-Game.
We understand that you used to work in insurance before becoming a musician. What are some of the challenges you faced when deciding to pursue a professional music career?
The main challenge for me was that I was already caught up in this 9-5 rat race lifestyle and because I had a mortgage on my apartment, I was stuck in the cycle. Over the years, I made various sacrifices to enable me to escape this way of living so that I could focus all of my time and energy on music. Wholeheartedly, I can tell you that my dreams would not have become a reality if it was not for my mum supporting me all the way, emotionally and financially and empowering me to pursue my dreams for many years.
If you could relive one night that you had had in your illustrious career as a deejay, what would it be and why?
The night I played at the Grand Palais in Paris with Radio FG. It was quite early in my touring career and the one time that I took my mum to a show. We had such a good time and the crowd was just perfect. My nearest and dearest friends were there with us also and this meant the world to me. It was amazing to be able to share this 'red carpet' experience with the ones I love. It was also the first time I played with The Supermen Lovers. All in all, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I would love to relive.
If you had the chance to collaborate with any artist out there on your next project, who would they be?
I would like to work with Maceo Plex for sure. And I would also like to work with Crazy P!
If you weren't deejaying or making music, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I would be teaching other people how to do it.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be and why?
Loyal, Passionate & Determined. These are some of my main qualities.