After putting together the first exclusive Uncle Albert mix back in February, Doncaster's 'Mistamen' have been busy finalising plans for their second release on Greenmoney Recordings. With the excellent 'What You Do To Me' putting the trio firmly on the map, their remix of Gucci Mane's 'Haterade' was then selected for Sinden's 'Free Gucci II: The Burrrtish Edition' remix compilation, a measure of just how far they've come. Set to push their sound to new levels in 2011, I managed to catch up with Mella Dee on everything from listening to hip hop in Doncaster to the new generation of 'chin-strokers':
"I don't even know what we've been doing really you know! It all seemed to start with 'Lengthy Riddim' about twelve months ago - we sent that across to Seb Chew who really liked it and from there Greenmoney got wind of it and before we knew it, here we are! Can't forget it was Girl Unit who first played it on his FACT mix too which got us a lot of love and the recognition we needed really. Since signing to Greenmoney we've obviously had the first release go out, 'What You Do To Me' - the fact CRST remixed it and the help we had with promotion really helped. The biggest thing we've done though was arguably the Gucci Mane thing, which came about completely randomly. We remixed the 'Haterade' tune just because we felt like it and by chance sent it over to Scratcha, who in turn sent us back the proper parts which helped us to play about with it more. Sinden got on top of us about it and that was it really, crazy stuff - we were really happy to be involved with something like that! "
As with many artists I've spoken to, it was Hip-Hop that first captured Mella Dee's creative imagination:
"The whole deejaying thing started off with me just wanting to mix Hip-Hop. I had a mate who used to spin a lot about 6 years ago or something but he used to mix purely DnB so I dabbled in playing around with that for a bit. I ended up getting into the early Dubstep stuff that no one in Doncaster was really feeling at the time and also got back into Garage, which I loved as a kid! From there, I got into pissing around making tracks around that time too - Joel and John (two thirds of Mistamen) were a bit more clued up on it than I was and they used to make DnB tracks but I was like 'Nah, fuck that' , i just never felt it at all. I made a few Dubstep tracks but soon got bored and found Funky, which we all agreed was just better (laughs)! Music wise my first love was always UK Hip-Hop though - don't forget I used to listen to it when I was about 12 in some shitty Northern town, it was just never the one really!"
Alongside his commitments as a deejay and producer, Mella Dee also helps run 'Tropical', Leeds' definitive bass-friendly night who are due to celebrate their first birthday on March 11th:
"Tropical actually came about through Radio Frequency in Leeds - I'd spoken to Jera a bit prior but I didn't really know Jangle. We were the only guys who used to play the same stuff so it kinda made sense for us to all come together and promote - they tend to run the business side of it and i've always been more of a resident really but I still love being involved. Really pissed I can't make the Birthday bash actually because the line-up's ridiculous!"
Despite signing to Greenmoney and drawing praise from some of the scene's biggest names, Mella Dee admits that 'Mistamen' never expected much to come of their music:
"We never expected anything to be honest - we'd done digital releases here and there which had helped us but weren't particularly special. I remember it was a mailing list that first got us in touch with Seb Chew and Greenmoney - Seb got back to us over something I'd sent and told us people were interested and it just went back and forth from there. It's all been a massive bonus because none of us expected any of it - we just do it because we love making music. I used to get shocked when people said they liked our music, let alone anything else!
The release came about purely through the reaction the tune was getting when it was played out, particularly down in London. Guys like Braiden and Mosca were playing it regularly and then Zinc played it on Rinse which was a massive deal for us, that was just sick! Based on all that, it just made sense that 'What You Do To Me' should be our first release with Greenmoney - they liked a lot of stuff we'd done but that was the stand out tune. We were actually the label's first official release but we're classed as 002 for some reason (laughs) - they must have put out a white label thing before or something! We had to get a remix sorted too and CRST just made sense - we'd remixed stuff of theirs before so I got in touch and sorted it out."
With regards to deejaying, Mella Dee admits the trio have yet to regularly play sets together:
"It's not happened much yet to be honest. Generally, I've been playing for friends and nights I've been involved with before and just used the 'Mistamen' moniker but we all deejay so hopefully we can all get on a booking soon. It's just so happened that I've deejayed more than the other guys over the last few years but it's more of a case of seeing how things work out for us really. You've got to look at it from a promoter's angle too - three guys is a bit long! It might have to be a case of whoever can make it (laughs) but who knows."
Whilst some deejays are content to stick to Serato, Mella Dee continues to make a concerted effort to incorporate vinyl into his sets:
"If I'm ever playing Garage it's a straight vinyl thing, mainly because I can't be bothered to do vinyl rips (laughs)! I'd love to cut my own dubs too but it's such a lengthy and expensive process, which I think is something that holds people back from pursuing the vinyl route. One of the other main problems is the lack of good club setups - a lot of clubs aren't kitted out to support both CD and vinyl so things end up sounding wrong and it's just not worth it. I still buy a lot of vinyl when I can though - I've made sure to cop all the recent Butterz stuff because i needed it in my life! I do honestly think it makes a difference - we've got a release coming up with 'Audio Doughnuts' in the summer and I think that'll be vinyl which is really nice. I always think if people are making the effort to put something out on vinyl then it must be good - all the big labels like Night Slugs always release on vinyl too so it's definitely a good look!"
As the ever-expanding nature of UK bass music continues to redefine musical boundaries, Mella Dee sees the fusion of different sounds as vital to the scene's future:
"It's the best situation to have really - I make what I wanna make and there's a place for that attitude nowadays which I think is great. Night's aren't boring anymore either - it'd sometimes be the case of going out and hearing four or five different deejays dropping the same tune over and over but those days seem to be long gone! For me personally, the crossover stuff seems to be more concerned with getting people dancing too which works well, there's definitely a more fun approach to it. You don't find yourself worrying about what bracket your music fits into now either, you can just get on with making whatever you like which can only be a good thing. There's so much good music around at the moment as well, too much really to be honest - it's hard to keep up with it all! BPM differences have made a difference too - people like the slower 124 stuff right the way through to 140, which gives you the scope to keep your sets varied. It's all good really!"
With Greenmoney's support and a whole host of new releases on the horizon, Mistamen look set to only add to their growing reputation in 2011:
"We've got the second Greenmoney release, 'The Panther EP', coming up - we're still not sure of the exact tracks yet besides 'Panther' but we're not far off. There's a remix we've done for a guy called 'Define' coming out on a French digital label in the near future as well and we're having a track of ours remixed by Blawan so hopefully that'll get a release. We've got the thing with 'Audio Doughnuts' due for a summer time launch too! The focus for us really is to just maintain what we've been doing - making our music is the sole aim. We want to keep things interesting too though - I personally never want to make 'our sound' so to speak, I'm more focused on making sure we're making fresh and interesting music. However interesting though, never pretentious, fuck that - not down for the chin-strokers at all!"
BOOMKAT DISCOGRAPHY: http://www.boomkat.com/artist.cfm?a=47713
Exclusive Mistamen Mix for Uncle Albert: http://unclealbertsays.blogspot.com/2011/02/mixes-001-mistamen.html
In Leeds We Trust 'Tropical' Feature: http://unclealbertsays.blogspot.com/2011/02/in-leeds-we-trust-003-tropical-special.html