Marcus Intalex: The Drum 'n' Bass Tutor

Marcus Intalex was born in a small town outside Manchester and has been actively involved in the dance music scene since 1998. His djing skills have gave him the opportunity to travel around the globe on many occasions. As a dj he believes in pushing forward thinking sounds that has a good energy level but still retaining a touch of soul.

This is mirrored in his productions both alone and together with ST Files as MIST and additionally with Calibre as Mistical. His production work is acclaimed in the gradually more popular genre known as Liquid Funk. Beat Factor caught up with Intalex at his recent visit in Romania, at the TM Base 2006 Music Workshop, event held in Timisoara between 23 and 25 March.

Beat Factor: You are for the first time in Romania now for the TmBase Music Workshop. Are you familiar with anything from the Romanian electronic scene?

Dj-ing to me is more about selecting the tunes in the right order rather than just make a wicked mix and play all the popular tunes. The art of a good DJ is playing the tunes that aren't popular and making them sound good. It's the hardest thing to do sometimes. That just comes with the experience and loving your music.
Marcus Intalex: No. The thing is that I'm so busy at the moment that I don't know where I'm going till the week before. I've not really paid any attention to what's coming. I talked to my agent on Monday and he said: "You're in Romania on Saturday". I actually knew nothing. But I already met some interesting people. I like what they did here, the TM Base. It's good to involve people from outside the scene. That's cool.

BF: You had a similar experience as Red Bull Academy Tutor. What was it like?

MI: I just got a phone call saying "would you like to come to South Africa?" I stayed there for three days, I had gigs. It was like here in the workshop. We just sat down and talked. I just tried to tell the people the way I think and I'm not saying that it's the way it should be. It's just what I've experienced in my 15 years in the music industry.

BF: You are into drum and bass. But what about other musical influences?

MI: In fact it's not drum and bass that influenced me in my music. I like so many different kinds of music. I still buy a lot of music, CD's, records. House, techno, a bit of funk, raggae things. I'm always looking for samples, always trying to hear new kinds of music, new artists that I find interesting. I still love rock music, people like Radiohead, my favorite band of all times. From what I get through listening to all that I find ideas for what I do in my drum and bass.

BF: You have founded Soul:R in 2001. On what criteria do you chose a young DJ or producer for this label?

MI: Drum and bass is a really hard music to master. It takes a long time for a young producer to become good enough to make the music to a standard where it's gonna' get played out. So it is maybe one per year you hear an interesting name. I'm really a specialist in the kind of drumandbass I like. I just try and play music that I really like and I'm really sort of picky and choosy so I really find it difficult to find new people to like. The people that are now making music are 10, 15 years younger than me, even more. Inevitably they might not make the kind of music I'm looking for. They may be good at what they do but not the kind of stuff that I'm into. Sometimes a wicked bassline it's all you need.

BF: Do you play music from other DJ's? What do you think about that?

MI: Sure, I play whatever, if I feel I like it. I don't care who made it, if he is from Canada or New Zeeland, if he's blind or gay, as long as it is good. There's no politics involved.

BF: What do you think about mainstream? Would you like your music to become mainstream?

MI: You become mainstream because you're good. You don't try and make yourself mainstream. You don't go with the intention of being mainstream. If enough people like my music than who am I to complain? I'm not gonna' say it's a bad thing but I'm not gonna' make my music be that way.

BF: Do you prefer small clubs or big venues? Do you think the club where you play is important for the success of the party?

MI: If you do it in small clubs there are a lot of people in there who came because they know who you are, what to expect. So, as a DJ you feel more comfortable and that will inevitably lead to a better night rather than be in a big venue where only 10% of the people know what you are doing and you have to accommodate the other 90%. Sometimes you end up disappointing both categories at the same time because you are playing a bit for them but it's not what they're into and the people that are here for you are not happy because you're not playing what they came for. Drum and bass normally is for people who really like it and know it, so I don't expect to be playing in front of 5-10000 people. I have done it, actually and quite enjoyed it but I'm not making music to be popular. If it becomes so, ok, fine. But I make music for my heart.

Features Archive


Marcus Intalex: The Drum 'n' Bass Tutor

April 10, 2006 at 1:11 AM CEST



BF: When you mix, what do you concentrate on? The selction of tunes, your mixing technique or the crowd response?

MI: All of these. It's integrating what you can see the crowd is into with what you want to play yourself and sometimes you have to say: "Right. The crowd respond is good here. I can go in a different direction". It's my job to get the crowd to that point where they can go to a different direction. Djing to me is more about selecting the tunes in the right order rather than just make a wicked mix and play all the popular tunes. The art of a good DJ is playing the tunes that aren't popular and making them sound good. It's the hardest thing to do sometimes. That just comes with the experience and loving your music. It's a lot of fun.

BF: Tell me about a great party that you remember.

MI: Something like a month ago in Birmingham. We make a gig there called "Solution" and we thought of taking it in different cities of the country and parts of the world. We do it in Birmingham every three months. The last one was just really wicked. We've just done a vocal track with this old raggae singer from Birmingham He came as MC. And it was amazing, really good.

BF: What do you think are the characteristics of a fresh sound in drum and bass?

MI: Something which hasn't been done before. Somebody who understands how drum and bass works. Someone who has an unconventional manner doesn't copy or take influences from other drum and bass track but at the same time does something to work on the dance floor. To me, drum and bass today is lacking a little bit of that. A lot of people are doing their music well but few are doing it differently. Maybe because I've been into it for so long. As an artist you want something different, you don't want to hear the same thing all the time.

BF: What is the solution that you see for keeping the scene fresh? How do you see the evolution of drumandbass?

MI: I don't know. Maybe it will turn into something I'm not really into. It's interesting music out there but my fear is that is turning into something that is just all about energy, cheesy and aggressive at the same time, too much about pleasing the crowd rather than being inventive. It's not what I would play. I can see why people like it. It's obvious why is so popular. But is not really what I call as being drum and bass. Maybe things getting so popular distort people's view of what drum and bass really is. So I think it's a funny time. All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing, keep believing in what I believe and try and do as much good, interesting music as I can. It's the only way to do it. But it seems like a fight sometimes. A lot of people I know around my age, people involved in the scene, have the same felling as me. We don't like what's happening to drum and bass.

BF: What comes next? Any new release?

MI: We're now working on an album which will probably come out in June. I'm really looking forward to it because there's good music on it, a lot of vocal tracks, a bit different, opens up to a new market where we've never done a CD album before. We're just trying to fight a good fight for drum and bass, for what we believe in.

Photo: © 2006

Comments on this article: