January 2012

 

This months interview takes a closer mix at one of the remixes of latest single Sky. The release from Wall Of Sound was backed by a batch of excellent mixes, including one by Swedens Martin Brodin. So I caught up with him to learn more about his work with the remix as well as some aspects of his career. And found a man with a big love for both The Human League as well as all the other great electro bands from the eighties.

Interview by Niels Kolling, picture by Martin Brodin.

First a little background. How did you end up in the music business to become a highly respected producer, remixer and DJ?
 

Well, music always been around for me since early days. Started by looking through my parents record collection (vinyl of course, yeah, Iím that old) and then went on buying my own records at age 12. And as a hobby I used to go up early on the weekends buying records at various flea markets.

 

And what I found out early was that I could buy rare records and sell and then finance my own records that I wanted. This became more serious and I sold records via mail order, and later it all progressed to a record store called Yell Records that I started 1996. And from that I got a lot of contacts of producers, artists, distributors and others from the business.

 

The first record label I started in 1999, Yellhouse Records came out of some demos from a local band called Physics. Which also led to the more known label Deeplay Music which I started just a year later. And one thing led to the other and in 2005 i released my first single on my own label called Deeplay Soultec. And from that it just goes on...

 

 

What was your knowledge of the bands history before you began to work on one of their tracks?
 

I grew up in that era when those great bands came to life in the UK like Depeche Mode, New Order, Ultravox, Soft Cell. And Human League was definitely one of those great ones.

 

Would you label yourself a fan?

 

Yes, I was a fan for sure.

 

How did it come about that you were picked out to do a remix of latest single Sky?
 

It was pretty simple, a guy from Wall Of Sound that I know just asked me if I wanted to give it a go. Said and done, I stepped on it and made my remix which fortunately was approved. It was a great privilege doing it.

 

Since this is the first new Human League material in almost 10 years, what was your initial thoughts the first time you heard the track?
 

I think it sounded like Human League and that was the beauty of it. They still have their trademark sound.

 

I really like your mix as the production takes me back to my youth in the 80s (yes I'm old!) with the Linn Drum inspired beat, the handclaps and the cow bell and it some ways it reminds me of the Love And Dancing version of Don't You Want Me. So what were your ambitions with the remix?
 

Youíre totally right in your analyze of the Linn Drum beat. Itís processed samples to be sounded as if theyíre from the Love & Dancing album. I wanted it to sound early eightees with a feeling of New York Disco Music of that time, mixed with a bit of Martin Rushent feeling to it.

 

As you deconstructed the song for the remix, any particular parts you enjoyed the isolated sound of?
 

I would say the song and the synths.

 

Did you do any more remixes of the song? And if you did, what did they sound like?
 

Nope. I hit it right from the start.

 

What kind of gear did you use for remixing? Is it all virtual synths for you or do you like to "fiddle with the knobs" from time to time?
 

It was 100% virtual synths. On rare occasion I use the real synths.

 

 

The single and the remixes are released digitally, but are there any plans to release your remix on a physical format like a promo 12"?
 

I donít think there is Iím afraid. I still love the format so it would be nice to have in my collection. You should put some pressure on the label doing a limited one as a collector item.

 

The Martin Brodin Mix is part of a great remix package with The Hacker, Plastic Plates and Fusty Delights also providing some excellent remixes. So have you heard any of the other contributions?


Yes i did and I like the variety in the remix package. Thereís something for all.

 

If you could pick any Human league song out of their vast back catalogue, which one would you like the most to remix?


Would be great to do Donít You Want Me, but itís too much of a classic and has been reworked so many times. So not sure it needs another one from me.

 

No, I would rather stick to the not so obvious Empire State Human. It has a cool attitude and I love the melody and the vocals on it. Think I could turn some magic to it, humbly speaking.

 

Being a producer in your own right, could you see yourself producing the next Human League album and how would you want them to sound?
 

If I got the opportunity, then I would force them to do Dare 2. But maybe thatís what theyíre doing now? Itís a classic album and I still enjoy listening to it.

 

Philip Oakey is famed for collection old synths, so do you have any favourite synth or gear yourself?
 

Not anymore, used to have loads but these days virtual ones does the tricks for me.

 

Their signing last year to Mark Jones cool Wall Of Sound looks like a perfect match?


Yeah. Wall Of Sound is number one in my book when it comes to sign interesting new bands but lately also icons from the past and bring them to life again. They did a great job with Grace Jones for example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I think they have done the right things with Human League as well. And they canít be wrong with signings like RŲyksopp and Aeroplane, two outstanding artists in my ears.

 

Wall Of Sound released new album Credo last spring, have you had a chance to hear it?
 

Iím afraid not. A bit curious I must admit.

 

 

Favourite Human League album, song and single?
 

Dare. Simply because itís their best album. As I said earlier, I still listen  to it sometimes and it still sounds great.


Single wise, I would say Donít You Want Me, just because itís a great sing-a-long track. I guess itís the one Iíve danced to the most in my youth.

 

Have you ever experienced a Human League concert? If you have, when was it and what did you think of it?
 

I havenít Iím afraid. Maybe I get the chance if they get out on the roads again with the new album.

 

The band has some very loyal and dedicated fans that try to get to as many shows as possible on a tour. Have you had the same passion for a particular band? You know, following them around the country, crashing on train stations as you wait for the first train home?
 

Well, my greatest inspiration ever was the Swiss band Yello. And for whatever reasons they had, they never and still donít play live. Only once they did a performance in New York, but thatís it. So a great bummer for me to be fan of a band who doesnít play live.

 

Another band which been around from early eightees for me is Depeche Mode, and Iíve seen them a few times. The funny thing is that first time I saw them was 1984 and then I saw them again last time 2006 in Stockholm. And during the concert it hit me, ďitís more than twenty years I saw them the first time, blimeyĒ.
 

I remember in 1984 that we tried to get their autographs after the gig and even found out where they lived if we succeeded? No we didnít. But I wrote a letter afterwards to them with a photograph of them, which they kindly enough signed and sent back. So all good.

 

Being as big a fan of Depeche Mode as Human League I'm curious to know more about the excellent cover version you did of Personal Jesus with Bionik Phunk?
 

Thanks for the feedback, always nice to hear.
 

I always loved that song, it really stands out from the other music theyíve done. And what a live track it is, when the intro starts you know the crowd will go nuts. Just a massive track! So me and Bionik Phunk wanted to give it a try. We felt we didnít want to destroy it too much so we tried to keep it as much original as possible with added beats. And to stand out a bit we used a female singer on it.
 

And for you who donít know, there is even a bootleg version floating around of it that we did. If you want to get it, just register to my Faceboook page (below) and email me and I send it over.

 

 

What is it with Sweden and electronic music? Living in Denmark, I usually had to travel to MalmŲ or Lund in the 1990ís to hear decent electro bands live. And you seem to produce electronic artists by the bucketload?
 

Well, if I knew the answer to this, I would probably be doing something else. But I know that in Malmoe and around this area, where I grew up, there were a great deal of bands and I guess they all inspired each other. And we also had a few independent record labels who released a lot of great records during this time.

 

You master many parts of the music industry. DJíing, remixing, producing, even running a label as you founded Deeplay Music. So which part is the most fun for you?


As you can imagine, impossible to pin down which is most fun. Each aspect is nice on its own.

 

Running a label is a great pleasure simply because this way you sign good music and put it out to the public and hopefully they like it.

 

Producing and remixing can give you grey hairs and be a bit frustrating because you want the best out of you all the time. You donít want to come up with crap music, right? But on the other hand, once you finished with a good track and you see people are liking it, that feeling is indescribable.

 

And Djíing, is probably the most intense and here you get the feedback instant. And having the crowd in your hand is one of the greatest feeling one can have.

 

You seem like a very busy man, so what are the future plans for Martin Brodin?
 

Right now Iím finishing my own album. Will probably hit the streets early 2012. Itís been in the making for quite some time now, so for me itís a pleasure to get it out soon.
 

Also Iím working hard with my new label that I started in 2010, MB Disco. A label which is all about the Disco Music in all forms, new or old, it doesnít matter as long as itís good.

 

You listen to the Martin Brodin remix of Sky here, while the mix can be purchased here.

 

And check out the below links to learn more about Martin and his future projects;

 
www.facebook.com/martinbrodin


www.soundcloud.com/martinbrodin