Mikal Sparks The Riot
As the initial summer period starts to wind up, Mikal spoke about his work with Riot, part of legendary Portuguese outfit Buraka Som Sistema for a C4C meltdown, plus recent work including involvement in a certain George Lucas film soundtrack, no less.
Hi Mikal, first off, 2015’s been a bit challenging I hear?
Yeah. Had a back injury which forced me to be in bed for most of the year but still found a way to work from my laptop on some hard painkillers! Ha ha.
I’ve spent most of this year recovering but definitely finishing my album and now being able to travel and start taking bookings again is the highlight.
What recent activities in the studio can you tell us about?
Finishing my album! I also mixed down Asian Dub Foundation’s latest album and then engineered a film score they did for George Lucas’ first film.
Got to watch it at the Barbican Centre and met Walter Murch the original sound designer of THX1138.
This work with C4C… how’d it come about?
Mark (CZA) got in touch with me about doing a remix and working on a single for their label in the near future.
Can we talk about your fantastic remix of ‘Never Acid’ Again? It must’ve been a lot of fun to do, it sounds it.
It was a brilliant track to work on. I’ve always loved the original tune. Mark sent me over a huge list of their back catalogue to choose from. It took ages to decide on which one to go for but Never Acid Again really stood out.
And the linkup with Riot?
That’s all thanks to my Mrs really… The Rum Baba. She contacted Riot to do an interview about Buraka. It turned out he’d been producing D&B for many years before the whole BSS/Buraka Som Sistema thing took off.
We ended up talking about the music he produces on his own and it didn’t take too long before we talked about a collab. I really love the Zouk Bass sound, especially the drum patterns and wanted to combine heavy beats & bass around that.
I sent him over a folder of sounds and he sent me the some ideas for our first track ‘Control Of People’. Goldie was really into it and Metalheadz released it earlier this year as part of my single.
Can you take us through the work on ‘Night Gasp’?
Riot chose that one out of the list and made a start. What was so good about working with C4C is the quality of their sounds.
We both created snares and layered them on top of each other’s stems. We work like this on all the elements of the track until we are happy with it.
Like most of the tunes we’ve written together, we sent the track back and forth like that until it’s finished. I prefer working this way, I find it more productive.
So have you played in Riot’s part of the world?
No not yet, I was supposed to play in May then June but had to cancel due to my back injury.
We’re planning on doing a tour in the future but we are finalising some projects at the moment and finishing some studio work. I should be in Lisbon soon and Riot will be over in Bristol.
To end, what tune is in your head right now?
Mohawks ‘The Champ’