One of the international artists on the bill for Listen Out is Miguel Campbell, a UK house producer who’d been toiling away at his craft for years, until getting the call up to appear on notable UK label, Hot Creations. He spoke to TOM KITSON ahead of his appearance on Sunday.
With 2011 single Something Special, debut solo LP Back In Flight School and a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix all to his name in the last three years, things are finally moving for the UK house stalwart.
As one half of the house duo MAM, Campbell has been running club nights in the UK since the ‘90s and honing his funk, disco and deep house-infused sound.
“I would call my sound disco and deep house focused with a French influence,” he says down the line. “I discovered house music in the early ‘90s, and a lot of what l was listening to was full of emotion with pianos and different elements.”
He says that sense of instrumentally conceived emotion is the key to his sound and the reason he’s in dance music to begin with. “When I’m producing and also listening to new music, I need some form of emotive content, and that’s really the most important thing for me right now,” he explains. “I don’t feel that a song always needs lyrics to give it emotion, for me the change in chord progressions and choice of notation can do that for you.”
His early influences after a stint as a hip hop DJ include Daft Punk and some of the most important disco-house producers around – that’s at a time before MP3s and SoundCloud.
“I was DJing hip hop music in the early ‘90s, and then realised I wanted to do the 4/4 dance thing,” he says. “A few years later I became interested in how these tracks were being made, like was it a full orchestra with violins and everything or some guy on a computer?
“Primarily Daft Punk were a massive influence on the sound we were trying to create, as well as artists like Alan Braxe, Fred Falke and Cassius who have really inspired the way we do things today,” he says. “Mixing up the different funk and disco elements is something of an art craft you know, finding the right sample and using it in the right context.”
The phone call from Hot Creations that plucked Campbell from obscurity came after Miami’s Winter Music Conference in 2010, simply asking him to come on board.
“I got the call when I was in Leeds for one of our Back To Basics nights” he says. “My friend Rich was in the US with Rob James and (label owner) Jamie Jones, and they’d just been listening to my music and asked me if I wanted to sign a few tracks to the Hot Creations label. It took about ten years to get where we are today, but I’m happy to say things are moving now.”