This Friday sees young DJ and producer Medlar take to the lazer pit for a night of sleazy summer heat at Supermax. Currently a stalwart of underground UK house label Wolf Music, he's been gaining prominence over the last year as one to watch out for. With little information on him available, we decided to investigate further and we're lucky enough to catch up with Medlar himself and find out what's what, who he is and maybe even dig up a few secrets about him...
For those new to Medlar, how would you describe your sound both as a producer and as a DJ?
Medlar is pretty much just purist house music. I've been into various electronic music scenes, mainly UK-based underground styles, and house and disco came relatively late. I made Terrell and felt it would be worth attempting (and fun) to build on that sound. My DJ sets pretty much reflect the house and disco that I've discovered over the last year, old and new. I play as much vinyl as I can so I'm trawling Discogs a lot looking for tracks which may set me apart in some way.
Your label, Wolf Music, seems like such a tight-knit family- how did you come to be part of them?
Yes, it really is. I met Matt Neale (one of the Wolf Music bosses along with Stu Clarke) whilst working in the same office as him and Greymatter in Brighton about five years ago. I'd remained in contact with Greymatter - who's provided me with so much great advice over the years - and I sent him Terrell. He suggested I send it to Matt and it's blossomed from there. It's an ideal place to be as a producer, their A&R skills are second to none and being able to get feedback on ideas from everyone involved is really useful, all very positive. Playing at label parties are so much fun too.
You've only been on the collective dance music radar since early last year. Can you tell us what path led you to the point you are at now with your music career?
I started playing around with electronic music production when I was about 14 or 15, so 2002, I'd been into playing drums and guitars (not very well) a bit before that. I basically tried to make jungle for years with no real understanding of it, and got really into buying records and DJing at the same time. My first release was a remix for Greymatter on his label Unique Uncut under my other alias, Klic, and I then did a solo release through UU too; 'Karaoke/Hi Tech Soul' (2009). Detroit techno influenced garage-y stuff, in the days before the "future garage" apocalypse. Since then I discovered house and disco and that's kinda been it!
Who are your house heroes?
Larry Heard's productions under Mr Fingers are some of the most raw, emotive electronic music I've ever heard, and is a definite point of reference for Medlar, so I guess he could be a hero of mine. I love the stories of the roots of house being sewn in the gay New York disco clubs, so Mancuso, Levan et al definitely get a salute!
People describe you as enigmatic... tell us a secret about yourself...
I designed some vinyl center labels, so officially the first record with my name on it is a grime 12" from 2007 which features Skepta and Wiley. Possibly a very boring fact…
You've recently played festivals in both Sweden and Croatia, what else is on the festival list either as a punter or as a DJ for the remainder of what could be a soggy summer?
No more festivals on the horizon unfortunately. I was supposed to play the Stubnitz at Bloc alongside Unlikely (co-honcho of Wavey Tones), but let's not talk about that…! I will be playing Vienna, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and a few London dates over the next months.
What other labels, other than Wolf Music, are really piquing your interest at the moment?
The new FACES record is great, and I'm enjoying a lot of releases from Prime Numbers, Firecracker, Fourth Wave, Dekmantel, Delusions of Grandeur, more that I can't recall right now. I've been buying as many Nice 'N' Ripe 12"s as I possibly can over the past year.
You're playing at the Tief 1st Birthday with Omar S in a few months, which must be pretty exciting! Who would be on your dream bill to share and why?
It's pretty amazing to have been on some insane lineups already. The Wolf Music takeover of room 2 at Tief was pretty special, Todd Terje and Morgan Geist were in the next room and ours was rammed all night…. Tough question, I'll go for Chic, Delia Derbyshire (RIP) and Todd Edwards.
And finally, what three tracks will be gracing your record bag for Supermax here at Dalston Superstore?
James Welsh & Terri Walker - M62
DMX Krew - Mustard Parasol
[third track in on Medlar's Tief Mix]
Soho - Hot Music
I've also been busy making edits/reworks of classic house and my own tracks, which can only be heard by seeing myself or any of the Wolf Music DJs play out, so I'll play some of those for sure.
Medlar plays Supermax at Dalston Superstore on Friday 20th July with Vincent Duff, The Lovely Jonjo, Sigmund K, Eugene & Mortimer and Educate from 9pm - 3am.