Features

Miles Dyson: Electronic Prodigy

DJing since he was 13 years old, Miles Dyson now sits at the head of his own mini-music empire, with more than 300 artists signed to his production company Plasmapool. A child prodigy who held his first club residency at the age of 15, Dyson went on to win the ‘European DJ Championships’ in 1999 and never looked back. After founding Plasmapool in 2002 he was quickly named Switzerland’s ‘Producer of the Year’ in 2003.

Boosted by a feature on the cover of Mixmag, Dyson’s music is now going mainstream, and he has even been courted by the likes of Snoop Dogg for his production talent. With his Australian tour beginning in less than a week, inthemix was lucky enough to get a few moments of the German tech-house genius’s precious time.

Along with DJing and producing tracks, you’ve also built yourself a nice little media empire, which includes a production and a distribution company, 12 labels and over 50 signed artists. Is that why you have you been dubbed Miles ‘Millionaire’ Dyson?

Actually, the company has been slightly extended since I was in Oz last time; Plasmapool currently holds 15 genre-labels with more than 300 artists signed and a catalogue of more than 800 tracks. I opened departments and production and mastering studios in Rio De Janeiro, LA, Hollywood, Vancouver, and I just opened a new one in the eastern part of Germany. Honestly, I haven’t achieved millionaire status yet; there’s still a long way to go…

You immersed yourself in the industry at the tenderfoot age of 13. Do you think that getting involved in music at such a young age ensured your success

Not necessarily. There are heaps of acts that are starting very late with producing and DJing, but getting into it that young made it easier.

There are all these genres and different temperaments of styles; what style of music would you say you are pigeonholed in?

Well, it’s hard to categorise oneself, but I played, loved and produced a big bunch of electronic music genres since the beginning – from electro, progressive, house, tech to breaks and fidget – so all of this influences me constantly in the way my tracks are shaped.

I’ve heard that certain mainstream record companies manage artists’ creative input. Do you seduce the talent to swing a certain sound, or do you give them absolute control?

My artists can do what they feel like. 15 labels serving almost every genre make it easy for my artists to live out their talents.

You’re quite a worldly man; fortunate enough to get paid to venture the globe. If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you reside? I hear Australia has pretty nice beaches, not to mention the women…

[Laughs] Actually, Oz is my favourite country in the world. If I can really choose, then Australia is the place to be for me. I guess it would make traveling and touring abroad way harder, because I would have to leave Oz in the first place! At the moment I enjoy the one or two times per year I am privileged enough to tour there.

I’m a fan of fun-loving, party-going DJs, and my biggest hate is when I see a DJ who just presses buttons and hits ‘cue’ (Kraftwerk are the only ones who can get away with it in my opinion). Are you a DJ booth dancer?

Kraftwerk rocks! I don’t like to party in matters of dancing and drinking and stuff, but when playing I completely change and become a party animal! I think that comes from an overdose of adrenaline whilst getting more and more into my sound.

So when you grace the decks again on our Australian shores, will you be playing a different kind of sound compared to your last visit?

Since I only play live shows, I have to change set-ups pretty often, so it’ll never be the same. I also try writing at least two tracks per month which then need to be tested instantly. So all the latest bombs from my labels and my own tracks offer me a wide range of basic material I can choose from to make shows as unique and phat as possible.

Will you be playing with vinyl, CDs, Ableton, Traktor or Final Scratch? Laptop DJing seems all the rage these days.

I don’t get the ongoing conversation about ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ DJing methods. Times are changing; you never know what new technique will be hip tomorrow. Why close your mind to new performance possibilities? I know it’s not ‘DJing’ anymore, but as long as people like it, then why not?

I personally switched from ‘real’ DJing [laughs] for live performances, as it makes traveling easier and it gives me more possibilities for interacting with my sound in Realtime instead of just playing static tracks from CDs and vinyl.

Do you think there’s any prejudice or negative judgement towards DJs who are all digital and not analogue?

Only within the DJ community; outside of that world, in the normal, music consumer, party weekend world it’s normal to see people playing both digital and vinyl. They mostly don’t care, but DJs really hate each other for what format they use, especially in Europe.

In hindsight, what time in your life marks the turning point in where your career became successful?

Everything went out of control, particularly abroad (mainly in the UK and Brazil) after releasing my second official vinyl called Beatz of Mass Destruction back in 2001; I only had bootlegs and white copies out prior to that.

Are you really now a citizen of the Maldives?

Yeah, accidentally, more or less; I spent some weeks in the Maldives recovering from touring with some physiotherapy. The bungalow next to mine was completely destroyed one night by a Russian lady who was completely drunk and having some relationship problems with some bartender. So, she ended up throwing stones through this huge glass each of the seaside bungalows had, and she had massive cuts on her face and her hands. The Maldivian police interviewed me a couple of times, asking if I had seen anything. I started fooling around, saying that I helped them so much with the case that granting me my Maldivian citizenship would be the least they could do for me in return for stealing my rare vacation time. Finally, they said, “Sure, why not?” It was an easy procedure; now I’m Maldivian!

Miles Dyson your dates:

26th December – Breakfest, (Perth)

27th December – Blah Blah Blah Festival, Brisbane