I love Miami – both the city and the annual music industry event (Winter Music Conference) that first took me there. I grew up in Glasgow so the idea of poolside parties and raving under the stars isn’t one you associate with dance music. Clubbing in Glasgow is – in the main – about getting sweaty with the safety of walls & a roof to keep you from freezing your bits off. Obviously there are a few odd days in the “summer” when you can throw a great party in the open air but trying to plan a party to coincide with these wondrous moments is like trying to explain to someone what Irn Bru tastes like.
So, as you can imagine, the first time I went to WMC was like a revelation: hotel after hotel with amazing poolside spots all hosting my favourite DJs every night; nightclubs with huge outdoor spaces that you could stay in til 8am (or get up and go to at 8am and – since it felt like 1 in the afternoon – start your day with a boom); famous djs hanging around and being friendly and approachable in the sunshine. Amazing! Things you would never do in Glasgow – like drinking rum & coke – not only became possible but positively enjoyable.
The other thing that happened was that I started to appreciate tunes I might have overlooked before. Hearing some tracks after a few mojitos with the sun setting in the background surrounded by a load of smiling beautiful faces (that you can actually see for more than a strobe flash) is a bit like hearing a previously ignored Carl Craig mix on a big sound system – your viewpoint is permanently changed. And those tracks that evoke the feelings you feel on Collins Avenue at 10pm or at Space at 4am become all the more special to you.
I think everyone who’s been there has their own version of what Miami sounds like to them. It might have been about US house and garage once but nowadays you hear all sorts of dance music in the two weeks of March that the ravers take over South Beach. So I’m not going to say this is any kind of definitive Miami selection but just what Miami means to me, and the soundtrack to kind of party I’d like to have there in 2015.
Kicking off the compilation is one of my favourite artists right now. Metodi Hristov has taken the tech house world by storm. From his early releases on Suara to his recent big hit on Deeperfect his tracks are never far from the top of the Beatport charts. “Popcorned” is another warm, bouncy monster filled with heavy beats and the kind of bass-line that jacks you up off your chair and straight onto the dance-floor.
Joeski is a producer I’ve followed since his early work on NRK and Maya and it’s been great to see him come back to the forefront of house music in 2014. His “This Is Acid” does exactly what it says on the tin as the NYC producer delivers a heavy beat and a bit of good old 303 action.
Daniel Trim is another artist who is on fire right now. With loads of house & techno tastemakers (Eats Everything to Jackmaster) all droping his tunes, 2014 was a vintage year for Mr. Trim. On “Ultra Discount” he delivers the kind of feel good sample groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on Crydamour – if it wasn’t for its rolling techno under-groove keeping it firmly in 2015.
One of our favourite DJs, Supernova delivered a beautiful re-interpretation of Romanthony’s “What $ Love” last year. Here you get to hear their heavier, more club-friendly “Dirty Mix” for the first time.
EdOne & Bodden’s “Do It” was last years best selling track on Andre Crom’s OFF Spin label and it’s easy to see why. Their combination of heavy garage beats and catchy-as-hell hooks are creating chaos in many clubs worldwide. “I Can’t Feel” is their next release on Glasgow Underground and my own version is included here as a sneak peak of what’s to come.
One of our favourite records of 2013 was Offspin’s aptly-named “Guilty Pleasures”. The best track on the 12” was Pavel Petrov’s “Party Up”. His hip-hop sampling, big-ass basslined monster jam did exactly what it said on the tin. Everywhere I played it from Propaganda in Moscow to the Sub Club in Glasgow it did serious damage on the dance floor. “Suzane Sunshine” is another of Pavel’s fun-time party killers. This Pete Tong approved jam has big guitar plucks, swinging chords and a bassline that would move the Empire State building. Add in some cheeky hip-hop snips and, “Boom!” there you have it, big tune alert.
I’ve been a big fan of Piemont’s releases on Exploited, Toolroom, Kraftek and Monika Kruse’s Terminal M imprint. The thing I love most about Piemont’s tracks is that whilst they jam their tracks with music they never lose sight of the dancefloor. They have two tracks on this compilation, the first is my own dub mix of “Like That”. The original is a brilliant piece of deep-yet-energetic house music. I could hear something heavier and darker in the mix and asked the guys to send me over the stems to see if I could bring those elements out.
Rob Etherson and Ross Stenhouse cook up Ovr Kill’s music in the same studio Rob produces Mia Dora with Al Quinn. “Serve It Cold” is one of my favourite tracks on this compilation. It has everything I like it a house track: beautiful bottom end, razor-sharp beats and a dreamy synth hook you can totally lose yourself in.
Dalfie’s “T212” is another track from Rob Etherson’s studio, this time collaborating with Glasgow DJ Darren Donnelly and inspired by Darren’s time on the Space Terrace in 2012.
Brett Gould is a producer coming into form. Last year’s “Rhythm Drop” saw his solo releases break into the Beatport charts for the first time and “Don’t Know Why” delivers a gorgeously warm-yet-bouncy slice of hypnotic house. Perfect if you like NTFO, Karmon or MatJoe.
Second last on the running order (but the first track on my mix) is this original, spooky slice of house music from Bazaar. Tariq Ibrahim’s work isn’t so well known just now but – given his next release is coming on Nic Fanciulli’s incredible Saved imprint – it shouldn’t be too long before he’s a household name…
Piemont’s second track on here is The Annie Mac supported “High Top” is the perfect example of this. The cleverly used hip-hop vocals and brilliant synth hook deliver all you need on top while a big-ass bassline and chunky house beat make sure your feet don’t stop moving throughout.
Kevin McKay, 6th February 2015.