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Exclusive interview with MING


1. Hello, Aaron Albano (MING)! We are pleased to have you here for an interview. How are you, how has 2012 been treating you?

I’ve had a super busy year with big remixes for Infected Mushroom, Adele, Proxy & Jake Shanahan as well as my ‘KING KONG’ EP on DIM MAK and a number of singles on my Hood Famous Music label.

2. You are a true pioneer in the EDM world. For those who don’t know, you were a part of the Ming + FS group. So, you came from hip-hop: what influenced you to start creating electronic music?

Growing up in New York, Hip Hop and electronic music have always been one in the same to me. I started my career producing Hip Hop influenced industrial music like Meat Beat Manifesto and Prodigy, so combining Hip Hop and Drum and Bass was a natural progression.

3. Please tell us 5 songs that represent you.

I’ve had a long career that was rooted in experimental hip hop and now I’m super into electro house, tech house, moombaton and a lot of the new bass genres. Here’s some of my recent work that best showcases where I’m currently at as an artist.

1. MING – Shine Your Light (Original Mix)


3. MING – Victim (Original Mix)

4. Jake Shanahan – Tweaked (MING Remix)

5. Ellie Goulding – Lights (MING Remix)

4. You have received a lot of support from a lot of big name DJs. What would you say really makes your sound different and unique from everyone else?

NEW YORK FUCKING CITY!!! I’m a New Yorker through and through and like other NYC-based producers like Armand Van Heldon or Roger Sanchez I think that New York attitude has a certain BOOM to it.

5. What would you say are some of your biggest influences in music?

Musically, Reggae is my biggest influence. I pay a lot of attention to the space that exists between the music and the polyrhythms that get created by the dub delays. I’m really cognisant of the relationship between each frequency added to a mix and as such, I try to create a space for every instrument that I add to a piece of music.

6. How would you say your sound has evolved over the years?

My mixing skills have become much more refined and I’ve learned how to master tracks very well. Early in my career my productions were sample heavy. Now that I’ve become a better programmer, I tend to stay away from samples and rely on the freedom that programming brings to a piece of music.

7. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Having my Ellie Goulding Lights remix nominated for a Grammy. I didn’t win but just being recognized by my peers is cool.

8. In your opinion, who’s the best: MING the DJ or MING the Producer?

That’s really a question for the fans but both are super important to me. I was a producer first and production is my main passion, but DJing is a major part of being an artist.

9. How important do you think it is for DJs to also be producers?

From a producer’s standpoint, DJing is incredibly important for learning what frequencies work in clubs. A lot of my early work was over-produced and was more geared toward headphone listening. Touring as a DJ taught me that I needed to produce more succinct music and keep in mind the venue where the music was ultimately going to be played. What sounds good in headphones or on a CD doesn’t always work in big room clubs. It’s also important to learn what types of tracks move your audience and where your tracks sit within a DJs set.
Most professional DJs eventually become producers so that they can make tracks that speak to their creative vision.

10. What is your opinion about house music nowadays from its quality point of view?

Although there are still a lot of crap tracks being produced, generally I’m impressed with the quality of the music coming from today’s producers.

11. How do you think the new generation will define it self?

Many more producers will embrace combining genres and hopefully create new and interesting styles of music that speak to the increasingly diverse EDM audience.

12. How would you describe your sets? What are the styles you mix more often?

I’m a real DJ and my sets are NOT preprogrammed. I don’t just press play, I care about the music I’m playing and I care about my audience. Generally, I have a starting place but I pay attention to what’s moving the audience and go from there, aiming to take the listeners and dancers on a journey. I’ve learned how to set up my big tracks and I’m not afraid to let the audience catch their breath in between big tracks. Musically, my sets usually consist of Electro House, Tech House and Progressive House but I’m not afraid to drop some moombaton, dubstep or event a little techno.

13. What does your DJing set up consist of?

Four Pioneer CDJ-2000s and a DJM-900 nexus.

14. What is your favorite piece of equipment/gadget?

My Cannon 7D camera which I bring with me all over the world to shoot video of shows and document the local graffiti scenes. I’m big into graffiti tourism.

15. Having traveled all around the world, playing major festivals, is there one show particularly that sticks out in your mind?

The Coachella festival in Indio, California was one of my favorites. I’ve had amazing times at many festivals but the setting of this festival is incredible and the staff treated me really well. Not to mention how awesome the fans were.

16. How do you feel about the American crowds as compared to when you play for European crowds?

American crowds tend to dance less and just jump up and down. I’m sure as the NEW American EDM scene matures, we’ll get a more discerning listener and the kids will get into representing themselves through dancing instead of just moshing around.

17. Most of the teenagers nowadays want to become a DJ. What is your advice for young DJs that are just at the start of a DJ life?

Josh Wink gave me advice early in my career and its one of the most important things about being a DJ: ‘ALWAYS WEAR EAR PLUGS’. Its simple, if you DJ without ear plugs, you will eventually need hearing aids. So spend the money on the custom ones now so that you don’t get tinnitus and ruin your production and DJ career. I recently did an interview for a music-coaching site that goes into more advice for young producers and DJs. You can find that here:

18. What’s the hardest lesson that you’ve learned in your career?

Patience. The music industry moves at a very slow pace and is not always focused on the most talented musicians or DJs. Stay true to your voice and the fans will follow. And always keep listening.

19. Do you have any new tracks or collaborations you’re working on right now?

I have a number of tracks slated for the next six months. A remix EP for the ‘KING KONG’ EP on DIM MAK, collaborations with Digital LAB, Le Castle Vania and Monolythe as well a number of singles on Hood Famous Music that will be coming out in 2013. Look for my next single, ‘Wizard’, which is featured on some of my recent podcasts. I’ve also started a new experimental glitch hop project with Jumpshot called Abstract the Ism and it’s a nod back to my Ming+FS days.

20. Thank you very much for your time! Do you have a message for all the people out there who love electronic music?

Listen with your heart and move with your soul!

Interview made by Adriana L.L. © 2012 DJs Arena, Music-News Romania. All rights reserved.

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