Synth Presents...Mia Dora
Photo via Holy Friend
SYNTH PRESENTS: Mia Dora
Regular visitors to this blog will be fully aware of our quite justified excitement for Mia Dora. Over the past two years we’ve witnessed one of Glasgow’s most intriguing partnerships carve their own path into electronic music, taking a direct approach which should serve as inspiration to any aspiring artist. There have been no gimmicks, no reinterpretations and no pandering to what’s regarded as ‘hot’. With feet firmly planted on the ground, Al Quinn and Rob Etherson have shaped a sound which is unequivocally theirs – forget futile attempts at labeling them with ‘UK Bass’ or ‘Post-Dubstep’ – theirs is a sound which rolls much deeper than the product of lazy journalistic buzz words.
But, perhaps quite appropriately for a partnership which formed as the boundaries of UK club music were crumbling, Rob and Al’s musical backgrounds couldn’t be much different. With Rob directing his efforts towards engineering and producing House, while Al mixed Hip Hop, Bass and 2-Step on rumbling subs, it was perhaps inevitable that their sound would be completely unique - the unmistakable tech-shuffle of ‘Random Romantics’ is testament to that. Originally presented to us in December 2010, it was perhaps one of the catalysts for starting this blog in the first place – a track we became so passionate about that we felt compelled to shout about it.
Of course that early demo was just the start. Various remixes and bootlegs followed, all combining this quite scintillating amalgamation of rolling bass, broken beats and euphoric highs. It was only a matter if time before someone took notice, and with an offer to take on Roots Manuva’s 2011 single ‘Get The Get’, their fate was sealed. With spins on Radio 1 from the likes of Rob Da Bank and Giles Peterson the stage was set for a debut EP on burgeoning Glasgow label High Sheen. Already hailed as one of the key releases of 2012, it marks the beginning of what will very likely be a prosperous, but most importantly unpredictable journey...
Check out a sampler of the Romanticise EP on High Sheen below as well as a free download of their remix for Roots Manuva. An interview with the guys and an exclusive mix for Synth follows:
Synth: Where do we start then? An incredible year so far for Mia Dora, from your debut EP being released on High Sheen to star coverage in Mixmag, how do you feel about things right now? Do you feel you this has been a long time coming or are you quite surprised?
Mia Dora: It's been a busy year, we're exciting to see what we've been working on finally get released. The positive feedback we've had has been really encouraging. It'll be interesting to see how the next few releases will be received.
Synth: We promise to stop shouting about this soon, but we first blogged ‘Random Romantics’ back in December 2010, how did that track come about and why do you think it still sounds impossibly fresh?
Mia Dora: A couple of summers ago Rob suggested we try writing a house track. Up until that point the majority of what we'd been working on was Dubstep and we were keen to try something new. The result was a track that definitely bore some resemblance to the Dubstep we'd been making, but had its own sound.
As a new artist it can be difficult finding a suitable home for your work so the track sat there for a long time before anything happened with it, until last summer when Ben from High Sheen emailed us about releasing the track as part of an EP. That was the start of what would eventually become the Romanticise EP.
Synth: Focusing on your sound, it’s pretty much been likened to every sub genre of Bass there is, but still manages to shake off any definitive labelling. How would you describe it and what would you say has influenced its direction?
Mia Dora: We've touched on a few different sounds over the last few months. This wasn't a conscious attempt to try out as many sounds as possible, but more the result of a concerted effort to just make the music in our own heads, completely disregarding everything going on around us. I firmly believe the best music you will ever write as an artist is the music you write when you aren't comparing yourself to your peers or your heroes.
The Romanticise EP: essential listening
Synth: You debuted your live set up at the Sub Club a couple months back in support of Martyn. How difficult was it to accurately recreate your music in a live setting? We also heard that Al got his electric guitar out – how did that go down?
Mia Dora: We spent a long time preparing for the live set. We were determined to really strip the tracks back to their bare bones and recreate as much live on stage as possible. My background as a musician is playing various instruments in different bands so the opportunity to apply this to a Mia Dora set was very exciting. The electric guitar went down well, people looked pretty shocked to see someone playing the electric guitar over a house track in the Sub Club.
Synth: Let’s talk about today’s mix then. We know for a fact you put a lot of effort into these things, so how do you go about choosing tracks and programming it? Do you have fairly similar tastes when selecting tracks?
Mia Dora: Yeah we're definitely on a similar wavelength. We generally start by choosing about 20 tracks each and then we sit and carefully piece them together until we think it's ready.
Synth: Finally, 2012 has clearly been quite a prolific time for you so far – what else can we look forward to over the rest of the year? Any more releases in the pipeline you can let us in on?
Mia Dora: We've a few things lined up. Our second EP is due out soon on Moda Black, plus we've some remixes due out. Keep your eyes peeled.
Synth: For those that may have just discovered Mia Dora, you’ll undoubtedly already be mesmerized by their intuitive take on modern club music. Fresh, new and exciting, it promotes the raw potential of unblemished creativity, and much like their own sound, today’s mix is recognisable as being distinctly theirs. Deep, emotional and at times eccentric, the next hour serves as an unmistakable cross-section of the Mia Dora manifesto.
1. George Fitzgerald - Silhouette (John Roberts Remix)
2. Kevin Knapp - Like This (Audiojack Remix)
3. Paul Frick - Steal My Heart
4. Ossie - Supercali
5. Azealia Banks - 1991
6. Danton Eeprom - Tight
7. Jack Dixon - Low Tide (Rick Grant Remix)
8. Laurine Frost - Isla
9. Clayton Steele - Distorted Point Of View
10. Groove Armada - Stevie Latenight
11. Bareskin - Delerium
12. Zippy - So Then (Raudive Remix)
13. Greensville Massive - MRG
14. Tennis - Make It Good (Tale Of Us Remix)
15. Dorisburg - Emotion
16. Fabo ft. Angela Sheik - Can't Decide
17. DJ Rum - The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn
18. Laurine Frost - Ode For Liars
19. Deft - Dionysus Park
20. Full Hott - Hubschrauber
21. Piek - Is Coming (Grosstone Remix)
22. Tea Lyrics - All About You
23. Erik Christiansen - Cosmic Girl
Mia Dora 'Romanticise EP' is available now via High Sheen
Mia Dora on Soundcloud
Mia Dora on Facebook
Mia Dora on Twitter