San Francisco DJ talks about his latest album, playing in Miami.
Fans of dance music with a soul won't want to miss Miguel Migs, who spins Saturday night at the hipster hangout The Vagabond (30 NE 14th St.) in downtown Miami. The San Francisco DJ/producer, famed for his sexy, lush grooves and inspired collaborations, steps behind the decks in support of his latest artist album, "Outside the Skyline," featuring artists as diverse as old-school disco diva Evelyn "Champagne" King, neo-soul sister Meshell Ndegeocello, reggae legend Freddie McGregor and bossa nova big shot Bebel Gilberto. Migs talked to Miami.com about the show.
Your latest tour is very limited, but Miami is one of the few stops. How is the city special to you?
Well, the tour actually never really ends, but lately over the past few years I've been trying to take it easy in terms of not taking on too much - all the traveling and late nights takes a toll on your body. But cities like Chicago and New York and Los Angeles and Miami are cities that I've always enjoyed going to. And Miami's definitely right there - through the years, even besides just the Winter Music Conference events, I've always gone down there at least a couple times a year, and always have some really enjoyable gigs there.
How did you choose The Vagabond as the venue?
I've played The Vagabond a few times, and it's a nice size - it's not too big, it's not too small - and it's got pretty good sound and the people are really nice there. So it just sort of made sense for us. Of course, there are a lot of options, because things are always changing down there, but The Vagabond has stayed consistent and stayed on top of things. Our working relationship has been good, so it's a positive thing all around.
Will we hear tracks from your new album at the show?
Well, I always mix it up. What I do as a producer and songwriter, and then what I do as a DJ, are different. The show is usually very spontaneous - I don't really pre-plan anything, and I never have. There are a couple different sides to me musically, but I'm always testing out new stuff because I like to keep things fresh. You'll hear a lot of unreleased stuff just to keep it interesting and fun for myself, rather than just playing the same thing over and over. To be honest with you, a lot of those songs from the album - I was in the studio working on them and writing them for awhile, so I'll probably try to play some edits and unreleased versions rather than just the album versions.
The guest artists on your album are really eclectic. How did you choose them?
It's very hard to choose who you want to work with on an album project, because obviously there's such a limited amount of songs you can fit. And there are so many artists that I'm fans of that I'd love to work with. So for this particular project I just started collaborating with people that I enjoyed their artistic styles, and went into the studio to see how it would turn out. You never really know when you're going into the studio on a tight timeline with an artist how it's going to turn out. Luckily, with everyone on the album, I enjoyed the collaborations, so I was pretty happy. Even though the artists are really different from each other, there's still a bit of cohesiveness to the flow of the album and the songs. It's still rooted in soul with elements of funk and dub and disco, but it seems to make sense overall.
Are there any artists you'd particularly love to work with in the future?
Yeah, the list really is so-o-o long. What we do is reach out to artists and cold-call them and say, ‘Hey, does this sound of interest to you?’ And a lot of times we get a really good response. But my wish list is long - people like Erykah Badu or Maxwell or D'Angelo. A lot of those guys would be really cool to work with.
You've kept the soul alive in an increasingly digital musical world. Why is that important to you?
For me, when it comes to making and creating music, I have to do what I feel. It has to come from a place of inspiration. And even though I love and listen to all kinds of music, when I go into the studio, writing and creating music from scratch, there's not a big plan behind it. That's just sort of the way it comes out of me. I really love soul music, music that has depth and emotion - that really resonates with me. I love some of the fun, funky party music, too, but there's a time and a place for it.
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