This week we catch up with Maltese producer Deepfunk. Malcolm Abdilla aka Deepfunk released his first EP in 2007 and it has been nothing but forward progress ever since. Malcolm has now played alongside James Holden, Guy J, Charlie May, John Digweed, Dave Seaman, Henry Saiz, Fairmont and Sasha. He has toured Argentina and had other gigs in the Netherlands, Greece and the US. His cutting edge productions can be found on labels like Bedrock, microCastle and his own Sixtysevensuns imprint amongst others. We had a chance to catch up with Malcolm just prior to a series of gigs in the USA and Mexico. A transcription of the interview is below and we hope you enjoy it.
Hi Malcolm, thanks very much for joining us here! It’s hard to believe but out of all the interviews we’ve done over the years this is our first one with you so let’s give the readers a bit of background info before we get into some more specific questions.
1. How old are you and how long have you been producing / DJing?
Deepfunk: I’m 28 now, I’ve been djing since I was 14, and started experimenting with making noises soon after but released my first track in 2007.
2. What are your earliest memories of music, what did you listen to growing up? How did you get involved in electronic music? Were there any clubs or events in Malta that you went to when you first discovered electronic music? and what made you decide to pursue it seriously?
Deepfunk: When i began to frequent events in Malta, it was a nice time, the music was still the most important thing in an event for the people, unlike now, which only a few people still give importance to the dj’s, music selection above the decor, and “the look”.
I had a few older friends who introduced me to music from artists like plastikman, cj bolland, holy ghost in 98/99, I’ve been in love with electronic music since. My favorite club was one called Liquid, which is ‘the club’ if you’re into techno and electro, it’s small, dark, old sound system, but it’s Liquid!
There wasn’t any future plan or something, I just took it day by day doing anything I enjoy doing from the first day I started till now, and still do.
3. It’s widely known that James Holden and the Border Community sound influenced you a lot. What was it about that sound that you became so fascinated with? And what do you think of what James is doing now in comparison to 10 years ago?
Deepfunk: Yeah it’s true, I’ve always followed what James did, he’s an artist that I respect a lot in every way, as a musician, as a person, I think he’s one of the most down to earth people ever.
There has been an experiment done by a professor about how the brain responds to sounds, noises. I don’t think that you choose what to listen to, it’s something natural, and that’s how I am fascinated with it 🙂 James’ sound was always ahead of time, music he did time ago still sounds great, but now I think the sound matured and listening to his sets is more of an experience.
4. You recently toured Argentina which is widely known as one of the best places in the world to play and you have a huge fan base there, why do think there is so much enthusiasm for electronic music, or even more specifically progressive and tech house?
Deepfunk: Yeah, it always feels like a magic moment, it has a sort of mystical feeling or something. The reason is people still got passion for music, it’s not something they just listed to when they’re socializing or on weekends, but it’s a way of life.
5. You started Sixtysevensuns just about a year ago now, what was it that made you want to start your own imprint? You’re 5 releases in now and you’ve had some great success, what does the future hold for Sixtysevensuns? Will it be primarily an outlet for your own originals or are you looking for new, up and coming artists as well?
Deepfunk: I wanted to start a project in which I feel free with no deadlines, release what I like, make collaborations with artists I respect and try to build a nice intimate friendly feeling in the label. My plan for now is just releasing my own originals with guest remixers, I want it to feel personal, not just become ‘another label’.
I have a few releases planned, one is a collab I did with Van Did, and I’m working on my first album, which I will release on it.
6. So you’ve got a gig in Chicago coming up and then a tour of Mexico to follow, is this your first time playing in North America? and where would you love to play that you haven’t yet?
Deepfunk: Yeah Chicago in a few days, I’m really looking forward to playing there, It’s a great honor to play in the birth place of house music, and in such a cool club.
There might be an option to plan a tour in North America / Would be nice to visit Montreal and Toronto too 🙂 but I think if I had to name one club I’d love to play at, I would say Warung in Brazil.
7. You’ve grown in popularity a lot in the last two years and thus you’ve been traveling a lot more for gigs around the world. I’m sure it gives you great inspiration to write fresh new music but at the same time is must be very tiring. How does this affect the production process for you? And do you get any work done on the road or does it happen in the studio for the most part?
Deepfunk: For sure the traveling is a big headache especially when you’ve got a whole day or more of it,… I don’t usually work while on planes or airports, I like to spend that time wondering around and just observing things that are happening around me, though airports are very hectic, I’d be at my very calmest.
I do work at hotels though, when I travel outside Europe there’s always some free days… Got my ipad, and it’s the perfect tool to write quick ideas, that I will elaborate on at the studio. But yes, traveling in it’s self is very inspiring.
8. A while back you created a new alias ‘Scarlet Ibis’ which had a release on Mesmeric and also your own Sixtysevensuns imprint. Why did you create Scarlet Ibis , how would you say it differs from Deepfunk and can we expect to see any more material in the future?
Deepfunk: Future material there will be for sure, maybe in a more ‘live’ form, I have some plans for it which at the moment are a bit on hold.
9. If I’m not mistaken you also have your own design company We Are Image, i know you do the Mesmeric sleeves which look incredible, do you do design for any other labels? what else does We Are Image offer?
Deepfunk: Yes, it’s formed only by me and my girlfriend, and I like to keep a very selective client list, we do work for ReadyMix Records, Perspective, Witty Tunes, and others, we also make all the designs for the Motek parties in London and some clients locally. Obviously I do the Sixtysevensuns art too 🙂
We can do anything that requires design and creativity… In our own way…
10. When the writing or production process gets tough, what gets you through it?
Deepfunk: Nothing.. I just stop, do something else, relax, watch a music documentary or something, there’s no point in forcing it, that’s the reason I don’t like deadlines, and never give any deadlines to artists remixing on my label. Good music comes naturally, it all depends on the mood.
11. What have you been working on lately, what’s happening in the Deepfunk studio at the moment? anything you can tell us about?
Deepfunk: It’s very hectic at the moment, I’m trying to finish some remixes that I had promised, while working really hard on the album… It’s coming along quite nice :). My collaborations with Van Did which we’re both really happy about are almost complete, and I’m also working on a release on Fairmont’s label, Beachcoma.
12. What was the first and last record you purchased?
Deepfunk: First: I think it was some Blue Peter track (Vinyl), Last: James holden – The Inheritors album on vinyl
13. What artist or track would you love to remix?
Deepfunk: Though question…… I would have to make a hard decision between Avici and Depeche Mode haha. 😉 jokes aside, an official remix for Depeche Mode would be the ultimate goal.
14. Deepfunk Current Favourites (you can list more than one per category if you like)
Food: Black Argentinian Angus Beef and Sashimi
Drink: Jack Daniel’s
Drug: Natural Herbal Medicines
Animal: Rancho (my cat)
TV Show: Breaking Bad
Movie: All Harry Potter movies (latest favs) / Midnight Express (alltime fav)
Video Game: Pac Man since 1989 🙂
Album: Moderat – ll
Track / Song: Death in Vegas – Witch Dance / Henry Saiz – Fill me up
Producer / Band: Death in Vegas
Record Label: Border Community, Ghostly, Warp
Nightclub: Bahrein, Buenos Aires
DJ: James Holden
15. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Deepfunk: Royksopp – Keyboard Milk
Release Promo would like to send a huge thanks to Deepfunk for taking the time to do this interview.