If you’re a hardcore 90s techno lover then stop what you’re doing and focus your attention on MISTER LADY. The melodic-techno and tech-house DJ/music producer is bringing back the essence of 90s rave energy to the 21st century. Born in Chicago, educated in Berlin, trained as a DJ in London, and now based in Los Angeles, this electronic composer has the grub for every hungry young and old techno lover! Her latest release “Then Further” showcases the true grit and nature of hardcore techno with a modern and melodic flare. In this exclusive interview with OneEDM, Mister Lady gets into the inner workings of her creation process for “Then Further”, her beliefs on music today, and her knowledge and love for music production.
OneEDM: “Then Further” is your first official release. What went into the making of this track?
Mister Lady: I spent a lot of time…synthesizing the kick out of two layered audio samples, a MIDI note and lots of compression. Great techno tracks that I love have enormous, beautiful kick drums that hold their own in my DJ sets, with lots of clear, powerful, low frequencies that don’t get lost with the baseline. For my first EP, I worked with a few different basslines that I designed on a Roland System 500, which is a basic 4 modular synthesizer. I wanted a bassline that sounded warm and analog . I didn’t want anything too removed from the live instrument sound.
OneEDM: Basslines are essential to you?
Mister Lady: The bassline in “Then Further” links-in polyrhythmically with the lead synths. There’s a beautiful two-bar breakdown in the end where the bassline sort of jumps timing, because there is no kick to anchor it down. I specifically worked on that timing and I hope it’s an Easter egg that shines through.
“I aim to play music that keeps me entertained and dancing behind-the-decks”
OneEDM: I think the beauty of techno music is the attention to the subtleties in the music. Do you approach your DJsets similarly?
Mister Lady: My sound is heavy techno. I try to keep the energy up, always, with heavy 4/4 kicks and a full, high frequency spectrum. I aim to play music that keeps me entertained and dancing behind-the-decks, because that’s why I started DJing five years ago. I was hearing a lot of music and going to a lot of raves that just weren’t very interesting, and I thought I could do something to change that. Minimalist techno is very popular right now. Tribal elements are also very important to me.
OneEDM: Is “Then Further” typical of your sound as a live DJ?
Mister Lady: Yes! The bassline’s warm and analog. I want to keep a heavy metal sensibility in my music, even though it’s all electronic. On my first day of music school, the entire class talked about how great it would be to produce electronic music that made listeners feel the adrenaline rush of a heavy metal show. That’s a huge theme of mine.
OneEDM: Is that how you want listeners to feel? An adrenaline rush akin to being at a heavy metal show? That’s a unique way of approaching electronic music, especially since a lot of minimal techno can be so trance-inducing and hypnotic.
Mister Lady: I want my music to rile me up! My best moments are when I have to turn-off my own mixes or demos at home because they are too stressful for me to take at 9 o’clock in the morning. [laughs] That’s a great way to describe my sound: “too stressful for 9:00 AM”
“I want listeners to feel inspired to dance”
OneEDM: So, listeners should be riled-up when they hear your music or you haven’t succeeded…is that right?
Mister Lady: I want people to feel excited. I want listeners to feel inspired to dance, to feel the rhythm in their bodies. I wanted “The Further” to sound current but still have an awareness of a time when music was made without computers…
OneEDM: Ahhh, tubes and compression and analog sound…
Mister Lady: Yea! I did an assignment with a partner in music school where we had to record a real-life ride cymbal hit. She didn’t know what a cymbal was! It as interesting, given that I grew-up playing drums. Live instruments are fading away in our culture, but I want to keep a nod to them. I want my music to be as heavy as possible, because I think we’ve lost that in music nowadays. I still want my music to be danceable. My goal isn’t about absolute abrasion, but have music be totally moveable in the most abrasive ways.
OneEDM: Do you really think people want their music to feel abrasive?
Mister Lady: I also want a sense of euphoria, too. I’m not aiming to sound scary or shocking. Music is for people who can hear. I don’t want to make music that alienates people. That’s too easy to do. There’s a point with super hardcore or psy-trance music where I think it just sounds shocking, and that’s not interesting to me. I once came across a bootleg recording of Moby’s performance at Woodstock ’99, which had a lot of psy-trance, ironically. Moby condemns the performance, but his energy onstage was otherworldly! We as a society has slid downward from that. No one goes apeshit like that on stage anymore.