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Parklife Preview: Get to know Melé

One of the biggest names in house music this year, Mele’s high octane and euphoric beats make him a master of his own craft. 2017 saw the boy from the Wirral go from an underground bass-music hero to a heavyweight house titan, playing with Elrow and releasing the massive ‘Scouse Afrika’ on Eats Everything’s Edible label. With his highly anticipated Tribal Trax label launch – an EP featuring remixes by Bontan and DJ Boring, Mele is starting to look like part of the furniture. As festival season approaches, his year is just about to get even busier, with sets at Parklife and Afterlife this weekend. We sent Maisie May Green to get the lowdown on what Mele has in store for us this summer.

2017 and 2018 have been crazy for you… You’ve released on Eats Everything’s label Edible for the first time, launched your own label Tribal Trax and you had your debut USA mini-tour. What’s changed since you hit the big time?
Not a lot to be honest! I always try to stay grounded, I suppose just getting used to all the travelling and finding a bit of balance. It’s hard to get in the studio and make music when you are travelling and have jet lag and all the stuff. But I wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s the best job ever.

And it’s about to get a whole lot busier, with festival season about to kick off. What have you got planned for your sets this summer?
I’m actually in the studio right now spending a lot of time working out my sets for this weekend and the rest of the summer. I’ve got a lot of records here and some I’ve brought back from America so I’ve just been going through them and seeing which ones work. I always put a lot of thought into my sets.

Your euphoric, tribal beats are pretty much made for festival season. Is that something you think about when in the studio?
Definitely. Festival season is by far my favourite time of year, there’s nothing like being outdoors and playing music to loads of people. The music I’ve been making in the last few months is definitely tailored towards festivals, I can’t way to play some of it out.

You’re playing Parklife festival this weekend, is that a favourite of yours?
Yeah Parklife is by far one of my favourite festivals to play. I think this is my 4th time and it gets better every year. The crowd is always proper rowdy which I love. I’m playing the Elrow stage which is going to be unreal.

What makes a festival set special for you?
I think just having all my friends there makes it special for me, festivals are always a good place to see other DJ’s I’m friends with too so the vibe is just always the best. Also having a crowd that are open to hearing some new sounds is nice, because often that’s quite rare at festivals.

You’ve really run with this new tribal sound of yours, we’re loving the new Tribal Trax EP. What were your inspirations for heading in that direction?
For me it was always about bringing the groove back to my sets and my tunes. I’ve always been into the rhythms from South Africa, which led me to the more New York house sounds of Danny Tenaglia, Masters At Work etc. Along with the funky and tribal house movement that was going on in London when I first moved down here. I just wanted to take what influenced me about the sounds and create something of my own.

DJ Boring and Bontan feature on the EP, both of who you’ve played b2b with in the past. Did those b2b sets inform the EP at all?
DJ Boring for sure, the first time we ever met we played b2b like half an hour later at some house party in Leeds. He’s deffo one of the DJs I just instantly clicked with 100 percent. We played b2b at my party Club Bad in Liverpool too which was great. Bontan is a different one, I’m really close to him because we are both from the same sort of area and we speak every day pretty much. Our styles are pretty different but at the same seem to work together really well.

Who’s your dream b2b partner?
Laurent Garnier. He’s the man.Genre doesn’t seem to get in the way of your remixes, you’ve done pop songs such as Mabel’s ‘Finders Keepers’ and electronic tracks like Pnau’s ‘Chameleon’. What catches your ear for a good remix opportunity?
I always know within the first 20 seconds of listening to something if I will be able to do a good remix or not. Since the Mabel & PNAU ones I get a lot of offers to do remixes but I turn down the majority because I’d rather pick ones I know I can do a really good job on. I love doing the pop remixes, it keeps it more interesting for me.

People who follow you on Instagram and see your stories will know about your love for Space Invaders crisps. If you could only have one or the other for the rest of your life what would it be, Space Invaders or music?
That’s actually an incredibly tough one to answer, but as I’m trying to eat less of the crisps – as it got to the point where I was eating them for breakfast when I travel – I’ve gotta say music.

Mele will play the sold out Parklife festival this weekend and the after party at South on Sunday as part of the Afterlife series taking place at venues across the city on both days.

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