An interview with Steve Murphy

Axe On Wax records start the new year with a four track EP that enlists heavyweight names such as Boo Williams, Andres, Jordan Fields and Steve Murphy. The A-side consists of an original Boo Williams production and a remix of that track by Andres. Similarly, the B-side has a Jordan Fields original and a Steve Murphy remix, which we premiere today for our First Play series.

While Jordan Fields’ original ‘I Think It’s You’ is a minimal, shuffling tech-house number, Steve Murphy remixes it into a piece of peaktime Chicago house. The Lobster Theremin-affiliated artist samples Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain Of Fools’ for the mandatory diva vocals that make this style of 90s referencing house work so well, underpinned by a driving drum pattern of firm kick drums and spitting hi-hats.

To accompany the track, we did a super brief Q&A with Steve about his history as a DJ and producer, as well as the creative process behind designing his remix of ‘I Think It’s You’.

So to start off, you’ve produced a hell of a lot of material since you started in 2011, have you developed a creative process that you use each time you make a track?

I got into DJing in 2001, but it was only in 2010 that i started using hardware gear. Since then I have improved my set up a lot, and my production & mixing techniques, producing with DJ Octopus, Sagat, Lucretio and Madi Grein.

How does your knowledge of music production affect your DJing in clubs?

When I buy records to play in clubs I mainly dig for records that have been produced  with hardware and have that proper warm and vibrant feel.

It seems fair to say that this is your trademark sound – big stomping drums, lo-fi recording techniques; is this a conscious decision or is it something that’s developed naturally?

It’s a decision I took at the beginning of my career, and have respected ever since.

You’ve chosen a name that’s about as far from Italian as it gets, your music carries heavy essences of Chicago, do you ever feel a need to separate yourself from the rest of the Italian scene?

I don’t feel at all separated from the rest of the Italian scene, I am actually happy that in Italy we have such a great tribe of electronic music heads.

With this mix of Chicago and Italian, who are your biggest influences between them?

I have never been influenced buy a particular act or DJ, I would say say I have been influenced by records that I collected over the years, from house to new wave .

You describe yourself as being incredibly professional, you also seem to avoid the limelight, do you ever feel fame could be useful?

Sometimes I feel like keeping a certain obscurity in this world … and I feel that has probably helped me through the years.

How have you found running a label of your own, is this more of a personal project with Lucretio, DJ Octopus, Caio, Madi Grein and Chevel? Or do you have plans for expansion?

Muscle Records was born with the idea of just pressing our own stuff. It will probably be like this for a while.

Do you think vinyl’s return is the answer to finally paying producers after the digital format has made so much of it free?

I think that it is still quite difficult to make money from records, specially with the limited press and number of buyers. Maybe one day there will be more requests, but I’m quite sceptic about it. Vinyl is seen as something fashionable, not as something to support music producers or labels, I don’t honestly know how long this fashion will last for.

So for this remix of Jordan Fields’s ‘I Think It’s You’ you seem to have introduced a new vocal sample, where did you source it and what drew you to it?

Federico [Axe on Wax label boss] gave me pure freedom on this remix so I went wild, adding my own acapellas and a new sample!