We’ve waited a long time, near on four years in fact, but New York producer Michna returned this month with his new Moving Mountains EP. This four track set of rhythmic grooves, widescreen imagination and flowing thought is some of the best electronics we’ve heard all year. We hooked up with Michna to talk painting, crate-digging and the whole quality over quantity argument.
Bowlegs: After waiting four years since the debut all we get is four tracks – what gives? Writers block? Easing back into it? Tell us an album drops soon?
Michna: It was actually sort of the opposite of writers block. I got about 3 albums worth of material on ice. It’s usually just an issue of trimming down the fat then picking which tracks are actually worth finishing and how they are going to flow together.
Bowlegs: Seriously though what have you been up to during the four years since the debut? I read that you’d been doing some painting and building furniture? Tell us more?
Michna: Been DJing a lot and painting. The painting thing was something that I put on hold for so long, and it finally ate at me so hard that I started abandoning music for days just to paint. It was the best thing ever, primarily because I never had to stare at a computer screen. A total return to working with my hands, something which I grew up doing in a life before the internet.
Bowlegs: Where does an electronic artist seek inspiration and how do you convey that into music – it’s not as if you can pour your heart out into lyrics? Not that the titles on this EP suggest matters of the heart are at play – Titanium Glaciers?
Michna: I think that most electronic artists are people who have gone one step further in their interest in music. They probably already know their history of rock, hip hop, funk, disco, country or something very well.
I feel fortunate that I grew up playing in bands and listening to dj based music. One day we’d be listening to the new Porno For Pyros and the next day it could’ve been Orbital or Goldie and the next day it could’ve been Angelo Badalamenti or Wu-Tang.
Bowlegs: You regularly DJ across NYC right? Do you slip your new tunes into the set to see how they go down? Guessing your record collection is substantial – where’s the best place for crate digging in Brooklyn?
Michna: I occasionally slip in my tunes when I DJ but not that often. It totally depends on the type of event, crowd, and everything obviously -that is the psychology of DJing that I love so much. Best crate digging for me in BK is at The Thing in Greenpoint and the Salvation Army in Downtown. More often then not you can come across bins that were dropped off that day and you’re getting first dibbs
Bowlegs: I love the opening track Titanium Glaciers – the groove is so infectious. Is it immediately obvious when a track is working?
Michna: Yes. You can’t polish a turd.
Bowlegs: Through the City and on the Edge of Forever is such a great track, it has a real sense of motion – I can sit back and just feel my imagination set free. Do you have visuals going on in the studio when putting the tracks down?
Michna: Once I have one good melody going I can layer in more melodies and mess around, and thats where the visuals start to form in my head. If the track is leaning towards floating on clouds, then everything you layer in from there is gonna be cloud like.
Bowlegs: Did you listen back to Magic Monday during the recording – try and develop any of the tracks or ideas you had there? Or was this a completely fresh approach?
Michna: Yes and No. Sometimes I go very long periods without listening to past tracks in order to keep the new pallettes fresh. However it is good to listen to your early productions because sometimes you were experimenting more and trying unconventional things that may or may have not worked. Moving Mountains was a combo of both.
Bowlegs: Tell us about the scenic bliss that is The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale? Is this a real place – are there field recordings in this?
Michna: Yes, it is a place located about 4 hours north of Manhattan, the last time I was there it was raining, so I recorded it and used that as a base.
Bowlegs: And what is the plan for the rest of 2012? Are you working with other acts – who? Has there been albums this year that have got you all inspired?
Michna: I spent the summer of 2012 designing and rehearsing a new live show that I am currently on the road with. I have a tour with K.Flay coming up and we are trying to knock out a song together for tour promo. So far in 2012 I’m really enjoying LP’s from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Killer Mike, Clark, John Talabot, Para One, Simian Mobile Disco, Santigold, The Drums, but also re-listening to older stuff like Bowie and Eno.