Mefjus Interview

Austrian drum & bass producer Mefjus has been releasing his furious brand of neurofunk since 2009 on labels such as Tilt, Trust In Music and Citrus. With a big collaboration with Neonlight forthcoming on Eatbrain, things seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment. Here’s what he had to say when we met him.

Please introduce yourself…
My name is Martin Schober, I live in Linz, Austria. I’m 23-years-old and I’ve been producing music for seven years now.

When did you first try to DJ/produce?
I started producing at the age of 16. I did some hip-hop instrumentals for my brothers crew using two Akai samplers, Cubase 1 as sequencer and a 16 channel Behringer mixer. I switched to Logic in 2006 or 2007 when I tried to do my first drum & bass bits. But at that point I did not have the intention to release anything, I was just fooling around. After being infected more and more by the drum & bass virus, my production skills increased and I had my first release on Tilt. At that point I decided to go back to Cubase and I am using it since then.

How and when did you discover drum & bass?
I think it was around 2004 when I visited my first drum & bass party. My brother took me to a rave called 42nd Streetsession which was a regular monthly-based event in Wels, Upper-Austria. Since then drum & bass really caught me and does not let loose.

How did you hook up with Trust in Music?
Wreckage Machinery, one of my Austrian production buddies, set up the connection with Daniel Ignite the founder of TRIM. Since then I have a family-like relationship to Trust in Music and most of its artists. I am really glad to be a part of this community.

How is your relationship with Neonlight?
I got in touch with Tobi first. He played one of my collaborations I did with Bowsar back in 2010 and added me on AIM. We swapped a couple of tunes and decided to work together. Last year I went to Leipzig to meet Tobi and Jakob in person. We spent four days in their studio and started two tunes. I had a really great time there and we became really good friends in real life as well.

In January Jakob and Daniel Ignite played a gig here in Upper-Austria and spent two days at my place to finish the tunes, Puppet Master and Hot Glue, which are going to be released on Jade’s imprint Eatbrain. In March I played a gig in Dresden and we took the chance to meet again in Leipzig to start a new tune together, this time their German buddy Wintermute is also on board, be prepared for this nasty bit.

What’s your studio setup like?
I work with Cubase 5. I use a RME interface, an Access Virus ti2, a Roland SH1, the Sherman Filterbank, a Lexicon fx-rack, NI Komplete and tons of other VST plug-ins. My favourite virtual synthesizer is the FM8 by Native Instruments

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during an event?
There are lots of funny stories but I have a “scary” one for you. Two or three years ago, when I played a gig in Linz, a UK-big-name DJ, I won’t tell his name, was like super drunk and I played right after him. I started to select my CDs while his last tune was running. I plugged in my headphones and was about to fade his last tune out when he told me he would kill me if I stopped his tune. I was like “easy mate”!

What or who gave you the possibility to get some attention in the drum & bass scene?
I really have to thank my buddies from Fourward; they were the first really successful producers who started working with me. After they released two tunes on Virus we did a tune together which was released on Bad Taste, a collaboration which appeared on their LP on Citrus, another joint-forces bit on Trust in Music and I did a remix of Fourward’s Blur which was released on Disturbed. I cant thank them enough for their constant support and feedback!

What or who are your influences?
My main musical influence was, and still is, hip-hop. I’ve always loved the productions of RZA and DJ Premier. Drum & bass – wise all the stuff back in 2004/2005, especially the Subtitles releases, were a really big influence. Right now I don’t listen to that much drum & bass. I am still totally into hip-hop and I’ve rediscovered 80s music.

Your next releases/projects?
The next releases are the two collaborations I did with Neonlight, Puppet Master and Hot Glue which are forthcoming on Eatbrain plus a solo tune called Genetic Drift is going to be released on Rise Audio. I also have a four-track EP on Trust in Music planned for release in July. At the moment I am working on some brand new ideas, I’ve started working with a UK MC called Maksim, maybe you’ll hear some of this new stuff even this year.

Best tunes at the moment?
As far as my productions are concerned I would say my tune Distantia which was released on Neodigital in March. Tunes I am digging from other producers are L33 – Complex Things, Phace – System Mecanique, Rockwell – CCRS, Jade – Lazertag (Neonlight Remix) and Fourward – Talk To Me.

Do you have an idol?
Not really an idol, but some producers/musicians I really respect for what they are the guys from Neosignal, Noisia and Amon Tobin.

What do you think about the other Austrian drum & bass DJs?
I think we have a strong collective here in Austria, there are lots of good producers/DJs like Camo & Krooked, Body & Soul, Fourward, Wreckage Machinery, Bowsar, just to name a few. It’s always great playing out with one of your buddies and having a good time together. The best case scenario is if you can combine gigs with studio time, as it was with Neonlight for instance. In May I’ll play an Eatbrain label night in my town in Linz where I’ll hopefully get down in the studio with Fourward and Jade.

What do you think of your future?
Well, I am just trying to improve my production techniques, deliver proper drum & bass tunes, meet cool new people, have a great time playing gigs and hope that 2012 will continue as good as it started. A long time goal for the future would be releasing an album, but there are no specific plans so far.

Is there any producer you’d like to work with?
Definitely with Phace, Misanthrop, Rockwell and Billain. And I really want to work with vocalists again, no matter which genre.

Give us an average day in the life of Mefjus…
From Monday to Wednesday I am at work from 9 to 5 and most evenings chatting with labels/producers, setting up connections. From Wednesday evening until Sunday evening I spend like 90% of my time in the studio making new sounds or working on tunes, as long as there are no gigs scheduled.

Tips/ideas for future producers/DJs?
Take your time, don’t try to force things. Be honest with yourself and compare your recent productions to tunes you like to get an objective view on your work. Don’t waste your money on expensive gear before you have learned the basics. Have fun in the studio! If you have a bad day at the studio, listen to some totally different music, get some fresh air and try it again the next day.

Anything to add?
Thanks for having me on this interview, some shouts going out to: Andy (Bowsar), Chris (Wreckage Machinery), Dan (Ignite), Rouven (Dementia), my brother Christian and my former flat-mates who I tortured over the last three years with my productions.