Soulquest LAB #9 - An interview with Made in M

For this 9th episode of the Soulquest Lab, we interviewed Berlin based producer Made in M. Alongside producers like Juan Rios, FloFilz, Swum and others, he helped define a sound that later became iconic; Sweet pleasing chords and harmonies, crisp and laidback drums, hypnotic, yet voluntarily slightly dissonant sounds. The perfect music to turn to when in need of a few moments of calm escape and introspection.  We talked about his organic touch, his tools and the state of the Lofi scene. 

Hey man ! Thank you so much for giving us your time. We’ve been listening to your music for a very long time now. We discovered your work around 2014-2015 with your collab LP with Juan RIOS ‘Sumergido’ and have been following your work ever since. How are you ?

Thank you for having me, I’m doing very good — it’s great to be part of this interview series surrounded by so many great artists.

You recently put out your first solo LP ‘Garbeo’ on Sichtexot (featuring other producers such as Digitalluc, Juan Rios, Wun Two and others). Congratulations on this ! We obviously loved the tape. Can you tell us a little about the approach? Is it a collection of beats you made in the past few months or was there a concept or intention behind it ? What does Garbeo mean ?

Thanks man! I felt it was finally time to drop a solo album so I just started collecting beats that I liked in a folder. Around that time my friend Felix Schuster was working for a project for his studies as a cinematographer. He had some rolls of analog film and wanted to film me with his Bolex having a walk around different parts of Berlin. As he developed the film we really liked the result and thought about making a video to present my upcoming LP. Thats when the concept of „Garbeo“ (which means taking a little walk in Spanish) came to my mind and everything connected. In the end we did a longer 16 mm video snippet with some tracks of the album and also a shorter super 8 video for the track „Sinensis.“

I’m really happy with the result of the whole project and I think it's a very nice match of the video with the sound of the LP.

Speaking of names, can you tell us about the meaning of your name ? What does Made in M stand for ?

As I started uploading my first beats to Soundcloud I needed a name as a producer and really didn’t know what to choose. My friend from school Alfonso just made up the name and I liked it. So I took it without thinking very much about it. My hometown is Madrid and my surname is Meyer so I thought the M would fit very well, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it has a special meaning. The M stands for whatever you want I guess :) 

Before we dive a little bit deeper let me ask you a question we ask everyone. What did initially spark your love for music and when did you start recording your own stuff ?

I’ve always been into music. I played some piano when I was a kid and also guitar as a teenager. At school I had my first little bands with my mates and we really had a great time. When I finished school in Madrid (2011) and moved to Germany to study, I didn’t have my band and my old group of friends to make music with — so I just started recording myself on Logic and producing my first beats ever. In the beginning I made all kinds of different sounds and wasn’t that focused on hiphop beats.

As mentioned in the introduction, you’re based in Berlin, Germany but aren’t originally from there. You were born in Tenerife and then grew up in Madrid Spain am I right ?  There is obviously  quite a vibrant music scene in Berlin but what made you decide to move there ?

Actually I was born in Madrid. But my mother is from Tenerife and my dad from Berlin. So after growing up in Madrid and having lived in Spain for all my life I really wanted to take advantage of my German skills and live in Germany for some years. So, I’m still there, surrounded by some of my family, my girlfriend and many friends who also ended up in Berlin, like digitalluc for example.

Has the current Covid situation (positively or negatively) influenced your creation?

At first I thought I would use all the time to create new sounds and beats. But I also feel like not being able to go out and be with different people is not really sparking the inspiration. It’s not that I need some magical inspiration to make beats, but having a great day outside sometimes just motivates you to make some music.

Most of your music is sample-based and you’ve really mastered the art of sampling (especially when it comes to Rhodes sounds). Do you sometimes produce tracks based around your own compositions and try to emulate the natural feel of samples ?

Thanks for the kind words :) I would say 99% of my beats are sample based, but lately I have been making some beats without using any samples. For example the House project which I’m working on right now has about four to five tracks without any samples at all. I use Rhodes emulators mostly or play sounds using my Microkorg. Also got a few tracks with a friend of mine playing bass, etc..

Your music really has an organic feel, you can hear field recordings, vinyl crackle and a lot of it seems to be based on texture and atmosphere. Almost like a sonic memory. Your bass sounds are super tight too. In terms of recording, production and mixing, what’s your creative process like ? Can you tell us a little about your workflow ? Any special tools or plugins?

That depends a lot on a lot of different factors. When I’m creating a beat from scratch on my own I usually like to start by making a nice drum groove and then flipping some sample chops on it. When I’m happy with the loop I usually go deeper into the drum sound with EQ, compression, etc.. After that I start arranging the track and thinking about the bass, sample layers and so on.

We recently had this conversation with our good friend K, Le Maestro and we’d love to have your take on this. It's obviously is a good thing for artists to see how popular the Lofi sound has now gotten. You see new producers popping up on Soundcloud and Spotify every day, which isn’t a bad thing in itself. For instance, the now famous vinyl sim effect (that gives this warpy flutter sound to the chords and melodies) seems to be almost overused by some producers. You always pull it off nicely and make amazing use of it but isn’t it a little frustrating to see many young producers (who don’t necessarily know a lot about the history of the beat scene) emulating this sound on every single one of their beats, making them sound almost gimmicky?

Shoutout to K, Le Maestro, I really like his music. Well that „lofi-boom“ that has occurred the last years is really crazy. It’s kind of two sides of a coin: thanks to this boom and the whole „playlist game“, a lot of producers have got the opportunity to make a living out of it. But also I feel like a lot of new heads are jumping on the train and just making that kind of cheesy, gimmicky lofi sound just to make money or because it’s trendy. Or they start to make beats already focused on how many Spotify listeners they are getting. That’s a bit sad and I think it's not the way to approach a music career or hobby.

Do you have any tips and tricks for aspiring producers ?

Be inspired by different music and try to find your own sound in between of all the sounds you like. Try to connect with other producers and work with different people !

What’s next for you? What have you been working on lately?

Right now I’m finishing my first ever House project which will be released by the Berlin based label „Ear-Sight.“ Also I’m working with digitalluc on our collabo LP which will hopefully be dropping this year on „Sichtexot“. I also look forward to maybe releasing a little EP or some beat singles this year.

Thank you so much for your time and for answering out questions. Anything special you’d like to add ?

Thank you very much for inviting me and thank you to everyone listening to my music. Also I really like your platform, big up! Looking forward to read, see or hear new stuff on „Soulquest.“


Support and follow Made in M on his instagram, Bandcamp, Soundcloud to get updates on his new releases, projects and gigs.

Interview by Karim Chibani 


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