Midland on FabricLive, safe clubbing and more

Harry Agius aka Midland, aka the man behind FabricLive 94, on the latest edition in the FabricLive series, making clubbing more inclusive, and the perfect dinner party

Feature by Claire Francis | 18 Oct 2017
  • Midland

Your Fabric CD launched in September – congratulations! How are you feeling about it right this moment?
I am writing this after the event, so I’m looking back on it with a hazy glow. It was an emotionally fraught day, one I had dreamt about for years, so at the time perhaps I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as I wished, but to have all my friends in the club and to be able to open and close room 1 was a dream. 

Which is your favourite Fabric mix to date and why?
This is a very tough question. I think I will have to choose the Jacques Lu Cont mix. There perhaps have been others I like more, but as one of the first mixes that introduced me to the series and club, it will always hold an immensely special place in my heart.

You had a birthday the same week as your FabricLive 94 launch, how did you celebrate?
If I’m honest, as I get older I find birthdays more and more of a chore. I really don’t want for much, so much so that my husband and family say buying presents for me is really tough. I do enjoy the chance to see my friends (who I often miss, travelling so much) so we celebrated with a small group of friends, at a lovely restaurant near our house.

Surrender, on your ReGraded sublabel, is one of our favourite house tracks of the year. Gerd Janson’s Panorama Bar set was the initial inspiration behind the label – what do you particularly love about this new track and is there anywhere special you’ve played it, or heard it played?
For me, I love that the track constantly reveals little details to you over time. I think the key with this is that it seems simple, when in effect it’s quite complex. Playing it at Panorama Bar at 7am on a Monday morning or in front of 10,000 people at Lowlands Festival both stick out as special moments. 

What’s on a typical Midland rider?
Tequila, coconut water, food, a fridge magnet from the local city.

When it comes to time in the studio, what is your routine? Do you have a preferred environment, equipment, or time of day when you’re creating music?
I make lunch for my husband and I at the beginning of the week, which I take to the studio with me – preferably something healthy and filling! I always make music between 10am-5pm, I am not a nighttime guy. Often the first few hours are just spent pottering, listening to tracks, I often find the main bulk of inspiration strikes in the digesting my lunch and morning music time. I always make music in my studio and only there. It has lots of plants, and nice smells, and studio slippers.

You’re hosting a dinner party – what would you cook and what would you serve to drink?
I would probably make ramen (something I am starting to get OK at) if it was four people or less. Anything over that I would start with ceviche, and then move on to something like caramelised salmon, served with griddled purple sprouting broccoli and green quinoa with white port and tonic cocktails and a really crisp white.

What are the main things that need to happen to make clubbing spaces safer and more inclusive?
People need to actively intervene if someone is being made to feel unsafe, especially if it’s one of their friends making someone feel uncomfortable. Clubs need to make it known that they will take action if someone reports intimidating or untoward behaviour, not just pay lip service with safe space posters. And to some extent I think clubs should employ a door policy, not one that excludes lots of people, but enough that people who aren’t there for the right reason don’t come in.

You took A-level art and used to mock up album covers. Who are your favourite visual artists and which art movement appeals to you the most?
Abstract Expressionism, the idea of subverting trends – but sometimes in a way that people don’t realise – has always appealed to me, like Jasper Johns’ flag compositions. Artists such as Rothko, De Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler are some of my favourites. 

What’s one thing that you know now, that you wish you’d known when starting out as a DJ/producer?
Don't worry about what other people think. 

Midland plays Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 18 Nov https://www.facebook.com/midlanduk/