As an audio/visualist and mash-up DJ, Mike Relm has become world famous for his mind-melting real time performances. But with the advent of Spectacle, his exciting debut studio album due out September 23 on his Radio Fryer label, the San Francisco-based musical talent has masterfully upped his game. On the heels of his recent mesmerizing DVD Clown Alley and the acclaim of his riveting 2005 CD mixtape Radio Fryer, the bespectacled and suit-clad Relm steps into the role of electronic music maestro while effortlessly reinforcing his long-standing reputation for innovation by using a Lemur alongside his turntables...
Can you tell a bit about yourself, how and why you got into music ?
I'm from a really small town in California called San Francisco. Initially I got into music because of my love for it, I stuck with it because whenever I tried to get into anything else I just found myself wanting to go home and scratch. Now I get to scratch and mix for a living. I think what's helped me out a lot is my passion for technology, from what I hear I'm one of the first guys to incorporate video samples in my show. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be doing what I'm doing at this time because of the way technology is advancing so quickly. I'm able to produce things that even 5 years ago would either be far too expensive and time consuming or just technically impossible.
How did you discover Jazzmutant's controllers?
Funny story, I was sitting at a cafe and this guy went up to me to tell me how much he enjoyed going to my shows. We chopped it up for a little while and I told him how bummed I was to miss Bjork's performance at Coachella that year (2007). Right on cue he whipped out his phone and showed me a video he took of her show and it was there that I saw the Lemur in action for the first time. It was a pretty low quality video, I couldn't even make out what was going on musically but I was blown away by the touch screen interface so I went home and looked up "touchscreen midi controller" on YouTube and watched every single video on the Lemur. I wiped the drool from my mouth and ordered one for myself.
Why did you choose to use it above other products on the market?
I tried so many different midi controllers in my set but I never found one that I felt good enough about to take on stage. Either there were too many buttons, too little buttons, knobs in the way, cluttered layout, too big, too small...you get the picture. Being able to fully customize the interface completely trumps all other controllers. It truly is whatever you need it to be. To top it off, the Lemur looks badass and that's important for a guy who wears a suit to every show.
How are you using it in both either live and studio environments?
I use it to control Serato Scratch Live Video, so along with being able to scratch and juggle music and videos, I use the Lemur to fire off audio and visual samples and work with loops. It's added an entirely new dimension to my performances, which were previously strictly turntable based. I've also found that a few of the Lemur objects make Serato Scratch Live do some really cool things that I just happened to stumble upon. I use Ableton Live and NI Komplete heavily for production and again, the Lemur is by far the best midi controller for both of those programs. Every Live project ends up taking on a life of its own so I've got quite a few templates that have their own personalities.
What would you like to see in future revisions of the software?
That's a tough question coming from a company who has made what I consider the perfect midi controller.
What is your overall philosophy or approach when it comes to music?
K.I.S.S. - KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!
What have you got planned for the near future?
I'll be touring my brand new show, directing more videos, and hopefully getting more sleep.
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