The love affair between hip-hop and dance music has been going on for a very long time but recently it’s been rekindled in a big way, and a lot of the credit for this goes to Alain “A-Trak” Macklovich. After earning his credentials in the rap world by winning the prestigious DMC DJ tournament and spending time manning the decks for Kanye, Macklovich fell hard into the resurgent rave scene, and much of his work since then—as a DJ, producer, and co-owner of the well-regarded Fool’s Gold record label—has been directed at hybridizing the two. He’s been doing quite a good job of it, and even if he hadn’t had anything to do with putting out Crookers’ world-tilting remix of Kid Cudi's "Day 'n' Night" he’d still probably have been given whatever the Ibiza equivalent is of a knighthood. Mike Perry’s work (alongside partner Slack Kevorkian) in the DJ/production duo Supreme Cuts is perhaps less accessible than Macklovich’s, but its combination of smooth R&B and glitchy dance beats seems to come from a similar interest in blurring genre lines. Their debut album, Whispers in the Dark, is due sometime this spring. In anticipation of A-Trak’s set this Friday at the Mid we paired the two up by phone. —Miles Raymer
I’d really like to talk about production if you’d like to talk shop about that. How’s your setup changed in the last year? I’m talking strictly studio, Logic production stuff. In that respect it hasn’t changed much, since I still use the same software and I still use Logic. There’s a couple new plug-ins here and there, but my setup has to be simple because it has to be able to mirror whatever I have on my computer at home. And I have the same setup on my laptop for when I travel. So there’s not much that changes.
How do you find yourself creating more, especially on the road? Is it because you travel so much or do you think you’re attuned to it a little more? I give myself objectives when I’m traveling. It’s difficult to make a track when you’re in a hotel room, but there are always some songs that are in the works. I’ll tend to keep things in motion work-wise when I’m on the road, so maybe it’s just edits or longer tedious stuff, or I might just start an idea. Maybe I’ll take two hours on a flight or something and work on it.
Sunglasses Is a Must and stuff like that, like earlier mix tapes, they’re when you were starting to progress from hip-hop turntablism to dance music. How do you think you’ve grown as a producer since then? Mostly I’ve actually learned how to produce. Around that time, I think it was 2006 or so, my DJing was evolving and I was getting more creative with my mixes. I was making these edits that were halfway between a blend and the original song, because I was just adding some direction to it. But I was trying to produce my own material a lot more.