Decoding Maetrik to Maceo Plex
If we were about to trace back the path of sound design in the past years, it would be unfair to ignore the innovative contributions of Maetrik, also known as Mariel Ito and most recently, as Maceo Plex. Behind all this tuneful pluralism, there is a somatic intellect going by the name of Eric Estornel, the author of unpredictable dark techno and sexy house tracks – not necessarily in that order.
The artist talked to us about his creation methods and the future of sound bending in general. He details the parallel universes of Maetrik, Maceo Plex and of Eric himself to later clarify the purposes of his own label, the newborn Ellum Audio.
Maetrik – The Prophecy
Maetrik – Bottom Heavy (Original Mix)
Maetrik was the most acclaimed facet of the producer so far, his first release came out on Imminent Records in 2000, but the broader resonance was achieved with the album “Casi Profundo”, a fine blend of melancholic synth and beat malfunction brought by german label Treibstoff in 2005.
After that, it was easy to highlight the artist out of the sameness, as throughout the stretches of his work – at times darkly provoking, at others waist shaking – barely a track remained characterless. Up to date, Eric has shifted his music away from the sawtoothed obscurity, yet closer to stylish sexy shades. The track “Snorkel” for instance, one of the latest Maetrik’s collaborations on Cocoon Recordings, well illustrates the upcoming change of his approach.
Maetrik feat. Kule Runner – Snorkel (Original Mix)
Maetrik & Maceo Plex – Fabrick
Both streams eventually meet at a borderline track, “Fabrick” is where Maetrik and Maceo Plex let their moods swing together, reminiscences of the former black-silver cacophony features a fresh euphonical seduction. Upon that, the first makes room for the latter and voilá, the new facet is born.
In the beginning of the year, Maceo Plex released his debut LP “Life Index” on the label Crosstown Rebels. A lot of passionate vocals, piano chords and dilated basslines came out of this post-techno soul box to define the new mutation of the artist.
At the present time, Eric brings about Ellum Audio, a fresh phonaesthetic embodied as a record label – think sexual darkness, a concept that is more aesthetic, the body response becoming visceral. Better yet, just hit play.
Maceo Plex – Vibe Your Love
Maceo Plex – Aint That Love (Original Mix)
What were your dreams as a child?
Ever since I can remember I really wanted to make my own music. It sounds weird but it’s true. I maybe for a moment wanted to be a jet fighter pilot after I saw Top Gun… but that’s about it.
What does Eric Estornel do in his free time?
Bowling, street fighter, and a lot of time with my fiancée. We love just walking around whatever city we’re in and shopping, (laughs)
What do you think a beginner musician should consider important?
To understand what music he/she wants to make. To have a clear vision before beginning to compose your own music.
How did Maetrik come to existence? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Maetrik was a name I came up with in 99 because I was making a lot of futuristic geometric sounding techno. I was always fascinated with dark sounds and futurism because of all the sci-fi I love watching. I guess I always loved amazing sound design.
Besides moving to Valencia, what else contributed to the birth of Maceo Plex?
My relationship with my fiancée and the fact that I’m slowing down. I feel like I want to hear slower music all the time…and therefore have been creating it lately. Works out perfect.
What does your workflow look like? How do you deal with deadlines and procrastination?
I’m terrible with deadlines… I’m almost always late. Because I can’t write a track in a day. I write the bulk of a track in a day or two then need to put it away from a week or so before going back to it and realizing what it needs to be a really great track. If u don’t step away from your own music from time to time, you can never really HEAR IT correctly.
What is necessary for you as a performer to be satisfied with a gig?
I’m satisfied in a crowded room with open-minded people grooving at the same time. Of course a good professional promoter to work with is always good too.
Did you ever think about making your performance audiovisual?
At the moment I’m not thinking too much about visuals as I’ve put away the live show for a while. Maybe in the future though for sure.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
808 State – Best Of
MJ – Thriller
Cameo – Best Of
Dr. Dre – The Chronic
Depeche Mode – Violator
What are your tools for producing music?
A lot of keyboards, Ableton, a good mic, and VSTs.
Do you have any premonitions regarding the future of sound design?
For years things have been going more organic. But people have been trying to replicate old sounds for a while now. I think a combination of both could be the future. Vintage synthesized organic sounds?
Lastly, tell us about your new label and its aims.
Ellum is my baby and the aim is to seek out amazing dark and sexy sounding house/disco. The emphasis is on the darker side because I think for years people have been hearing a lot of happy happy disco tracks… Ellum is for people that want to mix in the occasional deep house track that has a little bit of a darker sexy sound to it. We’re running it under the same umbrella as Visionquest, Crosstown, Hot Creations, but we’re definitely going be establishing our own style within the family of labels. Christine (my manager) is an integral part of the label, and we’ve just enlisted Danny Daze to help with A&R. Between the 3 of us we’re music geeks and 2012 is sure to be a crazy and productive year for Ellum!
By Marcos B. Oliveira