Filed under: Interview
If you are into UK Garage then there is no doubt you will know the name MJ Cole. This scene dominator has been making waves ever since his first release dropped on London’s Rhythm Division at the end of the 90’s. Since then Cole went on to set up his label Prolific Recordings which sadly lay dormant for a few years while he recorded for Talkin’ Loud, a label co-founded by Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay.
Now that his imprint has been brought back to life, this multiple award winning artist has not only been producing like crazy but has also been pushing other talents like the Wideboys and Southern Fried Records’ Caged Baby.
In the lead up to his November Japan visit MJ Cole jumped on his PC and frantically typed out some replies to Higher Frequency’s probing questions.
Interview & Introduction by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Can you tell us the general idea behind your new release “Prolific Recordings vol. 1”?
MJ Cole : Having worked with some great vocalists and remixers over the past 3 years I thought it was about time to present a full-length CD to our audience around the world. Up to this point the tracks have only been released on vinyl and have been geared towards DJ’s. The CD compilation will take the music to another set of people who don’t normally buy vinyl. It’s also a great introduction to the CD market for the release of my third album which is in the making as we speak.
HRFQ : Prolific was dormant for a few years, what made you decide to bring it back to life and how has the label evolved since it first opened in 1998?
MJ Cole : Having been signed to a major label for 5 years I was unable to release any tracks under my name. When that phase passed I decided to dive into the Underground scene one more as I had the freedom to release my own material. The label has changed since 1998 in that it now has a real family feel to it. I am surrounded by a fantastic group of new producers and artists who all have an awe inspiring vision for the future.
HRFQ : Your debut album “Sincere” won some prestigious awards, you’ve collaborated with some of the biggest names in music and now you are always touring around the world. What do you see as the greatest success in your career?
MJ Cole : I think the best is yet to come but I’d say 2001 was a great year for me. I was nominated for the Mercury Prize, won a MOBO award, had a gold album and was able to take my project out on the road as a live outfit – something I had always dreamed of doing.
HRFQ : You work with a lot of different people, for example the Wideboys, Laura Vane and Guy S’Mone. Do you find it difficult to maintain your own style while working with all this outside input?
MJ Cole : No, I find the input of others inspires me. It’s always great to have someone as part of the creative process who adds another perspective and constantly provides fresh ideas.
HRFQ : When you were still a student you actually studied classical music. How has that education influenced your music?
MJ Cole : Impossible for me to say really, but I value my introduction into music no end. I studied piano very hard as a boy and won numerous awards for playing. That taught me discipline, technique and a great understanding for the performance of music in terms of musicality and feeling. I also learnt many things in terms of playing in orchestras and ensembles, listening and analyzing music and generally having a lot of fun!
HRFQ : Finally, is there anything special you’d like to say to all your fans in Japan?
MJ Cole : Looking forward greatly to coming to Japan again. I love your country. It’s great that I’m bringing Laura Vane to sing with me this time and MC Buzzhard who always gets the party going. I will be playing live keyboards as parts of the performance too, so expect some different and unique. See you in a couple of weeks!
End of the interview
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