Robert Miles is an Italian musician and DJ of electronica and alternative music and is known best for his track “Children” from his debut album “Dreamland” in 1994. Since then Robert has “23am” in 1997, “Organik” in 2001, “Miles_Gurtu” in 2004 and his latest “Th1rt3en” in 2011. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about his career, his new albums and his plans for what’s to come.
Mike Gencarelli: Before the internet was the internet, I remember hearing your track “Children” in 1995 and being blow away; how do you feel the song would be received if it was received today?
Robert Miles: Probably in the same way it got received back then. The new generation is discovering the track now and many think it’s a new tune and are surprised when they get to know that it was produced 17 years ago (amazing how time goes so fast!).
MG: Why the 7 years span between “Miles_Gurtu”, your 4th album and your latest “Th1rt3en”?
RM: I have been involved with more soundtracks work. I opened a studio in the heart of Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, became father and worked on a big remodeling project (a 500 years old ‘finca’ aka farmer’s house) in Ibiza) designing and managing it myself…very time consuming!
MG: What has been your primary inspiration for “Th1rt3en”?
RM: After “Organik” and “Miles_Gurtu”, I wanted to explore more the nature of alternative rock and use mainly electric guitar…I got in touch with Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Dave Okumu (The invisible) as I really like the way they play their instrument and asked them if they wanted to collaborate…they accepted and we put together the parts in various sessions. I usually get inspiration from everyday life experiences …and try to convey those experiences and my feelings through my music in order to be able to connect with the audience. I am so pleased when people send me a message saying that they felt the same emotion/energy while listening to the music…it is so rewarding. Makes you think…I want to do more.
MG: How long did the album take to complete from beginning to end?
RM: The composing process 6 years…as I was working on it during my spare time (from fatherhood and all the other projects I had going) in various cities (Mainly London, Berlin, Ibiza and Los Angeles)…the recordings were done in London within two weeks from when we started.
MG: I love “Voices From a Submerged Sea”, tell us about creating that song?
RM: It’s the track with most downloads, funnily enough. A live strings orchestra was used to record it. It’s a very cinematic track and refers to the ‘voices’ that one can hear from within…An introspective piece I have done in a moment of peaceful solitude in Ibiza during the winter. A new video has been released for it (each photogram is hand made and drawn simply with a Bic pen) and you can watch it here:
RM: Maybe “The Wolf”. For its simplicity and what it conveys.
MG: Your music videos are very artistic and well designed, specifically ‘Miniature World”, what is your involvement in their creations?
RM: Thank you. I am very much involved with the artistic side of my videos, especially since I have control of my music (that’s since I have opened my own label Salt Records in London, back in 2000). It’s very important for me to deliver quality videos together with my music. Something that hopefully will stand in time and will be seen more as a art form than a promotional tool by the future generations.
MG: How do you approach remixing your songs so soon after just releasing them?
RM: Not an easy task if I have to be honest. Especially because you have listened to that track so many times already (when producing/mixing it) and you just want to move on to the next thing. But in the end I always come up with an idea, or more than one, and ‘sculpt’ the original version into something totally different. Challenging.
MG: Tell us about your reason you chose to blend alternative and progressive rock with ambient and electronic soundscapes?
RM: I come from the electronic side of the music spectrum…and since I have moved to London in 1996, I have tried to incorporate other genres into my productions…as I wanted to achieve a more ‘human’ sound (and less computer sounding) . “Organik” had world and rock music elements, while “Miles_Gurtu” had jazz influences. I am a big fan of blending electronic together with acoustic sounds. I think it’s a great combination.
MG: Tell us about the film soundtrack you’re working on for “The Turn of this Century”?
RM: It’s going to be a pretty cool project…60 minutes of music and images…and a voice over….three elements working in tandem and creating a real audio sensorial and visual ‘journey’ through the events of the last 100 years on our planet…featuring the photography of LIFE magazine….mind blowing. The ‘ journey of your life’…literally speaking! Coming soon…everywhere!
MG: Are you planning to tour at all for this new album?
RM: Unfortunately it would be almost impossible as most of the musicians that have been involved have their own band and touring constantly…So I am currently DJing and run several radio shows on different station around the globe…that displays the more electronic side of Robert Miles here: