First unearthing his multifarious productions in 2011, Berlin-based Canadian DJ and producer Nathan Micay, then operating as Bwana, drew up a sound that took shape via the colourful worlds of progressive house, trance, italo-disco and more. In more recent times however, Micay has preferred to use his own name to share his experiments. With the drop of the alias, he’s reenergised his output, finding home on labels like Whities and ESP Institute and daring to take his sound to more adventurous spaces.
Blue Spring, his new album (and return) on LuckyMe is arguably his boldest record to date. Exploring the sweet-spot between prog, trance, techno, hardcore, jungle, IDM and ambient, the 11-track release comes inspired by the legendary Castlemorton Common Festival, as Micay takes cues from an imaginary clash between a “young data miner rebel” and “the ranks of a futuristic police state” at a woodland party in the future. The album also sees Micay reignite his Akira obsession, with the artwork to Blue Spring turned from a script outline he wrote in tribute to the highly-influential Manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo.
In celebration of its release, we catch up with Micay, as he breaks down the record track by track, discussing inspirations, realizations, thought processes and obstacles.
1. Romance Dawn For the Cyber world
Based off the famous morning after the rave youtube video, this track is the entry into this world I’ve created for the album. Hints of dystopia, optimistic arps and it is the only part of the album with any clear disposition as to what this story is about. I wanted to start things off with a bang and put as many crazy sounds in here as possible. A hint of what’s to come.
2. Join Me Or Die. Can You Do Any Less
This track is meant to be pure euphoria. Like that rush you get on your way to what promises to be a great fuckin’ night. However, like every night out, there are ups and downs. The 2nd half of this track is very much that. Pulling you around like a rag doll after so much build up. It ends on
a rather ambiguous note.
3. Ecstasy Is On Maple Mountain
Pure joy. Dance the night away. We are there now. Nothing but happy motifs, bongos and the sounds of the wilderness.
4. He Has The Key
This track is very much about the current stranglehold that tech, governments and outside money have on our little corner of music. It’s been a constant topic of conversation among my peers this past year. Nobody knows where this is going and how sustainable anything is as it currently stands. One thing we all do know… Zuckerberg and those like him have the key as things stand.
5. Blue Spring
This was the first track I made for the third attempt at this album. It was when all these new ideas started to form in my head for a concept and sound pallet. It sounds busy but really it’s just 3 arps fighting for space with the occasional drums and an underlying bassline. This is the frantic energy I want to feel at the rave.
6. 11.11.90 (Beat Version)
My ode to the KLF. Of anything I’ve made in the last few years, this is as close as I’ve come to my ‘post dubstep’ roots haha. I haven’t used vocal samples much in my music as of late so it was fun to do that again. The first half of this track in particular was a real challenge to put together. So many odd sounds fighting to find synergy. Came together though!
7. Moon Sceptre Elimination
My CPU went crazy for this one. Just so much going on. Think this has like 75 channels in the project on Ableton. I wanted to capture all the things I love about Future Sound of London here. Piano stabs, crazy synth riffs that are out of key, big drums. The pads on the 2nd half were a real challenge to get that ‘vintage’ feel. Even though it’s such a massive file, the track came together very very quickly. Was just one of those nights.
I made this 10 minutes after Moon Sceptre. It felt like a natural continuation of that track’s ending. I was very conscious of keeping this as ambient free as possible. Too often I listen to other dance music LPs and there is always one or two filler ambient bits. I wanted mine to at least have a song structure and feel purposeful. This is the calm before the storm of the next track….
9. The Party We Could Have
Nothing profound here. I just wanted to make something that bangs. I sat on this a long time thinking it was too goofy. I sent it to a few DJs I trust and started seeing insane videos of people dancing to it at festivals and clubs. Apparently it wasn’t so goofy after all.
10. May All Your Bacon Burn
My personal fav track on the album. There is a lot of harmonizing going on here that I get a great deal of satisfaction from. I’ve also never released anything at a hip hop tempo/beat structure before (I have lots) and I felt this fit enough with the album to squeeze it in. After the insanity of the previous track, this is very much putting the pieces back together in our little story…
11. Romance Dawn For the New World
You’re leaving the rave. New worlds and possibilities await…
Blue Spring is out now on LuckyMe.
Order it here.