Doncaster-raised Mella Dee has experimented with more forms than most. An avid hardcore enthusiast – sparked by teenage years spent at his local record shop, Rhythm Nation – he’s gone on to blur the lines between the UK’s dance lineage and the sounds of the American Midwest across a span of releases.
Past records on Omena, Dusky’s 17 Steps, Dext Recordings, Digital Soundboy and Redlight’s ‘Lobster Boy’ label are being followed up by new EP Massimo (a dedication to legendary fashion designer Massimo Osti?), out today on Waze & Odyssey’s W&O Street Tracks. Mella Dee’s also gearing up to launch his own imprint this year, Warehouse Music – keep an eye out for future releases.
Ahead of his set at this year’s instalment of Croatian festival Hideout – where he’ll play alongside Stormzy, DJ Koze and Skream – Mella Dee now takes us through some of the seminal records that inspire his work as a producer and DJ.
You’ll find a smorgasbord of classics, from Marshall Jefferson and Happy Mondays to New Order and Warp luminaries LFO. Dig in below.
1. G.O.D Limited 1
Pure Grant Nelson goodness, really driving but bumpy stuff. He’s one of those guys who’s had so many aliases, and most of them have had an influence on me.
2. Forgemasters – Track With No Name
Techno in a Sheffield style and fashion, first release on Warp and it’s a belter still. Proper bleeps and bass stuff that still resonates with me now.
3. Peshay – Piano Tune
A serious favourite, everything about this track just fits right, and being the fan of pianos and strings that I am, this really ticks all the boxes. Vocal tune by Peshay holds the same levels but the piano takes it for me.
4. Supremes – Stoned Love
Grew up with soul being played daily as my dad has always been a big Northern Soul fan, so it had to have a massive effect on me musically. This is just such a belter.
5. Jimmy J & Cru L T – Six Days
Happy hardcore is probably my earliest influence that I really took note in. I used to fall asleep listening to tapes I’d nick from my sister at about eight years old, so it’s really imprinted in me as a sound and style. This is a proper belter that’s got so much of what can make happy hardcore great going on.
6. Happy Mondays – Hallelujah
From early days of going out in Doncaster, we spent a lot of time working and going out in a bar, playing lots of stuff from the Hacienda days. There was a club where we had people like Peter Hook, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering coming to play monthly. That played a big part in my introduction to proper house music and acid sort of stuff. Happy Mondays have always been a favourite and all.
7. Orbital – Belfast
It’s all about the raw emotion in this one, you can’t understate the importance of Orbital, either. Everything just sits together so perfectly and feels like 6am in a field at Glastonbury or something.
8. New Order – Temptation
Manchester influence yet again, possibly my favourite band. Hard to really choose one track by them, but as a whole, it was always the dance aspect of bands that would make me take notice, and New Order are massively important in that sense.
9. Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body
Trax records on this, and again, it’s from early club things I’d go to in Doncaster. The kind of stuff that would get played at The Hacienda was always around me, even though it was a long time after the fact. This is an obvious one but it still sounds so good
10. LFO – LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix)
More Warp, this time it’s a shout to Leeds. It’s a place I really cut my teeth as a resident DJ for a few nights and hosted a show on a pirate station. This track always stands out to this day. Again, not the most underground selection, but it’s a track that still sounds like the future and has had an influence on me.