It says a lot about Leeds’ Miguel Campbell integrity that he chose not to cash in on the success of his 2012 smash ‘Something Special’ with a slew of chart-chasing follows-ups and formulaic imitations. Instead, he set about pursuing his passions for funk, disco and French touch era house music, bringing those sounds to a new generation by way of a prolific output under his own name and as MAM alongside longtime collaborator Matt Hughes. He carefully chose his remixes (Basement Jaxx, Soul Clap, RÜFÜS), delivered a classy debut album in ‘Beams Of Light’, and invested time, energy and money into building up his Outcross Records label into an established force – all while maintaining a hectic touring schedule.
Tell us about yourself…
I started DJ’ing at my school youth club and at the time I played mainly hip-hop & soul. When I started to go to the clubs, I began to listen to more and more electronic music and I made the switch to house music. I began to produce music and in 2006 I set up my own label: Outcross Records. I have always stayed true to my own interpretations of music and In 2011, I found success with my releases on Hot Creations, Wolf + Lamb & Sony Music.
How would you describe your aesthetic and how does it inspire your music?
I believe that emotions are an important component of the music experience and that music, along with other experiences, has a capacity to heighten emotional life. Music makes us cry, sing, dance, shiver & evokes happy and sometimes even painful memories. I try to convey my emotions through my music but I believe an emotional interpretation of a track is personal & connected to individual experiences.
The industry is constantly evolving and many artists have come and gone in the 15 years you’ve been around. How have you achieved longevity?
I think the most important thing that has helped is that I have enjoyed the music I have made and played over the years. Whilst patterns and trends have changed through the times, my own personal tastes were not as erratic.
I focused on the music I like to play and make, and because I have enjoyed it, I have been able to keep it going.
You must feel proud that your label has stood the test of time, too…
I am very proud of Outcross Records and the artists I have signed. Over the years, we have released a lot of music by our in-house artists and our friends also. We have our own particular style of house music here at Outcross and this has been something that has helped us to stand the test of time. Our listeners and fans provide amazing support and this is what has given us the drive to create and release more and more new music.
Who were your biggest inspirations when you started out?
My biggest inspirations in the early days were from Daft Punk and many of the other French house music artists such as Alan Braxe, Cassius and Étienne de Crécy. At that time, a lot of our online peers also influenced the music we made. We were just a bunch of guys toying around with music and trying to create cool sounds.
Who or what inspires you now?
The biggest inspirations I have now are the places I go and the people and DJs I meet. Every town has a different dynamic and I love taking inspiration from these different situations.
Tell us about your new album and the inspiration behind it.
Last year, I felt I wanted to create some fun music, which I would enjoy playing in the club, and The Recapitulation EP is a collection of tracks that I have selected from this music.
Many of your popular tracks have been b–sides… none more so than Something Special – everyone dreams of a crossover track as big as that! What has been the single biggest game-changing moment in your career?
I believe that building relationships with my friends in the industry, and having them support my music, was the biggest game changer I experienced. For several years, I was confident in my music and when guys like Soul Clap and Jamie Jones started to support and help to expose my music, this really changed my career.
You travel the world with work. How do you deal with the hectic lifestyle that DJing brings?
It’s all about balance and self management. Over the last couple of years, since moving back to the UK, I have tried to take time to enjoy a little free time. As much as I enjoy the studio and mixing records, I just try to remember that I am allowed to do things for pleasure and I try not to feel too guilty about taking that time out when things can be quite busy.
Where are your favourite places to travel to?
Brazil – and the rest of South America – is an amazing place to travel. The food and the people are amazing, and some of the best parties in the world can be found on that continent.
A lot of the DJs and producers we’ve spoken to talk about the increasing importance of staying fit and healthy while travelling. Would you agree?
Definitely! As time goes on and we visit more and more parties, it is important that we do all that we can to stay fit.
Do you find it easy to eat well on the move and in different cultures?
Generally, it is quite easy to eat well when on the road. When I’m in different cities, I like to enjoy the local cuisine and usually I find that there are healthy options at most of the restaurants I visit. There are also healthy options in most airports these days but it can still be tough not to get sucked in to fast food when you are in a hurry.
What do you do to stay in shape while travelling?
I walk a lot wherever I go. I don’t like to stay in the hotel room for too long – I like to get out and about and explore places. If I enjoy the scenery and I have time, I like to go for a run sometimes. I love cycling so I am always on my bike back home – and if I get the opportunity to cycle in new places I never turn that down.
Which artists excite you at the moment?
I’ved released an album by Iain O’Hare called ‘Neon Logic’. I’m really excited about this release, as I have had a hand in Iain’s production for years. To see his debut album released and to get it out there is an exciting thing!
Also, my man Minota aka Kiko from Grenoble is always wowing me with his production and my man Maxxi Soundsystem is at the top of his game right now!
Who would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?
Maxxi Soundsystem & Maceo Plex are the two guys I would most like to collaborate with right now.