After DJing around the world for nearly a decade, Morrocon-born producer Mednas took Miami’s music scene by storm. Having held residencies in some of the city’s top VIP clubs, Mednas sat down with mybeatFix to share his thoughts on house and DJing past and present, his hit track “Derby”, and what it’s like being a resident at Miami’s most beautiful nightclub.
Tell us a little about your roots in music.
[Music] was always something I wanted to do. Since I was five I was touching all kinds of instruments, from guitar to piano. I was into music and I liked to have music nobody had. I spent all my money trying to find exclusive CDs and when I’d get home I’d invite people to hang out and listen to music. That’s what got me into music, people asking me to make them CDs, and I figured [DJing] was my thing.
What’s a little-known fact about you?
I used to surf competitively. I broke my foot at a championship, then I was traveling, DJing and studying at the same time, so I couldn’t keep it up. But I surf whenever I have the time or opportunity to. Here in Miami, though, there are no waves.
What kind of music were you into when you first began producing?
When I DJ at LIV, I have two kinds of crowd: the commercial crowd and the crowd that likes real house music, so I can travel in my set. At the beginning I usually start with deep, maybe go a little bit tech, and ease into some more upbeat house. I try to educate my audience. You have to mix it up a little bit. You can make an underground track into a hit just by playing it over and over until people get used to it and recognize it. You act like a radio when you’re DJing.
What does ‘underground music’ mean to you?
Underground just means it’s less known. Most people are not familiar with the sound, so I kind of have to mix it with tracks they know so they’ll keep on going with the flow. When I used to play vinyl, we used to travel and look for music stores to buy vinyls, because some vinyls you can only get in one country. That used to be the special thing about a DJ, they’d travel and they’d bring new music and present it. Now we have the radio playing tracks over and over. People don’t have the patience to discover new music, they want to listen to stuff they already know.
With all the hype surrounding EDM now, do you feel the focus is centered more around the marketing and promotion of these big name DJ, or is it still primarily about producing quality music?
These days you see producers who have never been DJs before; they make tracks that get pushed by marketing teams. The tracks don’t have to be hits, but with good marketing behind them they get pushed by good management. Nowadays a lot of people place talent in second place. The image, the fame, what the DJ is connected to—that plays a big role now. It’s sad, but that’s how it is.
How did land a residency at LIV?
I moved here five years ago and I started DJing around Miami. I’d played at SET, Mansion, Mokai, and then I got called by LIV and Erick Morillo when he started his own party on Thursdays at Arkadia. That’s when I moved to Arkadia and LIV. Now I’m doing LIV full-time.
You’re from Morocco, and you’ve DJ throughout Europe. What made you decide to move to Miami in the first place?
The music. For me, Miami is the place to be a DJ. The clubs here are mostly VIP clubs. The people that go out need a certain type of music that is more commercial, more open. But even at LIV we still bring people like Luciano, who is not commercial, and people get into it. You just have to offer a product to people and they’ll get into it. It’s all about the way you present it.
What do you think is the biggest thing right now in Miami as far as music goes?
When I moved here, hip-hop was really big. I had to play very, very commercial to get people going. Now I can play any type of house and people are still going to have a good time because it’s the trend.
Your track, “Derby” with Nima Nesta, quickly became a chart-topper on Beatport. Did you expect it to be so successful?
I was surprised; I was back home and I received an email by a friend congratulating me and saying my track had been played by Tiësto. I didn’t even know about it so I checked his Clublife and saw it. A week later it got released and it hit the top 20 in the charts, and then we reached top 10. I wasn’t expecting that from the track, it just came out of nothing. I wasn’t expecting it to make the charts.
How would you describe your sound right now?
I touch on all kinds of styles, but for me, now the sound is more electro. There’s something good about it, that’s why it’s working. But I like all kinds—deep, tech, electro, house, progressive–as long as its groovy.
You’ve been DJing for more than a decade. Do you think the craft of mixing music has been watered down over the years?
It used to be that the cool thing about DJing was touching the vinyl, mixing songs yourself, and choosing records from your own collection. Nowadays you have all these programs so you don’t have to beat-match. Basically you just choose the track and that’s it. You do less work. Once upon a time tracks were like ten minutes, so you’d play the track and you had time to find the next one.
Which artist do you most admire?
Quincy Jones. To me, he’s the best producer, very talented. Has nothing to do with house music, but the way he produces, it’s amazing.