Interview: PJ Makina – Makina Scotland!

A few days ago we posted up our first makinacast by PJ Makina, Steven McClintock. Now that you’re familiar with his sound, you can have a read about him and get to know the man behind the makinacast. PJ Makina being one of the main driving forces behind makina in Scotland. As well as being the label owner of Tri-Format Records. Makinaforce brings you PJ Makina.

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Makinacast 1 – PJ Makina

First, what does “PJ” in PJ Makina stand for? How did it come about?
I get this question a lot, and the answer is quite simple really. I’ve had the name since I was 11 years old and it came about from my older brother whos nickname was “Patey” and a friend of his called me “Patey Junior” one day and then PJ stuck ever since then.

As we all know, makina is quite a niche genre, especially outside of Spain. How did you, being in Scotland, first discover makina?
Well, for me finding makina was sheer coincidence. I was really into Progressive German Trance and I was searching around for new tracks to buy on vinyl and I came across “Xavi Metralla Session in Pont Aeri.” I listened to it and I will never forget the track after 9 minutes of the session, it was Xavi Metralla – Happy Melody. I had never heard a sound like this since my older brothers were listening to Bonkers cassettes in the early 90’s. I researched into Pont Aeri and after some time I found out that the genre was called makina, or “Spanish Hardcore” here in Scotland.

Being in the UK, I’m sure you’re familiar with UK Hardcore. How did you come to like makina over the more popular UK Hardcore?
I was never really a fan of UK Hardcore, and to this day I don’t really follow the genre at all. But I did really like Scott Brown’s UK Hardcore productions from the late 90’s til around 2003 and before that I liked happy hardcore and techno.

As with all DJs, the next thing to do is to make your own productions. How did you get started? What type of equipment did you use?
I got started back in late 2008 and it was just out of curiosity. I purchased some software and tried to produce some tracks. But I quickly realised I did not know anything at all about music production. So I enrolled in a college course for Urban/Electronic Music Production. I used the college equiptment to get me started as they had 4 £100,000 studios for us to work in. They had 64 channel mixers, Pro-Tools, Genelec Studio Monitors, so it was a great introduction to the scene. As for producing now, I use DJ Gary MC’s studio, GMC Studios, as often as I can to produce, as the facilities are great!

After beginning to produce, how did you feel about it? Did you have any goals in mind? And did you achieve them the way you had in mind from the start?
It was really difficult and slow progess to begin with, I gave up once or twice because I could not hear any progress in my productions. But I could not stay away as I did have certain goals I wanted to accomplish. My only goal when I started out was to have a track played live at an event. DJ Serna was the first person to ever play my track, Cosmic Ray, live at a club.

Have you ventured into producing other genres?
Yes I have. As a lot of people may think makina is the only genre for me, but in all honesty I love the old West-Coast G-Funk Hip-Hop sound and I have produced many tracks in this genre. I’ve also produced trance, hardstyle and orchestral pieces to name a few.

Who are your main influences, not just in makina, and why?
My biggest influence in music has to be Tupac Shakur because his music is like nothing else I’ve ever heard before, he had a story to tell and I feel his storys are relevant to me. But my main influence, production wise, has to be Dr. Dre and I think everyone can understand why. As for makina influences, the producers who influence me to produce the style I do is DJ Ruboy, DJ Konik, Frank Díaz, Gerard Requena and DJ Pildo because when I first heard makina most of the tracks were produced by them on labels like ADN, Bit Music and Uptempo.

Being a Scotland makina producer, how do you see makina in Scotland differ from Spain?
Makina in Spain is alot different from Scotland. This is because in Spain they have always been playing the newest tracks in nightclubs and mix on 3+ turntables, but in Scotland it’s only tracks from 1996-2001 that get played on 2 turntabes. This goes for the whole of the UK. Another huge difference is in the UK we have MC’s in almost every session and for me personally this is not my taste. I love to listen to the DJ mixing with 3 or 4 turntables with base tracks, and in the UK base tracks are almost unheard of.

How did you and DJ Gary MC first meet? We’re you guys already into makina at that time?
This has got me thinking… Well, I first met Gary when he was playing Dimensional in Glasgow in 2008, but I only had brief chats with him. But then studying for my HND in college, Gary was also doing the same course. I let him hear a new track of mine and he wanted to work with me in his studio. So I visited the studio in early 2009, and he told me about his plans to go Digital with his label and he wanted to release my track, the rest is history… as they say haha!

Besides producing, do you have any other hobbies?
My passion for music is very very strong and any hobbies I have, I try to make them musical orientated. I love to DJ, and I love to teach my skills to anyone willing to learn. Another strong hobby I have besides music is off road motor biking, this has been my hobby for as long as I can remember. I also love dogs, especially Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which I have bred a few times and have kept 4 for myself. They have a bad reputation in the UK, which I think is a shame becuase they are a fantastic breed.

Can you tell us about Tri-Format Records and how it came about?
It’s actually quite strange how Tri-Format Records came to be. It began with a producer from Glasgow called DJ Daze, who wanted to start a new label and asked me to come up with a name, he wanted to do 3 formats of release: CD, vinyl and MP3. So I came up with Tri-Format Records and he liked it. But the label never took off. I had designed a logo for it, so in the end I made the label my own.

You produce mostly makina remember (old school makina), how do you feel about the current hard trance trend of makina?
I like the new sound of makina, for me makina is one genre and I like to listen to it all. But here in Scotland no one plays this type of makina except myself and DJ Gary MC when the mood takes us there. But personally, for makina to be as big as it was, it does need to go back to its roots and be like the makina of old but with fresh new sounds. The perfect examples would be Jordi K-Stana, DJ Contra, Cross-B and Raul Lokura. I see this as the future of makina.

Where do you see yourself in the future from now?
In the future I hope I can have my own makina event in Glasgow that would be big enough to get the best makina DJ’s from all over the world and I hope my label can continue to grow and be a success.

Thanks for the interview, do you have any last words?
I must apologize to makina fans from outside Scotland who follow me on facebook. I’ve had lots of messages asking what I said in a post as we speak Glasgow slang and they cannot understand. I’m really sorry and I promise I will try to stop!! haha! Oh and…. much love to Makinaforce who has put in so much time and effort into the makina scene and I hope it pays off, and as always thanks to DJ Gary MC (My partner in crime!)… Makina 4 Eternity!