WORDS

Who the hell is Mitekiss?

 He’s a man who possesses the ability to cook up smooth soulful rollers in the studio and a mean meatball dish in the kitchen – which he will personally make for anyone willing to donate him a Moog Subsequent 37 for his studio.

It’s been a long career 17 years in the making, but the murmur of Mitekiss’s undeniable production talents is beginning to echo louder. Since catching the eye of Friction with his track Void in 2016, the man who also answers to the name Jonny has gone on to release his debut EP Final Hours on SGN:LTD, while gaining major support from the likes of Hybrid Minds and London Elektricity.

Now in the happiest and most comfortable production mindset he’s ever been in, with his second EP Some People just dropped on Shogun, the London-born producer is only just testing the waters of a career that could‘ve taken a different direction after starting out dabbling in house and future garage.

From working full time hours owning his own company, to co-running the Goldfat label, Jonny’s story is one of determination that many can relate to. From bombarding labels and artists with demos, to regularly contacting blogs and other websites, it appears his persistence has finally opened the doors that he has been optimistically banging on for some time.

UKF caught up with him to talk about the way his music has progressed and the overwhelming support he has received over the last few years.

It feels like things are finally starting to fall into place for you… 

Yeah definitely. I’ve been making music since I was about 15 and in the last two years it has really picked up. Friction played Void on Radio One last year – It was a free tune put out on Skankandbass. He picked it up and afterwards I harassed him for his email and kept bombarding him with tracks… It has only just started to take off, it wasn’t an overnight thing. I’ve been making music for a long time, not always as Mitekiss – that’s probably five years old now.

So Void was the turning point in your career that got Mitekiss on the radar?

Definitely! There were a few tunes before that on smaller labels, so I started to build a following on Soundcloud and Facebook, but once Friction got hold of Void that opened the doors up. The reason I got on Skankandbass was because I used to hammer the doors of all these guys, sending 20-30 messages a night! Literally just harassing people… Most don’t respond, but luckily Seb from Skankandbass did. He’s a massive turning point in what I’ve done because he put the track on their Youtube channel and sent it to Friction. One other thing I did was take a 15 second snippet of one of my tunes and tweet it to LSB asking if I could send him the whole track. He replied straight away and told me to send it over! I was well happy with that.

Your Final Hours EP last year definitely turned quite a few heads too!

That’s the exposure Shogun can get your music. Getting Ed behind that EP was huge because all the Shogun artists would have heard the EP and all the fans of the label, so instantly it puts you out to a much bigger audience.

It seems the EP also caught the attention of Hybrid Minds considering they included Chasing and Final Hours in their UKF mix in July

Ah it’s amazing and unbelievable! It has happened over a relatively short space of time, so to have guys in the scene showing that they like my releases is fantastic. I’ve been speaking to Hybrid Minds a lot this year and I am doing some bits with them, I’m not sure if I can say much more… but we are working on something together! To even be able to work with Hybrid Minds is quite surreal.

Out of all the supporters, I imagine having someone like Friction back you must be incredible. Were you sending him lots of your unsigned material?

Yeah after Void he started playing a few more of my tracks and asked me to send over some more unreleased bits when I had them. Over the space of about six months I sent him 20-30 tunes. He asked me if I wanted to put out an EP on SGN:LTD and invited me down to the Shogun offices in Brighton. We went through some of the tracks together and selected those final four. It was unreal getting to meet Ed and the whole Shogun team. I feel like an imposter!

You don’t sound like one. Your new EP is out on the label now, too…

That was a bit of a surprise. We never really talked about putting out a Shogun EP itself. It came out of the blue. He said ‘look we’re gonna put you’re next one out on Shogun’ and I was like ‘wow…that’s a big move.’ Since the last release, we’ve been going backwards and forwards with tunes. I’m very happy with the new EP – Forma and Empire are particularly special to me, so I’m excited to see what people think. Releasing on Shogun is definitely my biggest achievement yet.

Mr Porter is the man responsible for impressive vocals on Empire and Who’s There – he appears to be a recurring fixture in your productions?

He’s actually on every track! He may not officially feature on them, but on Forma the pitched down vocals are him and on Some People I sampled his voice. A lot of the time I sample old vocal sessions we have done. Forma is an example of that. That vocal was actually meant for a future garage song!

We’ve been messing around with music for a long time. He’s married to my sister and used to go by the name of Goldenchild MC about ten years ago. Now that he’s a family member I send him lots of tracks and guaranteed he will come back with an idea for a vocal. It’s handy having him as a brother-in-law because I can abuse him for vocals. I’ll just get my sister to divorce him if he says no…

I particularly like the soulful tone he brings to the new EP. It seems like you’re starting to nail down your musical style.

I really appreciate that! I don’t think I’ve fully found it yet. I’ve got a lot to learn… like I listen to other producers and think ‘how the fuck did they do that?’ and I try to recreate it myself. Sound-wise I think you’re right – it’s starting to come together. This EP is definitely how I want to sound going forward. Currently, I feel the best I ever have making music. In the past I’ve worked as a songwriter for other people, but as soon as Mitekiss started I chose to focus on myself and not worry about labels and other people – instead making what I want and posting it online. Ironically I’ve had the most success thinking like that!

Where do your musical influences come from? Have certain drum and bass producers inspired your style?

First of all, my own household – my brother is a DJ. I’ve had Original Nuttah in my head since I was 14. It was constantly on loop! Some massive influences in the D&B scene though – the biggest being naibu. He’s got to be one of the greatest D&B producers going. You forget his stuff is drum and bass in a way, but it’s just awesome music. People like Calibre, Marcus Intalex and Photek have inspired me too as they were already big by the time I even knew what D&B was. Saying that, my first D&B album was True Colours by High Contrast. I never got into CDs, so I had that album on constantly because it was one of the only CDs I owned. 

It sounds like late 70s and early 80s disco has also inspired your music?

Yeah I I love that style of music and what it originally stood for in terms of disco. It’s a place people would go and be free, wherever they come from, whoever they are. There are disco influences in my music, but probably less as time goes on – I’m sampling less than I used to and making bits myself. A lot of the stuff people will have heard of mine has been remade. For instance, I often sample my own piano.

Aside from your EP release, you also featured on the Grenfell LP last month. Growing up in London I can imagine it was a meaningful project to be a part of? 

Definitely! I’d already made So Strong and didn’t know what to do with it, as it sounded different to my other material. So when one of the Nurtured Beatz guys got in touch I thought the track would be ideal for it. The vocal fits perfectly. A few people actually questioned the morality behind the Grenfell LP, but these guys live around the corner from the tower so it’s close to their hearts. They even had to post pictures of the donations they made due to people not trusting them, which is unbelievable! Another project close to my heart is Drum & Bass Against Racism. It’s a well-respected group that’s rasing awareness of racism that occurs in all walks of life, and is gaining lots of traction with major supporters. – people should check out the Facebook page!

Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Both for your own label Goldfat and your own music.

The plan for the label I own with Grant, aka Mr Porter, is to keep running it organically. We’re biding our time waiting for the right music. On a personal level, I’d like to create a body of work. Singles and EPs are great, but it would be good to craft an album. I don’t think I’d start doing lots of different styles though, it would pretty much all be D&B. Maybe I will throw in some crazy amen killers…

Mitekiss – Some People is out now

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