Midland’s story from avid fan to headlining room 1 at fabric may seem unreal to many but the fairy tale rise is really a testament to two things: an unequivocal vision and simple hard graft. Whilst inspirational references abound for Harry it was a tape of Andy C at a Slammin Vinyl show back in 2003 that he remembers as the start of an obsession and inspired him learn to mix on dual CD decks.
After finishing his A-levels Harry bought his first set of Technics from money saved working in a kitchen and living with his parents. Uni years in Leeds were an opportunity to go to a different drum ‘n’ bass party each night and hear the sounds that would shape his musical imagination. It was DJ Shock of Radio Frequency (the main pirate for drums/dubstep/grime) that gave Harry his first break with a graveyard Saturday morning show. Over time the radio slots did get better and opportunities began to arise with gigs at SubDub, Exodus at the West Indian centre, Momentum at Wire, a time as resident for Metropolis and chances to warm up for Bukem, Grooverider and Dillinja on the Valve Soundsystem. When he finished studying Harry’s interest in slower tempos was piqued and he began making music under the name Midland.
His first record was a classy garage 12” with Ramadanman on Aus Music, followed by a solo EP project Play The Game on Phonica. Further releases went through both these labels as well as on More Music and Sheworks (alongside Pariah). A white label release with Bicep preceded the launching of Midland’s own imprints Graded and ReGraded which have been the home of almost all of his music for the last few years. Side ventures have included two charity records for Autonomous Africa with Optimo, plus remixes for Darkstar on Warp, Mano Le Tough and Flume amongst others.
“My relationship with fabric stretches back about 15 years. My friend Joe and I were fixated with the CDs, the artwork, the mysterious tins containing music we didn’t know yet. We used to design artwork for our own fabric CD. All the posters covered my walls and I’d spend all my time on the website reading about line ups, cds and interviews. When the time came for us to venture to the club for the first time it was a Friday and the line up was Jacques Lu Cont in room 1, Hype, Grooverider in Room 2 and DJ Spinbad in Room 3. Safe to say it changed my life for ever. I turned to my friend in Room 1 and told him I would play there one day.”
FABRICLIVE 94 is Midland’s ode to the many facets of club culture, in part sequenced in Corsica Studios and taking in the many fragments of the industry that he has called home for half his life. It was recorded in his studio using an E&S mixer, two CDJs and a reverb peddle. His idea was to do a club mix – but one that represented a night out and the emotions you experience within it. We’ve all been there: you’re not planning on a night out but somehow your friends persuade you; you have no ticket and are caught off guard. The start of the mix flows straight in as if you have walked in to club during someone’s set – there’s no defined start or end point. There are times when you feel disorientated and overwhelmed and then the moments of total clarity and euphoria. The sound ebbs and flows but is checked by tracks like Roman Flugel’s ‘Warm and Dewey’, LFO’s ‘Ultra Schall’ and the Daphni track ‘Vulture’ which bring the listener back to a point of acquaintance. The sequencing concludes at the end of the night when goodbye to friends are said and you’re sitting in the sun waiting for the tube with the remnants of the night echoing around in your head like fragmented memories.
FABRICLIVE 94: Midland
Release date: 22 September 2017
1. Georgia – Pey Woman [FTD]
2. Even Tuell – Mental Marathon [Musik Krause]
3. Jaures – Silence (Before Birth) [Die Orakel]
4. Juju & Jordash – Monday Mellow [Dekmantel]
5. Daphni – Vulture [Jiaolong]
6. Tres Demented – Demented Drums [Planet E]
7. Leif – Shoulders Back [TIO-Series]
8. Roman Flügel – Warm And Dewy [Dial]
9. Farah – Lockhead [Don’t Be Afraid]
10. Beatrice Dillon – Halfway [Where To Now?]
11. Samo DJ & Pedrodollar – Track #3 [Born Free]
12. Mannequin Lung – City Lights (Mr Hazeltine Remix feat. Divine Styler) [Plug Research]
13. Sugai Ken – Mukashi [Lullabies For Insomniacs]
14. LFO – Ultra Schall [Warp]
15. Kowton – Pea Soup [Livity Sound]
16. General Ludd – Run Don’t Play Dead [Rubadub]
17. Ben Buitendijk – XXX [Planet Rhythm]
18. Santos Rodriguez – Road to Rio, B1 [Cosmic]
19. Slobban – Amour! (Sankt Goran’s Stum Edit) [Lemon]
20. Convextion – Distant Transmission [A.R.T.less]
21. Shinichi Atobe – Free Access Zone 2 [DDS]
22. Vito Ricci – Deep Felt Music [Music From Memory]
23. Jesper Dahlbäck | Mark O’Sullivan – When I Was Young [Direkt | Lekebusch Musik]
24. Midland – First Tube [Graded]
Launch party: Friday 22nd September 2017 at fabric nightclub where Midland plays alongside Tama Sumo and Debonair in Room 1. Tickets: https://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?990884