Emmerald: As a musician, you have the best of both worlds. You're trained as a live musician and clearly accomplished in the studio as an electronic music maker. How do you think having that balance has helped you develop musically or influenced your style?
MDCL: I grew up playing jazz and that was my serious thing. For fun I'd play afro funk jams with the DJs. When I came to London for the first time, it was after I'd been to Cuba. I spent a few months there and had my head just blown off by the music down there. Then got to London and hooked up with Phil Asher, IG and Dego and the Bugz and I heard something I'd never heard before. The way they made music, they brought fundamental styles together with the history of music, of black music, in a cohesive way which was not purely nostalgic, you know. It was progressive and creative. For me, that brought back the hip-hop, jazz and the soul that I loved growing up and I saw what I could bring to that musically. On the same token, I remember when Asher and I were putting together a remix for Fini Dolo, and I remember I had this very simple key part and Asher heard it and said, "Yes, that's it." I said, "What do you mean that's it?" (laughs) Their mentality was just that we're good musicians and if we find the right musicians to work with then we can find a balance. We're not just throwing together beats because that's not what it's about. It's about a marriage and the balance with the musicality and rhythm.
Emmerald: Do you think that artists who are not necessarily trained as musicians are at any kind of disadvantage?
MDCL: No, not at all. They're at a complete advantage. That was the thing that blew me away. Seeing someone like IG, people who weren't trained in music creating brilliant musical and progressive things through drum kits and samples and stuff, it was amazing. They weren't restricted to the rules at all. There's no education in their view that says no, you can't do that. I spent four years kind of de-programming myself from that kind of view.
Emmerald: (laughs) Not listening to the little voice telling you, "You're wrong. You can't do that".
MDCL: Yes, it's anything goes. That's the great thing with someone like Herbie Hancock. When he's playing any note no matter how technically wrong it is, he's got the conviction and passion behind what he's saying or he's playing to make it right. You know, anything can work; it's just how you put it together.
Emmerald: Right. Let's talk about your upcoming album, "Tides Arising." You know, I was doing a little research and I discovered your first album, I think, "First Thoughts." I found it on the Amplified site.
MDCL: (laughs) You're deep on the internet aren't you?
Emmerald: (laughs) Got to be. But "First Thoughts" was like straight-ahead jazz, which surprised me a little, pleasantly surprised, though. Do you have any pieces like that on your upcoming album, any straight-ahead piano jazz?
MDCL: No, to me this album is about how I hear beats and musical structures and the vocal element. I'm focusing on that as a project. There is another project coming in the pipeline which is much more of a jazz project. And for people who were onto the first album, it may be what some of them would think I would be doing next.