Mary Willson: I counted twelve musicians on this album, including Super Vision, Paul Basic, Marcelo Moxi and more. Why did you choose to bring on so many musicians with you?
Michal Menert: I like to think of it as Big Band: The Album. It’s kind of like my way of stepping into the direction I want without completely stepping out of my music, or electronic music.
What is it like putting together tracks for such a wide variety of instruments?
I think that from producing, you get an idea of a layout of a song, and it’s all about translating that into different instrument sections. It’s been an amazing experience, because it just adds a different dimension when you feel it being played together. You can hear ideas you’ve had come to life outside of the keyboard. I can play a melody, and they can pick it up and play their instruments to it. They’re doing a lot of the work for me.
This album has a lot more hip-hop influence than the last two albums.
Well, with this album, it’s like any other; I put on songs I’ve been playing live at the time. But I also wanted to get a full sound on this one and mirror the name. I worked hard to get some really spacey and washed-out tracks, but I also tried to get a wide range of styles.
So I’m assuming that’s also what’s behind starting Super Best Records: the freedom.
Definitely. I wanted to have a way to release music that didn’t have to fit a certain stereotype or sound. With Space Jazz I brought in some hip-hop, just like I’m looking to bring hip-hop more into Super Best. I want to just make music rather than just be in a mold like EDM — even though it’s a great mold. [I want to] work in music rather than working in sets.
This is your third full-length album. How is this one more grown up?
Having live drums and live instruments adds a whole new level, and it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. I’m fortunate that I have extremely talented friends to help me paint the picture, and the more time I’ve spent making this, the more people I’ve worked with. I worked hard to make sure that the sounds weren’t too plastic-y or EDM-y, but were really rounded out.
What were some of the main influences for Space Jazz?
A lot of fusion jazz with synthesizers, like some George Duke stuff. In the 1970s, fusion jazz was starting to have a disco beat but still had a core of jazz, with improv. Also, a lot of the ’90s hip-hop stuff was influenced by jazz. That’s what I grew up on, and I loved it.