Milo Johnson's story isn't one often told in dance music circles. A DJ and producer in the 80s and early 90s, who whilst at the top of his game would give it all away for some 18 years, then return with a genre-defining sound, relaunching his career and earning a legion of new fans around the world.
His 2010 return to releasing music also marked the beginning of a partnership of sorts with Phil South’s Golf Channel Recordings in NYC, which has now become home for six EPs and an album, last year’s Return Of The Savage, which has been widely considered as a modern day classic. Japan’s Jazzy Sport label has also played its hand in the resurrection, housing three DJ Nature EPs and a hotly tipped forthcoming album, reconnecting Nature with the country he spent years supplying records and clothing through his export company in the 90s.
DJ Nature, who is about to embark on his first Austrlian tour, has found the time to record the 103rd addition to the series which delivers a typically classy hour of crunchy, slow burning sounds, including some of his own forthcoming remixes hidden in the mix.
I know you have been working pretty hard on some new music lately, what can you tell us about it and when and where will it be coming out?
Yeah, after quite a bit of travelling I had to really get stuck into some production work. I had a personal project that I really wanted to get done which is the “Groovotica” box set.
That will include a mix CD, a 12” of re edits, 12” of new original material and a free tribute t-shirt. Clothing company Gimme 5 (London) and Golf Channel will be helping me put that out.
I have a collaboration with Kuniyuki that I’m hoping to get finished before my next travels, that will be out in Japan early next year I’m guessing.
I have also just submitted the final 4 tracks to complete the Jazzy Sport (Japan) Album. It will be previously released material and the 4 new tracks. Remixes for Inkswel on Burek that should be dropping soon, a remix for the wolf and Lamb label, and working on some remixes for Red Rack’em and Debukas. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I work really slow.
Having a family with a couple of sons who are now in their teens, how much time does that allow you these days for touring and writing music?
Quite a lot now as they are both away in college.
I know you had a big break from it all, but how active are you in the current party scene in NYC? It seems as though there is a pretty strong resurgence happening there at the minute with crews like Mister Saturday Night and the L.I.E.S. Records guys leading the way, is that something you have noticed?
Well I lived in New York in the golden age of this scene the late 80’s and early 90’s so I saw the club scene at its highest. I don’t go out at all in NY really. I pretty much stay at home watch football (soccer) and make music. I also don’t really follow the scene either. I met Ron from L.I.E.S. in one of my few jaunts outside of my Harlem neighbourhood at a record store looking for old music and he gave me some of his material. Really liked it and was pleased to see some good stuff coming out of NYC again. I don’t play out in NY either so much. I’ve done a couple of parties recently in Williamsburg, seems like they’ve got a bit of scene down there but I don’t really keep up with what goes on.
I’m a bit fussy when it comes to sound quality so due to the current situation in NY where sound quality isn’t as important as when I used to go to clubs back in the day, it limits what I am able to do.
Continuing on New York for a minute, do you still get a chance to shop for records since switching to the current digital setup? If so, which are some of your favourite spots to find vinyl?
I don’t really buy a lot of new vinyl unless I get to Europe then I buy some stuff at Phonica in London usually. I don’t buy new Vinyl in NY though unless it’s old stuff that I’m looking for. I just find the delay in buying stuff online is joke. It took me 2 months to get one order a few months ago and I gave up after that. Sometimes I hear something that I have to have and I look for a way to get it.
What are you able to tell us about your current studio setup? Obviously sampling plays an important part in your music, do you still use hardware samplers in your productions?
I use an s950 Akai sampler, an s3000 Akai sampler and a couple of keyboards, Pro Tools, my old Yamaha 03d mixer and Cubase as my sequencer.
The majority of your DJ mixes online are pretty groovy and laid back, do you think those accurately reflect how you like to attack your club sets as well?
I pretty much like to stick to that formula live also. Depending on how much time is available really, I always usually run out of time and miss out on playing a lot of the stuff I want to, but I am getting better at programming the tracks now. But as you know every crowd is different, some people feel it, some don’t. I’ve been lucky recently though, the places I have played at pretty much know what I do now and they have been really great.
What can you tell us about this mix you have done for us, who are some of the artists that feature in the mix?
Because of the time limit I started this one a little more uptempo than what I usually do, just some bits of new stuff including a couple of the demos of remixes i did for Inkswel and Wolf + Lamb.