First Look Friday: Memeb Blends Electro-Funk With Soul On The New 'Surface' EP [Full Premiere]
The electro-funk scene is alive and well--and Memeb may be one of the best bellwethers of its ongoing evolution. A production duo made up of two Spanish brothers, Memeb blends soulful vocals with huge, sprawling dance tracks, making them one of the clear heirs to the throne that Disclosure seems to have abdicated. Antonio's productions, along with brother Jose Maria's guitars and vocal features from some of the best underground talent in the dance world all meld to create grooves vibrant and modern--this is music for anyone chasing the hot pink rush of vocals and bass climaxing at the exact same moment.
Now, Memeb is rolling out their excellent new EP, Surface, which Okayplayer is very proud to premiere below. From the smirking bounce of "Thousand Words" to neon slink of "Don't Stop Me," it's a record that will surely see the group's name at the top of playlists around the globe--which is really all the group has ever hoped for. Okayplayer reached out to Memeb to discuss the new record, and the inspirations that made it possible. Listen to Surface below, and read on.
Okayplayer: How do you pronounce Memeb?
Memeb: MEM - EBB.
OKP: So...who is Memeb? Please introduce yourself(s) to the nice people...
Memeb: So, Memeb used to be two brothers, José Maria and me (Antonio); but right now José Maria (who sometimes added guitars and electric bass to the project,) is a little bit more busy with his family. So now it’s me who is writing, producing, and mixing. I still call on Jose to record guitar with me sometimes - we’ve got that kind of relationship, being brothers!
OKP: Amidst all of your electronic tones we hear a pretty firm boom-bap influence. Who would you name as your favorite hip-hop producers, past and present?
Memeb: Yeah! Hip-hop and breaks - it’s not too easy to mention just one, but I’ll have a go! A Tribe Called Quest in the mid-'90s is a good starting point; but also I love Timbaland’s production on his classics from the late '90s and early noughties. Right now I’m loving Tyler, the Creator and Kendrick Lamar - they’re both on repeat on my speakers. "King Kunta” is a TUNE!
OKP: We also feel the presence of some serious Chicago house influence. How did that sound first make its way to you? And did it take at first listen or did it grow on you?
Memeb: You’re right, but if we’re honest, we came late - we are '90s boys. Right now though, we’ve been banging out some classics, like Frankie Knuckles or Mr. Fingers. Unfortunately we haven’t lived deeply in that age; but we acknowledge that our influences and lots of new house artists are of course, born from Chicago’s house roots. We just love listening to the legends' catalogues and finding inspiration wherever we fall.
OKP: How has Soundcloud and the current landscape of online beat-trading impacted your career?
Memeb: It’s a powerful tool for us and everyone who wants to share and expand their music. We met interesting people who love our music through just the use of Soundcloud, and that's makes us feel happy. We’re musicians and of course, we want people to hear our music, if we inspire people to make similar beats, that’s fine!
OKP: Are you involved in a particular club/dance scene in Spain or Europe generally--and how does that inform your music? Do Spaniards love a bit more synth?
Memeb: Not really actually. To be honest I am concentrating on making good music; however you want to view it. I want Memeb’s music to be consistent. We know that Spain is an amazing place to play. There are top spots in Ibiza, Madrid or Barcelona - so many respected clubs. But right now, Spain is not a focus a focus for me - I want to build a solid profile, with a strong music, message and style - and I want it to be heard by everyone. Spanish people tend to love Electronic music in all it’s forms - listening to music is about having a good time - and the taste is too eclectic to pin down.
OKP: Pretty much anybody making soulful dance music with developed melodic structures and a slow house or steppers tempo is going to hear themselves described with the D-word: Disclosure--if only because of their runaway success. Are you fans?
Memeb: Well, let me start by saying that to say something bad against "Disclosure" would be a big mistake. Firstly, because we love them! Secondly, i think we are pretty new on the scene, so we just need to work hard to show people what we have in mind. We like a specific texture in our sound; but, we like to play it on different tempos or styles. So it’s not a problem to us if someone says that we sound like anybody else. If we constantly say that artists sound like other artists, then we’re going to reach a point of: "Everything is a remix."
OKP: Derrick May once said that it's not a producer's role to dance to their own music, which seems like it might be bullsh*t. Do you catch yourself dancing to your own stuff? What is it in a track that makes you yourselves want to get up and move?
Memeb: Lol, right, dancing to my own tunes is not my game - but I like it when people dance to my stuff - especially when my girlfriend or friends play my tunes within their party playlists - that makes me feel great.
OKP: What's on the near horizon for Memeb?
Memeb: Being consistent is the key and I always want to be humble. I am in a privileged position because I do what I like to do. Everything else is welcome. I am writing, co-writing with other artists and also working on new Memeb music for later this year. We’re looking to start playing live soon; but we want to make sure people know our tunes first - a good crowd is key to a great live show!
OKP: What's on the far horizon?
Memeb: The far horizon? Travelling, playing our music, eating good food, and staying healthy. If you work in what you love to do, this should be the right path!