In advance of their show on Friday night, Rinse FM regulars Mak & Pasteman have put together a special mix for Warehouse Project, mixing it entirely from vinyl. This has thrown up some insights into the DNA of their sound; the darkness is there, the techno boshers are there – but there’s a surprising – not to mention pleasing- amount of wonkiness and funk wriggling through the mix. It turns out that as DJs they’ve got hidden depths… We managed to catch up with the duo when they had a rare break from cooking up magic in the studio, and had a good, old fashioned geek out about vinyl – here’s what they had to say….

You’ve done this mix entirely from vinyl – how does that change your mixing style?

Mak- Errr well it’s not quantised so it’s a bit harder to mix..! Pasteman- But we both started on vinyl so it’s true to our roots I guess. We’ve recently been changing our studio and we’ve been preparing a lot of extended sets, so we had all of our records here together. We just put together stuff we enjoy buying and collecting as well as some test presses of our own stuff. It’s a real mixture.

What was the oldest tune you played?

M- I think it was a Matthew Herbert tune

That’s surprising- I wouldn’t necessarily associate you with playing a Herbert track…

M– Well, it’s a garage track, it’s arranged differently but the core of it is garage. It’s called Gotta Be Moving, it’s the first track on the mix.

P – I think there’s a few tunes on there that people wouldn’t straight away associate us with, but in a way that’s probably the thought behind the mix. With Warehouse Project there’s an element of freedom to play what you wanna play, so we haven’t thought, ‘oh, people may not get this’ – instead we’ve just thought ‘does this flow? do we like it?’

Are there any other surprises then?

P – Maybe the Moodymann edit of Alexander Robotnick would surprise people Is that the Problems D’Amour edit?

P- Yeah M- Something like that is nice to play, cos it cost me £50 (laughs)

And that track’s a timeless classic in the first place

Both – Yeah! M- I’ve played it out a few times now. We play some dark music, but we like to take it a bit lighter sometimes. There’s times when we’re playing sets and one of us will say, ‘ahh let’s try and lighten it up a bit’, because we do tend to like quite broody sounds.

Talking of darker tracks, what’s the moodiest moment on the mix?

M – Hmmm. It gets a bit dark towards the end. There’s a remix of Roman Flugal’s More and More on there.

P –Probably Ringer is the darkest tune on there, which is our new track on Unknown to the Unknown. It’s got this modular techno, modern take on the [Dance Mania track] Jack for Days sound.

It sounds to me like you’re pushing a more lo-fi, hissy sound with the UTTU releases – is that a conscious thing?

P – Yeah I think the past 6 months has seen the modular sounds become a key part of the writing process for us. We’ve settled into a groove on what we call ‘the Dance Trax’ stuff. We’ve found a groove that’s a real natural progression from our bassier stuff – it’s still as tough but it’s not necessarily big bass lines, it’s more quirky weird sounds.

Have you been pressing your new stuff up on dubplate? I feel like that sound really lends itself to be played on vinyl

P- We’ve been quite fortunate to have a lot of stuff get signed by labels that we’ve really wanted to work with. The next record is coming out on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, and we’ve signed an EP to Chiwax as well. The majority of what we’re writing is getting signed and is coming out on vinyl, so it’s all sort of coming together really nicely for us –we’re doing what we want to and what we believe in and it’s happen organically, which is really nice.

So are you playing vinyl out?

P- We’re doing it if there’s a set up that facilitates it. I’m sure any DJ who buys vinyl will tell you that you can hit problems – we got to Bristol the other day and it was hilarious, the deck was the wrong way round..

M- It was facing the other way round and there were no needles – it was like, OK, well that’s pointless… But it depends where we’re playing – if we’re playing Friday at Warehouse Project from 3am til 5am, and we’re playing somewhere else that night, we don’t really want to be dragging our records around with us. We’ll probably play more of a big room techno set in that situation – we have got some big room techno records on vinyl , but most of the records we buy are more like Matthew Herbert, or Moodymann, or the Carl Craig mix of Boris Blank, just more timeless stuff.

So would you say that the vinyl you buy is music that you’re more likely to want to still listen to in 10 or 15 years time?

Both – Completely, definitely. M – I think that comes from the experience of buying records – you get to the point where you realise that you’ve got 100 or so records that you never really play. You’ve got no defining memory of them, they were good club tools at the time, but as time’s gone on they’ve not held that same level of quality you first heard in them.

OK, so out of the two of you, who’s the tightest at beat matching

(laughter) P – We’ve got different styles I’d say

That’s interesting, how would you describe the styles.

P – He’s more head down and locked into the groove, whereas I think I react to the crowd more. I’m more excitable…

And do either of you pull a cheeky scratch?

P – Craig does. M – Yeah.

Has he ever knackered one of your records?

P- Ha! No. But I think he’s fucked one of his own. M- I used to do a lot of beat juggling as a weed smoking teenager. I’ve still got a load of records for that sort of stuff, so every now and then I have a little burn to see if I’ve still got the magic.

Do you ever have an argument over whose record is whose?

P – Well, we’ve started doing these Dance Trax parties where we’re gonna be playing all night, and we’ve got a lot of our records together at the moment – and it’s funny, our tastes, we’ve just got different tastes, so we’ve been learning each other’s records. When you play someone else’s record you might play a track they don’t generally play, and they’ll be like what the fuck is this? And it turns out to be a b side – especially with vinyl, it’s not like having a playlist of MP3s. Our tastes cross over in a really interesting way – I’d say I buy more disco stuff if anything, but that’s cos I like to listen to it at home.

M – I tend to buy more weird obscure stuff, like world music, or jazz records that are merging with electronics, someone like John Surgeon or some of the modal jazz stuff that Four Tet plays. I’m quite into that.

So can we see a future where modal jazz is gonna creep into the Mak & Pasteman sound?

M- haha I don’t think so… P – It’s interesting, because even the palette of DJs that we love listening to is so broad. It goes everywhere from Floating Points and Four Tet to Floorplan and real big techno artists. It depends what mood we’re in, same as everyone. It’s same in the way we write – recently we’ve been writing more techno stuff then sometimes we’ll want to write something more melodic, you’ve just got to be receptive to how you feel. It’s an emotive thing, music. It resonates with you.

Finally, do you have a favourite track of the mix?

M – My favourite at the moment is the new Soulphiction/Mike Dehnert Sky So High Tune

P – Yeah that’s a fat track.