Michal Menert is one of today's most original electronic producers. Besides the fact that he has the Pretty Lights Music logo stamped on his reputation, Menert spends an unusual amount of time putting feeling and emotion into every tune he writes. Sure, he wants to have the biggest bass in the room and the ability to melt faces, but at the end of the day, Menert wants to produce tunes that act as a soundtrack to real life.
A little known fact we found out about this Colorado native: He's a big fan of chillwave, something that's not totally evident in his music. Menert says that chillwave -- slower, more ambient indie music that incorporates some element of electronics -- encompasses everything he loves about beat culture, without the social pressure of having to produce something popular.
If Menert sounds like a melting pot of music, it's because he is. He takes bits and pieces of the world around him and flips them into an original concoction.
We met up with Menert at the Identity Fest afterparty at The Green Elephant, where he performed alongside record label brothers Gramatik and SuperVision. Believe me, he's as adorable as he sounds.
Currently jamming: lots and lots of old vinyl.
"I've got a new program where I can take [my vintage records] and turn them digital onto my computer. I really like it. I wish I listened to more modern music. I do when I have a chance, but I feel like when I'm working on a new album, I pull from my vinyl, that old stuff. Sure, I could go home and turn on whoever just came out with something this Tuesday, or I could go home and go through five good records that I need to go through to make my album."
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Finds inspiration in: every single little sample, whether it be a one bit or 30 bits.
"A lot of people do this with their samples: They'll have a sample session where they get all their records and listen to the beat and save the times for later. Whereas, for me, it's like I work out each song. I have records I'll pull out looking for a specific beat, and I go through them pretty intensely and, when I hear it, I know it's there, you know? It's the same thing with looking for a sample; if I hear an interesting one, I'll keep it in mind for another song I might be working on -- if it's a drum break or a guitar line or a piano line. Whatever it is, you can't rush it, you have to wait for the right one. It feels right. You can't have a one night stand with samples."
Where the two roads meet: a new album to succeed his 2010 debut, Dreaming of a Bigger Life.
"I'm finishing it up, and I want to pull it together as an album where it has those hot songs that I'll play live. But I want moments where it's not about the movement of the song or the drop. I want people to be able to feel when they hear it in their headphones, in their car - you know, like when you're almost passively listening to it. I don't want every song to be one that will knock your pants off. But when you're sitting in your car thinking about your bills or going to the bank or just around town and you think, 'Man, I feel really nice right now.' It's not always about the party; it's about an emotional connection with the music ... Music has saved my life so many times."