It was just over a decade ago that I first interviewed Steve Mill. He was 26 years old, a Greek DJ living in London and, I thought, one of the best young house producers I heard. His album Higher State Impressions had just dropped on Urban Torque, a label with an imprimatur that meant a lot when it came to discovering and dropping a spotlight on quality house music creators.
It’s ten years later and while we’re a little older and softer in the center, Steve Mill is back doing what he was meant to — making great dance music, particularly his new release “The Mistake” featuring vocalist Geraldine and out on Tensnake‘s label, True Romance.
“Funny, how fast time is passing by,” he said when we caught up with him again — the first time in a decade, I think — in mid-August. “Well, I’m a 37 year old man now, running a family, working full-time in the music business as an Artist Services Manager at Beatport and recently started making music again after a three year hiatus.
“I guess it was the pandemic and the full time jobs in the business that kept me back, but I’m on it 100% again with all my heart, and it feels like it’s the best time of my life.”
“The Mistake” finds the rejuvenated Mill at height of his powers, crafting a gorgeous house track featuring soulful vocals from Geraldine and remixes from Tensnake and Amalle & Yambow (the latter premiered by 5 Mag on our SoundCloud).
“I guess I went back to my roots, which was always house music,” Mill says of how his style has changed. “I have always given musicality the prime spot in my sound — I want my music to stick in one’s mind, become an earworm. And I love working with singer/songwriters, I give them the music and they create something on top of it. This is so fulfilling for me.”
“The Mistake” was the first track he started after buying a new studio toy: an Akai MPC Live II. “I programmed the strings and I played the main sequence. It was blissful to listen to it. I had them on repeat and then wrote the bassline and the arpeggios around it. [Geraldine] loved it and started sharing ideas with me. I asked her for a hook line as I didn’t really want it to be the verse/chorus type. She sent me some toplines from which I kept the main one and the rest I used to chop vocals and create some new phrases — the ones you can listen throughout the intro of the track.
“I updated the link we used to exchange the versions of the track but didn’t let her know yet and at some point she calls me and she’s like ‘Oh my god Steve, did you create these vocals chops from the toplines I wrote?’ I was so happy to hear her so positively surprised. I guess the rest happened easily.”
Mill is wrapping up a Dirt Crew EP in October before ADE — three tracks including one written with a “very talented singer/songwriter called Tee Amara” — along with a Lorenz Rhode remix, followed by a single on his own label, Simples, with singer-songwriter Elli and remixes from Crackazat and Pieme.
Most impressive of all, Steve has managed to carve out a career as both an artist and someone working on the business side of the industry without becoming a jaded asshole like the rest of us.
“I have acquired so much experience and I understand so well the music as a business, which is good and bad, because knowing how the business works can some time kill the creativity. But I try to zone out from this and make music that I love. This has always been my compass and thats what led me to previous success.”
“The Mistake” featuring Geraldine is out now on True Romance.
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