Michna on the '90s Miami Music Scene and His New Thousand Thursday Album
NYC's Michna, also known as DJ Egg Foo Young in his Miami days.
Photo by Tonje Thilesen
Gen-Y locals may remember former Miami resident Adrian Michna from his time with the Secret Frequency Crew, whose "Miami Eyes" 12-inch from 2003 became something of an underground hit in our city's hippest dance clubs.
Of course, as DJ Egg Foo Young, Michna also released straight-up Miami breakdance records with apt titles like "Pop and Lock" and "B-Boys Take Control." But the Secret Frequency Crew's psychedelic mutant-electro style hinted more at Michna's later forays as an experimental solo producer, drawing from the myriad underground sounds of both his native NYC and the 305.
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"I moved from New York to Miami in 1996, and became immersed in the craziness," Michna recalls. "NYC clubbing at that time was all about house, techno, and hard-core hip-hop. When I got to Miami, you had electro, breaks, bass, ghetto style, glitch, funk, and the birth of American IDM. Miami producers were pushing each other to get real ill with their sound design."
Eventually, Michna would move back to the Big Apple, honing his singular production sound and releasing 2008's Magic Monday on Ghostly International, the esteemed label that's become a bastion for future-thinking, genre-defying electronica.
It's now been seven years since Michna's last long player. But his sophomore slab, Thousand Thursday, finally dropped this month, and fans may find it was well worth the wait. Picking up where Magic Monday left off with its chopped-and-screwed space funk, the new album offers more fully realized synth-pop songcraft, as on the vocal standout "Solid Gold" featuring MNDR.
"The concept was just to make the same kind of vibrant electronic music I listen to at home and in the club," Michna explains. "Creatively, I often start with basslines. I get fired up if I hear something really melodic, say, by Peter Cetera. Then I go into the studio and put in work. Same goes for if I hear a ridiculous beat rattling out of someone's trunk."
As for the recording process itself, Michna says: "On Magic Monday, I played many things by hand and did a lot of cut-and-paste. But on Thousand Thursday, I had more gear and utilized MIDI programming a lot more. I also learned new techniques in manipulating sound, so I hope that's apparent."
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Like the rest of Michna's body of work, the album contains sonic references to the many different times and places -- New York, Miami, and even London, where his father is from -- that proved pivotal in his evolution as a producer.
"I think it's impossible to be truly 100-percent divorced from cultural and contextual reference," he says. "But it's up to the producer to decide how much he or she wants to allow certain influences to seep into their work. If I travel to Shanghai, I'm definitely not gonna sample an Erhu, but I may sample the sound of the hotel elevator, simply 'cause it makes a sound I've never heard before."
As for his M.O. on the current Thousand Thursday album-release tour, Michna says fans should expect an action-packed DJ experience, not some pre-programmed listening party.
"If you went to see a dream lineup of DJ-producers such as, oh say, Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert, Andrew Weatherall, Coldcut, Tiga, and Jamie xx, you wouldn't show up expecting them to recreate their latest LP live," he explains. "You'd expect a solid DJ set that would be appropriate for the event, get the party going, and maybe sprinkles in some of their own remixes and edits."
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Michna. With Gooddroid and Dude Skywalker. Thursday, February 19. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via showclix.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-7750 or visit bardotmiami.com.
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