With a Ragga Twins collaboration out now, we get the story behind this UK duo's recent rebranding
Of all the artists that emerged during the electro-house years of the mid-00s, My Digital Enemy have arguably proved among the most successful in the long term, their releases having now troubled the Beatport charts on a regular basis for a good 10 years.
Such success is rarely a matter of dumb luck. In My Digital Enemy's case, we'd put it down to two factors. Firstly, they've been careful to retain control over their output and musical direction. The vast majority of their work has come on their own labels sine the get-go: first My Digital Enemy, then MDE, then since 2012 Zulu Records and, latterly, sub-label Vudu.
And secondly, while their earlier releases bore all the electro-house trademarks, they never allowed themselves to become stuck in that particular rut. Their music has spanned a range of house styles: always leaning towards the bouncy, big-room, floor-filling side of things maybe, but never predictable and always with a sense that the DNA of classic house was flowing freely through its veins.
So yeah: it's fair to say Brighton lads Keirnan McTernon and Sergei Forster-Hall have done all right for themselves under the My Digital Enemy banner. Which makes it all the more surprising that they're now carefully furling up said banner, sticking it up in the loft next to the Christmas decorations and starting again from scratch under the sort-of-new alias of MDE.
They made their debut as MDE with Feelings on Get Twisted back in September, which was followed up by a collaboration with label owners Tough Love, Magical. That was followed in turn by Acting Like A Freak on Sleazy G, while their most recent single Move It Up saw them teaming up with rave/jungle legends The Ragga Twins.
Naturally, we wanted to find out what was going on. So we asked them.
So, My Digital Enemy are now MDE… what was the reason behind your 'rebranding'?
"We decided to re-brand to MDE as we were moving into a different direction musically and wanted the re-brand to reflect that."
Do you see there being any risks involved in this strategy at all?
"Yes! There is definitely some rebuilding to do after the re-brand... but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs."
Your most recent single Move It Up is a collaboration with The Ragga Twins. How did you come to hook up with them?
"Our publisher had the vocal already, and we'd written a backing track that need an urban vocal. We tried it out and it fit perfectly!"
Were you physically working together in the studio, or was it more of a 'remote collaboration' affair?
"It was 100 per cent remote."
Any other high-profile collabs in the pipeline? And what other old school heroes would still be on your 'to work with' wishlist?
"We would love to do something with Marshall Jefferson. We had a drunken conversation with him at his party at ADE last year, so who knows, maybe that might come together at some point."
In the past, you've been put under the 'future house' tag, yet I get the impression from other interviews you'd rather distance yourself from 'trendy' genre labels. All the same… how do YOU describe the music you're currently making?
"We would say a mix of G-house, bass house and tech-house."
Move It Up comes once more on Get Twisted… are you still running Zulu Records and Vudu? And if so, what have you got coming up in that department?
"We are still running Zulu and Vudu, which are still going strong. We just felt we'd like to associate our new brand MDE with a few other labels first. before we release again on Zulu or Vudu. But there will be some bits coming out next year for sure."
Your career got started in the mid-00s, which wasn't the best time for house music as an industry. Are things better now, do you think?
"Trends come in and out of fashion, so it’s important to keep true to the style you want to make, but also to stick to your lane. Success will come when your sound comes in fashion!"
Finally, what else is going on with MDE right now that iDJ readers need to know about?
"We're working hard in the studio to kick off 2018 with a bang, so watch this space!"
Words: Russell Deeks
Move It Up by MDE feat The Ragga Twins is out now on Get Twisted Records