Beach Boy

Innovative Aussie producer Miami Horror’s journey from DJ to four-piece band

From the confines of a bedroom studio in Melbourne, Australia, electronic music producer and DJ Ben Plant (a.k.a. Miami Horror) and his newly incarnated live band worked diligently to complete their debut full-length album, Illumination. Making the album was a multi-year adventure for the four-piece psychedelic indie-electronic outfit, but well worth the effort. Plant seasoned Illumination with a variety of musical influences—from psychedelic and chillwave to disco and French house. In preparation for the blog darlings’ Las Vegas stop on their U.S. tour, I recently chatted with Plant about the making of Illumination, his favorite Miami Horror remix and his plans for 2011.

What is the musical concept behind Illumination?

We wanted to move away from the EP, which was a little old by the time it actually came out, something a little less dance-y and with a live-r sound. The focus has always been to make something classic, however, there was a greater focus on originality for this album.

What were some of your biggest musical influences in writing Illumination?

We didn’t want to make anything that could be pigeonhole-able or too relevant to any specific trends. The album was inspired by a lot of nostalgic ’70s pop, but we also let our disco and psychedelic influences seep through. We were listing to bands like Pink Floyd and Supertramp, while also going back and listening to old favorites like the album Moon Safari by Air.

What made you decide to make the live incarnation of Miami Horror a four-piece band?

Why did you decide to go the “live band” route versus the “DJ” route? I was a little over the direction club music was moving in and didn’t really wish to either play it or make it. Secondly I had always aimed to have some form of live show at some point and found DJ sets a little limiting.

Miami Horror also performs a lot of DJ sets. What influences your musical those?

We tend to play a lot of upbeat disco and pop with a few newer house tracks thrown in. If we get the chance we generally try to introduce the crowd to older things they may have not heard without losing the party.

The new record includes a bonus CD with remixes from artists/producers Fred Falke, Treasure Fingers, Yacht, Baby Monster and Shazam. How did you go about selecting these artists? I think the Shazam remix of “Sometimes” is my favorite. It’s a good balance and pretty much the kind of mix I was looking for at the time. It’s often hard to get remixes you want, and even then you don’t know if the mix will be good. We generally make a list with the label of potential artists we’d like to get and then see what’s possible.

Any big plans for Miami Horror in 2011?

We’ve recently done a collage of the album called Lucid Stream using only our favorite tracks and parts, it’s an example of where our heads are at currently. It’s much more psychedelic and disco-orientated than the album. It’s something we really want to get out there and hopefully perform live one day, so check it out!

Miami Horror plays the Beauty Bar with Teen Wolf and Jacuzzi Hi-dive at 9 p.m. Sept. 5.

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