Mèlay Brings The Boom

Mèlay;press photo

Mèlay;press photo

“I used to be really good at Super Smash Brothers Melee when I was 14,” explains Xavier Velarde of his DJ moniker Mèlay. “My brother used to drive me to tournaments and stuff because I couldn’t drive myself. So, I’d play and he started calling me Mèlay and it stuck.”

An LA based house DJ known for his unique style of mixing and music making, he has had an intense journey to become the artist we know today.

“My older brother and my uncle used to spin old booty breaks, stuff by the 619 boys and that stuff,” he says. “I used to sit there and watch them spin, and they spun at old clubs back in the day. I started playing with it and taught myself, and eventually they started teaching me stuff. They were like, ‘If you really wanna get into this stuff, you’re gonna have to learn the hard way’. So, yea, I got military drilled by them on how to DJ.

Mèlay; press photo“I started on vinyl and also using tape decks – you have two tape decks and in the middle is a mixer. You’re pretty much mixing tapes. I hated it; it was really hard. Vinyl was much easier cuz with tapes your rewinding and fast forwarding, it was a hassle.”

Despite the difficulties, this did little to deter him from pursuing a path in music.

“From there, just started getting into sounds and eventually started producing,” Mèlay elaborates. “I started DJing when I was about sixteen and went to engineering school for live production and audio engineering. I did that ‘til I was around 25; after that, it got to me while doing shows and seeing all these DJ’s play and just felt like, ‘I could do this’. So, I just went back to school for production and now it’s been three or four years since I’ve been producing.”

One of the most common discussions in electronic music is the debate between DJing and producing, and Mèlay has his own distinctive spin on it.

“At this point, since I’ve been DJing so long… I love DJing and its always been one of my favorite things to do. But once you get to a certain point and you know you can DJ, you don’t need to go that in depth into it, as long as you know you’re good at what you’re doing. So, I focus more on production now so I can go out and spin my own songs.”

In addition to making music, Mèlay is a founder and central figure of the collective known as Low Freqs – one dedicated to spreading much needed deep and dark house/bass grooves.

“Low Freqs started when I was going to engineering school. I had the idea but didn’t know anyone into the same music as me at my school. When I went back to production was when I met Walter Morales, aka CANDL. I brought the idea to him cuz he was the only one in my class making like UK House and all the grimy stuff. Everyone else was making pop and dubstep and country and stuff. So, I brought him the idea and after we all graduated was when we decided to dive into it and make it an actual thing. Along the way we met other people and started bringing them in. We have about ten people with us now.

“I feel like we are a little bit of everything. Events, collective, label… I’m trying to make it like a full circle thing. Lately we have been focusing more on label stuff just so we can get our music and our friends’ music out there. And trying to be an outlet for the people making the weird kind of music we are making.”

On that note, his brand-new release, The Boom EP just dropped and is filled with his trademark sound and grooves.

Mèlay "The Boom" EP cover

Mèlay “The Boom” EP cover

“My EP is something that, like the name of it The Boom, I have been trying to get out since the beginning of this year and hadn’t found the right tracks ‘til recently,” describes the producer. “And just trying to make this new genre-esque thing called ‘Sewer House’, which is House but a little bit darker and grimier. kind of like jungle infused with darker techno house. It’s a little weird. But I finally found three tracks and put them together; they are my three favorite tracks of the weird stuff that I make. Just because it’s different and weird doesn’t mean that it can’t be good.

“When I was making one of the tracks on there, it’s actually called ‘The Boom’, which I called it that cuz of the computerized sample, which was an old LL Cool J sample I used to mess with when I used to scratch,” he continues. “But the boom is pretty much… because I went through a long period of not producing because my brother passed away. For about five or six months I wasn’t producing, I was still playing shows but wasn’t producing at all. I had an epiphany one day that if my brother was still alive, he would be pissed. He would always push me to keep producing and keep producing. It was like a boom in my head and I thought of it like The Big Boom to kick me back into producing.”

All four tracks explore the deep and dark side of bass. “Step Wit” employs an infectious bass line with its steady groove that gets the body moving. “The Boom” is heavy and deep, evoking the feeling of getting sucked into the floor. The ethereal vocals and hard as nails punch of “Get Lost” create a grimy track anyone can get down to. And lastly, CANDL delivers his breaks remix of “Step Wit,” where he mutates the addictive bass of the original and fuses it into his singular vibe.

The album art is especially eye catching and pairs nicely with the music itself.

Mèlay; press photo

Mèlay; press photo

“I was sitting with Walter and he asked, ‘What do you want it to be?’ I wanted it to be simple and impactful, a simple image,” expresses Mèlay. “So, we ran through random slow-motion videos of guns shooting bullets and took a still of one of them. I just ran with it and we started dropping effects and colors on it and made it what it is now. I just wanted it to represent a big boom, like how big it was in my head to finally realize I should be doing this harder than I am.”

The future is jam packed with releases and events for Mèlay as well.

“After this EP, I’ve got a couple remixes of some underground hip hop songs I’ve been loving a lot that I’m gonna put out. I also have a desert show coming up on the 21st of September called Intercepted, which is pretty much an Area 51 themed rave in the desert. There is also the AYCE cheat day takeover for Low Freqs on October 2. After that, all the songs I’ve been building up and sending out to labels… one of those is going to become a single for Low Freqs again. And then we are releasing CANDL’s EP at the end of October. In November, we have a pretty big event coming up where I am playing the Jackson Tree Music festival. That’s one of my favorite places to ever play.”

Make sure to grab The Boom Ep today, available on all platforms!!