DJ, Producer, and Performer Scott Melker knows how to create a unique feeling within his work. Based in New York City, his passion has always revolved around music especially remixing classic popular songs with random song pairings that fit just right, and magically turn into his own renditions. Scott Melker A.K.A. The Melker Project has played events with Kanye West, Public Enemy, Wutang and has worked all over the world, spending time with celebrities Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, and Quest Love. His latest offerings include a beautiful remix of Disclosure ft Sam Smith‘s Latch that quickly became a favorite across the blogosphere. Recently Scott Melker was kind enough to take the time to create an interview with musicisart below. Enjoy!
Please share your earliest memory involving or creating music.
SCOTT MELKER: This is a tough question, because almost all of my earliest memories are tied to music – that’s really the way my brain works. I can remember dancing in my crib to Fleetwood Mac, banging on my grandmother’s piano when I was 2 or 3, and listening to the Chipmunks Country Album when I was a toddler. I was already “writing music” on the piano at the age of 5.
What was your academic background concerning music? Did you study formally, or learn on your own?
SCOTT MELKER: I was trained as a classical pianist, with my early education coming by ear with the Suzuki method. I took piano lessons for over 10 years and practiced diligently. I also played the saxophone, sang and messed around with almost every other instrument. I never went to “music school,” per se, but was always taking some sort of lesson or class.
If you had to explain your music to a stranger, how would you do so?
SCOTT MELKER: ADHD! My musical tastes are incredibly varied and random, so I try to bring all of my influences together into my projects.
What are your favorite instruments to work with and what aspects do you like most about using them?
SCOTT MELKER: I’m old school, so I still use Technics 1200 turntables when I perform. I often incorporate other controllers and a keyboard, but the classic DJ set up is still my go to. For production, I use Ableton, an APC40 and a Yamaha Motif XS 8 keyboard.
Who are some of your greatest influences?
SCOTT MELKER: This is a long, long list. However, I always come back to soul music, and the amazing artists who create it – Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Donny Hathaway etc. To me, it isn’t great music unless it has soul, which is why I have an issue with so much music that comes out today.
When you’re working, are you fully involved in what you’re doing or is your mind already planning ahead?
SCOTT MELKER: My mind is always planning ahead. I have 10 projects going on at once, 9 of which never make it to market. It is hard for me to sit down and complete a single project without constantly closing it up and coming back to it with a fresh ear.
On average, how long does it take for you to create a song?
SCOTT MELKER: It takes me a few days, at least. I pour over the small details, so I find myself coming back to the same songs over and over again and making changes.
Which albums do you credit as having the biggest influences as far as your life and creativity are concerned?
SCOTT MELKER: Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life, The Pharcyde – Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde, Fleetwood Mac – Rumours, Michael Jackson – Thriller, The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die, Donny Hathaway – Extensions Of A Man, Simon & Gardunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water, Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt, A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders, Bob Marley – Exodus… I could go on for days.
If you could have a drink with one musician, living or dead, who would it be and what would you like to ask them?
SCOTT MELKER: Bob Marley. I would ask him to channel me all of his ideas that never came to fruition.
What do you hope people take from your music?
SCOTT MELKER: I try very hard to educate younger audiences on classic material. Most people don’t realize that the ideas that are being expressed in today’s music are being borrowed from older music. This the reason that I consistently fuse old tracks with new ones… to create a bridge for a new audience.
Tell me about a favorite experience thus far in your career?
SCOTT MELKER: There have been so many… one of the best that I always come back to was my show at Red Rocks in Colorado. It was nearly canceled due to rain, but the minute we were about to bag the entire show, the clouds cleared and I was able to go on. I started my set with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2, the video for which was famously shot at Red Rocks. People lost their minds.
It’s not easy to be an artist. What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?
SCOTT MELKER: Stick with it. Don’t listen to anyone else’s opinion. Create exactly what you want to. You may not make it, but at least you will have been true to yourself.
May you have a particular inspired quote, statement or favorite words to live by?
SCOTT MELKER: Here are a few:
Nas – “I never sleep, cuz sleep is the cousin of death.”
Rakim – “I start to think, and then I sink into the paper like I was ink. When I’m writing, I’m trapped in between the lines, I escape when I finish the rhyme.”
Biggie – “We used to fuss when the landlord dissed us, no heat, wonder why Christmas missed us. Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirstay.”
Enjoy Scott Melker’s latest works and the inspiration behind them:
Bell Biv Devoe – Poison (Scott Melker & Niko Javan Remix)
“The remix combines the best of both worlds: it keeps the vocals and funk from the original intact, but once the intro verse is over the tune breaks down into a floor-shaking trap-inspired bass-run. Dirty, unforgiving and unapologetically intense, “Poison” is the perfect peak hours tune to drop on unsuspecting listeners. Caution: is known to cause chaos on the dance floor.”
Disclosure – Latch (The Melker Project Remix)
“Latch is arguably the best song to make it to the pop charts in a number of years. That’s because it’s not really a pop song. It’s an incredible house track that takes me back to the Body N’ Soul days in NYC. When I listen to the song and Sam Smith’s voice, I can’t help but hear the track cut in half and turned into a moodier slow jam… so I created just that. This is an acoustic version anchored by melodic pianos, with low key cymbals, strings and bass added in for extra flavor. I hope you like it – this is definitely one of my favorite pieces that I have created.”
The Melker Project – Show Me Pound Cake Ft. Jay-Z, Ellie Goulding, Chris Brown & Kid Ink
“Pound Cake” has one of the hottest beats that I have heard in a long time. I was curious as to where they found the vocal sample, and was surprised to find out that it was Ellie Goulding. I found the original Ellie Goulding track, repitched it and chopped it up to match “Pound Cake,” and created a completely new beat. I did not actually sample Pound Cake at all, except for the Jay-Z vocal where he says “Cake, Cake, Cake.” After creating the new beat, I went in search of a vocal that would suit the track, and stumbled across “Show Me” by Kid Ink. I am actually not a big fan of the original track (or of Chris Brown, for obvious reason), but it seemed to work perfectly for me.”
Kanye West Ft. T-Pain – Good Life (Ruen & Melker Project Remix)
“Good Life is a classic. However, it’s a tough record for DJs to play, considering the rise of EDM and higher energy music. Ruen and I set out to change that, giving this timeless record a Trap update, perfect for peak time on a Saturday night.”