Musician, sound engineer and remixer/producer,
the name of Mac Quayle is tied to some
of the most popular Madonna dancefloor anthems and to many
more dance hits by artists from all over the world.
MadonnaTribe met Mac and asked him to shows us a glimpse
of his world and of his work with the Queen of Pop.
MadonnaTribe: Hi Mac, let's start with
a classic question we've asked all the dj and remixer
we've interviewed so far.
Who influenced you to become a remixer and how did it
Mac Quayle: I started making records
back in the late 80's in New York City as a keyboard player
Producers would hire me to work with them in the studio
and it wasn't long before I got asked to play on a remix.
The first one was a mix of India "Dancing
on the Fire" with Jellybean
and Louie Vega.
I worked on other early remixes with people like Arthur
Baker, David Morales and Gail
I eventually started collaborating with the producers
that had been hiring me and with them and on my own have
remixed many records.
MT: How would you describe your remixing
style? Which type of sounds do you like to use the most?
MQ: The majority of remixes I have done
are in some genre of house music, be it
tribal, progressive, soulful, commercial or trance.
Obviously I love to use lots of drums and percussion.
Electronic sounds play a big role in what I do but I also
use a lot of guitars as well.
MT: How does your experience as a musician
influenced your remixing style?
MQ: Being a musician has helped me to
bring more "music" to my remixes. I have heard
a lot of mixes where people have just put a vocal over
a track and the key is all wrong and it sounds pretty
bad. I like to think that many of my records sound very
natural, like they could almost be the original production
of the song.
MT: Sometimes you are credited as a remixer,
as an engineer or a producer, what is the difference among
those things? What do you do as each title?
MQ: A remixer is practically the same
thing as a producer, or rather a re-producer. The producer's
job is to get the record made, in my case that generally
means creating all of the music needed.
An engineer is someone who is responsible for how the
record sounds, handling all the technical aspects of recording
and mixing. Most of the time I am doing all of these jobs
as well as musician, but depending on the project may
only do one at a time.
MT: Dj-ing is often the starting point
for a lot of remixers and producers.
In your case, it is somehow the latest addition to your
multiple career activities.
How do you feel about that and what different energy the
dj set gives to you as an artist?
MQ: I came into Dj-ing later in my career
at the urging of many of my DJ friends.
After working for so long in dance music I had done everything
else so it just made sense to get behind the decks. It
has taught me a lot about what works on the dance floor
and what does not.
A very different experience from being in the studio.
MT: What do you take from the sound of
the original song you are going to remix?
Do you listen to that original version to get ideas?
MQ: Yes, always. If there is something
I feel can be used in the dance version then by all means
I'll make use of it.
Chord changes, arrangements, sounds,
instruments whatever works.
MT: Together with Grammy-winning dj and
remixer Hex Hector you became the famous
production partnership HQ2 and remixed
a lot of songs from major artists.
Which is your favourite mix from the HQ2 collaboration?
MQ: A few of my favorites are Everything
But The Girl "Temperamental"
and Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You"
and "I Wanna Thank Ya".
MT: HQ2 also remixed Madonna's
"Music". Was that your first
MQ: That was the first (and only) HQ2
mix but I worked on a number of Madonna remixes with Victor
Calderone, "Ray Of Light",
Stranger", "Die Another Day",
Fits Heaven" and "What It Feels
Like For A Girl".
is one of the songs with many remixes, how would you describe
your version and what makes it different from the ones
of other djs?
MQ: I'm not really sure what to call
that one, it was a mixture or tribal, progressive and
MT: With your other well known collaborator Victor
Calderone you created more Madonna remixes such
as "Die Another Day" and "Hollywood".
How is working with Victor on Madonna remixes?
MQ: Victor is great, we get along really
well and our talents compliment each other in the studio.
He would typically create a drum track and then I would
add keyboards and we would finish it together.
MT: Of the Madonna remixes you worked
on, is there one you're particulary fond of?
MQ: One of my favorites is "Die
Another Day". I thought we really captured
a great vibe on that one.
MT: Is there a Madonna classic song you
dream to remix one day to give it a new twist?
MQ: There's too many to choose from!
MT: Along with Dj Johhny Rocks
you put together the second official megamix to promote
Madonna's GHV2 collection.
How was that experience? Did you feel the pressure of
doing an officially commissioned Megamix for the Queen
MQ: That was a challenging project.
We ended up creating a track out of something like 15
or her songs, and it was really difficult to get everything
to fit together and flow properly.
In the end I thought it came out pretty cool.
MT: You also used bits and pieces of
other songs not included on the GHV2
album such as sounds from "Vogue" and "Lucky
Star", was that your way to put in an original touch?
MQ: It was just our creative process,
we thought they worked so we stuck'em in.
MT: Did you remix other Madonna tracks
that are still unreleased or for your "personal collection
MQ: The first mix that Victor and I did
for "What It Feels Like For A Girl"
was not accepted and we went back in and created the one
that was released. We both felt that the first mix deserved
a release as well but to this day it is only for us!
What's the difference between working with Hex
and working with Victor? How do you change
your approach when working with different DJs?
MQ: Both Hex and Victor are very talented
in their own ways and I've always felt we collaborate well
Victor is a little more hands on with the technology in
the studio but they both are very involved with the production
process. I have worked with other DJ's who are more likely
to want me to do everything and they just stand on the sidelines.
I prefer a more equal contribution.
MT: One of you recent productions is
called "The Hurting" and it's
a collaboration with Madonna's long time friend and backing
vocalist Donna De Lory. We had the chance
to know Donna personally in Paris and she really is an
incredible person and artist.
How did this collaboration with Donna come up?
MQ: I have known Donna for years and
we actually worked together on her solo album "Bliss",
we co-wrote a song for that called "A Woman's Pride".
"The Hurting" is a cover of a Tears
for Fears song that was originally done for a
9/11 benefit album that never materialized.
I got the idea to do a dance version of the song and asked
Donna if she wanted to sing it for the benefit. When the
album didn't come together the song sat around for awhile.
Finally after about a year we finished it, released it,
and gave all of the proceeds to charity.
MT: You also had the chance to remix
a couple of songs by Thalia, more or
less known as the "Mexican Madonna".
I really like the work you did on her "A
quien le importa remix". Were you inspired
by the original version by the spanish group Alaska Y
The use of the echoes on her voice is very similar to
that original version.
MQ: I don't think I ever heard the original
version, just Thalia's.
MT: You are now touring the US with your
own Dj sets, what projects are coming next remix and CD
MQ: I've just produced two songs for
one of my favorite groups from the 80's, New Order,
currently producing a song for Colton Ford,
remixed two songs from Donna De Lory's
album of sanskrit chants, remixed "Only Love"
by new artist Nika Grey, and am remixing
"As I Kiss U" by the English
act Mama Razzi.
MadonnaTribe would like to thank the very cool Mac
Quayle for sharing a bit of his time with our
readers and for all the great Madonna music he made through
To learn more about Mac, about his biography
and to scroll his impressive discography
be sure to visit his official website at www.macquayle.com
Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe