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 happen?

Mac Quayle: I started making records back in the late 80's in New York City as a keyboard player and programmer.

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 "Sky" King.

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".


HQ2 also remixed Madonna's "Music". Was that your first Madonna remix?

MQ: That was the first (and only) HQ2 mix but I worked on a number of Madonna remixes with Victor Calderone, "Ray Of Light", "Frozen", "Beautiful Stranger", "Die Another Day", "Hollywood", "Sky Fits Heaven" and "What It Feels Like For A Girl".

MT: "Music" 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 funky house.


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 of pop?

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 only"?

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!


MT: 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 together.
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 Dinarama?
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 wise?

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 the years.

To learn more about Mac, about his biography and to scroll his impressive discography be sure to visit his official website at


Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe


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