One of the most powerful and important roles of music is its ability to help us address our emotions, providing the soundtrack for an inward journey to access or express what we need most in that moment. For Lem Springsteen, that role came to life through Meltonix, his latest creative avenue in a long and renowned career as musician, producer, and more. With the release of his first album as Meltonix, “St. Elsewhere”, Lem brings to light meaningful emotional expressions from deep within, while inviting listeners to find their own message from its personal story. As he shared with us, “In this album project I hope my initial feelings of despair, which I tried to mature, gives the listener feelings of relaxation, reflection and of course sensuality.”
While this is the beginning of Meltonix, Lem Springsteen is a name familiar to many in the house music world; as half of the duo Mood II Swing he has remixed around 300 tracks and over 100 originals, their work renowned by major and independent labels alike. Signed to EMI Music Publishing in London, his name has been on projects with artists like Ultra Naté and Janet Jackson, and has appeared on many compilation albums and several soundtracks. In 2010 Lem established the Urban Lounge Music imprint, releasing music from artists like Joi Cardwell, Vanessa Daou, and Lea-Lorien. While his work behind the scenes has reached much acclaim, his artistic side comes to the forefront again with the release of “St. Elsewhere”: “a hybrid of intimate spaces between sensuous ambient electronic, melancholic R&B, cosmic future jazz and deep nocturnal House.”
To share his sensual and sophisticated sound with our global audience, FRISKY invited Meltonix to be our premiere Chill Featured Artist. His exclusive mix that combines his own productions with selections which showcase his unique style will air on Wednesday December 19th @ 2PM EST [convert timezone] and be available to listen on-demand anytime you’re in the mood. It was a pleasure to catch up with Lem to learn more, his perspective on the music and its impact is beautiful to read, and I’m excited to hear that we can expect much more from Meltonix in the future.
How did the idea of Meltonix begin? Is there a difference between the sound of “Meltonix” and “Lem Springsteen”?
Meltonix creation began as part of my self therapy during a very difficult time in my personal life. Watching a loved one decline from health matters is one of the most painful life experiences and I became responsible for overseeing things. Although I’ve always had downtempo grooves, collecting dust in my library, I decided to combine the best of those dust collectors and the flood of current emotions I was experiencing. I later got the idea, from a music colleague that Meltonix can be my prescription pill for an escape and can find a home in the digital landscape. It can be my creative outlet for myself, without any boundaries and/or expectations. Working as an artist, the general public normally doesn’t gravitate towards melancholy, especially in the dance/House genre.
St. Elsewhere is such a lovely balanced blend, a unique combination of styles that creates something definitive and distinctive. Did you have an aim when you first began, with a particular style and balance within the album, in mind?
Yes and no to the sound of Meltonix being my sound. Yes it is the kind of music I like to listen to and chill to when I’m in that kind of mood. And yes as the creator of Meltonix, you’ll hear I’m influenced by moody minor keys. But working in music for over 20 years means I have learned to wear many hats. Each production or collaboration has a different mindset. It depends on if I’m co-writing, co-producing or remixing somebody’s else’s song. Since I consider myself open minded and not one dimensional I’ve learned to be fluent when working with different artist. So definitely yes the vibe of Lem Springsteen can be heard in Meltonix and everything I do. My influences always get incorporated into what I’m working on, regardless of tempo or genre specific releases. I consider myself a soulful guy with pop sensibility.
Balance can be subjective. But a journalist called the music a hybrid in between ambient electronic, cosmic future jazz, melancholic R&Band nocturnal House. I never thought of those actual words before but feel I, at least, achieved that.
Have you ever felt pressure to make music within a particular style? How do you keep your own unique voice?
I feel pressure when making dance songs, especially with artist like Mood II Swing. Writing music in general is never stressful for me. But when you have self-imposed reasons that you have compete with the last success you had, even if it was many years prior, honestly that creates a certain amount of pressure. Added onto the fact that times & technology has changed production styles and the popular music buying public are mostly millennials. So having other outlets that don’t impose any form of pressure is how I keep balance.
What do you think are the most important qualities that the music you create must have?
The most important qualities in the music I create is the music must have a soulful groove, which could be interpreted as funky, jazzy, or even deep with and basic minor keys, that sound soothing. For me it’s more about a simple harmonic progression than the choice of drum sounds, although I’m not discounting that. And if the music contains vocals, I prefer lyrics that are insightful, positive, uplifting or sensual.
Are there any habits or routines that you use to help with the creative process?
When working on music my routine starts with an organized work space, that is a must. When working alone I always light incenses and make sure the background lighting sets a mood. I have a habit to use mood enhancers when I’m creating but definitely not when mixing.
How has your process changed since you first began writing music?
The process has only changed in terms of technology. I started writing music from my Roland M1 keyboard to graduating into writing music behind a SSL board in big studios, to now writing music with my midi controller and home computer. The one thing that definitely changes things is software. Since the late 90’s what is more popular to use, which also has great tech support is the one thing to continually change.
What is the most useful thing you have learned over the years, which has helped you as an artist?
The most useful thing I learned is belief in self. Fear, self-doubt and being concerned with others perception of you will constantly create a road block for one in this ever changing industry. Trust your instincts and don’t stand behind something that does not represent you.
What are you most proud of, within the music and within your life?
Music has been my life since I graduated college many moons ago. It hasn’t been easy but I’m proud to have met people who say I’ve been part of something that either changed or saved their life. The medal plates of accolades are great but meeting fans of music I’ve been a part of that told me I’ve touched them in a positive way is something to be proud of. I’m also very proud to have previously worked with many singers or talents, which I consider great. The list is too long to list, lol.
Why do you think we connect so deeply with music?
I believe we connect deeply with music because it was designed for the human experience. Our inner being or spirit/ soul yearns for certain types of sounds and/or melodies, which make us feel good. It could be something so simple as a morning birds melody. For me the sound of water, rain is relaxing.
Music is the most powerful art form. It’s the strongest form of magic.
Although we sonically hear it, many can feel and many creators can see it, metaphorically speaking. It has been known to literally save lives. It’s a known fact that playing a piece of favorite music to a person with dementia can restore happiness and good vibes.
Although the industry is the not the most respected, amongst global industries to be able to endure working in an ever changing, unstable business says a lot about the power of music.
Can you share anything else coming up for you in 2019 that you are excited about?
Yes I’m excited to have worked with the funky diva Dawn Robinson from Lucy Pearl, and EnVogue. Mood II Swing has a single with her coming out in 2019, with various remixers, which I’m a part of. I’m excited about this St Elsewhere LP and releasing more music under Meltonix. I’m also excited about all the other collaborations that are in the works. I have a lot of music coming out in 2019.