We sat down with Scottish techno DJ and producer Mha Iri following her recent release on Drumcode as part of their all female Elevate compilation to celebrate International Women’s Day. We got into what influences Mha Iri, her work process, her sound, representation, and more.
WWD: Hey Mhairi, how are you, how has 2023 started for you so far?
It’s been a great start to the year so far. I’ve had a few great gigs and recently released on Drumcode which has been a huge goal of mine for a very long time.
WWD: Tell us about your journey to where you are now – how you got into dance music, where and when?
I got into dance music from a young age as my dad used to buy pirate cds from the markets in Scotland and lots of them would include trance compilations as well as hard house and techno. My older brother was also into djing when he was younger and he would show me the latest techno he was listening to and playing so that’s where my interest peaked.
WWD: How much of an influence on you is the Scottish scene, the people, the landscapes, the sounds, the clubs and the energy of the parties?
I started going to illegal raves when I was a teenager growing up in Scotland so that has definitely had a big influence on my taste in music and production style. I also loved how open these events were with all different types of people there to dance and be with one another and the music.
WWD: How do you evolve your own sound while staying true to your roots and own signature and not jumping on new hype bandwagons?
I make music that I enjoy, and I always have done. I find making tracks to fit a certain sound or trend stunts creativity for me, anyway. I prefer just enjoying the process and if a great track comes out of it then I am happy.
WWD: How do you work, do you have an idea in your head you work towards or do you just experiment and jam and see what happens?
I have a few ways of working, depending on how inspired I am or how ideas are flowing. Sometimes I’ll have a melody in my head pop up out of nowhere and I’ll use my voice humming or singing it on my phone to work on later. Other times it’s hard to come up with anything I think is unique or interesting enough. On those days I usually scour Spotify, listening to other tracks and if I find a melody I like or a build up and drop that inspired me, then I will reference it.
WWD: What role do dreams, day to day life, personal emotions play in inspiring your music? Can they be a spark that gets you an idea going in the studio? Or is it more just thinking about what works in a club?
A lot of my tracks have a message or are emotion-led. My track ‘Your Heart’ for example was written during peak covid when it felt like people were very divided on certain topics or decisions and there was a lot of anger and sadness. For me it was to convey a message that we need to stay open to one another and respect each other’s choices without judgment and fear.
WWD: Are you concerned with your environmental impact as a dj, and what can you do about it if so?
I source local organic produce where I live and support farmers by buying directly from them rather than soulless supermarkets which also reduces my plastic consumption to nearly nil.
WWD: Do you have a responsibility to use your platform for good, to talk about positive change in the industry and the world that should be made? Whether it’s an eco message or social or political one?
My platform is for sharing my art. I feel that by sharing my music with the world I might be able to shine a little light in a world that can be dark and difficult. As an artist that’s what’s important to me.
WWD: Is female, multi-racial and pansexual DJ and producer representation important do you think, so young people of all backgrounds, ages, races, colours, sexualities and religions can see themselves on stage and aspire to be the same?
I think it’s important that people who love music are able to pursue it and learn about it and have access to the tools to allow them to do so, whatever walk of life they come from.
WWD: What else are you working on, what have you got coming up?
I’m working on a new EP at the moment that I am very excited about and I’m also heading over to Australia for my first tour as an international act there, so I am really pumped for that.
Buy link – https://drumcode.ffm.to/dc277