Whilst Ibiza continues to be the music and dance industry's go-to spot, Maltese DJ and producer Carl Bee has other plans instead. Focusing his attention on his home country of Malta, Bee plans to put it on the world map as a celebrated spot for underground music – perhaps, the next Ibiza. The only face of a Maltese homegrown talent in dance music, Bee has amassed a wealth of releases on esteemed labels such as Lapsus and CR2, in addition to garnering support form the biggest names in techno.
Bee curated and promotes a residency night at UNO Village called GRINGOS which sees global talent perform every weekend throughout the summer (in a smashing open-air venue. Through this role, Bee has undoubtedly helped shape the music scene in Malta over the last two decades. His passion and dedication to music are reputable throughout and his earnestness about his passion helps him continue to pave the way for his unique sound to reach all corners of the earth.
In light of his ambitions, Bee has released "Pacer", his newest tech-house track that absolutely grooves. The melodic techno amalgamation exudes quiet confidence, oozing with packed layers of synths and a progressive bass line.
To learn more about Bee, "Pacer" and the producer's future plans for Malta, EARMILK caught up with him over a quick Skype video call.
EARMILK: So, being one of Malta's only known DJ/Producer, let's bring in a bit of context. How did you start off DJ-ing and producing?
Carl Bee: I started off at a young age – I was fifteen and I'd been taking music lessons. Music came very naturally to me; my father was a DJ and my cousin was the one who taught me how to. I started at fifteen and now I'm thirty-five – it's been 20 years. I was a DJ first and producing – I started around 2011.
EARMILK: Amazing. Terrible guess but I suppose music has always been your passion?
Carl Bee: Yes. I've always been surrounded by music and people – music records all over the house when I was young, taking out the stereo etc. It's not something that I woke up to on one fine day and said 'I'll be a DJ' – it was a natural progression.
EARMILK: You're known to be usually in the techno, tech-house realm but I know you don't really want to pigeonhole yourself into a specific genre…why do you tend to produce and stay within that area?
Carl Bee: Well it's something that being a DJ first, when I sit down in my studio I just let the flow go. I think it's something that comes depending on the mood. I produce everything but I always end up doing something that reflects my DJ side as well; it's more between house and techno but always on a dance floor kind of energy. When I get to produce, I always picture myself – I always ask myself: would I play this particular song? Maybe that's why my music is like that because I get to try them out and if it works, it works.
EARMILK: Let's talk about your newest release: "Pacer". Are there any inspirations behind it? What was the process?
Carl Bee: Before "Pacer", I don't think I've done quite techy-melodic stuff. As I told you earlier, I just sit down in my studio and let the flow go. I came up with this melody and groove around it and I remember when I did "Pacer", it was almost two years ago. I got some new equipment, I was trying everything out and it's always good to make new music when you have new equipment because you get inspired quickly. So I started playing around and it turned out to be a good one – it worked. There was support from Solomun, Pete Tong, and John Digweed – everyone played it and I had a very strong early support.
EARMILK: Love the early support. Perhaps, this is a great time to dig into Malta a bit more and your ambitions around your home country. You've helped build up the dance and electronic scene there – how did it all start? How did you start and what were you involved in?
Carl Bee: Well, I'm based here, it's the place where I grew up. I'm pure Maltese and a through and through islander. Basically in 2006, obviously I was only doing DJ gigs when I started. Then I started to promote my own events so I headlined my own events. 2006 I started to do that in small clubs which eventually led to bigger things. In 2011, I started Gringos which is a summer Sunday club night. Every Sunday for sixteen weeks at UNO Village. It's a big open-air venue and I get to invite DJs like The Martinez Brothers to come, all the big names in the underground genre. This year was the eighth year doing Gringos and basically, it's one of my main yearly things I do. As a promoter I get to play everywhere in Malta; theres not much clubs here so I get to choose the place.
EARMILK: So you get the pick of the crop!
Carl Bee: Basically yeah! What doesn't make sense doesn't make sense doing, so it's good to choose and I get to mostly headline.
EARMILK: Besides Malta, do you get to tour a lot? Is there any place, a favourite place to play at?
Carl Bee: Italy's nice to play. Ibiza is always a fun place. I just played in Ibiza for the Hot Since '82 pre-party and it's always special to play, you get to hang out with friends, you're always surrounded by huge people in the industry there. But even London was good fun and hopefully, I'll be playing more in London next year. Next year my schedule is coming together, bigger than this year, and I get to see new places.
EARMILK: Is there any place you particularly want to go?
Carl Bee: Definitely interesting to go to the US and South America for the kind of music I make. But Europe there are always nice places to visit; I want to explore the world with my music.
EARMILK: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Carl Bee: Still doing Gringos and perhaps, having a residency in Ibiza or something like that. But I see myself travelling a lot within the next few years, and obviously open my own record label soon. It's still in the process – it's the very early stages but I'm going to have one for sure.
Buy "Pacer" here.