By Hilary Rawk
Love what you do. Do what you love. House DJ Miles Maeda’s outlook on life and music are refreshingly deep. Newcity had a chance to chat with him about life, music and the Chicago music scene.
You first got involved in the Chicago music scene back in 1992. How do you think it has grown or changed?
If I could show you photographs from my mind way back then, you’d see Derrick Carter and Spencer Kinsey doing security at a rave right next to the nitrous tank, Mark Farina and Ralphi Rosario stocking records at Gramaphone, DJ Colette working the door at Shelter in the dead of winter, Tommie Sunshine dancing around with an inflatable M&M at every party in town, ravers invading Untitled when they used to sell mixtapes and phat pants… so much has changed.
Since your move to San Diego, you’ve focused more on health and discipline. What about your experiences there changed your outlook on life?
Doing inner work is like standing in the center of a fast moving wheel. I used to try to navigate all the spokes of my many responsibilities and get dizzy and overwhelmed. My relationship to spiritual practice brought me to a center where I felt balanced, connected and still. This is where I and anyone can connect directly with creative energy and the higher self. I feel this is an important thing for everyone to know how to do.
How has focusing inward changed you as a person and as a musician?
The biggest change was in letting go [of] the idea of DJing and producing music for recognition and money. That kind of focus made me suffer quite a bit. Now my approach is to do this work so I can pass along all the amazing energy I have received. So if it’s in a club, through a record, over a drink or in a yoga class, I am doing what I do to be of service. It brings me all that I need and ask for, and it makes my work and my relationships much more deep and meaningful.
DJ Evolution Studios is a really cool project—what are some of your latest projects with that?
My ultimate goal with DJ Evolution is to have studios in different cities [that] provide equipment and training for people who are interested in exploring the DJ/production field. It’s a mentorship program that includes business development, event production and artist and tour management. It’s really fun to have a group work together and then create an outlet to share the fruit of their labor.
Do you think all people are creative in some way?
Of course! It’s all a matter of finding what you really love and doing it. Then your creative energies explode and nothing can control the excitement and joy that follows. My motto is “love what you do, do what you love.” Just meditate on this idea, and you will know that this is the secret to success in everything you do!
Tell me about the Travel In Love Show. Who is involved? How did it get its name?
It consists of artists who want their creative work and spiritual work to merge into one tangible entity. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past ten years, so I’m regularly gathering and collaborating with people who want to do this as well. The name came from the original collective who envisioned this outrageous circus-like caravan traveling around the world to share the energy of love, celebration and community through live performances, art exhibits, community gatherings, yoga events and educational programs. We just spent eight weeks traveling around the country on a mini-tour of Burning Man, San Francisco, Long Beach, San Diego, New York, Washington D.C., Charlottesville, Milwaukee and Chicago. We plan on having a larger-scale tour sometime in 2008 or 2009.
What’s coming up for you?
My very own record label, Bopsa, is finally ready to come out with its first release, “Ravon Lady,” featuring a remix by the one and only Derrick Carter. Look for that in January. I’ll be spending time in New York, Seattle and Vancouver the beginning of 2008. Then I’ll be off to Tokyo in the spring to DJ, teach yoga and start traveling more in Asia, Europe and Australia. And I’m finally starting my yoga teacher-training program in Chicago next year. It is a yearlong program focusing on Kundalini Yoga and is open to all. Details will be available at www.ouvre.org.
What should we expect from your show at Smart Bar?
I’ll be playing with Karl Almaria and Johnny Fiasco, so I’ll offer a bit of variety and round out the evening with some oldies but goodies.
Miles Maeda, with Johnny Fiasco and Karl Alamaria at Smart Bar, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, December 22 from 10pm-4am. $10 before midnight, $15 after.