TP MIX #123 – Michelle Sparks

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Michelle Sparks is quickly making a name for herself as an icon of American techno. Her sound is a future leaning blend of barebones minimalism and deft musicality, meshing the atmospheric with the propulsive. Her luscious basslines and euphoria-inducing breakdowns have found a home on LA-based label Octopus Recordings, for whom Sparks has released continuously future forward cuts that speak towards the energy of both emotive atmospherics and rave aesthetics. Following her recent remix of Dusty Kid & Marascia’s track WIWY for Octopus, we’re delighted to have Michelle provide us an exclusive mix for The Playground.


Tell us about your approach to curating mixes; does it start with a specific song, or is it more about a mood or feeling?

I like to generally cultivate a feeling with my mixes. I think building energy and feeling over time throughout the mix is essential. I always try to choose a collection of tracks that all fit together in one facet or another but I don’t plan out the order of the tracks. In the moment of mixing I think it’s most important to feel what comes next and choose the tracks from the way those feelings come about during the overall mix. When there’s certain tracks I know I want to play, I’ll usually plan to play those in a specific area of my set but it’s pretty broad (like in the beginning/middle or end) and then just kind of let it flow till I feel it’s right to mix that specific tune in. 

How does your approach to remixing differ from mixing a set?

Great question! So when I’m remixing a record I definitely like to listen through it a few times and take in what elements of the track really stick out to me. I’ll generally take those elements and build the remix around those iconic sounds of the track creating a fresh feel of those elements in my remix. When I’m mixing a set, I set out to create a feeling through different records over the course of the time of the set. I think we all are generally captivated by certain elements of a song when we hear it, and a DJ mix to me looks to highlight those parts of each song during the set. So there’s definitely differences to how I approach remixing vs mixing a set, but the similarities lay in finding those iconic parts of records and letting those shine through throughout a DJ set or in a remix.

Your recent remix of Dusty Kid’s WIWY for Octopus really pulls out a melodic soul from the original. Which elements of the original were you inspired by?

Dusty Kid’s WIWY is such a powerful track on its own that It was such an honor to remix it. After listening to it a few times there were a few percussive parts that really stood out to me as well as the melody sprinkled throughout the track. I felt that in my remix I wanted to let the melodic element really shine throughout while giving it a pretty heavy but grooving kick and bassline. That melody is infectious and grabs me every time I hear it. 

What can we expect from you next, are you able to share the news? 

Yes! I have an exciting release coming on Octopus Warehouse Series label in January, and I have a couple EPs coming out early 2022 that I can’t quite spill the news on yet, but please stay tuned for a lot of new music in 2022!


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