Think you know Michel Cleis? Think again. In this exclusive behind-the-scenes mini documentary, which is part of Cadenza's Random Cuts series, we get to live Michel Cleis' DJ life for 30 days, as our trusty camera follows him everywhere. We see Michel on the road with Cadenza boss Luciano, doing accounting in Caracas, producing music in his studio, and DJing at parties around the world.
'Random Cuts' is a series of short films from Cadenza that delves into the minds of its artists, by handing them the reins to a video camera for 30 days to film their lives and reflect on what they do. Each episode is a self portrait shot by the artist, dragging us into their world. These random cuts see up close and personal footage of the DJs homes, travels, sets and thoughts edited by director Raphael Sibilla, into roughly 15 minute long insightful pieces, allowing the audience to really get to know the brains behind these talented musicians.
Michel Cleis recently dropped the 'Mir A Nero' EP on DJ Koze's label, Pampa Records. The three tracker features Cleis' signature multi-layered, Latin-influenced house music, with a gorgeous 12 minute house cut moving through waves of energy and warm summery sounds.
Michel Cleis recently put together a Source To Cycle podcast for us here at Cadenza. Check his Cycle mix for a flavour of how Michel Cleis likes to rock a club, and listen to his Source for a journey through his influences.
In the space of two short years Michel Cleis has vaulted from being an unknown producer with a handful of vinyl releases to his credit to one of the hottest artists in electronic music thanks to a tune called ‘La Mezcla’.
Back in 2008 Luciano heard a record that defied categorisation. A sinuous blend of Latin rhythms, tribal drums and an unforgettable Spanish vocal, it didn’t “fit” anywhere – except Cadenza. Luciano signed ‘La Mezcla’ and suddenly the name Michel Cleis was ringing in the ears of Europe’s club cognoscenti, who were dazzled by his unheralded genius.
To know Michel is to understand that only he could have made a track like ‘La Mezcla’ because it embodies the richness and variety of his life and music. Born and raised in the Italian part of Switzerland (contrary to some internet reports, he is ‘100% Swiss’), Michel Cleis speaks five languages, and grew up listening to everything from Miles Davis and John Coltrane to the Beatles ,or Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Battisti. As a student in Lausanne, he witnessed the blossoming of house music with artists like Adamski, Robert Owens and Kid Bachelor. Nevertheless, he did not imagine a career in music. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Michel jokes, “But I didn’t want a normal job.”
Despite a childhood yearning to become a baker, Michel became a practicing psychologist. His love for music never dwindled, however, and he continued to DJ
whenever possible. A fateful basketball game pushed him into production – he broke his leg and was laid up at home for three months. “I was afraid of going crazy,” he recalls, “So I bought a sampler and started playing around with my records.” Michel’s passion and knowledge of music, developed over long years of listening and DJing, came bubbling to the surface and quickly resulted in releases on labels including Rekids, Supplement Facts, Buzzin’ Fly, Aus, Strictly Rhythm and – of course – Cadenza.
Michel credits Luciano with championing ‘La Mezcla’ and turning a personal masterpiece into a worldwide hit. “I never expected it,” he says modestly. Always
eager to move forward, Michel has had a string of releases on some of house music's hottest labels since, including Supplement Facts and Pampa Records, who recently released Cleis' 'Mir A Nero' EP.
Gigs wise, Michel Cleis is a fully fledged Vagabundo, and has been part of Luciano's crazy Cadenza gang since the summer of 2010, with regular DJ performances at Pacha and Ushuaia in Ibiza. He can also often be found on Europe's tour circuit.
‘La Mezcla’ (Cadenza/Strictly Rhythm)
Spencer Parker ‘The Beginning’ (Michel Cleis Remix) (Buzzin’ Fly)
‘East of Eden’ (Supplement Facts)
Cortney Tidwell ‘Palace’ (Michel Cleis Remix) (Aus)
Skunk Anansie ‘Because of You’ (Michel Cleis Remix) (One Little Indian)
Baeka 'Right At It' (Michel Cleis Deeper and Club Remixes)
River Ocean feat. La India 'Love and Happiness' (Michel Cleis remix) (Strictly Rhythm)
August 25 - Kibanda, Benevento IT
September 4 Pacha, Ibiza, ES
September 8 Loft Beach & Club, Mannheim, DE
September 16 Pacha, Ibiza, ES
September 27 Ushuaia Beach Hotel, Ibiza, ES