Scoring a hit HBO show would be the dream for pretty much any musician. But when Nathan Micay got the call to work on Industry shortly after a gig in Australia in February 2020, the timing must have felt like a godsend. That Australian date turned out to be his final DJ set before the pandemic forced most of the planet into lockdown. He started working on some ideas immediately.
Micay was an inspired choice by the Industry runners, who’d become enthralled by the fluttering synths of his 2019 track Blue Spring. Having spent most of the 2010s earning his stripes in club music – first under the moniker Bwana, then by easing elements of trance and dream pop into techno sets under his own name at coveted places like Berghain’s Panorama Bar – the Berlin-via-Toronto artist was becoming increasingly cinematic in his approach to production. The Blue Spring album, which was influenced by the work of the Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo, created sci-fi narrative involving clashes between rebellious ravers and the authorities, and it was paired with a graphic novel.
For his Face Mix, Nathan Micay has blended slow and sensual tracks to create a sense of sustained euphoria. He also taps into the emotional palette of Industry – the intoxicating thrills of inner city life with the occasional taste of financial excess. Remixing the likes of Madonna and Depeche Mode, he summons the heady spirit of the music industry’s lucrative eras of the ’80s and ’90s.
If you’re a fan of Industry, keep your eyes peeled for the show’s soundtrack which is scheduled for release via Lucky Me in April.
What’s the vibe/direction of your FACE Mix?
Opulence. Psychedelia. Chill-out. Just various tracks from my collection under 120 BPM that capture an era for me. Also, I only had access to an older mixer with no EQ, only volume knobs. So it was fun to DJ in the olden ways, just fader up, fader down. But with precision, ha ha! Real authentic way to play a sound like this.
Is there any connective tissue between the mix and your Industry soundtrack?
Yeah, definitely. For the Industry soundtrack I was listening to a lot of the more cinematic major label music from the ’80s and ’90s – stuff that would capture the glam of financial hedonism and indulgences. So for this mix I tried to distil that into slower tracks from my record collection: Madonna, Propaganda, Depeche Mode – all super-sexy remixes, though. There’s even a rare XL Recordings cut that samples Risky Business, which was a huge influence on my score for Industry.
What’s the Industry scene that, for you, is the best marriage of your score and the narrative/characters, and why?
There’s one scene in ep four where Robert and Yasmin are changing in a washroom and having their first face-to-face flirting moment. I wrote a more romantic and airy refrain of the main theme music, a track called Grad Walk, for this scene. It just really enhanced the scene somehow. Mickey [Down], one of the show’s writers, commented [that] it captured exactly what he had hoped for the show. That meant a lot to me.
Are you still based in Berlin? If so, which musicians in the city are inspiring you at the moment?
I am! Will be six years in June, which is insane. Yes, I’m always incredibly inspired by my friend Jasss. We had a fun studio day together before the new year and seeing her projects and the way she works is very cool. Just the complete opposite of how I approach my own music. Honestly, also just the entire community here that hasn’t given [up] hope to continue with their passion during all of this – I find that incredibly inspiring and it pushes me to continue working harder.
Imagine all the venues are open again and it’s safe to party. What’s your dream night out?
Honestly, I’d love to go to the gym with my friend Lucas and then to our favourite post-gym chicken place for a nice teller.
Any releases for 2021 you want us to know about?
Lots in the works but let’s see how the world plays out!
Madonna — Bedtime Stories
SYT — Pleasure
Mr TC — Soundtrack For Strangers
Depeche Mode — Policy of Truth (Trancentral Mix)
Moby — Move (Volume Mix)
Windmind — Uptime (Gridlock Mix)
108 Grand — Te Quiero (Original Gypsy Mix)
Transform — Transformation (Original 3rd Transformation)
Propaganda — Your Wildlife (Wet ‘N’ Wildlife Mix)
Space System — Petik
Subliminal Aura - Ease The Pressure (Hypnotic Trance Mix)
Signal 2 Noise — Nature of Mind
Dubtribe Soundsystem — Sunshines Theme (Sunshine Remix)