As the architect behind many of the stylistic blueprint shifts in dance since the early heady days of acid house, Charlie May knows a thing or two about what makes a dance floor tick. One half of revered progressive house pioneers Spooky; the engineer and producer of many of Sasha’s biggest singles and albums; highly respected solo producer in his own right, May has remained at the vivacious beating heart of house since the early ’90s.
It was in 1992 that Charlie May and production partner Duncan Forbes made their maiden voyage as Spooky. After meeting and becoming firm friends, they cut their first record for progressive imprint Guerilla Records, ‘Don’t Panic’. It was to prove highly influential in the futuristic new movement in dance music – progressive house – that took the rhythms of acid, and married them to aquatic depths of Detroit techno with overlays of ambient music, to create a fresh new hybrid.
Heralded as figureheads of the progressive house scene, Spooky cemented this by creating their sky strafing and ambitious long-player ‘Gargantuan’. One of the first dance albums of its kind, this pinnacle album would go on to spawn a million sound-a-likes, establishing the production wizardry of Charlie May, whose tweaking and pitch-perfect ear was set to have a huge influence, both in front of and behind the scenes.
3 years later, their most critically acclaimed album – 1995’s ‘Found Sound’ led the duo to become in high demand as remixers, reworking everyone from Sven Väth to William Orbit. Taking a brief hiatus from Spooky, Charlie May went in search of a new project. Linking up with DJ superstar Sasha, their initial production collaboration was on a soundtrack to hit Playstation game Wipeout 3, and from there, Sasha tasked May with engineering a new version of an unreleased Spooky track ‘Xpander’, which was to become one of Sasha’s signature tracks.
The acclaimed ‘Airdrawndagger’ album (2002), again featured May behind the boards (alongside Junkie XL), as well as the following Global Underground mix album ‘Involver’. But eager to step out of the shadows, May had all this time been honing his solo chops, and with the release of the fresh ‘Bug EP’ on Junior Boys Own London, he began to garner props as a producer in his own right. Charlie’s solo incarnation was to bear further fruit in 2006, with the Charlie May vs. Sasha cut ‘Seal Clubbing’, a smash record for Renaissance.
Returning to the Spooky fold for a third album, ‘Open’, (2007), Spooky found themselves in New York City (during the album promo tour), where they settled to collaborate with Sasha on a succession of new productions for the DJ’s fresh label Emfire including ‘Coma’ and ‘Who Killed Sparky’. Off the back of these well-received cuts, the duo was brought in to assist with the production of ‘Involv2er’, the second volume in Sasha’s DJ mix/remixes series.
After a series of successful solo releases and remixes for various labels including Bedrock, Mayhem, Microcastle and Indigo amongst others, May has since established himself as a successful and in demand dj on the international club circuit. Regularly performing at venues worldwide from Pacha in Buenos Aires to Warung in Brazil to Chinese Laundry in Sydney.
In recent years May has continued to collaborate, most noticeably with James Lavelle/Unkle. Resulting in the highly successful Queens Of The Stone Age album ‘…like clockwork’.
Current studio projects include an album for John Digweed’s Bedrock label, an EP for Microcastle and new Unkle recordings.