Maceo Plex's Rework of "Insomnia" Goes Number 1 on Beatport

We catch up with Maceo Plex whose 2021 rework of “Insomnia” by Faithless just reached Beatport’s overall top spot.

4 min
Maceo Plex 2021
Jun 28, 2021
Heiko Hoffmann

“Insomnia” became an instant dance classic when Faithless released it back in 1995. Do you remember when you heard it for the first time?

First time I heard “Insomnia” was on a local mix show called Edgeclub, and I wasn’t into it at first. I was heavily into breaks and electro at the time and didn’t care much for the obvious four-to-the-floor club bangers. But by the end of the ’90s, I began realizing the amazing level of production involved in the track.

The song structure of “Insomnia” is unusual in that the main keyboard riff only appears toward the end of the song. You decided to stick to this for your remix. Did you immediately know how you wanted to approach this remix? Can you share the process a bit?

I’ve always thought it was risky and creative how the original mix kept the “big riff” for the end, so I definitely didn’t want to change that part of its magic. Instead, I wanted my version to have a more updated sound design and groove while maintaining some of the magic of the original.

The song’s subject matter of sleepless nights is familiar to all DJs and party-goers alike. During the last year, many of us were suffering from insomnia for very different reasons. How did you cope with the corona crisis and not being able to work as a DJ?

I had been saving for a rainy day/year, so while the Covid crisis was scary and unfortunate for everyone, I began to welcome the time off after a while. It had been at least ten years of non-stop touring. One hundred thirty gigs a year, which I am very blessed to have had the fortune to experience, but I needed time to update my production and be a better family man. The result is a new album I’m excited to get out there.

Have you started DJing infant of live audiences again? What have been your experiences so far?

I’ve been DJing in front of live audiences for the past few months now in the southern states of America, so I can’t point to one great reunion-type party. But I can say that people seem to be more open-minded to sets that defy genres and throw more curveballs. I think it’s forced people to appreciate other forms of dance than what they’re used to. Or at least that’s how I see it, out of desire, not just fact.

What releases have you got coming up, either by yourself or on your label Ellum?

I’ve been hard at work on a new album that will probably take many by surprise. That’s basically all I can say for now, but teasers are going to drop soon!

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