Maceo Plex Channels Struggle Into Mystical Beauty on 'When the Lights Are Out': Listen

Maceo Plex
Tom Andrew

Maceo Plex

Put sand under enough pressure, and it becomes a diamond in time. So, too, does hardship beget great pieces of art. Maceo Plex is a musical alchemist familiar with the formula, and his latest moody masterpiece, a six-and-a-half-minute exploration of dark, brooding tech-house atmospheres, was born from the struggle of one of his dear friends.

"When I first started working on the track, I felt like making something melancholy after hearing that a friend’s mother had passed away.  But when I added the vocals it became clear the track was destined to be a sexy love song," Maceo Plex tells Billboard Dance. "Just like many of my other deep songs, I dedicated this one to my wife."

"When the Lights Are Out" came together quickly thereafter. Cinematic sounds and glitchy textures set a mystical tone punctuated by driving drum machine rhythms and ominous synth explosions. A disco vocal drifts in and out of the sonic haze. It's an adventure to listen to, an exploratory sort of feeling fans can easily get lost in with headphone listening, or something meaty for Maceo Plex to build on top of in live mixes.

"Every time I play it," the producer continues, "there’s going to be that connection -- not just with the audience, but also reminding me the importance of family."

The single comes in a three-track package, backed by an instrumental version and a so-called Late Night Mix. The full release is out now on his own Ellum Audio label and Ministry of Sound. Listen to the main single version of "When the Lights Are Out" below.