Sunday, 7 November 2010

Mount Kimbie: Interview

Last week i had the pleasure of watching Mount Kimbie perform live for the first time in my hometown, the grim n gritty, northern city of Liverpool. I hadn’t expected that i would be able to get close to them prior to the show, but as i stood eagerly waiting for the support acts to finish over a pint and some conversation in the smoking area of The Shipping Forecast. In the corner of my eye, i spotted Kai talking to a fan and i became aware of the chance to conduct an impromptu pre-show interview, right then.

Dashing around to find writing material, i hastily penned some questions that had already dawned on my mind about Mount Kimbie.

So, conducted in the drafty storage room on the top floor of the club, (props toAbandon silence for the set-up) i held down my first interview.
Both Dom and Kai are seriously easy-going, freindly to talk to and very humble about their work despite such attention they have received over the last months. We begin the interview and they were more than happy to talk and discuss the questions with me but also with one another, bouncing questions back and forth between themselves that made them appear to be very passionate about what they do and interested in engaging with their fan base.

I believe this is your first Liverpool show, have either of you been here before and how are you feeling about the show tonight?

Kai answers on behalf of Dom, ‘He’s been here before for when he was younger with his mates i think, but i’ve not ever been here myself but I’m quite excited for tonight, the crowds are always different wherever you go in the UK’, Dom responds, ‘Yeah, I’ve not seen the place much though, it was winter time and really cold but strangely, still all the girls were wearing little clothing’. I laughed and told them thats just how the girls are round here whatever the weather.

So, how is the tour going so far, this is your first organized tour right? Has it been a great experience?

Kai answers, ‘So far, the tour has been really successful, we’ve been doing a lot of shows around Europe and were quite surprised how popular they’ve been. We did a month long tour in the US and that was well received, a lot of the fans were grateful and always thanked us at shows, just in recognition of the distance we had travelled to play for them’. I then ask,

How do the shows across the water compare to playing here in the UK?

Dom added, ‘I don’t think it was something we really expected, but the US was very accommodating, the live shows in the UK are getting better every time, the audiences are always a lot steadier here than overseas and it’s good because it can be a difficult scene to break here, as so many decent artists are getting known at the moment’.

I’ve read an interview where you mention that some of the acoustics were recorded in a tunnel in Brighton where the natural reverb was really heavy, i had my assumptions that it would be the grotty underpass along the beachfront, is that right?

At this point there is a slight pause, i get some rather bewildering looks from the two of them, they stare at each other and try to fathom an answer, i knew it was a stupid question to ask but Dom responds,

‘You know, actually it was an underpass in my hometown Saltdean that gives off this really eerie impression, The both of us and James Blake were drinking one night and were singing when we ended up walking down there and were amused with the sound and then we came back a few weeks later with guitars and took down some recordings that really worked, so we used them’.

Do you have any favorite producers coming out of the UK scene at the moment, any particular DJs perhaps?

Both Dom and Kai appear to be very selective of who they choose to name drop and I’m certain they must share very similar tastes as they both agree and mention almost simultaneously that they don’t currently listen to much dubstep or dance music, but they do like Deadboy, which reminded Kai of something he had forgot to do earlier, and so he rushes off to get Deadboy on the guestlist for their show as apparently he was also in town. When Kai returns, Dom mentions…

‘We’ve both been really keen on Wu Lyf at the moment, a group from Manchester that are producing really good music, we are also into some bands from Australia’, Kai Nods and adds, ‘We’re always updated on whatever James (Blake) is doing as well, we caught up with him at his show in Poland recently, he was mixing with vinyl as opposed to his live performance shows.’

Ive heard a lot about the differences between James Blakes’ live shows and his DJ sets, many people i’ve spoke to say his live performances are much more interesting.

Dom answers, ‘I suppose James is a lot more technically able with using software like Ableton, obviously his shows are a lot tighter when he performs this way but his DJ sets are also getting a lot cleaner’.

James Blakes output is multi-faceted, producing music under a different moniker as well as having a background in more traditional musical approaches, maybe it is what makes his performances different each time?

Both Dom and Kai agree to this point, Dom adds ‘James is also a very emotional musician, if he’s not feeling up for a live show, he won’t play it, he does what he feels like and if he’s happy or sad, it comes out in his choice of performance’.

You both seem very close with James Blake personally, at once he featured in your live performances, is their ever going to be a return to this, are there any collaborations in stall for the future?

Kai makes a point of saying that, ‘Time constraints mean it’s very difficult to work together at current times, we’re no longer being able to pass music back and forth to work on ideas together, and as well James is very busy with his own music and touring, especially with the promo for his new album’. Dom adds, ‘It’s possible in the future we may do the live thing again, there’s nothing planned so far for producing a track together though, but it will definitely happen’.

So, what’s next for Mount Kimbie, what can we expect in the coming months?

Dom says, ‘Were having a few weeks off over the new year period but then we’re back touring again up until end of February and then we will start to question what’s next. So far though, we haven’t got plans to be releasing anything over the next few months’.
I can tell Kai is itching to get back in the club, or at least to get a drink at this point and as he fiddles around with his phone, i manage to ask one last question.

What advice do you both have for new producers or DJs trying to break into the UK bass scene currently, how did it happen for you?

Kai was very certain on his answer to this question and suggested that, ‘If your consciously trying to ‘break into’ any scene, your probably going about it the wrong way, always do your thing, keep making music and performing for people, give it time and if your getting the elements right, people will take notice, but don’t push it’, Dom nods, and it’s clear that there is a very clear unity in mind and ideas between them both.

Jamie XX remixes ‘Fog’ for Nosaj Thing

It’s about time we were offered something substantial from Nosaj thing. Since his debut album ‘Drift‘ dropped well over a year ago, hungry ears have been feeding off a steady stream of assorted remixes ever since, and the wait, unfortunately, isn’t over yet, but to ease the burden until his next album is released early 2011, we have been blessed with ‘Drift remixed’ out on sale November 2nd on Alpha Pup.

The album features a serious dancefloor banger from Jamie xx, that could be seen as a return of favor, as those of you familiar with Nosaj things remix catalogue may remember his clubworthy remix of The xx’s ‘Islands‘, earlier this year.

The last minute of this track almost alludes to a stronger template that is more identifiable with the likes of Jamie xx, who in return takes ‘Fog’ and makes it clubworthy in his own sense, stripping away the original template and spaciousness of the track. What is left is equally haunting yet agitated and skittery. A reinterpretation that will certainly appeal to UK bass heads and yet another great example of the connections between the US beat aesthetic and its moodier brother in the UK.

Rising Star, Jamie Woon

If you haven’t heard of Jamie Woon yet, it would be understandable. Without an album nor an ep out, but only a few singles to his name, this young British singer/producer has already created quite a stir over here, thats sure to grow over the next few months. Fusing silky smooth vocals over dusty atmospheric instrumentation, Woon has already gathered a strong following being backed by the likes of Ramadanman and Burial, both of which have remixed his tracks, you may remember ‘Wayfaring stranger’, a Burial remix back in 2007?

Woons latest single ‘Night air’, produced by that mysterious Willian Bevan, has already had major airplay on radio one and is being dropped left, right and centre in Londons alternative nightclubs. The single comes with a laidback B side remix  by Ramadanman that satisfies equally. Currently only available on Vinyl, the digital release date is 14th November. Keep your eyes and ears peeled on this very talented rising star, expect big things as his debut album drops early 2011.