Music | Interview – Mount Kimbie
Prior to their gig at Stylus on 12th November, LSi caught up with Dom from Mount Kimbie on the day he was moving house about the warm relationship they have with Warp Records, the possibility of further collaborations with Archy (a.ka. King Krule) and advice they’d give to students who are making their own beats.
You’re about to embark on a huge US tour followed immediately by a European one with pretty much no break in between. Is this a daunting feeling, or is it something that’s beginning to feel more natural now?
Yeah, I mean we certainly haven’t done this amount of touring before. I mean we’ve done long stints, but it’s the fact that we’re rolling through to Christmas. I wouldn’t say it’s daunting, we’re really looking forward to it. We’ve played a lot of festivals this summer, but you don’t really get into the flow of it, you don’t run off adrenaline. We’ve always loved the fact that when you’re on tour you get progressively tighter as a band and it’s just invaluable experience due to the fact you’re playing so much over a short period of time. I can definitely speak for all of us when I say we look forward to it.
You released your first album through Hotflush Records, but the second one was released through the incredibly prestigious Warp Records. How did it feel releasing through such a legendary electronic music label?
Absolutely incredible. It really was a dream come true. In terms of the trajectory of our career as Mount Kimbie, it’s been one good thing after another – we’re yet to slip up (touch wood). It just felt really good to know we had the backing of a really reputable label, and they’ve been fantastic. We were pretty much left to our own devices on the album, they just checked in every now and then, and were really keen on it. It was a very kind of hands-off process thing, which gave us the room to write in the way we’ve always written, which is very isolated – just us in the studio everyday. They just really helped when the help was needed. We’re looking forward to doing more albums with them, hopefully.
You’re quite known for using field recordings and cutting and splicing them up for your tracks and I think I once read that you feel the things you think aren’t going to work, are often the things that do, so what was the strangest recording or sound that made its way into a Mount Kimbie song?
We recorded a load of audio in a wind tunnel in Brighton, well a village just outside Brighton, where my parent’s live. This was about 3 years ago now. My brother brought his guitar and James Blake came down. Yeah, Me, Kai, James and my brother went down to the wind tunnel and just recorded for hours, just singing, hitting stuff against the wall, err throwing rocks down the tunnel. Some of the stuff that came out of that was just amazing. A lot of that made its way on to Crooks And Lovers (debut album). I guess the strangest sound was literally throwing a stone down a tunnel and taking it back and realising it sounded absolutely amazing, like a big, echoey snare drum.
It’s been about four months since the release of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, do you feel ready to start thinking about the third album, or is it early days yet?
Yeah definitely. We’ve already started to write stuff, obviously very rough ideas. We left it such a long time between albums last time, it wasn’t really our own doing, but we had to tour that had album loads, and it did benefit us a lot. It was a real bonus that we did that because the Crooks And Lovers really needed time to settle. And yeah, we just want to keep making music. We were in a really good vein of form when we were just finishing up Cold Spring Fault Less Youth album and I think we just want to keep catalysing on that energy. We went through quite a rough time before we started thinking about writing a second album, I mean you know, we kind of just wanted to get on with life, but then we just made ourselves go into the studio and slowly remembered why we just love producing music and we’ve both still got the bug really bad, so we’re just gonna keep working.
It seem like quite a while ago that the whole post-dubstep thing was getting a bit insufferable. Do you feel you’ve shaken that tagline off now?
God knows, people still mention it in interviews. I don’t know, I mean for us it’s always been a funny one. The first album made a lot more sense as it was a lot easier to dip into instantly becoming locked on what it was. I think with this one there’s loads of different ideas flying off in loads of different directions. This [Cold Spring Fault Less Youth] is one that is quite a grower of an album, and the more you sit with it, the more time you give it, the better it feels. For us, all we’re doing is making music that we want to make. There’s never been any sort of rule like “This is what Mount Kimbie makes and therefore we need to follow this formula”. We’re so detached from any trends because we’re away so much. The last thing we want to do when we get home is listen to loads of new music. We want to operate in a way that’s totally boundless where we’re free and can do whatever the hell we want. Crooks and Lovers and post-dubstep was referencing a small palate of sounds, which at the time was very exciting for us, but then we moved on when everyone else was starting to do it.
On the album you collaborated with Archy (King Krule) on a couple of a tracks and it really worked well. Do you have any more ideas about collaborations, and more importantly who would be a dream guest on a Mount Kimbie track?
Well I think there’s still a lot of unfinished business with Archy. When we had him in we didn’t really know what to do because we had ideas for the album and half finished tracks; he instantly singled out those two tracks that he featured on, but there was loads of other stuff that he was free-styling over and we recorded some of it, and it was amazing. We definitely want to do more with him.
Collaboration wise… Well, we’re very individual: usually one person in the studio at a time. We don’t sit and jam out ideas, we don’t have the musicianship for that. I think the idea of having someone else involved has always been quite invasive for us, but the experience with Archy has taught us that finding the right person is possible. He was someone who not only applies their voice, but also the way they write. We’re just about to go on tour with Jonwayne and I think we’d love to do some stuff with him, be that producing for him, or getting him on something we’d cover. We’re gonna set up a studio in the back of our tour bus in the States and make as much music as possible. Obviously Jon is gonna be around and another artist D33j is gonna be supporting too, so he’ll be there. We’re just gonna see what happens.
I think in terms of a dream collaboration, we really wanted to get to Micachu to work with us on something, but we never really got round to it, never really got anything concrete going – so that would definitely be a dream. I’d quite like to work with the singer of Grouper, or rather Grouper herself, or maybe something Blake in the pipeline for the future.
You’re playing in Leeds at the beginning of November, most probably to a group of students, half of whom are making electronic music of their own in their student halls. How does it feel to be a core influence for all those students making beats in their room, and what advice would you give them?
It’s a very strange feeling. The way that we’ve gone has kind of veiled the fact that we are getting older, that we are different people now, we’re not studying anymore. It’s all gone by in a flash. It feels odd when people come up to us and say you’re a massive influence on my music, I don’t know why, it just does. My advice to people making music would be to do whatever feels natural and not focus too much on aesthetics of being an artist, and being really true and honest to yourself. Find the music that really means something to you. You can always tell when someone really means it, even if it’s through electronics or through guitar, or any other means. You can definitely tell someone who really believes what they’re doing and someone who doesn’t. I’d just say keep doing what you’re doing and remember who you are.
Lastly, what plans or ambitions do you guys have in mind for 2014?
We want to be a better live band than we are, I mean there’s so much work to be done on that live show. We’re really happy with it now, but in the same way we want to continually evolve as production artists. We also want to really push the limits of what we can do live, which takes a lot less time for people who have musical training, but we’re really not very good at what we play (laughs). But yeah, we’re just really looking forward to playing these songs; I think a lot of them make so much more sense live as opposed to on the record, and it shows a whole different side to it. But yeah, for 2014, just writing as much music as possible, meeting people, continue to develop as artists and really just soak up as much as we can. We’re now in a really fortunate position where we’ve got the backing of an incredible label and our management is great, and we’ve really built up this incredible team over the last few years. We just need to use that while being as creative as possible and true to ourselves. Hopefully 2014 will have a new album and just more music generally for people to hear.
photos: Resident Advisor
illustration: Adam C