In The Middle with Mount Kimbie

“We’ve actually been spending a lot of time back in the studio,” Dominic Maker reveals when I ask what Mount Kimbie have been up to in the week since their third album Love What Survives was released. As a band with a strong work ethic, they’re “trying to keep the momentum going” following its much-anticipated release.

It’s taken 4 years for Mount Kimbie to produce a follow-up to 2013’s understated Cold Springs Fault Less Youth. Their talent for production was unquestionable but they seemed to struggle for direction; “We did a lot of banging our heads against the wall,” Dominic explains. “We were trying to work out what we actually found exciting.” Reflecting on the past few years, Dominic recalls his disillusionment and how the four-year break has left Mount Kimbie feeling reenergised. “We took a year off and finally caught up on the years missed with our friends and family. We needed that break to feel excited about making music again. At the time, we were just down in the dumps and no longer interested in what we were doing. We feel rejuvenated now.”

Mount Kimbie have certainly found their groove again and imbued with a greater sense of creative freedom, they are raring to release more music in 2018. When I asked about his ambitions for the next year, both personal and professional, Dominic tells me that “in terms of a new album, we want to do something pretty quickly after Love What Survives. I want to spend more time with my friends and family but as far as the band goes, we just want to keep making music – we don’t want it to be another four years until our next release!”

‘Love What Survives’ is noticeably more upbeat and melodic than the band’s previous ventures. Dominic explains that this new sound happened organically. “It definitely came naturally. It’s the same with everything that we do – nothing is staged and nothing is discussed.” The album features an eclectic blend of musical personalities so I was interested to hear about Dominic’s favourite track from the record. “’T.A.M.E.D’, for sure. I like it because everyone who was involved in creating the track also sings on it.” That’s an impressive feat considering the number of people involved in the creation of Love What Survives. A whole host of collaborators lent their colourful vocals to the record and Dominic tells me about the process of getting the likes of King Krule, James Blake and Micachu on board. “They’re all people that we know quite well and it felt very right to have each individual person on a certain track. We played what we had created at the time to everyone who was involved and they chose a track that they felt a connection with. It went from there!” He believes that the collaborations had an impact on the album’s direction.

Dominic has recently relocated to LA whilst bandmate Kai Campos remains in London, making ‘Love What Survives’ an album of a truly transatlantic nature. However, it turns out that the distance didn’t have a noticeable effect on the album’s production. “It didn’t really affect what we wanted to do! We did a few successful sessions out there with James [Blake] but I’ve been spending most of my time in London.” It sounds like Mount Kimbie had a clear vision for their third album. On his new-found confidence, Dominic notes that “it’s been a long time since our last album and it’s great to finally have something out there. I’m really happy with the album!”

A long string of tour dates in the UK and Europe are next on the cards for the band. “They’re going to be live shows with live instrumentation. We’ve got a really nice band and we can’t wait to get out there and play some new songs. I’m really looking forward to touring.” With shows planned in all corners of the continent, Dominic is looking forward to Berlin the most. However, he assures me that “every date feels important to us. It’s amazing to be able to go out on the road and play songs with my best friends.”

Mount Kimbie’s career has been plagued by lazy stereotypes – “post-dubstep” is often a buzzword in their interviews – but the band continue to produce music that is innovative, genre-bending and carefully crafted. I asked Dominic if he had any advice for the many Leeds students producing their own electronic music. “I’ve got a lot of friends who are producing their own music,” he replies. “I would say that not trying to copy anyone else is very important. No matter how odd your ideas are, if you pursue and believe in them enough, you’ll be fine.”

Love What Survives is out now on Warp records.

Lucy Milburn