With only weeks left until the release of their sophomore LP Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, The Edge chatted with Mount Kimbie’s Dominic Maker about the record, the new faces of the mainstream and… socks.
Where abouts are you today?
I am currently sat on a sofa in Netil House in Hackney. We’ve got a little rehearsal room here so yeah, just taking a bit of time out up here on this sort of roof terrace thing.
The release of your second album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is getting closer. How do you feel about the record at this stage?
Feeling very good about it. I think it’s taken a little while for us to have this space to sit and actually listen to the full thing on iTunes on repeat. We had a few promo dates recently so we’ve been travelling around Europe just doing interviews and it’s been nice sitting on trains listening to it in a different setting. I feel really good with it… I feel really happy. It’s quite a personal record for us so I’m really glad that I still feel excited by it every time I listen to it.
What kinds of changes can we expect to hear in the sound of the new record?
Well… we have kind of somewhat changed our approach. I mean… with Crooks & Lovers… we were touring for such a long time – we were out the country and we had no time at all to write music. We literally stopped doing what we had been doing musically for a good two or three years and then when it came to sitting down to write this new one it felt quite refreshing – like a fresh start for us. So the fact that we played live so much infiltrated into the sound of what we were doing with the record. We had the opportunity to go into a studio with a guy called Andy Ramsay who was the drummer in the band Stereolab and he was incredibly accommodating to us and let us use his drum kit and had a big selection of old retro and vintage drum machines that had a fantastic sound. He’d been collecting these things for thirty years so… I guess the main change for us has been using new equipment and finding inspiration and finding exciting sounds out of stuff that we’re really unfamiliar with and that has naturally changed the sound that we’ve come out with.
It’s been nearly three years since Crooks & Lovers. Have you felt any kind of apprehension surrounding the release of entirely new material?
Not until we finished it… when it was done. Now is the sort of time when you start to feel… not really nervous but you just want to get it out there and start soaking up the critique of people that you want to hear it. But I think for us one of the main things that really made it such a relaxing period of time in the writing process was the fact that Warp (the record label) was so free and easy. They let us do whatever we wanted to do. We went way over our scheduled deadline and we never really felt any pressure from those guys so… thanks to Warp for doing that! [Laughs]. It just meant that we could focus a lot more on getting in the zone without feeling too rushed. We actually got into a really good vein of form with our writing when we just passed the initial deadline and we told the guys that and they really were very accommodating and just let us get on with it. In terms of pressure from the last record… well, we don’t really have any! It has been such a long time that we felt so out of practice… it felt like a totally new start for us.
When in the composition process of the record, were there any particular bands or artists that helped to inspire your sound?
Yeah… I mean, we listen to Tame Impala albums a lot and we’re very much influenced by the Actress albums and a big fan of that guy’s work. I think for us it’s always been a very diverse range of music that we like and that we listen to on-the-go or in a club environment or whatever. It’s very, very diverse so it’s difficult to pin-point exactly what it is but I think, for me, the main point is the fact that we were very much influenced by the new sound that we could achieve with the instruments that we had at our disposal. I think a lot of what happens when we sit down in front of the computer or when we sit in the studio… it’s something that’s very difficult to describe. It’s almost a warped version of what you’ve heard… like tiny little pieces of stuff that you hear when you’re sitting down having coffee or whatever. So I wouldn’t say there was a particular influence but there is just a vast array of different sounds that we wanted to use really.
There are set to be two tracks featuring King Krule on the record. How did this collaboration come about and what was he like to work with?
Oh, it was great. We were very against having a record where we had a number of vocal artists just featuring… it just didn’t feel right. We wanted someone who we would feel was as much a part of the band and owned the songs as much as we did. We got in touch with Archy… we’ve always been massive fans of all his output and we heard that track ‘Out Getting Ribs’ that he released as Zoo Kid and I think from that point we just had a real desire to work with him. We kind of envisaged a male voice on the record and he actually lives about five minutes walk from where our studio was so it was incredibly easy and when he came in it just felt like he was a member of the band. It was fantastic, he’s a real talent.
To inspire those who may not have experienced Mount Kimbie live – how would you describe your shows in three words?
In three words? Errm, in three words… I would say.. oh god [laughs]… I guess it’s got a lot of momentum to it, so momentum would be one. Energy… And, I think the key point with our live shows is the fact that we like to interpret songs in a slightly different way to how they’re heard on the record so… I guess just a different interpretation of how you hear the songs in the album format. I don’t know how to put that in three words [laughs]… but you might be able to drag something out of that.
So you’ve got a big summer ahead of you in terms of touring, with lots of different countries planned. But where is your favourite place to play (except for the UK, obviously) and why?
Favourite place… I mean America is almost like the country that was built for touring. You’ve got really good food… very fattening food… but very good food. And the people are very open and the shows and crowds are always absolutely fantastic. I guess for me, personally, my favourite would be probably San Francisco. We’ve always had a wicked time there and there is something about looking out across the Pacific Ocean in California that is pretty crazy for us.
What is your favourite possession when on tour?
[Laughs]… socks! Definitely socks because they are really fundamental. I hadn’t appreciated socks until we went on tour. A good pair of clean socks is absolutely necessary!
With acts such as Disclosure and Duke Dumont hitting major chart positions lately, what do you think about underground and electronic music breaking into the mainstream at the moment?
It’s interesting. The thing for us is we’ve always felt like we were in a bit of a bubble and out of the spotlight as such. We operate in a different way to, for example, someone who DJs. We don’t keep up with the current sound and what’s hot and what’s not sort of thing. A lot of people have asked about this and it’s interesting because it feels like we’ve just been away and we’ve come back and everything’s changed and… a lot of the producers/DJs that we used to be ‘in’ with are now pursuing an altogether different sound from the strands of dubstep and garage and stuff like that. Now it’s a lot more housey. It’s each to their own… these guys at the end of the day are making a lot of money. If they are satisfied with what they’re doing and if it’s not hindering their artistic ideas then great! But, if there is anything that worries me about it is… where’s the line? Where do you start letting slip of who you are as an artist and you start to lose control in that respect. I think for us personally it’s something that we’re not interested in, in the slightest. If it happens, it happens! But, I’m pretty confident it won’t happen any time soon for us! [Laughs]. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and I think, speaking for ourselves, the main thing for us is to stay honest to who we are and what we want to create and what we get excited about.
And finally, what can we expect next from Mount Kimbie?
We’re just going to be touring all over the place. One of the main things that we’ve learnt from the last record is that we want to go out there with a really good live show that people will want to see again and again. Also, the plan for the future is to facilitate writing on the road so that we can keep up production as opposed to stopping totally and then going back into it. Hopefully there will be another release not too far in the future. And, we just want to see as many people as possible around the world and play a really fucking good live show! That’s the main idea really.
Mount Kimble’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth will be available on 26th May