Mount Kimbie interview
Dom Maker from Mount Kimbie chats dubstep and something called 'emo-step' before playing two Scottish dates
This article is from 2011.
Mount Kimbie manage to sedate you whilst still making you want to move. Rather than having you hurtle head-on into the sweaty masses like any old ‘dubstep’ club night, the London-based duo of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos’ deliciously concocted rhythms are more likely to lead you deep into a hazy, sonic wonderland. From the thunder-clap chord sequence and melt-in-your-mouth lullaby of the triumphant ‘Maybes’ (see video below) to the languorous plod of ‘Would Know’, over-layered with miniature, organic textures, their sound drifts along the boundaries of pop, R&B, indie, techno, dubstep, UK garage… the list is long.
The duo’s first two EPs – 'Maybes' and 'Sketch On Glass' came out in 2009, and led into an awesome 2010 where they appeared on endless ‘best of’ lists. Now the inimitable duo return to Scotland to conjure another ‘indefinable beast’. The List caught up with Dom from the band, glad to be back on British soil after a mammoth tour, and enjoying a nice sunny day in Bognor Regis.
Would you call yourselves a band?
Er…yes. Yeah, I mean ask me that in a couple of months when we’ve been producing and I’ll probably say no. But at the moment, with touring, we’re doing the whole band kind of thing. I just found out a few days ago that we’re playing at Reading. That was when I realised, ‘Yeah, we’re a band’.
So, starting at your roots, who’s your biggest influence?
[sighs] That’s a difficult question. We listen to so much stuff. Production-wise probably someone like Actress. In terms of being inspirational just in the sound, and we actually sample him quite heavily: William Basinski. He’s this avant-garde French composer who recorded things years and years ago and then left them on tape for years.
You’ve mentioned before your use of field recordings. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Well, that was for the production side of it. It’s amazing what you can pick up with a field microphone. I mean, you might just hear someone riding around but when you slow it down it’s almost like there’s a beat to it. And then just taking little pockets of that rhythm and stretching it out. A lot of what we do is about experimenting with different little bits of tone that you don’t necessarily hear on the first listen. So there’s a lot of dragging out, and a lot of scrutinising these small little bits of rhythm and then trying to make songs out of them.
Your live performance is incredibly unique. Is performing a really intense creative process for you? How much is improvisation?
It really depends on our mood. If it’s a crazy, crazy show in a club or something then we’ll try and keep it as simple as we can and try not to raise the number of possible errors that could occur. But then when we’re doing something in a bit more of a laidback environment, then we can be a bit freer and enjoy it a bit more as a creative thing. The way we’ve done it does make it harder for us, but we’ve never really wanted to just press play, we’ve always wanted to trigger samples and feel like we’re doing something. I mean, no disrespect to people who do laptop sets, I’ve seen some incredible laptop sets in my time, but it’s just not us.
Well we’ve been writing on our days off. Pretty much 90% of our time since the album [last year's Crooks & Lovers] has been spent on this live show, so in terms of new material it’s been difficult to find the time to write anything. But we did spend some time in a cottage just south of London just before we went away to the States. We didn’t really write much but we did a lot of experimenting with sounds and stuff. So we feel like we’ve got a lot of material to work with.
You must get really annoyed with people constantly trying to label you.
No, I don’t mind. Like the post-dubstep thing. It’s fine. To be honest, it’s better than some of the other stuff people have come up with.
Love-step. And emo-step. That’s one of my favourites. I wish it would stick.
Emo-step it is.
Mount Kimbie are playing at Stereo, Glasgow, Thursday 21 April with Sampha And Fox Gut Daata, and the Bongo Club, Edinburgh, as part of Wonky, with Creep and Wolfjazz & Hobbes on Friday 22 April.