Interview: Mount Kimbie
Posted in Interviews
Three phenomenal EP's and an award-winning album later, London's most notorious electronic duo Mount Kimbie is back to take the world by storm once again, having recently announced news of a brand new LP set to drop sometime next year on Warp Records. The still unnamed album comes as a warm welcome back for the prolific duo, who after releasing their debut full length Crooks & Lovers back in 2010 on Hotflush Recordings, have used the past two years to focus heavily on touring, amounting to a far less ample music output than we would've liked. Now, with a fresh new record label and a fresh new outlook, Mount Kimbie look poised to reclaim their position as the leading innovators in electronic music, and music as a whole. During a recent run of North American tour dates, we caught up with the boys Dominic and Kai in Los Angeles to talk about their new label home, life and experiences on the road, and their highly anticipated new album.
After putting out a number of projects on Hotflush Recordings, you're upcoming full-length is set to drop on Warp Records. How did the relationship with Warp come about?
Dominic: In the past Warp has always been really supportive, and when our contract with Hotflush came to an end, they just seemed like the perfect home. They were completely on the same wavelength as us in terms of what kind of atmosphere we wanted to be working in on the new record, and at the end of the day, it's fucking Warp Records, so it's a massive step for us.
How long has the new album been in the works?
Kai: Surprisingly not that long. We've been working on bits and pieces of it for forever, but never really sat down and put substantial work into it until after we finished touring this past spring—and even then it took us awhile to get back in the swing of things. We don't really write music while on tour—it just doesn't suit the way we work. And because we tour so much, it's taken a long time to get around to making a new album.
We've been going quite hard at it for about six months now, and used a few months before that to find the right studio and get all the new equipment we needed in one place. All of our previous records were recorded out of our homes, but this time around it was important for us to have a place where we could go to get work done whenever we wanted.
"New equipment." Does that imply a different sound or approach on the new record?
Kai: In a way. We definitely have a few new bits we've brought on specifically to try out on this record, but most of the new equipment has come from playing live and just buying things we've needed while on the road. One of the biggest reasons why we wanted a studio though was to have enough room to set up a full drum kit set. The new album's quite influenced by being on tour and playing live for two years straight.
After receiving so much praise for Crooks & Lovers, have you found it hard at all to progress creatively with this project?
Dominic: Not at all. We've been playing the old stuff for two years now, and it's gotten to the point that I don't even want to hear that kind of stuff anymore. I'm quite sick of it. Now don’t get me wrong—at the time we made Crooks & Lovers, I loved it, but as time's gone on, it's not that I don't like it anymore…it's just that its become very tiring and stagnant for me. So when it came to start making new music, it was like a breath of fresh air. Our mentality with this record is different than it was with the previous works. We're writing songs now with the full intention of playing them live, and that's a new thing for us. It feels like an injection of something we've been missing for awhile.
Kai: Having the two-year gap between now and the last full length really helped us as well, because we came at this new album after not making music for so long, and it was like starting all over again. Our interests aren't exactly the same as they were the first time around, and the result I think is a good step forward.
How has this North American tour been? You were supporting Squarepusher on his run of East Coast dates at the beginning of it, correct?
Dominic: That's correct. It's been really nice, especially since we've been traveling by bus instead of flying, which is what we usually do. There's something amazing about going to sleep and waking up in the next place you're playing. Not having to deal with airport security, checking bags—it's really quite lovely.
Kai: When we're touring there's so much stuff we have to bring with us that airports can be a real pain in the ass. On top of our personal stuff, we each have to lug around a guitar case and a big flat case that's incredibly heavy. We're just about at the breaking point of being able to manage everything with just the two of us. There's a lot of bags falling over and stuff going out every which way when we're traveling, it’s pretty pathetic.
Have you ever thought about bringing on more musicians to Mount Kimbie, at least just to play with live?
Kai: All the time. For various reasons we weren't able to do so on this specific tour, but next time we're in the US I think there will be four of us actually.
Do you perform as a foursome a lot back home?
Kai: We've only performed one show with all four of us, but it went over really well and it’s something we're definitely going to keep trying out. Having extra pairs of hands on stage allows us expand a little more on what we're doing, and opens up even bigger possibilities.
Would you say your live shows have changed much since when you first started out?
Dominic: Well like we've mentioned, we tour with a lot more gear now, but in terms of how we approach the songs, it's pretty similar. These days though, it’s just so much fun to be able to work with new material and experiment with songs live rather than just doing the regular old thing. It’s very rewarding.
So how many tracks will be on the new record?
Kai: We're not entirely sure yet. Our intention is for it to be a longer record than the last one, but apart from that we're not really sure. There's a good body of work there though. So far they’ve all gone over really well at our shows, so we couldn’t be more excited.