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25th November 2013

Interview: Mount Kimbie

Patrick Hinton speaks to Mount Kimbie about life on tour, the ubiquity of ‘Made To Stray’ and collaboration with other artists – including the legendary DJ Koze

After a two year UK touring hiatus, Mount Kimbie are once again travelling these shores in support of their critically lauded second album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. Beside a table laden with a balanced rider of alcohol and celery sticks in Manchester’s Gorilla, I spoke to the duo.

“The tour’s going really well at the moment, we just want to keep building on that and really make this tour amazing because we haven’t really done the UK for a long time” says Dominic Maker. With the band’s second album being constructed more towards live sets, I question whether the tour feels different this time around. “It’s definitely a more live orientated album in that there’s way more instrumentation and singing. We’ve got an extra pair of hands now in Tony our drummer and, yeah, we’re just building on the ideas that we had on that record on the stage. It definitely is a different live show to what we had before, although we’re still playing songs from back then.” Kai Campos adds “We never really played the first album like it was on the record anyway, so it was always kind of leaning towards going in that direction before we made the second album so I think it sits together pretty well.”

Mount Kimbie toured debut album Crooks & Lovers extensively, so was this progression towards live sets planned? “We certainly didn’t consciously talk about a particular change in direction, although it was quite a long gap from recording the first one so it was quite natural for us to want to do something a bit different and I guess that a lot of that was informed from quite extensive touring. But at the same we wanted to make the studio record that we wanted to make, not think about how we were going to perform it live. So in that sense it was a similar process in that we just worked in a studio and then came to rehearse it much later on.”

“A key difference is probably that we started playing the songs out before they were finished, that was a very different process from the first record which had long been finished before we thought about playing them, so they were informed by performance at some point along the way.” Campos goes on to reveal a live performance influence: “We’ve just been touring the states with a guy called Jonwayne who’s quite an incredible showman. He has a very different approach in every respect to what we do, we were both learning together and sharing ideas and even collaborating on stage which was great. He’s the kind of guy that can insult every audience that we played to on the whole tour and come out of it well which is something that I’d never be able to pull off, so yeah, very different but very inspiring as well.”

Mount Kimbie have seen a lot of the world through their touring schedule. “We love travelling around and meeting people and seeing new things, it’s great when you go to places that you’re not that familiar with. On the American tour we went to Mexico for the first time and that was an amazing experience albeit quite a short one. In terms of favourite places, Tokyo’s definitely up there because of the food and it feels completely far removed from anything we’re really familiar with over here. I think America is probably my favourite area to tour in because it’s very interesting and you’re going through different climates and landscapes all the time.” America has one downside however, as Maker further imparts: “The venues – most of them aren’t very good. A lot of what we’re doing is down to how good it sounds and we had a good sound guy out there and sometimes it was a real shame because the sound system just wasn’t up to it, that really happens a lot out there, they’ve got a lot of old venues without much money; but the audiences were great.”

Despite their latest album not necessarily being hugely dance floor orientated, ‘Made To Stray’ was a ubiquitous anthem at the summer festivals, and has a huge response when dropped at dance events such as Manchester’s Warehouse Project. I asked whether the response to this song had come as a surprise. “Yes, it has,” admits Maker. “I remember we went out pretty much just after  the album was released and we heard that song out in a club and it was a great moment as we haven’t really ever experienced that with any of our music before. It’s had a lot of really good backing from people who are really pushing it and we keep hearing about accounts of people hearing it out in various places around the world and that’s only a good thing.”

The band currently have no set plans on where to take their sound next. “We just want to start writing again and it will all start to fall into place. I think really the key thing for us is we want to keep writing as opposed to before where we had so much time off, we want to keep the ball rolling and hopefully work on some exciting projects with other people and just really take it as it comes.” Archy Marshall aka King Krule collaborated with Mount Kimbie on two tracks of their latest album. “It was great, he was a really great artist and inspiring guy to work with” says Kai. “It was really nice to have a genuine front man to work with who really added something that only really he could. We’d love to do some more with him in the future definitely.” Who else would the pair like to work with? “We’re always quite careful in terms of our output so it’s really got to be something that works and is a natural thing which it was with Archy. So, there’s a couple of people but it’s as it comes – if something comes up that feels good.”

Another notable collaboration occurred recently when the legendary DJ Koze contributed a remix to Mount Kimbie’s latest EP. “We were trying to figure out who would be interesting to rework some stuff, remix EPs are something that record labels like to do to keep momentum and stuff and can be not the most exciting thing in the world to be doing – but having said that, this one’s come out really well I think. Koze was an influence of mine from a long time ago so it’s always nice when those things come around, and I’m pretty elated with what he’s done with it. It’s cool we worked with him, definitely.”

Speaking of record labels, what influenced the band to sign with Warp Records after the culmination of their Hotflush contract? “They never asked us about what the record was going to sound like and they didn’t want to have anything to do with that really so that was something that we felt good about. They’ve seen and worked with bands in a lot of different places in their careers and as a label they’ve changed over the years and adapted. They’re a really good home for what we’re doing at the moment and where we want to go.”

Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is out now and details of Mount Kimbie’s worldwide tour can be found here

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