Mumdance and Logos are two producers enjoying a particularly productive 2013, both as studio acquaintances and signees to Tectonic and Keysound.
Brighton producer Mumdance, aka Jack Adams, has proved himself particularly adept at staying relevant in the ever-changing bass music landscape of the last five years. Since breaking through with his 2008 bootleg of Diplo’s “Black Lips” remix, Adams has gone on to take his eclectic, and distinctly global, take on grime, house, garage and techno to the landmark rosters of Mad Decent, Southern Fried, No Hats No Hoods and Trouble & Bass. Impressive stats, bolstered by a list of collaborations that stretch from Brodinski and AC Slater to Jammer and Trim.
Latest in that list is London producer Logos, an understated veteran of grime whose futuristic interpretation of the 8-bar template came to prominence in 2011 with the track ‘Kowloon’. He now makes up a select breed of producers pushing the dark, 130bpm take on the genre that lies at the heart of influential stables such as Keysound Recordings. Alongside Mumdance, their collaboration ‘In Reverse’ recently featured on Keysound’s ‘This Is How We Roll’ compilation, with their track ‘Drum Boss’ signed to the just-released Tectonic Recordings’ ‘Plates Volume 4’ compilation.
We sat the two colleagues down to discuss 2013 highlights, studio nightmares, 909, their shared love of grime and an unashamed fondness for hardcore.
L: How was Boxed at Plastic People the other night?
MD: Boxed at Plastic People was great the other evening, feels like there is a real scene building now and it’s nice to get everyone in a room, show everyone what you have been making and be really impressed by the music everyone else was making, it just really feels like there is some momentum gathering at the moment, seems like people are getting a little bored of 4X4 and are coming back to more complex rhythms. Don’t get me wrong there is a ton of really good house that has come through in the past couple years but it’s just feeling very over saturated at the moment and I think this new scene which is emerging is a reaction to that.
MD: How did you think it went?
L: It was nice to hear my stuff on the PP system – and to play there as well was to tick something quite special off my list. The circumstances behind us putting that last minute party on there were pretty funny too – big up to Slackk and Tom Lea basically, they sorted it right out in like 2 hours!
In terms of sound I feel like there is some sort of raw grime/club hybrid vibe emerging which is pretty wicked.
MD: Is that how you would describe what we are making at the moment?
L: Some of it… for me I really like the idea of thinking about grime as a deliberately primitivist form of techno and you can kind of get those ideas out a bit more if you drop the tempo a bit.
L: So what has been your musical highlight of 2013 so far?
MD: Man 2013 has actually been full of a few highlights already! One was definitely previewing my first live show at fabric last week. I’m really looking forward to taking this show on the road. Another highlight was just yesterday when we signed a track of ours to a very exciting new label (more news very soon) and the other one was finishing a new project I’ve been working on (my first proper output in 2 years – more on that soon too!)
MD: How about you?
L: Playing Plastic People, being involved in Boxed and signing stuff to Tectonic and Keysound – and just writing a lot more material in the last 6 months than I have in the last 5 years!
L: I know you are a fan of the 909 and it’s a big part of the new live set? What’s your favourite 909 sound and why?
MD: That’s a tough one, gotta be a toss up between the kick, the open hat and the clap, all three are iconic in their own right… I’m gonna go for the kick, I think. It’s a perfect staring point and anchor for club-based music. Yeah so the live show revolves heavily around the 909, it’s basically a massive drum jam, but I’ve tried to go one step further by adding a sampler too and building whole tracks in front of the crowd. I wanted it to be as live as possibly can be, which I feel I’ve achieved. I’m doing all the sequencing and building of the tune live with no real planning, I like the whole danger element of it as there is plenty of scope for it to go wrong! As I’ve mentioned before, the sound sits somewhere between Jeff Mills live Drum Jams & Golden Era 8 Bar Grime, it’s a Nine O Grime set!
(Photo: James Kendall)
MD: What sort of sounds have you been favouring of late? I know you are big on finding abstract samples, what has been catching your ear lately?
L: It’s always fun mining old grime tunes for samples (or doing some grime archeology to find where they got the samples from in the first place) but there is a limit to how much I want to do that these days.
At the moment I’m more in to how you treat quite basic sounds via the hardware samplers or with some interesting reverb or FX.
L: Name Your Worst Studio Nightmare.
MD: Without particularly meaning to, I seem to have devolved my technology to the extent that I’m saving stuff onto floppy disks most of the time. I soon found out that floppy Disks don’t particularly like being left on top of speakers for extended periods of time, something which I have paid very dearly for, by losing a couple of tracks that I will never ever be able to recreate – arghhhh!
L: Surely it’s your £100 new cable fiasco when you moved house?
MD: Oh shit I forgot about that, moving into a bigger room so none of the wires are long enough to reach was a bitter pill to swallow.
MD: If you could go back in time machine, what would you tell the young version of yourself to do/invent/avoid doing?
L: I’d avoid spending ages worrying about plug-ins and instead would have bought an MPC and Mackie desk in 2002!
L – So what kinda vibe is inspiring you at the moment, whether in music, film or whatever?
I guess it’s just my surroundings that are inspiring me at the moment, I’ve been out in the country for a year or so, so being back in the city has definitely brought a new dimension to my music making, I carry around a little recorder in my pocket wherever I go and record little bits and pieces, so my change of scenery has changed my sound palette. In terms of music, I’ve been listening to a lot of doomy/droney metal like Sunn O))) and also a lot of shoegaze stuff like Ride, Slowdive & My Bloody valentine. On the other side of things Oneman has been inspiring me a lot, he is an absolute master in this game and his Rinse show is always a jaw dropper. Big up DJ Oneman.
MD: What’s been inspiring you?
L: The new experimental grime influenced producers are doing a lot right now – Rabit seems to churn out beats at a constant rate and people like Strict Face, Parker, Sublo, Breen, Inkke, Samename, Moleskin and Slackk are making wicked beats.
Otherwise I’ve been listening to some of the more obscure Metalheadz back catalogue… stuff on the metal box like Doc Scott’s Swarm and also revisiting my old Digital records (Photek Productions 001 and his Razor’s Edge release are just unbelievably good murky late 90s masterpieces). Incorporating those sounds in a roughly 130 bpm, grime/warehouse context is my obsession at the moment.
MD : Yooo I forgot to mention all the experimental grime guys, man like Bloom & Visionist too, so many great producers coming through at the moment. Really feels like there is something new happening and there is a real family vibe to it already, a lot of collaborations & communication it’s great to see. It’s an exciting time right now.
MD: What sort of music were u going out to when you first started raving? Were u going out to Jungle & DnB? Or more on a Garage flex? Were u going just clubbing or were u going out to gigs and stuff too?
L: I used to dabble around a bit… there wasn’t a lot of access to good parties where I grew up though – there were actually some really sick happy hardcore crews in my local area and I remember going to a few parties in 96/97… the sound was actually quite a bit darker than you might think and they had really good sound system which shit on most stuff you hear in clubs these days. Plus they had jungle in room 2 which is the first time I heard it in a club.
L: You must have had a bit of that vibe on the south coast?
MD: Mate hardcore was my first love and I’m not ashamed to say it, I got into music through going round my mates older brothers house and him battering out happy hardcore out of a blown speaker, the sound really fascinated me and from then I found out where my local record shop was and went and used to buy loads of tape packs (and steal tons of flyers to plaster my walls with) which gave me my 1st education in electronic music. I was a big sucker for hardcore, not so much the really happy stuff like Toytown, but more the kinda Proto Jungle era. Before jungle and hardcore went their separate ways. If you listen to my different circles podcast series I always finish with a bit of a hardcore rinse out. Also all the artwork is inspired by old rave flyers
MD: So when did you first discover Grime?
L: Well I picked up on speed garage in 97 or whenever so it was just a case of following where it went. I was into the darker garage you would hear on the odd radio show and the Dream Team always had a little mix slot on their Radio 1 show around 2000 where they would get guests on. So initially it was people playing that Zinc style. I remember hearing a Stone Cold GX crew mix on there which I’ve still got on minidisc… little did I know that Hatcha was the DJ for them. Bearing in mind I wasn’t in London at the time, the Hyperdub site was really good for interviews and it was almost as inspiring to read about early grime and dubstep as it was to listen to it… and then there were odd little internet radio stations like Groovetech. I remember hearing Kode9 do a set on there around 2001 or 2002. And you started getting Ghost and Horsepower records for sale at places like Redeye, which is where I used to buy all my jungle from.
Once I was in London it was easy to listen to pirates and get the full immersion.
L: How about you? You’ve had a lot to do with MCs like Jammer in the past haven’t you?
MD: Yeah I got onto grime again through tape packs, through listening to Sidewinder Raves, Slimzee sets especially. Then I started working for Vice Magazine doing their events, I was booking a lot of Grime MCs to perform at the parties and that’s how I met Jammer, we just became mates and started to do music together after one of Vice’s photographers Jamie James Medina suggested it. So I went down to the dungeon and it just went on from there really. Off the top of my head I’ve done tunes with Jammer, Trim, JME, Skepta, Frisco, Chronik, Tempz, Rage, C Gritz, Kozzie, Ears, Badness, Ice Kid as well as more garage based MCs like Sparks & Kie. It all stopped when I moved out of London as it’s pretty tough to make an MC Leave London unless he’s got a booking, but now I’m back up here expect a lot more MC-based tunes.
MD: So do you always just listen to Electronic music? What are you into outside of the Hardcore Continuum?
L : Anything really… at one point I seemed to spend a lot of time listening to a lot of minimal, mainly US composition from Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Phil Niblock, LaMonte Young and John Adams. But I go through phases. How about you?
MD: Yeah I’m the same, I go through phases, at the moment I’m just excited to be back in London and able to pick up pirate radio so I’m just listening to pirates most of the time. Something very special about hearing the music you love through the airwaves.
MD: Ok so let’s wrap this up, what have u got coming up in the future? Or is there anything you would like to leave us with?
L: Following the compilation releases on Tectonic and Keysound I’ve got a couple of projects coming up I’m really excited about but can’t really talk about yet – sorry! Otherwise it’s just going in deeper on the same raw, sparse vibe I think, at least as far as our collaborations go.
L: How about you?
MD: Yeah man, expect some darkness and sparseness on our collabs for sure! For me, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve just wrapped up this new project which will be dropping in the next month or so. After that I will be taking this new live show on the road. Can’t wait!
The next instalment of Boxed with Slackk, Mr Mitch, Logos and Oil Gang b2b Grandmixxer will take place in the Basement of Plan B, Brixton on May 24th.