South London duo Mount Kimbie played Poland’s Heineken Open’er Festival, without much fuss (in other words, in typical Mount Kimbie fashion). Cold Spring Fault Less Youth extends the beautifully hazy, yearning aesthetic of its predecessor into more articulate territory, allowing a new clarity to emerge from Dom Maker and Kai Campos’ aural visions. The result, as they demonstrated in Gdinya, is nothing short of stunning.
Dazed caught up with Dom and Kai for a few minutes before their set to talk about what has happened between then and now, and where that leaves their new live show.
Dazed Digital: What has happened in terms of your writing process since you made Crooks & Lovers?
Dom: For this one we kind of had to start again, just because it had been such a long time since we made the first album that we had got really out of practice of writing songs. So a lot of time was spent trying to get back into the flow of things. We also used a lot of our experience in playing live, especially in terms of being more open to using more instrumentation and trying out new ideas. One of the main things that came through was how we used quite a bit of vocals on the new album. It was when we sat down to master it that we realised how much of the record is with vocals. But yeah, I think the live experience has definitely been important and just trying to search for a sound that we were both excited about.
DD: Was that something you thought about the first time around, that the vocal element was missing?
Kai: No, I think we were always interested in kind of pop melodies, and we had pretty much exhausted every other way of executing those apart from actually singing it. It seemed like we were not doing it for the wrong reasons, so we decided we were just going to have to bite the bullet and go with it.
We were looking outward a bit less and inward a bit more [for Crooks & Lovers]. There were definitely some different influences, but we just had more space and felt more comfortable to explore a broader range of them
DD: You mentioned the live experience – how have your shows evolved?
Dom: For starters, we’ve got a new guy on stage with us – a friend of ours, Tony, who plays drums, bass guitar and does a bit of singing. So that’s freed us up a lot. We’ve been thinking about it recently, that the new record is more made for the live environment. The songs work really well live, we’ve got a lot of guitar bass guitar, and drums as well. So it doesn’t feel as difficult to mould it into the live atmosphere as it was with the first record. We’re really enjoying playing these new songs.
DD: The King Krule collaboration seemed like such a natural pairing. What do you think you guys share with him in terms of atmosphere and expression?
Kai: When I first listened to his music – which is quite a long time ago now – I remember thinking it could work because in many ways his song writing is quite simple. It’s quite sparse, everything that he puts into his music is there for a reason and nothing is overdone. I think we leave a lot to the imagination and so working together felt like something that wouldn’t be overcrowded, something that would just sit nicely together.
DD: Did you draw on any new influences this time?
Dom: Well, we spent two years not really making any music, so I think just taking stuff in for a while was a fairly big driving force in itself. In general this record was a much more internal experience and process for us than it was on the first one, which I think you can easily say almost came from that certain time and place we were in. This one I think is more abstract in a way; we were looking outward a bit less and inward a bit more. There were definitely some different influences, but I think mostly we just had more space and felt more comfortable to explore a broader range of them – but God knows what they are! You just sort of take it all in and then they seep out somewhere.
DD: I was curious about whether Steve Reich might have been an inspiration? I think in terms of the atmosphere your music shares a lot of the same transportive qualities…
Kai: I was so surprised to see he was playing here! I’m really excited about that – we love his music. We were just talking about it, actually, that his work has definitely had a very formative influence. It would be amazing to do something as brilliant as Different Trains one day.