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Mountain Oasis Music Festival: Q&A with Mount Kimbie

This weekend, the Mountain Oasis music festival takes over Asheville, bringing an eclectic mix of electronic artists to western N.C. Dive staff writer Lily Escobar caught up with Dominic Maker who, as one half of English duo Mount Kimbie, will be performing at the fest. Maker discussed Mount Kimbie’s creative process.

Dive: How did the name for Cold Spring Fault Less Youthcome about?

Dominic Maker: Um (laughs) basically, I guess it was pretty difficult for us to decide on a name that really summed up everything in the album. I think there are a lot of different styles and a lot of diversity within the songs we settled on, so it just felt wrong to have, you know — well, we really couldn’t find a name that would some it all up. So basically the title is meant to be read in however way you want to read it.

Like, you can reassemble the words to mean something totally different, a different kind of sentence. I guess you kind of see each individual word as a chapter heading or something, and yeah, I guess we just wanted to leave a lot of unasked questions for the record because we really didn’t ask ourselves and we wanted to leave it open ended.

Dive: Your songs are very unique. How would you describe your process of creating music?

DM: Well I think probably the initial idea, I mean the kind of ideas that we have had come from anything really. I mean mainly samples really. More recently we started using a lot more analog equipment, so just sitting down with a drum machine or whatever we can get our hands on and just kind of naively going through it and just seeing what happens.

And then yeah, certain types of sounds or a tone or a rhythmic sample will just inspire an idea. We spend a lot of time hunting down sounds that we really find interesting and pretty much incorporate anything that might be quite odd into something whose a bit more kind of poppy.

I think from my point of view, we’re making kind of small, pop ideas that sound quite weird and sort of psychedelic.

Dive: Are there any songs on the album that felt the most natural to produce?

DM: I think probably the track “Break Well.” It’s one of our favorites. And also, “Time” with Archie, or King Krule. They were both were just really natural and they came together really nicely. We met Archie and got him into the studio with us. It’s just really easy to work together and when he came in we had those tracks that were just very short clips, very short ideas and they just developed pretty quickly, very naturally into cool songs.

So yeah, I think “Break Well,” “You Took Your Time,” and the other one with Archie — I can’t remember what it’s called (laughs) — “Meter, Pale, Tone,” that’s what it’s called!

Dive: You guys have done several mixes for famous artists such as The XX and Foals.

DM: Yes.

Dive: Can we expect any more in the near future?

DM: Um, maybe (laughs), I don’t know. We really liked working for certain people. When we hear a track and we think we can make something out of it, we’ll do it. I mean, we’re not keen on kind of overdoing it and just doing anything that comes through the door. But, I mean, those two particular artists have got very strong vocals and we just felt that we could give something to those tracks and give our own take on it. But yeah, in the future, if the right thing comes along, we’ll definitely do it.

Dive: With your video for “Made to Stray,” did you guys have any say in the artistic vision?

DM: I mean, yeah. I mean, the guy who made that is also the guy who designed our album artwork and we kind of sent him a few vague references about what we wanted for the artwork itself and he came back with that image and we instantly fell in love with it. And so, when he said that he was kind of keen on doing a video, we kind of just put all of our faith into him and just said, “Yeah, go ahead and see whatever comes out,” and he sent me what he made and we made a couple of alterations but we were really just happy about it.

I mean, I think for us, it’s so important for the videos or artwork whatever to just be somebody else’s vision of what we do and if it feels right and if it feels exciting and creative, we’re all for it. I think that video is kind of obviously different from most of the stuff we’ve done before that we’ve released, but I think it’s the perfect track to be a bit more far out with. Yeah, we’re really happy with how it came out.

Dive: Who would you consider your musical heroes or are there any artists you’d hope to work with?

DM: I reckon this girl who’s called Grouper. She’s kind of totally different music and yeah, just her singing with a bass guitar and a bunch of reverb. We’re kind of attracted to working with people that come from various different backgrounds and various different styles. I think we begin to see a lot of connections with loads of artists.

Dive: OK, last question, what was the last thing you did for the first time?

DM: The last thing I did for the first time?

Dive: Correct.

DM: I swam out in Oakdale, which I think is just outside San Francisco. Yeah, we just went to our first nature raid with lots of crazy hippies and in the middle of Savannah. It’s a man-made lake in the waters, basically drinkable, and yeah we just swam in there. So that was two days ago and the last thing I did for the first time. I went on a nature raid, in the middle of California, and that was pretty far out for me.

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