Dollars to Pounds: Mount Kimbie

April 16, 2010

I’ve been weirdly obsessed with Mount Kimbie’s "Maybes" since I heard it last year and I haven’t been able to work out why until now. It is basically the musical equivalent of an Icelandic volcanic dust cloud. From those horizon stretching opening chords to the chirping strangeness beyond, it sounds like nature erupting and machines malfunctioning in perfect harmony. I’m still waiting for my flight to be rescheduled, but here is an amazing remix from Kimbie compadre, James Blake. Kai from the band answered some of my silly questions.

Stream: Mount Kimbie, "Maybes" (James Blake Remix)

You have a unique sound and I guess that relates to your use of field recordings. Can you explain that a bit?
When I used to sample other people's records, I was not particularly interested in taking someone else's melody or drum break, rather taking a tiny moment of sound that you might not even hear unless it's played loud, between notes or after a song has finished and then magnifying it and examining the possibilities of the sound that has tonal qualities in the same way as a piano or guitar. Just to get more material we spent a while recording sounds from anywhere and everywhere. It's easier to find the little sounds when there is no song in the way.

There's something very alive about your music, like it's breathing. It makes me think about when you go to bed at night and all the furniture and household goods come to life and starts moving around and talking to each other.
Thanks a lot. I like your interpretation. The music we’ve written that I like makes me think about all kinds of things, but honestly I don’t listen to it very often.

I heard you don't work together on songs, more pass them back and forth like pen pals. Is that because you don't really like each other?
It’s just the way we have always worked. It still feels very much like a collaboration. If something is released than we’ve probably both had a hand in the final product. I think for both of us, writing is a very personal thing which sometimes involves not having to explain yourself and why you want to try something. We met at university, it’s not a particularly interesting story but we got talking about music and I wanted to get Dom to sing over some awful music I was making and it just developed from there.

I hear you're singing on your album. Have you been writing lyrics together?
There is a LOT of singing. Probably more in the live set then on the actual record. We’ve never written lyrics together. We generally take the piss out of each other’s lyrics.

Recently a video turned up on the internet of you guys playing with James Blake in a church. It was amazing.
I’m glad people liked that video but I was a bit concerned when I saw it had been uploaded. It certainly wasn’t our best performance. We did a fair few shows with James and they were all so different really. Did a few shaky ones and some amazing ones too, that venue was special and we also got to play at Ronnie Scott’s which we are all so grateful for.

I understand James is concentrating on his solo stuff now. How will that change your live show?
We always knew that the three of us was only going to work for so long. We started getting a lot more offers and James needed to concentrate on his stuff. We had the opportunity to really go back to the drawing board and take what we’d learned but go at it from another angle. I feel very good about how the live aspect is going, we’re still developing and it will get a lot better, but it's feeling good.

Dubstep is going through something of an evolution at the moment. Your music hardly fits, but it’s hidden away in there...
There’s certainly a lot of interesting music being made by people that have some connection to that movement at the moment. We never actively wanted to be disassociated with the genre but at the same time we’re just doing what we do, what we feel like and people will label it in whatever way they see fit.

Where is Mount Kimbie? I couldn't find it on Googlemaps.
It’s a place inside all of us where buses arrive on time.

A Mount Kimbie remix EP is out soon on Hotflush Recordings.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Dollars to Pounds: Mount Kimbie