Dollars to Pounds: Young Montana

October 22, 2010

Some musicians make music rooted in their surroundings, yet listen to Young Montana's soulful, twitchy, hyperactive productions and Conventry isn't the first place that springs to mind. His songs make you think of lots of places, but not the West Midlands. Is that because all of music exists at the same time now, past and future together, everywhere, and that everywhere is essentially the same place, so making beats in Coventry is no different to making them in Detroit or Berlin? No, that sounds like bollocks. Young Montana is hilarious and very game. I set him an impossible challenge and he effortlessly rose to meet it.

Download: Young Montana, "Sacre Cool"

What is going on in the West Midlands? Suddenly it's full of amazing electronic/hip-hop artists. Was there a secret course that you, Letherette and everyone else went on?
Haha, I'm not sure man. There's been Bibio, Letherette, Lone, Keaver & Brause, Blank & Kytt, too many to mention, really. I grew up around the West Midlands so it's great to see good music coming out of it. Unfortunately, I just don't feel there is a "scene" here though. I've not even played a proper show in the Midlands yet and I wouldn't know where to start around here. I guess it's just coincidence, or perhaps we've all come to realise factory work's no longer our forte around here so we've moved on to making music.

For a new artist you have been on Pitchfork a lot. How did you manage it? Just by being awesome or do you have compromising photos of Ryan Schreiber?
Just the old fashioned way, with a bit of elbow grease and that. It was really just a crazy domino effect—it started with me releasing a track on Inverted Audio, and it just went on and on until Yours Truly picked it up. They're real nice guys and ended up passing a track on to Ryan from Pitchfork. I'd never really heard much about Pitchfork, but funnily enough I saw some friends kinda ranting about how bad it was on Facebook, I went to have a look and there I was, haha.

How hot is Heather?
Yeah man she's fucking so hot. At least I thought she was. Well, she kinda turned out to be quite the bakku-shan in the end but really it's just what I thought the guy was saying, that I sampled in that track. I think he's actually saying something like "Try my nuts, they're hot and they're worth the price," I dunno, sounded a bit like 'hot heathrrrr' at the time.

Download: Young Montana, "Hot Heathrr"

You sampled Fleet Foxes on "F.F.F.F." Are you a fan or is it just another sample source?
I was speaking with a label about releasing it once, but they decided they probably couldn't release it because it was a "remix." I couldn't really get my head around that, it's always been called F.F.F.F., i.e. something of my own, and never a Fleet Foxes remix. We spoke a little bit about trying to get Sub Pop to release it, but that wouldn't really feel right to me, having all this hype and a big tag on it saying Fleet Foxes or whatever. But yeah, the whole sampling thing can get confusing. I guess I probably wouldn't sample anything so current again unless it was going to be a remix, but I was just making music at the time regardless of the outside world.

Download: Young Montana, "F.F.F.F."

There are MCs on your album. Do you consider yourself a hip-hop producer?
I'd hope not really, I think I'm probably more electronic but I still wouldn't like to box myself in like that. I guess I probably do take an almost hip-hop-esque approach to sampling. There aren't a lot of people really doing that shit anymore. But I ain't just gonna sit there and churn out something from the '90s all over again. My album's gonna be a sonic adventure really, but I guess the most recurring part of the dream is an underlying hip-hop beat, in some smacked out form. The further removed from hip-hop it all becomes the better, I think the album will emphasis this more than I can articulate.

I read that you want to work with different sorts of vocalists. Who would be on your dream collab list?
Man, I really don't know enough about music to say who's out there. I'd love to work with all sorts of vocalists, grime, folk, fuck knows. Thom Yorke would be most peoples dream collaboration I guess. But I would be just as pleased working with Santigold as I would a fucking church choir. I fucking love those Siberian throat singers.

Dem Hunger is a funny fucker, isn't he?
Haha, he is. I met him once and we've kinda kept in contact. He's a real nice chap, pretty sane actually and totally not what you'd expect after listening to one or two of his fucking tapes or a trip on his blog. It was funny though, he was such a genuine bloke, and yet I was kinda left with more questions than answers after I met him! We had a few drinks and played a few tracks from Caveman Smack, he didn't know any of the song names or how any of the tracks went, haha! He showed me how he made all his tracks on a freeware mp3 recorder too—two little dials for left/right volume and not much else!

Young Montana. Is that a Scarface reference, a Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana reference or are you a fan of the Rocky Mountains?
One day me and Miley Cyrus are gonna go launch our faces into a mountainside of cocaine, just like the film. That's kinda what the names about, you hit the nail on the head, it's all those things. Deep.

Would you work with Miley Cyrus? I bet you can't make a dope beat from a Miley Cyrus song. (Challenge!)
Haha, well never rule anything out! She's got a bit of a shitty deep bloke voice, but maybe I could twist it up in someway?!

Download: Young Montana, "Fuckin Miley RMX"

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Dollars to Pounds: Young Montana