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Dollars to Pounds: Mmoths

March 01, 2012

Sometimes life’s a fluke. At least that’s how the past 12 months of Jack Colleran’s existence seems to have played out. A year ago he was studying for this final exams, the end of high school was nigh. Now, under the moniker Mmoths (formerly Moths) he’s signed to SQE Music (home of Rusko), Flying Lotus is showing him love and the release of his debut, five-track EP is around the corner.

Last Christmas when the snow was falling heavily in his hometown of Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, the then 17-year-old Colleran was bemused by his mate's insistence that playing in the snow day after day was the most entertaining way to pass the time. “I was like, we did that yesterday and I don’t want to go out again,” he says. “It’s beautiful and everything, but it’s really cold. I had nothing else to do so I just started writing these tracks.” Locked in his bedroom with a newly acquired copy of Ableton, he created tracks like “Heart” (this reworked version with Sarah from Keep Shelly In Athens on vocals will appear on Mmoths' EP), “Blisters”, as well as a slew of unofficial remixes for Passion Pit, Interpol and Bon Iver that showcase his deft splice and paste skills. Stuttering synths, severed from their origins and paired with muffled beats, give Colleran's blissed out electronica a cocooned, comforting quality. Recently, I gave him a call to talk about his insane year. Read the interview and stream his new track "Summer," below.

Stream: Mmoths f. Superhumanoids, "Summer"

The Irish blog Nialler9 put up some of your tracks in January last year and within four months you were being offered a record deal. That is nuts. I was like holy fucking shit, this is insane. I got this email from Seb Webber at XL Records with “I want to call you” in the subject. I thought, this has to be spam. But it was genuine. I gave him my number and he called in a matter of minutes. He was all excited, “I have to sign you,” and I was like, “Holy shit slow down. Who are you?” That was the moment I realized music could be more than just a hobby or something I do in my bedroom.

Were you in bands when you were younger? I’d never been interested in electronic music or hip-hop but I’ve been in bands since I was small. I was 11 and played keyboards and did covers of ACDC. It was the coolest thing ever! Actually I don’t want people to know that! I started piano when I was five. I begged my mam to send me to lessons. But I never wanted to play Bach or Tchaikovsky, I never wanted to play something written by someone else. I just wanted to play my own thing.

Last year you finished school and flew off to LA. I signed my record deal the day I got my exam results. For everyone it’s their biggest day, because they know how many points they got and where they’re going to go to college. But I was signing my record deal! It was like, Fuck you Irish education system! That’s how I felt, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an architect, but I was never smart enough. I like watching shows about architecture and going to different countries and seeing different buildings. I was just in Berlin for fashion week. It was so weird. Everyone was really well-dressed and I was there in my skinny jeans and my shitty clothes. It’s like, See these shoes they cost $500. And I’m like, See my shoes they cost me 20 quid at TK Maxx.

I heard somewhere that “moths” is Irish slang for ladies. Is that true? It’s like, How’s your moth? Like, How’s your girl? Some girls call themselves moths. My girlfriend’s part of this Facebook private group called mothspace, where all the girls write to each other. If I go on it, she could be excommunicated from the group. It’s hilarious. They just talk about themselves and their boyfriends and their experiences. Like, “I just got the bus and there was an old man on it with an old woman, it was so cute.” Stupid shit like what’s the best hair dye. If they knew I was talking about it, she’d probably kill me. It’s top secret! I didn’t really know what to call [my music] and I was talking to my roommate and he was having girl troubles and he wrote, “I hate moths.” I thought fuck it, that’ll do.

So Flying Lotus got in touch with you over Twitter? That was cool as fuck. He said it really cool because he’s the coolest motherfucker, pretty much, “I really like your tracks, keep it up.” And he probably said dawg or something. And I was like, Yeah dawg! But I didn’t say that. I said, “Oh my God! Thanks so much!” I’m probably the most uncool person ever actually, and now you know.

Don't worry, everyone loves nerds these days. I’m not a nerd! For fuck’s sake! I’m not a nerd!

You must be kind of nerdy because you spend so much time indoors. I’m really pale, actually. I walked out in a towel yesterday—I wanted to get a drink to have in the shower. I’m still 18 so I can do that kind of shit. So I walked out and I didn’t realize the girl my friend is seeing was there and she was like, “You’re so pale!” I just ran back inside. I’m not a geek though—geeks are smart. I wish I was smart. I have a friend, Kev who’s really smart and impresses all the ladies with big words. But I’m not like that. I can’t speak at all. I nearly failed English. We were studying Hamlet, for two years and up until a month before the exams, I thought we were studying Macbeth. So that was the biggest fuck-up ever. A disaster!

What did you do for your 18th birthday? I had a big party in my backyard and got my friends to DJ on a big system. But then the guards got called, the police. It ended at 3AM which wasn’t too bad. You can’t enjoy your own party, you have to look after everyone and you don’t want people to break glasses and stand on the flowers. My mam had just got the garden done the week before. She cooked so much pizza; just giving it out. Mam’s are like that though, they just want to feed people all the time. It’s the best.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
Dollars to Pounds: Mmoths