Thought of as one of the UK's foremost innovative producers, Mumdance has been relentlessly pushing boundaries ever since his first studio session. Releasing music on no less than 5 heavily-favoured labels; Diplo's 'Mad Decent', Grime label 'No Hats No Hoods', ''Southern Fried', 'Trouble & Bass' and 'Greco Roman', he's clearly an artist who's sound knows no obvious limitations. Not content with resting on his laurels, I caught up with him on what the future holds for this year and everything else in between, from moaning about sound systems to playing a Death Metal venue in Mexico:
"Ah what have i been up to? Basically I've written a load of music over the last 12 months or so but last year, the labels weren't releasing it as quickly as I'd liked and I think it was about summer time that I started to get a bit frustrated with it all. I had a stockpile of tunes all waiting for releases and they were starting to stagnate a bit but thankfully they've all been put out now - The 'Translantic' EP, The 'Different Circles' Mixtape and the 'Mum Decent' EP were the major releases. I actually wrote the music for the 'Mum Decent' EP almost a year and a half ago so it was nice to get that released - it got a good reception but I kinda felt it lost a bit of it's edge in a sense that had it been released 12 months or so prior, it might have sounded fresher!
At the moment, I'm literally just locked away in the studio - I'm always trying to keep my sound moving and I'm on that vibe at the moment. I feel like everyone's managed to cover most of the bases in terms of electronic music at the moment so I'm on a mission to find out where where I want to go next - it's really good that all the crossover stuff has found its niche but it makes it a lot harder to sound original! But yeah, I've had about five or six releases out in the last few months so I've decided to dedicate the next few to learning more about the music I wanna make and finding a new direction. I've never really felt like my music's fitted into one particular scene either which doesn't always help (laughs) - I'm not completely Grime and I'm not completely House or anything like that, I guess my music doesn't really have a home! Because of that, I've decided to start a new little project called 'Different Circles' which is gonna consist of a London-based monthly club night and a podcast, which might lead on to forming a label should it be successful enough. With that, I'm purely looking to bring open minded people from all over the place together to come and play. It'd be great to get loads of people down to just dance and vibe along to the music without the musical snobbery that seems to be about at the moment - I guess it's gonna be a case of bringing different sounds, cultures and ideas together to create something new, which in a way acts almost as an extension of me as an artist."
With such a refreshing and varied approach to production, it is perhaps no wonder that Mumdance struggles to define his sound:
"My music's a bit all over the shop really! If i'm feeling something or suddenly come up with some weird idea, I'll just go with it. The stuff i'm making now for example is so different to the global, organic sounds of the 'Mumdance' EP - I just can't help switching things up. I don't really know how to describe my sound though, it's all mixed up - I'm just a mixed up bre mate!"
Whilst many producers look to produce music to fit the sounds of a specific label, Mumdance typically takes a different approach:
"It's just been a case of meeting people really. I remember Brodinski booked me to play at one of his nights at the Paris Social Club and we got talking while I was over there, suggested we should do a tune together and that was it. We managed to put together a Techno tune and put it to 'Southern Fried' who released it - I tend to make music first and then try and find a home for it afterwards! I did a thing with Trim and Jammer too which came about in a similar way. I got a phone call from Red Bull who were asking if I wanted some studio time and I took the offer naturally - a week or so before I'd actually played with Trim in Austria I think and so I thought I'd get in touch. He ended up coming along with Jammer, who I knew from previous bookings at nights I used to help promote when I was younger, and we did the ting! There was no other label for it to go to than 'No Hats No Hoods' so I sent it to them and they released it. That's how it works for me!"
Heavily influenced by a whole host of different sound and genres, from Grime to even Soca, Mumdance sees the current crossover/hybrid trend as crucial to the continued expansion of bass music:
"It's really healthy to see everyone coming together, taking aspects of completely different sounds and throwing them into the mix. I listen to all sorts of stuff and I can see where different artists draw influence from. It's cliche but with the internet, you can explore whatever you like - it's a piece of piss! Before, it used to be a case of finding a decent record shop - the owner would in essence be the gatekeeper of the knowledge you know? They'd be in control of what you were gonna be hearing. I used to love Drum N Bass back in the day and I'd have to travel quite a way to get decent stuff but now it takes a matter of seconds. Say I wanna listen to some Soca, I can just get on the internet and see what's popping in Trinidad! In all seriousness though, I'm all for the scene being unified."
As a deejay, Mumdance has played at some of biggest venues across the globe but as with most things, home remains where the heart is. Having said that, home is also where the decent system is:
"The system has to be on point. I used to promote Drum N Bass nights before I started deejaying and I used to remember deejays coming up to me, moaning about systems and I'd think, 'You're a dickhead mate - you get paid to travel all over the place and play music and all you do is whinge". Now, I'm that guy (laughs)! It is a really important part of it for me though - whatever the venue, however big or small, if the system's good i know I'm gonna have a good party. I love big rooms to be honest - Fabric Room 2 is probably my favourite place to play, the lazers and everything just kill it! I used to love it there when I was younger which makes it extra special to play there as a deejay. I really do enjoy deejaying though - when I first started, I didn't know too much about mixing up tempos or anything like that but I used to plan loads of loops and effects to drop. After getting more comfortable, I got a bit lazy and stopped doing that but recently I've gone back to straight CDJs and it's much more enjoyable. Not having to look at a screen is a nice change and I feel a lot more in touch with the crowd, plus you've got license to have a mess-up (laughs), which is always good fun! The sickest and weirdest place I've played was probably in Mexico alongside Toy Selectah and Cooly G. We got booked to do a show at this weird, weird Death Metal venue - it was laden with pictures of The Virgin Mary with three tits on the walls and gargoyles and other strange shit but the night itself was pretty good (laughs)! It was especially weird to see how the music goes down within a different cultural setting you know - they were going nuts as soon as the drums kicked in where as over here, people tend to wait for the bass drop. I guess it was really interesting to see how the dynamics of the dance-floor operate in different cultures."
Despite being inundated with collaboration requests, 2011 looks set to be the year in which Mumdance cements his place at the top of the bass music pile:
"I've done quite a few collaborations recently and I've done quite a lot in the past too. Recently, I've done a few bits with Crookers, Canblaster and this female emcee called Dominique Young Unique from Tampa! I've also got a tune coming out with Toy Selectah, a big Reggaeton guy who's got his mixtape, 'Mex Machine' out on 'Mad Decent' as of March 8th. The tune's called 'ANI Riddim' and it'll be nice to see that get the light of day - it's a proper summer vibe! I do love doing collaborations but the main focus this year is gonna be putting out EPs of my own music - I want to establish myself properly you know?
I'm looking to nail a big 4-track EP this year and fully cement my sound. It'd be nice to put a big club tune together too - most of my music to date has been made for the discerning music heads but I think it's important to get a club banger out there. I won't do anything mainstream but definitely something that'll make people jump about! As I said earlier, I'm still trying to find this new direction too so that's gonna be a big part of things - I've been making all this stuff over the last few weeks and everything's so disjointed and just weird. I'm hoping somehow it'll all come together to become a whole - at the moment it's just loads of different little fragments! An album towards the end of the year is also on the cards which I'm looking forward to. In between times I'm gonna be going on a few tours too - I've got dates lined up in Australia, Asia and America and once they're done, I'll be playing a few festivals all over the place! Fingers crossed, that'll be my year."
LISTEN MUMDANCE: http://soundcloud.com/mumdance
READ MUMDANCE: http://www.mumdance.com/blog.php?page=1
COP MUMDANCE: http://www.juno.co.uk/search/?