In the big bad world of dubstep, there are followers and there are leaders. Mount Kimbie belong to the latter camp, for sure. Comprised of two guys, Dom Maker and Kai Campos, their debut album ‘Crooks and Lovers’ has been heralded as the best post-dubstep around this year. We managed to catch up with Kai for a few words about what was happening in Mount Kimbie’s world…
Can you tell us how Mount Kimbie started?
We both met at University in London in 2006. I’d been making electronic music for a while and Dom was interested in the hardware side of it. I was helping Dom build a little home studio and showing him what I knew, we just started writing tunes from there.
From there you gravitated towards the dubstep scene that was emerging at the time. What was it about the scene that interested you?
It just seemed like everything we came to London for. Dubstep is quite a physical form of music and can be quite a shock when you first hear it live. It was a very exciting scene and there were DJs like Skream and Kode 9 who were establishing themselves and doing very different things.
You then got signed to the dubstep label Hotflush. How did that happen?
It all happened really quickly. After we finished our first tunes, we posted them online and put a link on the dubstep forum. We then got a call from Paul Rose, Hotflush’s owner, asking if we wanted to put our tunes out on release. And those tunes became our first ever release.
Now, while dubstep can be thought of as urban, claustrophobic and harsh, your music is pretty much the opposite. In fact you could call what you do ‘anti-dubstep’ couldn’t you?
I think so. People have even said that our music has no real relevance to the genre. I think we’re just making music in a certain place and certain time on a certain label and it got tagged that way. But it was a good thing, as it got us noticed very quickly by the music press who were getting more interested in dubstep in general. I think we’d be lying if we said that we were from some concrete jungle in Croydon or something. We’re both from the countryside and all we ever aimed to do was to make something that reflected ourselves.
Your debut album contains a lot of different styles such as ambient, RnB and even post-rock guitars. Was it difficult taking so many genres and trying to blend them into a coherent sound?
It was a worry. With the two of us, it’s always been more instinctive about working out what sounds work. We were just trying lots of different things to see what would work. We went through a lot of track listings before we were happy with the result.
And how has the reception been since it was released?
It’s been unbelievable! It’s our first proper record and we’ve pushed hard to promote it, but the response from people has been excellent. When we first finished the album, I wasn’t 100% sold on it, but I’ve gradually listened to the record more and more and now I’m really comfortable with what we made.
Another Airwaves artist is James Blake, who you’ve collaborated with many times before. How did you two get together?
James was running a club night at the University of Goldsmiths at the time. He came round to our place and played a record of him singing that we thought was amazingly good. So when we started doing our live set, we thought it would be beneficial to have someone else on board with us, and James seemed a natural fit.
Do you think we’ll see you two playing together live during Airwaves?
Maybe, we were going to do it last night but alas it didn’t quite work out. You never know.
Have you any plans on what you’ll get up to when you’re in Iceland?
We managed to get them to fly us out to Iceland the day before, so we have the Friday completely free. Everyone we spoke to says the place is incredible and we need to check some of the sights out.
Finally, where does the name Mount Kimbie come from?
It’s pretty boring really. In desperation for a name, we took two words taken from a couple of records that we both very keen on. One was from The Microphones/Mount Eerie and ‘Kimbie’ by Nick Drake. We just took them and mashed them together. We need to get a better story.