In 2010, Dominic Maker and Kai Campos — known as Mount Kimbie — burst out of London as the progenitors of post-dubstep. (A label of which they’re not particularly fond.) The duo’s acclaimed debut Crooks & Lovers was an impressionistic collage of jittery synths and muted soundscapes, at once introspective and rhythmically inspiring.
Three years later, they’re ready for round two. And while the new record, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (out May 28 on Warp), maintains a sense of understated complexity, it’s very different from its predecessor — more the work of a band rather than a bedroom duo. The increased presence of live percussion has created a larger, more organic sound, one now oriented towards the dance floor. (Albeit a dank, subterranean one.)
We met with Maker and Campos in Warp Records’ Manhattan office to talk about Tokyo, ’70s Nigerian funk, and other favorites.
Dominic Maker: “I have a few compilations of ’70s Nigerian funk and psychedelic stuff, which are cool. Especially a band called the Funkees. I’ve always been into more traditional African stuff, but this was an African take on a Western genre. It’s using a form that you know, but it’s filtered through instruments you don’t know very well. It comes out as something quite original, even though it’s based in the rules of the genre.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Kai Campos: “That was the first record to I would listen to every night when I went to sleep, and I would put it back on when I woke up in the morning. I haven’t listened to it in a while, but I still know every single drum fill.”
LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus EP
Maker: “I think quite a big turning point was listening to that Zola Jesus and LA Vampires release. I got excited about the way that sounded. I was sitting down having a few beers and we were talking about it, mainly about the palette of sounds used. That big, reverb-y sound was quite influential.”
Stereolab drummer Andy Ramsay
Campos: “We stayed at [Ramsay’s studio] for two weeks, just playing around. It’s got decades worth of collecting gear. He had his own ideas for the songs, so we ended up doing quite a lot of recording there. That really changed the record, actually. We had an engineer, which we’d never had before, somebody taking a bit of pressure off of you. If you wanted to try something, we’d just be playing, and instead of stopping what you were doing, he would just be around you moving mics around and recording stuff as you were going along. We got quite a lot of stuff out of that. And he introduced the concept of doing more than one take as well, which was good.”
Campos: “It’s just an incredible place. I was pretty blown away by how big and bustling that city is, and then at the same time, in four or five minutes you can go into a more open area and it’s a very peaceful place. A real crazy city like that can be really full-on, and then you can be where you can’t hear anything. And then the people and the food. It was quite a culture shock, but a good one. That was one of my lasting memories of traveling last year.”
Campos: “I really enjoyed the stuff that [London DJ-producer] Joy Orbison did this last year. Particularly the percussion. It’s quite industrial, which was an idea that was going into making our record more classic or driving or industrial. There’s a certain sparseness to it.”