It’s only been three years since electro-sulk masterminds Mount Kimbie graced us with their debut album Crooks And Lovers. But much has changed for Kai Campos and Dominic Maker since 2010. They’ve played countless live shows and toured the world, and using those experiences they’ve crafted a new record, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, to sound just as good in your headphones as it does live.
Where the first album was delicate and sparse, this new collection of tracks is eclectic and expressive. Each song has its own distinct sound but somehow they all fit together perfectly. “They are kind of like different islands or different chapter headings,” explains Dominic when I speak to him at the Warp offices in Manhattan.
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth will be out on May 28 through Warp, and I was able to sit down with Dominic and Kai to pick their brains about how much has really changed in three years.
It seems like you guys have become more comfortable with vocals on this album. Why is that?
Kai: The types of songs we wanted to write were a bit different this time. After we finished the first album we both felt like we had taken that sound as far as we wanted to really. Other people were doing it as well—felt like it was time to move on really. Just like a natural thing that happened.
You’ve never had a rapper go over your stuff. So why did you decide to bring on King Krule for this album?
Dominic: It’s funny, a lot of people have said that it’s basically rapping, what he does on those tracks. We were just attracted to the way that he writes his own music, and the way that he is as an artist. We were quite cautious about the type of voice that we wanted—we wanted a male voice. We were afraid because we didn’t feel like we wanted to use a selection of different artist just featuring on tracks. So the intention with Artie was to get him involved as much in the writing process as we were. He lived very close to where we were based, and he had been growing up in the area that we were living in for a long time, so we had that initial thing. He had total control in what he did, in the lyrics that he wrote.
Kai: For us he’s like one of the most exciting people in our community.
Are there any more collaborations in the works?
Dominic: There is one other person that we thought of working with before, a girl called Micachu. Her own music for us is fantastic, we listen to it a lot. So that might be something we work with in the future—depends if the project is right.
It’s been two years since Crooks And Lovers, how do you think your approach has changed with this one?
Dominic: I think it felt a lot like starting over again because we’ve been away for so long touring the Crooks and Lovers album, and we’ve kind of moved on from the sound we had on Crooks and Lovers. It still sounds like Mount Kimbie, but I think for us we were just interested in a different type of sound, we wanted to incorporate different instruments in to what we were doing, and it was just a kind of natural progression.
How do you plan to perform these songs live?
Dominic: So we got essentially things that we use for the album. So its a tempest drum machine, which is very important in the set and we got a tape unit. It’s basically a load of electronics on mine and Kai’s separate platform, we mingle in between the two. We got guitar amps on one side with the bass guitar, and we’ve now got a drummer as well. He plays the acoustic guitars but also has a SPD-SX which is a sampler, and he also sings a bit as well.
Kai: Yeah its like a whole tapestry of electronic music played live.
So why did you decide to release Made To Stray as the first single?
Kai: Don’t know really. We felt like it would be a good indicator that the record is going somewhere else. Obviously some people would like you to make Crooks And Lovers part two, and it’s just not what we wanted to do. So it was just a case of picking something bold that would stand out, but also just saying we’re going somewhere else so sorry if you don’t want to go there.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced on this album?
Dominic: Initially the hardest thing was getting back into the writing technique and getting back into the flow that you need to have,. There was that, and certainly a period of time were we felt a little bit,that we didn’t know what the sound was going to be for the next album. We were quite puzzled and maybe a bit concerned about where this album was going to go, and then it just suddenly kind of happened. So I guess the biggest challenge was trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do.
Kai: Yeah and finding a voice that we wanted to get to, that it was something different that we could get excited about. Just like finding a space that we wanted to inhibit and that would feel like a good move forward.
From your perspective, what’s the difference between the post-dubstep scene here in the US and the scene in England?
Kai: I’m not sure. I’m not really that familiar with what the scene over here is like to be honest. For us when we go out and tour and stuff, we tend to find that the U.K. is very fast moving. It changes, like what people are excited about. More so than the rest of the world, the UK seems to be like a few months ahead of everyone else in terms of setting little markets I feel like the rest of the world kind of reacts to whats going on in the UK, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Yeah, I saw you guys at Terminal 5 last year, and the crowd was in to it but they didn’t really dance. Is it the same in England?
Kai: Normally we find that its the other way around. We were on at like 8 in the evening, and it was just after the hurricane and it was bit of weird show, but people were still very enthusiastic. As opposed to the U.K., they are like, “Oh, we can see them anytime.”
You’re set to play some festivals and shows ahead of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. Are you planning on giving the fans some songs from the album or some old stuff?
Kai: Well for the time being we definitely still want to be playing some of the old stuff. But whats exciting for us is trying out the new stuff that we aren’t so comfortable with. I think we’ll carry on like adapting the old songs until we work better live and kind of look forward to playing the new stuff too. So its kind of like a mixture of the two.
Are there any festivals you’re particularly interested in playing?
We’ve had pretty good luck of playing most of the big boys. We really liked SXSW, and we only got to do one show this year. But its always a really good time for us as a band.
Dominic: We have a little bit of unfinished business at Coachella. We went there and we had to play in a DJ booth, and it didn’t represent what we were doing. A logistical nightmare really.
Kai: Yeah, if we could do a good show at Coachella one year that would be good.