Everyone needs a way to unwind, a way to lay down daily troubles and focus on something different, something fun.
For Mumdance and Logos, this means meeting up every Monday and making the dirtiest, most direct club tracks that they can possibly conjure. “I mean, originally what me and James (Logos) generally do is make bangers – club bangers,” he smiles. “That's what we've always done.”
On new album 'Proto' though, the production duo harness themselves to a theme. Choosing to focus on moments of flux within UK dance culture, it flits between the primordial post-Acid sounds of bleep, darkcore and much, much more. The topic of focus, though, should be taken somewhat loosely. “Although there is a loose concept to it we weren't trying to make it like a journey. It's more like... we were making loads of bangers, basically!” the producer laughs. “To me, that's what it feels like. It's focussed on the dancefloor but it has a loose theme running throughout it.”
“Even though it's aimed at the dancefloor,” he continues, “the whole holy grail of electronic music for me is something that will tear clubs to pieces but is intricate enough to listen to at home. Interesting enough to hold your attention when you're sitting in a room. That's the sort of balance that we were trying to get with the album.”
Working together, the two have built up a close creative relationship which allows them to drift through genres, styles. “We always work together. I think that's important,” he states. “If I'm doing a collaboration with someone then I like to be in the same room as them because that makes it more fun. That's why I do a lot of collaborations because I get bored by myself. I'd rather sit with someone else and have a laugh!”
Ideas tumble out of 'Proto' in a fast and furious fashion; at once paying homage to their influences and tearing them apart, Mumdance and Logos imbue the material with an infectious, irreverent energy. Again and again, though, their attention fixates on those rare state of flux periods, when it seems that all bets on dance music's future are off.
“They just seem, to me, like some of the most interesting times in music,” he says. “Times when it felt to me like people were just making music for themselves and there were no real rules. Not trying to fit into anything. For me, that's where the most interesting art comes from, I guess. It's nice to have limitations and it's nice to have borders and boundaries... that can provide good results as well. I just sort of notice that most ground-breaking music comes from these sort of times. It's as simple as that, really – I just like the music.”
Looking backwards, 'Proto' seems to neatly capture the current atmosphere within electronic music. Lacking any one prevalent aesthetic trend, producers instead are granted the freedom to conjure strange sounds well away from genre restrictions. “Everything is very fragmented at the moment,” explains Mumdance, “and it feels like people aren't really trying to fit into anything as much. It seems more like there's a load of different camps at the moment and they're all doing their own thing and everything is mutating and morphing quite fast. It's quite an interesting time.”
Mumdance is certainly emblematic of this. Steeped in classic hardcore influences, the producer is perhaps most closely aligned to grime's current resurgence. Developing a partnership with Lewisham MC Novelist, the pair recently released the emphatic '1 Sec' EP through XL Recordings. “He's a pleasure to work with,” the producer explains. “I work with nice people -there's just too many idiots in this world! It's better to work with people who you get on with and I really get on with Novelist. He knows what we wants to do and he's doing it. He's absolutely smashing it. Hold tight Novelist – he's a boss.”
As if that wasn't enough, the producer recently agreed to compile a mix for Fabric's legendary in-house FabricLive mix series. “It's crazy. I feel very happy that they asked me. I went and asked them, actually!” he laughs. “This is a bit more of a personal mix, a reflection of my music taste – past, present and future. The music where I'm from, what I listen to at the moment and some future stuff. It was a bit of a slog because the majority of the music was commissioned especially for the CD and I had to orchestrate it all from China! I was in China on tour and it was a nightmare because of the internet restrictions. I was really happy with it, though. I was listening to it today for the first time in ages and I'm really happy with it.”
A dextrous selection, the Mumdance FabricLive mix is a deeply individual journey stopping past touchstones – classic grime from Jon E Cash, early bleep from Sweet Exorcist – alongside some stunning unreleased material from Pinch, Untold and, naturally, Mumdance himself. It's a fascinating journey, one which seemingly began over two decades ago.
“I think that I've always grown up with electronic music, since I was young. My first epiphany with music was when I borrowed a hardcore tape pack off my older brother. That's when I first heard it and it completely blew me away. Before that, I was thinking what laid the foundations for a lot of my musical taste was that I used to have an Amiga when I was really young and all the old Amiga soundtracks were very ravey! I used to love them and that's what set the foundations.”
“Ultimately though, in terms of UK music, I just identify with it,” he says. “I guess, because I'm English. I think that's a big part of it. I think you're always going to hold a strong connection with the music where you're from. I guess it's that. Dance music has always been a big part of my life.”
Photo Credit: Jimmy Mould
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Mumdance and Logos's new album 'Proto' is out now. 'FabricLive: Mumdance' will be released on March 16th - launch party will be at Fabric on April 10th.