“When we started, we didn’t really have a home for the record,” Dom says of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. “Everything was up in the air, we didn’t have a label we felt comfortable with. We also had to hunt for the perfect place to make the record. We had a studio, which was decent, but it wasn’t quite what we had in mind before. We pretty much started working in the same manner as Crooks & Lovers, but we bought a few pieces of equipment that were, in retrospect, crucial to creating the sound that we had on the second album – a Dave Smith Tempest drum machine, and something called a Teenage Engineering OP-1 keyboard controller.
“We just started cracking on with ideas from that. In terms of the actual process, it was pretty similar to what it was on the first record. But with this one we had a bit more time, going out to other studios to write bits of drums and stuff like that. In that way it was slightly different. But from mine and Kai’s perspective, we were both working as we always have done – doing things separately then coming together at the end, working out what we wanted to do, then finishing them off.”
Signing with Warp Records was a move that makes perfect sense for Mount Kimbie, but there was still a sense of rigmarole when finding a suitable home for the follow-up to Crooks & Robbers.
“We felt that we were going to get a deal, but it was about finding the right label, something we were comfortable with. There were a few offers on the table, but we didn’t feel 100 percent about them,” Dom reveals. “Then Warp came through, and we had the same sort of ideas about what we wanted to achieve. With their history of electronic music, it just felt like a no-brainer. When we signed, there was definitely a bit of relief in there and excitement for the future. It was a long drawn out process, then it felt good to get the business side out of the way so we could get in the studio and be creative again.”
Though Mount Kimbie honed their touring acumen and bolstering their live show since Crooks & Lovers, their latest LP still managed to produce some challenges in translating the material to the stage.
“When we write, we don’t think about the live show at all. We didn’t want that to affect what we were doing. Basically when the record was done, we had our first rehearsals with a third person doing drums. In some ways, it wasn’t as challenging as the first one in that we didn’t have that stage experience. This time we knew what was possible, knew what would work and what wouldn’t.
“It was nice having fresh blood in the set after playing the same songs for a couple of years. It felt good having a full album to put out there onstage. There are still some songs we physically can’t play, because there is so much going on. There are the tracks we did with Archy (Marshall, aka King Krule), it just meant that there was the extra bit we could do,” he assesses. “We’re playing it wherever we can with Archy. It’s come to the point where we can play an hour set without feeling like there is any filler in there, which is a good feeling.”
Collaborating with Archy proved to be of mutual benefit for each party involved, with the production of Cold Spring Fault Less Youth running in concurrence with King Krule’s 6 Feet Beneath The Moon.
“I think we’re pretty similar in the ways we look at music. We get along on a personal level, and all of us became quite close over that period. I remember seeing him three or four months after we finished the album, I believe it just came out, and we went out to this pub in South London without realising we’d run into him; he was working on his record at the same time as we were doing our album. He said he was doing songs and then hating them two weeks later, just because it was new. He didn’t really have an idea how to finish the album.
“At that point we were in a place where we had loads of ideas, but we were on the verge of finishing them off. One of those ideas was taking our time with beat and chord progression. Having him in there tied the whole thing up, it felt really natural. I think he took a lot away from seeing us transitioning from being quite uncertain about the direction of what was going on, keeping an idea and locking it in. Basically, trusting instinct. When I saw him out that time he said, ‘It was really inspiring working with you guys,’ feeling confident with what he was doing.
“It wasn’t anything we had said, it was just the energy at the time that rubbed off on him. It was the same for both of us – we fed off Archy as well. Looking back, it was an important time for both of us as artists, and seeing how amazingly well his album has done is fantastic, watching him from afar on the big American TV shows. He’s killing it.”
With King Krule also gracing the Laneway lineup, Australian audiences could well be privy to seeing Archy make a cameo appearance during Mount Kimbie’s set. “It’s definitely a possibility, we want to do it as much as possible. We’ve never said, ‘No I don’t think we should do that’. When he’s onstage, we see him as part of the band, it doesn’t feel like ‘featuring King Krule’, it just feels like having Archy back onstage. Every time we do it, it gets better and better. It’s an intense situation for us where I’m singing, Kai’s singing, and we have to really focus on what is going on.
“We’ve had to work really, really hard to get the set to the point where it is a spectacle to watch. For a long time it felt like we weren’t quite there with it and it was really frustrating,” Dom recalls. “It’s amazing getting to that level, then having Archy come out onstage as well. He did it at our headline London show and it just changed the whole set, just blew it away having an extra frontman, it was like a relief for us. We’ll never shy away from having him onstage with us, and I think Laneway will be fine. The only problem is that the organ we use for that part of the set is broken, and we’re scrambling to get it fixed by the time we fly to Singapore. So fingers crossed. It’ll be great to be back in Australia, and hopefully we’ll get Archy on board.”
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK