MOCK Studio

The Art of Furniture: Insights from MOCK Studio

Upon encountering the products of MOCK Studio, a palpable aura of tranquility enveloped me. The seamless blend of wood and aluminium spoke volumes of the meticulous craftsmanship behind each piece. Specialising in bespoke furniture and interior installations, MOCK Studio boasts a diverse portfolio that spans from individual items to entire interior environments.

What sparked MOCK Studio’s foray into crafting furniture and interior installations?

We are architects who wanted to create a furniture line for our commissioned projects that follows our design ethos, we simply wanted to extend our design thinking into furniture that was rooted in simplicity, proportion and material selection. Once we started making our own pieces we received an overwhelming response and so we decided to launch a furniture brand. Our focus has always been on accessible and easy to manufacture furniture.

MOCK: each letter an adjective.

Modest, Obvious, Clean, Kind

Could you walk us through the process of ideating and crafting your pieces?

We tend to start with a material we like and think of ways that it can be manipulated with the least amount of effort, our process is very intuitive but we are always striving for effortlessness. We are constantly questioning our processes and how they can be simplified to achieve the most satisfying results with the least amount of physical effort. 

Given the shifts in the human-home dynamic observed during the recent Milan Design Week, how do you foresee the role of furniture and interior installations evolving over the next 5 years?

We feel like this is both overdue and inevitable as the design community struggles with notions of sustainability and resource scarcity. Where it will go in the next 5 years is anybody’s guess however we can only hope that it only continues to grow in prominence because it is an ethos that really resonates with us and the way we approach design. 

If you had the chance to gather three influential personalities for a dinner soirée, who would you extend the invitation to, and what draws you to them?

Donald Judd because we are so inspired by his work and how it was able to make such simple things be so iconic. Dieter Rams because of his commitment to intentional design thinking, functionality and reason. David Attenborough because of his ability to engage our curiosity about the natural world. 

Could you spotlight a project that serves as a prime example of MOCK Studio’s guiding principles and ethos?

There are moments that embody our ethos on a project called TBSP and some more in our 2023 NYC X Design installation but we are still evolving as a practice and there is still a lot left unexplored which we are very excited about.

Peering into the future of MOCK Studio as it strides into 2034, what visions do you behold?

We behold a strong vision of life in the Mediterranean, we mean that both metaphorically and literally, as we are starting to shift our focus towards Europe, specifically Greece, and we are continuously drawing inspiration in the way we design from aspects of life in that part of the world.


Photography · Sean Davidson
Courtesy of MOCK Studio

Mount Kimbie

Before Sunset

On the eve of Sunset Violent’s release, Mount Kimbie’s fourth studio album, the first one featuring Andrea Balency-Béarn and Marc Pell to join the band, founding members Dominic Maker and Kai Campos discussed with NR new beginnings, shared languages, rediscovering ways of being artistically together, and The Sunset Violent’s genesis.

Tomorrow is the day The Sunset Violent will finally be out in the world, how are you feeling?

Dom: We are very excited about it. Later tonight we’ll have a listening party with a few friends but it’s still all quite surreal when it finally comes down to the album release day, and it’s always a special feeling. It marks the beginning of an exciting and active time for us. So, yes, we are pumped up and very excited. We’re just gonna have some beers and, and take a second to actually, like, I don’t know, enjoy it. 

This is the first record produced by the new Mount Kimbie. Did that feel different, writing and recording with Marc and Andrea officially on board? 

Kai: It didn’t feel completely new, as Marc and Andrea previously worked with us on Love What Survives live adaptation and tour. We performed together for several years, morphing the songs from previous albums into something quite different on stage, imbuing them with a different energy. The Sunset Violent is really the result of those years of collaborating with Marc and Andrea and performing extensively on stage. It’s been a gradual process, it didn’t happen overnight..but we feel fortunate to work with them because we have been able to develop excellent chemistry as a group –each of us brings something different and complementary to the table, Marc and Andrea have unique perspectives on music that blend well with ours, and together we’ve developed a shared language that works seamlessly for us.

I mean, over these seven years, both of you experimented and pursued your own mediums —Kai with DJing and electronic music, and Dom with producing in more classically-mainstream environments, while Andrea is a trained classical composer, and Marc has vast experience as a sound designer. What felt particularly interesting to me was the record’s cohesiveness despite coming from such a diverse set of experiences and possibly very different musical inputs. You just mentioned a shared language: How did you manage to find it?

D: We’ve been unable to get into the same room together for quite a few years, because of COVID, travel restrictions, US Visa issues, and all that kind of stuff. So there was a lot of outside interference happening. Finally, when all the outside-noise ceased, we found a moment to do a short but very focused writing session. I guess we kind of rolled the dice a little bit with it, we weren’t sure if it was going to work, we were wondering if maybe we just didn’t have anything to say together anymore, or maybe our paths weren’t crossing in a certain way we traveled to the desert with an open mind and, as with our previous records, everything started falling into place. We both became excited about guitars as a primary focus, Kai sending me riffs and me focusing on writing lyrics and vocal melodies on top of those. We spent about five to six weeks in the desert, just churning out initial sketches and ideas without a specific goal in mind. Kai returned to England and shared with Marc and Andrea the material we produced. They rented a studio intending to refine and re-record the demos with better equipment, but the essence of the demos was lost in the process, so I would fly over for extended periods, and we’d work tirelessly on the album day in and day out. Gradually, the album took shape and gained cohesion. We brought in Andrea and Marc as needed and also worked at Press Play in South London, Andy Ramsey’s studio. These sessions were insightful. Dilip Harris served as the executive producer, guiding us with optimism and openness, curating our ideas. From there, the record neared completion.

It’s interesting that you were initially dubious that you’d be able to find a way of meeting each other again, artistically, after both have branched-out. In some ways The Sunset Violent feels close to Love What Survives but in some other ways, it goes very much beyond that and how it sonically played out. Were there elements that you consciously wanted to keep of what Mount Kimbie has been up until this point for a record that still signals a new era for the project? And, conversely, what were some things that maybe you wanted to leave out and move past?

D: We always consider the elements we want to retain from record to record. Over the years, we’ve noticed that finished pieces often have a certain characteristic that sounds like us. While we may attempt to move away from it, there are aspects that always seem to come back. With Love What Survives, I was particularly drawn to 80s influences in production, such as cold wave and post-punk aesthetics, an interest carried into our latest record. However, there was a significant shift in our approach to songwriting. Previously, I focused on production first, letting the songs emerge naturally. This time, we started with the songs themselves and made production decisions afterward. During the demo phase, we used limited equipment like the Linndrum and a Casio CZ 1000 synth. The idea was to ensure the songs stood strong on their own, with production details to be refined later. Surprisingly, the sounds we created in the desert became the backbone of the record. While we intended to replace them later, we found the simplicity of the equipment appealing. This approach resulted in a different type of record, although it still fits within our sonic journey.

It feels like a very warm record, at least to me, which I think is characteristic of Mount Kimbie’s sound. I’d say that, after revisiting your entire catalog, I find a consistent warmth and melancholy in our sound, accompanied by a tenderness underlying it all –But maybe it’s just my personal interpretation. Did you ever think about what defines your style and sound, after 15 years of career, or are you really not that much preoccupied with it?

K: I don’t think we consciously think about style in that way. It emerges from the decisions we make, sure, but it’s not pre-planned. You’re right about the feeling of tenderness in our music; it seems to come through regardless of our intentions. Generally, when you’re working on something, feeling surprised or even slightly embarrassed about what comes out can be a sign that you’re expressing your true self. It’s like you don’t have a choice in what you put out; certain pieces just resonate on a deeper level. It’s akin to describing your personality or appearance—it’s something that develops naturally over time.

Yeah, I get it, It’s something you can’t really control, in a way. And were there, particularly from a lyrical standpoint, any specific influences shaping the songs? Did you aim for an overarching narrative, or were you going for more of a freeform approach?

D: It was definitely more freeform. Each song and instrumental piece inspired something different, I let the music dictate the direction, while drawing inspiration from short stories, something I’ve been obsessing over lately. One particular influence was the lyrics of “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies. I always loved the song, but never paid much attention to the lyrics until I read an interview where they described a scene of scuba diving in the Caribbean. There was something about the simplicity and playfulness of describing a scene that resonated with me. It helped me realize that I was overthinking my approach and inspired me to be more playful with my words. Naturally, many of the more emotional lyrics are more personal, reflecting the struggle to find happiness and maintain stability in life, touching on aspects of my upbringing and personal growth. Overall I’d say I went for vivid imagery and painting a picture with as few words as possible.

Another interesting narrative element are the visuals accompanying each single release. You’ve always collaborated with various artists across different mediums, including past collaborations with Tom Shannon, or the ever-evolving collaboration with Frank & Tyrone Lebon. Are visual elements an integral part of the Mount Kimbie world-building and storytelling? 

D: Every visual project we’ve undertaken has involved placing our trust in talented artists we believe in. The directors we collaborate with are highly accomplished and have a wealth of incredible work behind them. Duncan [Loudon], the Lebon brothers, are deeply embedded in a network of creative individuals they trust. Tegen [Williams], who worked on the Fishbrain” visual, and Duncan, who created our latest Shipwreck visual, are examples of this. We have full confidence in their abilities, knowing whatever they produce will be exceptional. Tegen, in particular, had to work under tight deadlines, yet managed to produce incredible work with intricate charcoal drawings. She brought her own unique vision to the project, taking it in directions we had never imagined. This is precisely what we hope for from the creative collaborators we engage with—a fresh perspective and interpretation of our ideas.

K: The beauty of working with smaller budgets is that the quality of each person’s contribution becomes more apparent. Great work doesn’t necessarily require a large budget; it stems from good ideas. While ample funding can sometimes compensate for a lack of creativity, without good ideas, you’re at a disadvantage. Everyone we collaborate with is motivated by a genuine interest in the work rather than financial gain. We typically work until we feel we’ve created something compelling, then reflect on the overarching themes of the project: Through conversations with our collaborators, we uncover surprising elements that enrich the story.

And how are you guys approaching the upcoming tour? Prepping something special?

D: I mean, in a similar vein with what we’ve been doing with the videos, we’re collaborating with Duncan on something special for the stage. We’ve just finished four weeks of rehearsals as a band, and we recently did a pretty terrifying live session two days ago. It was our first time performing live as a five-piece, playing the new songs, and it went really well. It was a high-pressure situation, but we came through. We’re always focused on the music, but we also have this exciting project with Duncan that I won’t spoil.

K: Shipwrecks video itself was a result of our discussions with Duncan about stage design. We’ve been closely working together on stage setups, tackling budget constraints and logistical limitations.. And I gotta say we’ve arrived at an exciting concept that we’re eager to bring on the road –It complements the music and the album’s themes well. You can find some hints in the Shipwreck video, as both are part of the same conversation.

The way you approach things feels extremely personal yet open..

D: It’s like having a good conversation with a friend –Sometimes, you allow yourself to realise things that have been there all along. For us it’s always been like that: You need to have a back-and-forth for things to reveal themselves. 


Photography · Angelo Dominic Sesto
Movement Direction · Sem Osian
Styling · Meja Taserud
Hair · Chrissy Hutton
Grooming · Tina Khatri
Photography Assistant · Cameron Pearson
Styling Assistants · Johanna Crafoord and Ella Coxon
Location · Indra Studios


  1. Marc is wearing knitwear and bracelet OUR LEGACY, trousers MSGM, shoes Marc’s own. Dominic is wearing shirt TOOGOOD, trousers BRAIN DEAD, shoes BRAIN DEAD x OAKLEY FACTORY. Andrea is wearing shoes REJINA PYO, dress, tights and belt Andreas’s own. Kai is wearing trousers OUR LEGACY, shirt TOOGOOD, jacket and shoes Kai’s own
  2. Marc is wearing hooded jacket JAMES MONTIEL, trousers MSGM, shoes Marc’s own. Dominic is wearing shirt TOOGOOD, trousers and shoes BRAIN DEAD. Andrea is wearing top, jewellery and tights her own, pedal pushers stylists own, shoes REJINA PYO. Kai is wearing jacket and trousers OUR LEGACY, shirt TOOGOOD, shoes JAMES MONTIEL
  3. Dominic is wearing shirt TOOGOOD, trousers BRAIN DEAD, shoes BRAIN DEAD x OAKLEY FACTORY
  4. Kai is wearing jacket and trousers OUR LEGACY, shirt TOOGOOD, shoes JAMES MONTIEL
  5. Marc is wearing hooded jacket JAMES MONTIEL, trousers MSGM, shoes Marc’s own
  6. Marc is wearing hooded jacket JAMES MONTIEL, trousers MSGM, shoes Marc’s own. Domininc is wearing jacket OUR LEGACY, trousers BRAIN DEAD, shoes BRAIN DEAD x OAKLEY FACTORY
  7. Andrea is wearing shoes REJINA PYO, dress, tights and belt Andrea’s own. Kai is wearing jacket and trousers OUR LEGACY, shirt TOOGOOD, shoes JAMES MONTIEL
  8. Marc is wearing knitwear and bracelet OUR LEGACY, trousers MSGM, shoes Marc’s own. Dominic is wearing shirt TOOGOOD, trousers BRAIN DEAD, shoes BRAIN DEAD x OAKLEY FACTORY. Andrea is wearing shoes REJINA PYO, dress, tights and belt Andreas’s own. Kai is wearing trousers OUR LEGACY, shirt TOOGOOD, jacket and shoes Kai’s own

Nifemi Marcus-Bello

Crafting Contemporary African Design

Nifemi Marcus-Bello, a Nigerian designer based in Lagos, specializes in product, furniture, and experience design. Celebrated for his talent in crafting sustainable products that originate from local ecosystems while making waves in international projects, Nifemi is the creative force behind nmbello Studio. He is at the forefront of shaping Africa’s design landscape with his innovative and unconventional designs. His work seamlessly blends historical perspectives with contemporary influences, resulting in conceptual products that marry artistic expression with practical functionality. Nifemi Marcus-Bello’s approach to design aligns with the emerging trend that explores the intersection between producing individual pieces and small series. His creations are deeply rooted in culture and often serve as vessels for profound meanings.

Hi Nifemi, thank you for joining us for this conversation. Can you share more about your childhood experiences that sparked your interest in product design and manufacturing?

My story into design is a bit of a cliche to people who eventually chose a path of creativity. As a kid I was curious and got excited around dismantling any object I could, so at the age of 13 my mum introduced me to a welder who I would have an apprenticeship with for a few years after school. Even with all of this, I never thought of design as a career path, I gravitate more towards art and architecture because contextually, they were a lot more familiar at the time. After staying back home for a few years after high school, my mum eventually would be able to send me to school in the United Kingdom. Here I stumbled on to design as a practice and profession and it was love at first sight. 

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self as you embarked on your design journey?

I have been described to be a “cynic optimist”, a trait I had in my younger years and still have till now. For me I think all good designers possess an energy of optimism when creating any piece of work in the sense that you are presenting an idea into the world with the thought of changing what or how the world currently sees itself. So my advice to my younger self would be to remain optimistic and hopeful. 

In today’s society, what role do you believe design should play in addressing contemporary needs?

I think design is already playing a very important role in contemporary society and is helping to enhance experiences within technology and even the analogue world. I think it’s easy to forget that everything around us and that we use in our daily lives has to be designed by someone or people, from the chair you sit on, to the laptop you use, to the medical devices you use. So we as a people wouldn’t survive without design, it’s everything to us. I just hope that pushing forward design plays a role in the consideration of ethnography, where design solutions are culturally considerate to users and systems. 

In your view, how does the concept of “the society of fatigue,” as described by German-Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han, manifest in contemporary design, where there’s a growing emphasis on hyper-productivity and efficiency?

I think that design as a practice is and will evolve within the coming years. I think a bigger shift (which is already happening) will see design and designers take greater consideration of systematic, ecological and human sustainability approaches to creating products and design solutions. A good example is a hyperlocal approach to manufacturing, scope of work and distribution. 

What initiatives or partnerships have you engaged in to promote African design globally?

I think the easiest thing to do is to be true to yourself and be as authentic as possible when it comes to your design approach and context. As the studio grows, with both a commercial and artistic approach and collaborations with brands in North America and across Europe. I sometimes have to educate clients that yes, the studio is based in Lagos and the work we do is contextual but we actually live in a global village, where everyone uses an iphone, practically see the same movies via Netflix so consumption of aesthetics and information has become global but with a hint of local context, for example, Kids love Stussy in Lagos, Nairobi, London and New York. 

What motivated the establishment of nmbello Studio, and how does it align with your vision for the future?

Before established nmbello Studio, I did my rounds as a junior and then lead designer for various companies, designing mobile phones, phone accessories, medical devices and furniture across the continent. I decided to start the studio for many reasons but the one that kept me curious was understanding and documenting material evolution and production availability of modern day Africa through a design practice. 

For me the future is in Africa, we have all the resources and with the youngest population in the world, we have the numbers so it is important for us to dictate our on futures and tell our own stories by creating our own products that will eventually dictate how we live and our future aesthetic.    

Can you provide an example of a manufacturing process or technology that has inspired your work?

As a lot of my work is contextual to availability I try not to have too much of an emotional attachment to one material. But one material and process that inspired my way of thinking approach to designing within my studio will have to be sheet metal and laser cutting. I know this might and usually comes as a shock for most designers but a great deal of this process is readily available in Lagos due to the production of electrical products such as generators, and they have become the norm in the streets of Lagos, a few indigenous manufacturers who need to produce casing for such items, popularised the process in the early 2000s.

Looking ahead, what aspects of your practice and the potential impact of your designs excite you the most?

I am very happy to be getting busier and being able to have work that resonates with a large audience. A great deal of the commercial work coming out of the studio sells on the continent and outside the continent as well. With this, I think there is untapped potential when it comes to strategic brand partnerships and special projects and a lot of discussion is being had around these possibilities.  With my artistic practice via the gallery shows getting a lot of museum acquisitions and discussions around the documentation of my work, I am deliberate in taking the right steps to communicate and archive my work effectively when it comes to the design process via mediums as film and photography, which has helped bring another layer into my design practice as a whole. 

In order of appearance

  1. Nifemi Marcus-Bello. Photography by Stephen Tayo
  2. Selah Lamp, nmbello Studio. Photography by Kadara Enyeasi.
  3. Friction Ridge, nmbello Studio. Photography by Kadara Enyeasi.
  4. Waf Kiosk, nmbello Studio.

All images courtesy of Nifemi Marcus-Bello


In Love Again

NR presents Track Etymology, the textual corollary to’s exploration of contemporary soundscapes: A series of short interviews delving in the processes and backstories behind the releases premiered on’s dedicated platform.

In Love Again and Five Years feel quintessential Mumdance but at the same time headed towards new territories. Listening to the tracks I had two reactions: Bobbing my head as a timid attempt to dance in the studio I was in, and reflecting on how the UK sound continuum, something you have been rightfully associated with, is intrinsically hybrid and continuously moving. You are now almost 15 years in the game, a veteran, if I might say so, but you continue to experiment and evolve your body of work. You have been close to it in so many ways throughout more than a decade: What would a Mumdance definition of the UK sound be?

I’m happy you enjoyed the music. It’s actually been quite a challenge to wrap my head around how to make happier, more optimistic tracks and incorporate them into something that matches my aesthetic. But that is part of the journey – I’m glad you picked up on the fact that I have always tried to evolve and challenge myself with every release. I’ve never really sat down and thought about the reason why, apart from it just always felt like the natural thing to do. But as I sit here and think deeply about it, it amuses me to realise it’s actually something that I latched onto at a very young age from my parents talking about Madonna and how she always reinvented herself, which as an idea fascinated me. I think constantly experimenting with my sound has been something that overall has created challenges  career-wise, as a lot of people haven’t really known where to ‘place’ me. But at the same time, I feel happy that in my own small way I have broken some new ground, added to the canon, and helped to slightly shift the paradigm and allow newer artists to be able to express themselves more freely with their sounds.

In terms of defining the ‘UK sound,’ it’s an impossible task to encapsulate a whole country’s sound and musical heritage into a few sentences. The UK sound which I enjoy exploring, is underlined by lots of sub-bass and weight in the low end, engineered to play on a big sound system, with complex rhythms, and more often than not, a dark, futuristic mood. Other than that, it’s actually quite a puzzle to define, as the very nature of the hardcore continuum (and the very nature of life itself, in fact) is that it is constantly changing. I could list 500 tracks which encapsulate the UK sound, but as I only have a few paragraphs, I’m going to say ‘Swarm‘ by Doc Scott and ‘I Luv U‘ by Dizzee Rascal are two tracks which sprang directly to mind for me when I read the question.

During the very recent club ‘history’ (perhaps we need more quotation marks as I’m referring to the last couple of years), the idea of a defined musical scene mutated, evolving past geography toward a form of digital ubiquity. The continuous hybridization of sounds and the increasingly international profile of electronic music made things more diverse and, at the same time, more standardized. How do you navigate this paradox?

I don’t think this is a new thing, although I definitely agree it’s been accelerated. Nothing exists in a vacuum. In my mind, the core of any culture is shared meanings; then a lot of the time, further innovation comes from the conversations between one culture being exposed to another, between countries, cities, between people. Baltimore Club is an example that I have always found really interesting, as the first wave of artists like DJ Technics were all sampling breaks from imported rave records from the UK, which in turn were breakbeats that the UK had sampled from imported hip-hop records from the US, processing them and speeding them up. So, it’s this interesting symbiotic feedback loop which created something entirely new and innovative at many different stages of its cycle. This is just a quick example which sprang to mind as I write this, but once you start to recognise it, conversations between cultures play a big part in many innovations in art and music. It really interests me as an idea and is one of the main reasons why in the past I have done a lot of collaborations with artists from around the world and a lot of back-to-back DJ sets with people who are specialists in different genres to me. 

In terms of where we are today with technology and culture, increased connectivity has increased conversations and the volume of art being created, which, like anything, has a plethora of consequences that could be deemed ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

“I love being able to send my music all over the world at the click of a button and am fascinated by technological innovation, but I think one downside of the digitisation of culture and the rate at which people digest it today is that a lot of the time, scenes and localised sounds don’t get enough of an incubation period to develop properly.”

In the past, a lot of the UK scenes – hardcore, jungle, drum and bass, garage, grime, dubstep – for better or worse, were all time-limited by the production process of pressing physical vinyl. This had its upsides and downsides, but a by-product was it naturally made things operate at a certain pace, which I think led to a much deeper exploration of sound and embedding of the music within our collective consciousness.

I guess with regard to navigating my own work, although I am very in tune with what is happening in music, art, and the various zeitgeists, I try my best to not focus at all on what my peers are doing, instead just following my interests and focusing on music which provokes a reaction within me, be it emotional, physical, or cerebral. That’s the key to it.

Usually, the jargon associated with musical cross-pollination feels somewhat…violent, almost. The formulation often goes something like ‘Genres bleed into each other.’ However, in your new record, the sounds don’t seem to bleed; rather, they play with each other. I understand that this might sound like mere semantics to you, but due to my professional inclination, I can’t help but fixate on language. This is your second record after a three-year hiatus marked by significant introspection. Are these more joyful, welcoming sounds a reflection of a new era for you? How much of your feelings are imbued in your music?

Yes, I definitely feel like the MD series marks the start of a new era for me – ‘Mumdance 3.0’. I have always referred to my musical activity in waves/eras. The first wave of Mumdance was from 2008 to 2011 when I first emerged and was working a lot with artists such as Jammer & Diplo. I think this was epitomised by my ‘Mum Decent EP‘ and ‘Different Circles – The Mixtape‘ (Both released in 2010). During this time, I was putting out music which had a foundation in grime & the UK hardcore continuum but was strongly influenced by regional music from around the world, especially what was going on in Mexico & Brazil at the time.

The second ‘wave’ of Mumdance started in 2013 after a 2-year hiatus with the ‘Twists and Turns‘ mixtape and was a lot more UK-centric and introspective, focusing on all the sounds which I grew up with: hardcore, jungle, drum & bass, shoegaze, and cross-pollinating it with ideas from my more contemporary interests; techno, and musique concrète – which is the sound which most people today know me for. The idea with that was to completely invert where my influences came from; instead of looking outwards around the world, I looked inward to my upbringing.

With this emerging third wave, as my last wave was very dark in mood, I made a conscious decision to do the completely opposite and try to make some ‘happy’ music and operate within genre boundaries with which I wouldn’t normally be associated, such as filter house. As I said above, it has been a real challenge, but I realise more and more that art is about the process, and this is how I like to spend my time.

In answer to your question, my feelings and outlook on life are definitely reflected in the music I make; they by their very nature are a sum of my experience. MD001 was a transitional record for me, just finding my feet again in the studio, but MD002 definitely feels like something new. For ‘Five Years’, I wanted to make a track which joyously celebrated half a decade of sobriety and the work I have done on myself in that period. ‘In Love Again’ references being back in love with music after a long time away and signals in my mind a return to form – that track really feels like an amalgamation of the ideas from the first wave mixed with the ideas from the second wave.

The Mumdance Archive is impressive. It stands as a testament to how, throughout your career, you have witnessed the evolution of the clubbing world and evolved alongside it. You have worked as a sound engineer in commercial settings, curated parties and events, delved into the purest underground scenes, and navigated more mainstream waters. After a hiatus, you are now 1 year back and seemingly fresher than ever. What did clubbing and electronic music mean to you then, and what do they mean to you now?

I’m very proud of the MD Archive; it took me a long, long time to put together, maybe like 18 months – it was my pandemic project. All my work was so disorganised and spread out across a number of old computers and hard drives, all in different locations. It was a very long and tedious project to go through everything and make sense of it, but at the same time, it was very timely for me as it was a period when I was feeling very lost. It helped me remember who I was, where I came from, and what I had achieved.

What I like about the archive is that when you see everything all together – the mixes, music, and interviews – you can see the progression in my sound and the progression of me as a person and artist. Also the aforementioned waves which have come and gone, and the themes that have stayed present throughout. I think a lot of people think I just play and create music randomly from disparate scenes, but there is a lot of thinking behind it and there are moods and themes which run through it all. Having everything in one place, you can really see it.

Another reason I put the archive together was trying to take power back from social media companies and big tech; so much digital culture has been completely lost over the past 20 years due to websites and hosting services going down or out of business. Which is both sad and scary. 

An amazing thing about the archive is that it has evolved to become a platform from which I can broadcast radio. As a result of that and in tandem with Discord, a whole community has organically sprung up. When I do radio broadcasts, all the listeners meet up in the discord and there is a really buzzing live chat which has developed a new level of interactivity between artist and audience which I honestly have not seen anywhere else. There was one time where I hadn’t had any dinner, so listeners sent a pizza over to my studio live on air so I could stay and do a longer show & another time where when I got to the studio the CDJs weren’t there, so listeners just sent me their music live on air & we just all listened to each others music for a couple of hours; there have been some really beautiful experiences & I can comfortably say that the MD Discord is one of the friendliest places on the internet. Everyone is so kind, funny and helpful there. Social media always just upsets me, and the discord server is a complete antidote to that.

Electronic music still means as much to me today as it always has, I’ve accepted that I am here for life. I’m not out clubbing every weekend like I was when I was younger, but I stay connected and if something is interesting to me I will make an effort to go and experience it first hand, even if it means saving up and traveling to another country, which is something I have always tried to do throughout my life;

“I’m a firm believer that you can’t form a proper opinion on something unless you have experienced it first hand.”

I want to give a big shout out to my friend Chris Yaxley who gave a lot of his time and energy helping me code the archive. He is one of my best friends from childhood; we started DJing and buying records together when we were 12, so it was really nice to revisit all this with him.

5MD002 is out on your new label, MD Dubs. How does MD Dubs differ from Different Circles? Why did you feel the need for a different outlet?

MD Dubs serves as an outlet solely for releasing my own music with a relatively short turnaround time, whereas Different Circles functions as a highly curated platform for showcasing other people’s music. I believe MD Dubs also signifies a general levelling up at every stage of my production process. I can honestly say that the tracks on MD001 and MD002 represent the best music I could have possibly made, utilising the best equipment available to me at that specific moment in time. The tracks are mastered at Abbey Road by Alex Gordon, who truly understands my vision and possesses an amazing ear. Recently, I’ve begun sharing my studio with a mix engineer named Alex Evans, and we’ve naturally started collaborating. As someone solely focused on mixing as a career, he is a master of his craft and adds a dimension that I could never achieve on my own, teaching me so much in the process. In previous stages of my career, I handled everything myself, but this time around, I’m trying to explore a different approach.

Whenever I start doubting myself and if my output is good enough (which is quite a common occurance), I remind myself that I spent countless hours working on it, revising and refining it to the best of my ability within the time frame allotted. It’s been mixed by a Grammy-nominated mix engineer and mastered at Abbey Road. It truly represents the best I could achieve at every stage of the process. 

“As I wrote the shoutouts for MD002, I was struck by how many people played a part in bringing the EP to life and creating the visual world around it. I think thats a beautiful thing.”

You stated that each MD Dubs release will be accompanied by a Sholto Blissett painting. You always referenced a wide plethora of extra-musical elements in your work, one of the most dear to me being William Gibson. Besides musical influences, what drives and inspires your ethos as a creative the most?

I’m really happy to be collaborating with Sholto Blissett; His paintings remind me of a mixture of Fredric Edwin-Church and Giorgio de Chirico, they resonated with me from the very first moment I saw them. I always make it a point to attend graduate art shows to see what the new generation is creating each year, and that’s where I first encountered his work, pre-pandemic. A few months later, during the pandemic, his art was still on my mind, so I decided to commission a painting from him. He cycled over and personally dropped it off, and we’ve stayed in touch since then. When I thought about what I wanted to do with the MD series, I thought of his artwork immediately. I believe it really complements and encapsulates what I’m trying to achieve with the series. Working with him has felt natural and organic, and I love that each artwork actually exists in the real world. It’s been amazing to see his career blossom, and I am certain it will continue to do so.

Of course as a musician I get very inspired by other musicians, which is part of the reason why Logos and I wrote the track “Teachers” – to express our gratitude to those who have influenced us. Outside of music, I draw inspiration from various sources; books and literature are definitely among them. Reading a book is like ‘updating your software’ and expanding your worldview. There are authors who have been highly influential to my work as an artist. William Gibson, for sure, and more recently Jorge Luis Borges (I’ve literally read everything he ever wrote), Gabriel García Márquez, and, on a deeper level, Thich Nhat Hahn. Reading is akin to travel and art; it exposes you to someone else’s way of thinking and doing things.

Visual art and art theory are very influential to my work on a conceptual basis. Minimalism is a core theme that runs through all of my discography. I come from a working class background and have no formal education in art (or in music, for that matter), I’m completely self-taught through reading and experiencing as much as possible firsthand. Conceptually, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, and Agnes Martin have influenced my music by embodying abstract minimal art stripped back to its core, often without any sort of reference to the real world. This influence extends to the graphic designers I work with. I spend a long time discussing art and design Alex Gross and Lucy Wilson at All Purpose studio, who handle all my design work & have become good friends. This time around, there was a conscious decision to convey a lighter mood with the graphic design while still keeping it super minimal to reflect the music. If you look at the artwork for Radio Mumdance Season 03 series, you’ll see the influence from Lissitzky and Malevich is very apparent.

I believe that while conceptualising, theorising and engaging with art in its various forms is enjoyable, there has definitely been an over intellectualisation of dance music in recent years, which can become tedious. I admit that I’ve been guilty of this at times, but I always prioritise keeping things fun above all else.

“I want my work to represent a collision of high and low brow culture.”

DJing is a somewhat conversational discipline. On one end of the club there is you, your taste, your sound, on the other there’s the audience, with their vibes and moods: Different audiences lead to different conversations –DJing happens in between. Does your experience as DJs and these conversational elements of the discipline inform your music production, or is producing the space where you reclaim total autonomy for where you want your sound to go?

Nine times out of ten, I create music with a focus on the club in some shape or form. I always ensure my tracks are highly functional and easy to mix, with DJ-friendly intros and outros. However, everything in between is always centred on innovation and communicating something in a unique way. I try to take the accepted paradigm and bend it into a strange shape, so it’s recognisable yet feels alien. I’ve mentioned in past interviews that I try to make my tracks like firework displays for a sound system. I think this ethos is particularly evident in ‘In Love Again”.

In terms of DJing, lately I’ve been focusing on 4-deck extended sets. When I began DJing, I only did one-hour sets with two decks, but now I prefer longer sets—five, six, eight, even ten hours. I have a lot of music I want to share and a lot to communicate, so longer sets make more sense for me. It’s also very gratifying to soundtrack an entire evening for people who are strapped in and committed to the journey. Learning to use four decks has been very enjoyable as well. If you listen to my DJ or radio sets, you’ll know I don’t use any sort of syncing. (Let it be known that I have no problem with people who do; I just find syncing more confusing than enabling) However, I also enjoy the fact that at any moment, my set can fall apart in quite a dramatic fashion—and quite often it does.

“But that’s what’s human about it, and I’ve learned that the human element is what everyone truly appreciates the most.”

Last question: What more do you have in store for 2024? Something you are particularly excited about?

In the past, one of my weaknesses has been inconsistency. I tended to work in frantic bursts, and then burn out completely. This time around, I’m aiming for a calm and consistent output of good music. A marathon rather than a sprint. I plan to release four MD Dubs releases this year, one every three months. Additionally, I’ve been collaborating with an immensely talented choreographer named Zoi Tatopoulos We have some very interesting projects in the pipeline…

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Different Circles will be returning in 2024. We are in the process of putting together a compilation called ‘Ping Volume One,’ which originated from an in-joke with the Discord community. This joke evolved into an episode of ‘Radio Mumdance called “The Ping Report” and now it’s blossoming into a conceptual compilation, marking a new chapter in the label’s lineage.

Interview · Andrea Bratta
Artwork · Sholto Blissett
Photography · Sam Hiscox
Pre-order the digital album here
Follow Mumdance on Instagram and Soundcloud
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Evita Manji

Phoenix Central Park in Sydney, AU

Grief, the Human Condition and Live Performance

Greek musician and vocalist Evita Manji is part of a new wave of underground club music producers that began her career in Athens and since then has performed in multiple countries across Europe. Her music is a mixture of contemporary club music, baroque pop, and experimental sound design which she uses to explore themes of death, grief, climate change and the human condition. 

Manji launched her platform myxoxym in 2021 and has collaborated with multiple artists, across various medias. One of her most recent collaborations with the artist duo dmstfctn was at HQI in London at the Serpentine Gallery, where she performed a live soundtrack for a interactive audiovisual performance titled, Waluigis Purgatory which follows an AI sent to purgatory. NR joins Manji in conversation about her practice and recent performances. 

Phoenix Central Park in Sydney, AU

You mentioned that your process has involved you locking yourself in your apartment for long periods of time to work on your music. What does the day-to-day process of this look like?

It includes the necessary human functions, eating and such. Also a lot of silence and thinking. The thinking gets out of hand at some point and that’s when the music-making begins. Small breaks here and there for cuddles with Heidi (my cat), a cigarette and herbal tea refills until I get sleepy and crawl back to bed.

Phoenix Central Park in Sydney, AU

You stated that your experiences with loss and grief have influenced your creative process, is that still the case and do you draw on any other emotions and experiences to create your work?

It still is the case. However, if you imagine grief as a city, I was only hanging around the center when I was making Spandrel?. I’m more into exploring the suburbs and the countryside these days. Travelling to other cities too but always staying within the country of uncomfortable emotions.

You were part of a church choir for many years, has this had any influence on your music and if so how?

It has influenced the way I understand and create music a lot, especially when it comes to singing. But in the way I compose my melodies too, though the effect is more abstract in this case. It’s not always there but it’s like a solid part of my identity I can return to when I’m not sure which way to go.

Phoenix Central Park in Sydney, AU

Considering your father’s involvement in music production and songwriting, do you believe this has provided you with certain advantages or unique opportunities in pursuing your music career?

Being surrounded by music and encouraged to pursue it from a young age is definitely an advantage I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for my dad but if we’re talking about actual career opportunities then no, it hasn’t played a role.

Your live improv style debuted at the Aurora Live Ambient Show, in September 2023, in Berlin. How did you feel before the performance, and did the experience meet your expectations? Did the spontaneity of the improv provide a sense of freedom, and is it something you would like to explore further in your music career?

I was excited but very stressed and seriously lacking sleep. It was such a last-minute request, I sketched out the live set on the plane on my way to the show, I was still editing 10 minutes before performing. I did enjoy the performance very much though, it was very special, I felt fully immersed in the music and sort of lost touch with reality.

Aurora Live Edition in Berlin

You recently performed at Londons Cafe OTO with artist Sarahsson. What were your hopes and expectations for this performance, and do you think you achieved them in the show? 

I was initially planning to present an elaborate version of my Aurora set but my hopes and expectations changed pretty much 2 days before the show when I decided to create a whole new live set. I wanted to play something not entirely related to Spandrel? , so I put together a bunch of music I made in the last few months and a couple of new versions of songs from Spandrel?. I was just hoping I will have it ready on time and I did manage to.

What advice do you have for young creatives looking to work in the music industry?

“To walk backwards and enter the circle looking outwards.”

Interview · Nicola Barrett
Photography · Clément Beaugé and Ruby Boland
Follow Evita Manji on Instagram and Soundcloud
Follow AURORA on Instagram and Soundcloud
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MoMA Ready

MoMA Ready Is Vouching For Himself

MoMA Ready doesn’t care about keeping up with the perceived glamor of electronic music. He just wants to be able to show up in a white tee and black sweats to work, and that’s exactly what he’s sporting when he shows up to The Lot Radio to meet with NR Magazine on a sunny Thursday afternoon, and that’s what he feels comfortable wearing when he’s DJing all over the world. 

He’s ultra laidback while he tells his story. He takes his time rolling a blunt and gets too distracted to take a puff as he narrates the moments of trauma and heartbreak that led to where he is today. The producer is from Newburgh, New York — a place with one of the highest crime rates in America.

“I’m from a fucking horrible environment,” he said. “I’m not from a nice neighborhood in the suburbs. I got to art school because I’m talented.” He studied filmmaking in New York City’s School of Visual Arts before fully pivoting to music in his final year. Soon thereafter, the artist—born Wyatt Stevens—stepped into becoming MoMA Ready.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Does filmmaking play a part in your production process at all?

MoMA Ready: I have a very visual brain  like in full color. Very visual. I can see everything I think about. But I’ve always been multi-faceted. I got into art school with a four-legged portfolio. I was doing video work, graphic design, photography, and fine art. But I felt like filmmaking was a medium where I can express all those factors. 

Arielle Lana LeJarde:  Do you feel like coming from a working class background and not having the same resources as other students in school informs the choice to stay an independent producer?

MoMA Ready: Yeah, but I think it more so comes from not wanting to be told what to do. I would love resources. But even when things have benefited me, if people are trying to tell me what to do, there’s a part of me that’s instantly like, “Fuck off.” I have a rebellious nature, but not in the traditional sense. I’m not edgy and I don’t have a desire to be provocative. I’m not trying to shock and awe. I just don’t necessarily want to have to present myself a certain way in order to be successful. Why sacrifice my integrity if I don’t have to? I’ve gotten this far. I’ve accomplished a lot.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: How old are you anyway?

MoMA Ready: I just turned 30. What about you?

Arielle Lana LeJarde: I turn 29 next month. I see kids coming up in the scene and they’re like 19, so I feel like we’re old.

MoMA Ready: I feel like our generation is the most important generation. I like to think of us as a bridge between this old version of society and this new version of society. Older millennials are the reason why social media exists. So I have zero shame about being this age. I’m the perfect age because I have this knowledge that this older world exists.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Speaking of the older generation, we just learned the heartbreaking news that DJ Deeon died today. How did he inspire you and your music?

MoMA Ready: It shouldn’t be a thing where people like DJ Deeon and Paul Johnson are passing away from health issues. People who are pioneers should be as taken care of as well as big headliners. It puts a lot of things into question for me and I think a lot of people treat this as symptoms of how they feel about the people that benefit. Because of the narratives that have been spun out of capitalism and white supremacy in these spaces, the wrong people end up suffering.

DJ Deeon, and other people from his graduating class, created the foundation of the movement that my friends and I have created, and are even able to stand on. Deeon was one of the OGs that embraced us. He embraced all of us on an individual level. And he was supportive. There’s a lot of animosity for younger generations and he was never on that type of time. It’s sad. I wish I could have seen him live one last time. 

DJ Deeon is a big influence on myself and my friends in the rhythms and everything that we do. So losing one of my main influences is hard. There’s not going to be someone that comes along and fills it. And I don’t have to say this just to give him respect because he passed away. He was that before he passed. All of this just solidifies his legacy.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: Why do you think some people in the older generation of producers and DJs aren’t as accepting?

MoMA Ready: I want to blame them because they’re adults, right? But it’s not their fault. They’re mad at me—or whoever that they’re angry at—because of the structures that I just mentioned. Not because of us.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: When did you start producing anyway?

MoMA Ready: I really started experimenting with producing around 2013, but I had tried way before that. It wasn’t really about making music until 2016, when I experienced things in my personal life that made it hard to focus. Music was the only thing that kept me grounded.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What happened in 2016?

MoMA Ready: I was a victim of violence. I was suckerpunched downtown and the person broke my face. They kicked me in my face and I almost died. That’s why I have a metal plate in my face. It just made me recoil because a bunch of people that were supposed to be cool with me didn’t help me at all.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: A lot of your career surrounds your collaborations and your friends. How did you learn to trust people again?

MoMA Ready: Things in my life tend to resolve themselves pretty aggressively and serendipitously, so I learned to embrace that. I learned to take those steps on those serendipitous stones. There were also certain people that became consistent in my life and I just realized that nobody was out to get me. I have people I work with, I have my friends, and we all luckily can keep pace with each other. So I’ve tried to take advantage of the blessings that I have.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: With being in AceMoMA and having a close group of friends who are all equally as prominent, do you ever struggle with wanting to just be recognised as a standalone artist?

MoMA Ready: Hell yeah! I’m very vocal about it. I’m super honest and a very transparent person. I’ve even spoken to AceMo about it and all my friends. None of us would work if we weren’t singular artists. We all have to have individual careers. It’s important. But my problem was, I was putting my work into everyone else, so everybody started outpacing me in a way that made me wonder what I can do. I started just focusing on myself.

I recently went through a breakup that made me ask myself, “Who am I outside of other people?” I put myself into a lot of people. Then, I started vouching for myself because I realized nobody else is going to do it. What I contributed to the local space in New York, based on the proximity of being near me—because of my label, my compilations, and my efforts. I don’t give a fuck if it sounds cringe, but I’m owed. And I’m taking it now.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: What do you want people to know about MoMA Ready and what do you want people to know about Wyatt Stevens?

MoMA Ready: MoMA Ready is a persona. Don’t think that because you listen to my music that you know me at all. And it’s not because I’m trying to not know you. It’s more so that you need to approach me as someone that you don’t know. I understand that, especially with the way that I am on social media, I’ve built a lot of parasocial connections with my fan base. I answer their questions. A lot of artists are very like yeah, I’ll let you know what’s weird. Like forever. I feel like because I’m so honest with people in these questionnaires like people feel like they have a literal relationship with me.

About Wyatt Stevens? I’m a complete human being.

Arielle Lana LeJarde: How would you describe the New York City dance music scene and what is your part in it?

MoMA Ready: Shit. It’s a special place right now. New York City dance culture is now what people used to think it was. Nightlife has always been happening here, but I think as far as dance music is concerned, I want to say it’s never been like this anywhere in the country. I’m probably definitely wrong, and some old head is going to think I don’t know what I’m talking about. But for my generation, we’re doing a really good job of maintaining the culture and being expressive and making sure that the real is still here. I’m thankful to be a catalyst in that. I know I’m not the only one, but goddammit, I’m a big one.


 Photography · Sam McKenna

Julia Morozova

Kids of Summer


Models · Valentyn Boiko, John Godswill at the Claw Models, Gryte Kunaikaite at Women Milano and Sweia Hartmann at Wave Management
Photography · Julia Morozova
Fashion · Veronica Dronova
Casting · Isadora Banaudi
Hair · Giuseppe Paladino
Makeup · Stella Grossu
Fashion Assistant · Vladi Avksenenko


  2. John • Cardigan VERSACE
    Valentyn • top UNAPE and pants VERSACE
    Sweia • Top SOFT AND WET, skirt and stockings LOUISE LYNGH BJERREGAARD and jacket MAISON MARGIELA MM6
    Gryte • Cardigan UNAPE
  3. Sweatshirt MONCLER JW ANDERSON and pants UNAPE
  4. Top and swimsuit SOFT AND WET, jeans and shoes MAISON MARGIELA MM6
  5. Sweia • Dress MARCO RAMBALDI and necklace LOST IN ECHO
    Gryte • Pants MARCO RAMBALDI and top VERSACE
  6. Valentyn • Top UNAPE and pants VERSACE
    Sweia • Top SOFT AND WET, skirt and stockings LOUISE LYNGH BJERREGAARD Gryte • Bra, cardigan and skirt: UNAPE
  7. Swimsuit UNAPE, cardigan MARCO RAMBALDI and necklace ETERE NEPHILIM
  9. Valentyn • Sweatshirt VERSACE, pants APNOEA
  11. Skirt YOUWEI, top ACT N1 and shoes MAISON MARGIELA MM6
  12. Underwear Stylist’s own
  14. Skirt YOUWEI, top ACT N1 and shoes MAISON MARGIELA MM6
  15. John • Longsleeve ACT N1 and pants KENZO
    Gryte • Top, skirt and necklace LOUISE LYNGH BJERREGAARD
  16. Cardigan VERSACE
  17. John • Longsleeve, pants and boots SUNNEI
    Gryte • Pants MARCO RAMBALDI, top VERSACE, shoes and earrings LOST IN ECHO
  18. Gryte • Dress, pants and earring SUNNEI
  19. Cardigan MARCO RAMBALDI and shorts UNAPE
  21. Jumpsuit MAISON MARGIELA MM6

Raffo Marone

After Party


Photography · RAFFO MARONE

Malerie Marder

Malenie Marder

“We only have a short time on this planet and it’s impossible for me not to be in touch with people’s pain… So maybe I’m celebrating people’s vulnerability and softness”

If Malerie Marder is something of a voyeur, her subjects are never unaware that they’re being viewed by the photographer, her camera and us, the audience. In fact, the subjects of Marder’s intimate work often know the photographer intimately herself. In Carnal Knowledge, a body of work published in 2011 spanning ten years, Marder photographed family, friends and herself – usually in a state of total undress, often in seedy motel rooms or within the interiors of suburban Middle America. Despite the voyeuristic quality that exudes in her work, Marder somehow pulls back from an overtly sexual image. Perhaps this is because of a mundane, yet alluring, encounter the young Marder had, as a photography student under Stephen Shore’s direction at Bard College in the early 1990s – one which would define her future practice. Marder was invited to photograph a family friend engaging in an illicit affair with a married lover in a hotel suite, using the techniques she’d just been learning at college. But if the lasting impact of that first commission speaks to the mise-en-scène of the photographer’s work now, so does the fact that the lover, after the affair ended, demanded for the negatives afterwards. “I’ve been trying to re-create those pictures ever since,” Marder told Artforum in 1999, “simply because they were worth burning.” Naturally then, some of Marder’s images verge on the erotic – capturing a moment that feels, as the viewer, like an intrusion. As the photographer tells NR, there’s always something of a mystery within her work, where it’s not always quite clear what is going on.

But Marder’s work is never accidental, and often staged. This is most obvious with pictures that seem to make direct reference to art history; take Bath House (2001), for example, in which a scene of (majority male) nude bathers are positioned in such a way to recall one of Paul Cezanne’s paintings of bathers from the late nineteenth century. More recently, Marder’s second body of work, Anatomy (2013), plays with art historical references for different effect. The series, taken over four years, sees Marder photograph sex workers in Rotterdam, positioned in different settings within the private spaces in which they work. If Anatomy captures an intimacy like Carnal Knowledge, it’s less the fact that we feel like we’re intruding on a private scene, than a behind-the-veil glimpse into the lives of these women – the spaces they occupy, the relationships they make with one another, Marder, and the camera’s lens. In one image, Marder’s subjects are positioned in a way that recalls Henri Matisse’s La Danse (1910) – but if that painting has a joyful lightness to it, Marder’s photograph, in response, is more grounded. And perhaps that’s where the essence of Marder’s work lies; between the emotion that the sight, or the thought, of the nude body evokes, and the candid nakedness that we really see.

NR: Since that first encounter, shooting a family friend and her partner, (how) has your approach to photographing changed?

MM: I think that first encounter showed me what an illicit affair actually looked like. Those are the moments I centred on – the explosion of emotions, the secrecy, the desire — the fact that I was actually able to capture that when I was in the whirlwind of what was unfolding showed me I could perform under pressure. I think my set ups have become more tactile and I can more easily identify what I’m looking for, but the more comfortable I become, the more I push myself. I try to transcend what I’ve done. There’s always resistance, both externally and internally, but this is universal. This is not just endemic to me. 

NR: How do you negotiate with your subjects when taking their photograph? How much is staged by you, and by the subject themselves?

MM: I decide on the setting and then we both figure out what comes next. Some of it is more choreographed by me, but usually I end up capturing an aspect of them that is revealed.

“It’s like writing — you have a sense of what you want to say but you haven’t yet written the words.”

NR: What informs the setting in which your subjects are photographed? Do you choose a location depending on the subject, or vice versa?

MM: Both — sometimes I’ll see a place and wait for the perfect person to match that character, or I’ll meet someone and try to hone in on where I should photograph them. I find people are more fascinating than most places, so settings are harder to procure. 

NR: How does ‘celebration’ tie into your work; if you were to ‘celebrate’ something, what would that be?

MM: That is a genuinely a fascinating question. I like the idea of celebrating people’s beauty. I’m a fanatic about light and I like there to be a certain mystery — I feel both create a kind of romanticism, even if it’s on the melancholy side. But that does not mean it is any less of a celebration. We only have a short time on this planet and it’s impossible for me not to be in touch with people’s pain… So maybe I’m celebrating people’s vulnerability and softness…

NR: Something that has been said of the Anatomy series is the lack of ‘you’ being in the work; how important is it to have a relationship with your subject, and is it important that there is an element of “self-portraiture” in your photography? 

MM: It’s only important when I’m purposefully playing a part in the picture. Often times, I end up being in the picture and I’m just part of the shadow… helping the image along, but then there are times where it is more compelling for the viewer to know it is me.

“Self-denial plays a large part of what I do; I sincerely doubt I am in any of my pictures.”

NR: In terms of creating an image, how does colour (or its absence) play into your work?

MM: It plays a big role. For me, black and white is more like a sensual memory and colour is closer to present tense. So, when I try to create a dream-like state, I find it easier to say it in black and white. I still attempt to do this in colour as well. I group images by colour, and certain colours mean certain things — or elicit certain emotions or feelings. I try to saturate as much colour into an image as possible even if it borders on garish. A little like how Douglas Sirk filled his compositions in “Imitation of Life” with flowers — one long funeral. I am not sure what the saturation of colour means, but I think it is my attempt to overwhelm reality with as much beauty as possible — otherwise the darkness creeps in. You can still see it, of course. 


Images · Malerie Marder

Alessandro Mannelli


Models · Ara Ha (Fabbrica Milano), John Godswill (The Claw), Igor Szymanski (Why Not Models), Rashida Mamudu (Select Model Management)
Casting Director · IRENE MANICONE
Stylist Assistant · ROCCO COLLAZZO
Stylist Assistant · GIULIA BASILE

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