Chanel Beads

The Feeling Remains

What is a feeling? neither us nor Shane Lavers from Chanel Beads might have a correct answer for it. That being said, NR spoke with him about navigating fleeting emotions through music, internal contradictions, and what drove —and bothered— him one week prior the NYC band’s debut album Your Day Will Come would see the light.

Hi Shane, how’s it going?

I just woke up, I’m in the middle of moving, so it’s been.. chaotic, but I am good!

And, most importantly, your first LP is on the way! How do you feel? How have the last weeks leading up to it been?

Yeah, it definitely feels like something new, but I try not to have any expectations, really. And then everything’s a happy surprise.

I’ve known about your work since fairly recently, actually. I’ve gotta come clean. I listened to your music for the first time in Paris, around November.

You were at the Bagnolet show, right?

Attending that show was a great moment for me, as it had been more than a couple of months since seeing someone play live –I came there being so curious about the whole thing..Your setup, and the way you guys performed felt refreshingly different. One thing I am wondering ,now that things are maybe starting to change, is about the shift from smaller, intimate venues to larger ones, like the recent gig you did at SXSW. What I loved about your show was its intimacy, and maybe some of it might be lost in bigger settings. How do you feel about this potential change in how your music is experienced? Are you adapting to it?

Settings like SXSW are complicated –We played a couple of outdoor daytime shows, and that’s just not a great fit, at least for what I’m trying to do. That show you just mentioned, if i’m not mistaken, the place was almost a gallery or a studio, it didn’t have a stage, but was still loud enough: That felt like an ideal place to perform. I’m uncertain about adjusting to formats where there’s a significant distance between me and the audience. Most of the live performances I’ve done are just kind of this weird act. It’s not acting per se, but it’s a really naked moment –Me trying to embody my music really plainly, really close to people. So yeah, I’m kind of nervous, and I don’t really know what to do if there’s like a gate and, you know, 20 feet between me and people. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge.

You maybe lose that conversational element that your music possesses.The Bagnolet show was the first time ever I listened to your music –I didn’t know anything about your work prior to that. A friend invited me to the show telling me it would be a good one so I decided to go in blindly, without listening to anything beforehand. I just wanted to be surprised by something new. Maybe that’s why I perceive this presence of a conversation between you and your listener, and that is something that an intimate live experience embodies better. Do you consider the relationship between your music and its audience, allowing space for their interpretation alongside your own narrative? Or do you primarily focus on expressing your own story, regardless of the presence of a stage or audience?

It’s kind of complicated. I mean, it’s definitely closer to the latter. It is always a bad idea to try to imagine what other people are thinking, and that is sometimes because you can never really picture a stranger’s mind. I don’t purposefully try to not-think of what other people will think, and I feel very lucky at the moment because that kind of distinction doesn’t even cross my mind because I am too focused on myself as the listener, or trying to have a conversation with myself.

It feels very insular, though, and sometimes after a songs’ made, I’ll kind of notice that I think that I’ve written something very specific and detailed, but then I am like “wait, there’s only like four or five lines in this song and not that much of a context for them.” Even I may not fully know what the song is about as it shifts as you write it. However, as long as it means something to me, I’m happy, I am excited. 

Your songs often present two distinct voices or perspectives, a sense of internal conflict or contradiction. This duality seems particularly pronounced in some of the songs from your upcoming record, especially now that yours and Colleen’s singing alternate and layer more substantially, perhaps reflecting this conversation or dialogue within yourself you just mentioned. I had a question in that sense, but I guess you’ve already touched on this aspect, acknowledging the presence of two voices conversing or two parts of yourself engaged in dialogue –An interplay between different perspectives allowing abstract feelings to resurface and attempting to give them tangible expression.

Yeah. Context always changes in what I write, but it’s almost like..the feeling remains the same, there’s a consistency of an emotion lingering through and through. It’s akin to moving from one scene to another, seemingly unrelated, yet still connected by a common thread despite the shifting of time and space.

Without the need of a specificity.

Yeah. [pauses] The feeling remains.

It’s intriguing how your composition process seems to mirror this idea. I’ve noticed a very distinct style, and sound, in your music, even from the first time I encountered it. Despite this being your debut LP, your consistent approach to composing and shaping sonic palettes over the years has been evident. Was this new record an opportunity to crystallise and refine that style further, or was you just going for an experimental take on longer narrative possibilities or a more cohesive output of material?

It’s both of those things really, it kinda just felt like, “Okay, now I’ve got an album.” But I definitely was trying to match an emotional and lyrical sentiment with the sonics. I always felt kind of frustrated with the way I composed in the past and I know that a lot of musicians or artists might feel like they’re aspiring to something, but they’re kind of stuck making something else. It’s kind of a cliche, so I try not to think about it too much, like the one of sitting down with the guitar and then getting really into it, making beats or something like that. I think such things are kind of boring, and self mythologizing in a weird way.

Industry tricks 101: The creative journey’s sentimentalisation..

I’ve been talking about this with friends a lot. I felt really free with this project, I finally was able to let the floodgates open and release stuff because I felt in a position where I’m not interested in distinctions anymore, and whatever i do is just gonna exist as it is and I’m not gonna give a shit If people think it’s rock music, electronic music, or whatever. I’ve been having interviews where people keep asking me about Coffee Culture, because it’s kind of the record’s outliner, but I actually feel like I make more music similar to it than, let’s say, Police Scanner. And I guess this kind of feels like a cliche too –To be like “Fuck the listener, I don’t even care about the listener.” But yeah, I didn’t really like thinking about distinctions like “who’s listening to it? Am I listening to it or is someone else listening to it,” I am kind of practicing ignorance almost as a virtue, lately, in that regard. [laughs] 

Have you been putting things out because you just finally felt really like it?

Yeah. And I try to stay away from distinctions and intellectualising stuff. It’s way more interesting to go back before those lines were drawn.

I get it! Sometimes, as I interview people, it’s almost weird because when I come there, I have all my stuff prepared, questions, notes. I’ve been reading, listening, informing myself on the artists’ work, weaving narratives around and intellectualising it. It all feels a tad funny sometimes, because I think of myself first and foremost as a listener and sometimes I think that maybe I should just focus on enjoying the music and, as you said, it is simpler, and maybe more interesting. How do you feel then when talking about music, your music specifically? 

Well, I think it’s fun to over intellectualise things, I just don’t want to do it to myself. [laughs] It’s flattering to talk about your music with people, but it also feels weird sometimes –And don’t get me wrong, I’m getting good at PR training. If someone asks me a question, I’ll just be like “next question,” if I don’t want to say anything about it– The strange thing with talking about my own music is that, often, the whole point of it is that I’m not able to just talk about the things i want to communicate with it. If I could, just talking about them would have been fine, but because I don’t feel like I can do that via simple words, I resort to music. Whatever you’re trying to express, I feel it has to come out via the best channel you can express it through, so a complicated feeling or a complicated thought can come out with all the nuances it deserves. What I like about the way I’m approaching music is that it allows me to work with stuff that I’m still parsing through –It’s me trying to figure out how I’m feeling, and what I’m thinking or what the world is, in an external and internal way at the same time. 

How long do you feel this record has been growing within you? A part of you may still be processing the themes woven into this record, and while you may have physically composed the record recently, it feels listening to you like its inception and development may have been with you for much longer. 

A lot of what I do, not only with music but with visuals too, I approach it with a “waiting to strike” attitude, kinda like getting really prepared for something that is going to happen so that you can move quickly about it. It’s not improvising. It’s more like operating in real time, that’s why maybe I am so fond of playing live shows. Things always happen quickly and impulsively, but at the same time thought out and prepared. I’m not really interested in super constructed music, but rather in quick bursts that then are shaped from there. I have this kind of motto, “Never let them see you sweat,” which is like..You can think about stuff and prepare it, but ideally you shouldn’t be in control of all the variables, so then you can kind of discover new stuff in that moment. I don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s a complicated answer to give you, because I wrote the album pretty quickly, but there’s one song on it called Urn that I wrote, like in 2018, and it kind of came out way different when I finally recorded it again, so timelines are, let’s say, variable.

Like with Idea June, you released two different versions, very similar in their underlining, both songs’ sentiment feels the same, but they still are very different, maybe two sides of the same narration? It’s interesting that you decided to release both. The bit about not wanting the artifice behind things to be seen really resonated with me. When I saw you live, it felt..digital, electronic maybe, in a way. Your setup was hybrid, a computer playing the record and you playing over it, singing over it and adding vocal and sonic layers to it..but it felt very different from listening to the record versions of your tracks, because you don’t just execute the song, i feel it varies from set to set and is closer to what you said about doing the prep in order to be ready to change things on the fly.

Zach and Maya make their own guitar parts, and we just play the whole song front to back, they improvise a little but usually just once, and we get stuff like 90% locked in. As we refine it, especially during tour runs, it becomes less about improvisation and more about solidifying the structure. Still, there’s always this sense of recreating the song each time we perform it, even though the tracks remain consistent. It’s like discovering how the song should function anew with each rendition. Also, we’re not the type of band that heavily engages with the audience too much, like I’m not trying to crack jokes too much, which is what I do when I get nervous. I tend to funnel any nervous energy into the performance itself, though it’s more of an internal dynamic rather than trying to rile up the crowd. The live show is crucial because it feels like an ongoing dialogue with the audience about the sound and atmosphere of the music. We’ve encountered various venues with unique setups, like a show in Seattle held in an old drugstore, where our sound ended up heavily distorted due to the setup. It was mostly just kind of like shoegaze and punk bands playing, technically, like a festival –You just weren’t supposed to hear the vocals anyway, so they had a setup that was really not ideal for what we usually do. Rather than fighting against it, we embraced the challenge and improvised, adapting to the space on the spot. There was no respect or adherence to how the songs sounded initially, we just blasted the sound, fully screamed our lungs out and got over it, using it to our advantage. It’d be such a nightmare to just try to be like “Oh, this is not supposed to sound like this,” and fight with that. It’s way more interesting and compelling to just try to adapt to the room on the spot.

Are you aiming to maintain the same approach when performing in more standardised venues or supporting bands like Mount Kimbie? It’s a different dynamic, with different expectations and preparations for the show. How do you plan to stay true to your style and maintain some level of absence-of-control in these more controlled environments? It’s an essential aspect of what you do. Initially, when I saw you play, I found myself wishing for a full band and a more elaborate, proper, setup. But as I became more familiar with your work, I began to appreciate your approach to live music more and more. It really started to make sense and felt refreshing, new. How do you plan to maintain this chaos-theory approach to live music as your career progresses?

Our current approach is highly adaptable and, despite occasional suggestions to add a drummer –mostly from drummers themselves –I’m intrigued by its current possibilities. I’m not focused on delivering what people expect, so I’m not inclined to follow traditional paths. Mount Kimbie are an amazing band, they’re fantastic musicians, but as for myself, I’m currently not interested in playing an instrument onstage. Singing without any other responsibilities allows me to fully immerse myself in the moment, embracing any awkwardness that may arise. I’m just going to go with it and enjoy the experience.

Fuck it we ball.

It’s nice talking about the live shows and setup so much in this interview because it really provides a lot of the backstory behind our process. Most of the songs were written specifically for the way we play live right now –So many of the songs have multiple layers of singing in them because I got really into melodics and rhythmics that are fun to reproduce and alter during a live show. It’s compelling when we’re like in SXSW, a real, proper capital-R Rock festival..we’re in the belly of the beast, the beast being people telling us we need a drummer and stuff like that, but we still come out and do the show regardless and win people over.

It can be a great selling point, you have your way of doing things, that’s what won me over anyways. If you get, you get. If you don’t, you don’t. I think you don’t need a drummer, personally..for all that matters. [Laughs] A slight detour towards intellectualization: What served as the primary inspiration or driving force behind this record? Was it a specific narrative or theme you wanted to explore through your writing, or were you more focused on crafting a particular sonic palette and incorporating specific musical elements? 

It’s definitely about the sound. While I was writing the lyrics, I did worry that I might end up with similar songs. Ideally, they all serve as cohesive glue, but I understand if someone were to criticize that aspect. When I begin a song, it’s usually because I have a particular sound or energy in mind. Then, I sit down and think about what’s been bothering me.

What has been bothering you?

I often think of the inability of things, or maybe myself, to change. I’m kind of in a pessimistic era these days. I mean everybody is, so..

It’s not like the world is in a great state, pessimism makes perfect sense. But your record still feels full of hope, in a way. It has mixed feelings and even tender undertones at its core –Like being very pessimistic about certain things, but still hoping to be wrong about it.

Well, I think there’s freedom in acknowledging how fucked things are, because then you are not deluded, but then you don’t wanna delude yourself about thinking that you are more fucked than you actually are. That’s maybe the real frustration for me..trying to find a point that feels good enough between these two extremes. 

Maybe, life is just a pendulum swinging between deluding yourself and bringing yourself back towards a sense of reality. Chanel Beads’ take on Schopenhauer’s pendulum.

I guess we’ll find out.

Credits

Photography, Art Direction and Styling · Jack Pekarsky
Featured Artworks · Michal Alpern
Special thanks to Matthew Fogg and Olivia Larson.

Nicolas Schuybroek

Minimalism with soul: a dialogue with architect Nicolas Schuybroek

In 2011, Nicolas Schuybroek started his own practice in Brussels, Belgium. His goal was simple: to design spaces and objects with great care, skill, and a warm feeling. Nicolas focuses on timeless minimalism and simplicity, using natural materials to bring his designs to life. His work is elegant and understated, appealing to those who appreciate subtle beauty.

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Nicolas Schuybroek, the architect and designer behind the eponymous studio based in Brussels. Nicolas, thank you for joining us. What inspired you to start your own practice in Brussels in 2011?

The purpose was well defined: create and produce architecture, interiors and objects characterised by an acute sense of detail, craftsmanship and intuition, while retaining a feeling of warmth. The search for timeless minimalism and apparent simplicity have always been central in our work, as well as the love of unassuming, tactile, and raw materials. There’s no straining for effect, just a muted elegance. The essence is to conceive serene and pure, yet warm, comfortable, and authentic spaces. 

What is your perspective on the relationship between the socio-cultural system and design/architectural initiatives in Brussels? Could you share also a particular location in Brussels that holds a special significance for you?

Overall, Belgian architecture over the past few years has been enjoying a creative renaissance, thanks to a generation of talents who excel at blending earthy palettes, natural materials, and curated interiors. This philosophy has helped establish a contemporary Belgian architectural identity, which is more and more celebrated abroad.

Brussels is a city you need to discover, preferably with locals, due to the many gems hidden in a complex urban grid. Personally, I do enjoy most of the contemporary art galleries and love an early morning stroll through the royal galleries of St-Hubert in the city centre.

Your multicultural background and extensive travel seem to play a significant role in shaping your design perspective. How do these experiences inform your work?

International projects and the relationships which comes with it, deeply nourishes our work: it broadens our perspective in terms of cultural differences, languages, religion, local habits, craftsmanship etc. to name a few. Belgian remains a fairly mall country, and we feel lucky and humbled to be able to work on so many projects around the globe.

Could you discuss the inspiration and creative journey behind the Aesop Salone del Mobile project in Milan for this year?

The scenography is inspired by the Minimal Art movement from the 1960’s and 1970’s, including artists like Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Richard Nonas, whose works are reduced to the essential minimum. This movement has served as an inspiration for many years now and and shaped the base for this scenographic project for Aesop, known for its uniform and minimal packaging’s, accentuating the content of the bottles, rather than the bottles itself. The inspiration of Superstudio’s 1970s iconic grid structures is a hint to timeless Italian design. To emphasise the minimal character of the installation, we conceptualised a grid shaped screen wrapping the perimeter of the shop, only interrupted when needed for circulation.

Entirely built up with Aesop soap bars – used within a vertical brick pattern– the screen creates a soft, matte, and reflective installation. A strong serenity exhales from the design by limiting the walls to monochromatic materials and textures. The restricted use of using something simple as a soap bar – “a daily functional household item” – resonates yet to another art movement, the Arte Povera, which fits perfectly in this context. Within the screen, small rectangular cavities are shaped by removing soap bars, to generate viewing portals to small, intimate hidden boxes showcasing Aesop’s products at the centre of the installation sits a large silicon block, wrapped in a matte silicon envelope. The central island stands out without taking away attention of the soap wall and will be the centre stage to skincare performances and massages where spectators can gather around.

The structure takes its form from the regimented rows of Aesop products, following the formulation-first logic central to the brand’s philosophy. Within the assembly, small rectangular cavities are created by removing soap bars, generating portals through which to enter—via film—the sensorial world of Aesop’s products. This way of working is a good match between Aesop and my office. In our office we always kick-off with concept, context, and research before digging into designing. In that way we develop a clear formulation before creating. I think this is important to avoid losing yourself in later stages of design. Of course, this formulation can change during the process, which is another important stage. But for us formulation works as a compass during a project. 

What does “muted elegance” mean to you in the context of your work?

The essence of our work is to conceive serene and pure, yet warm and authentic spaces. Muted elegance is in my perspective the true definition of luxury today.

Few years ago premiered a Signature Kitchen for Obumex at Salone del Mobile. Can you tell us more about this project and your collaboration with Obumex?

In this first collaboration with Obumex, we designed a unique Kitchen which exhales a sense of profound serenity and yet, feels warm and authentic due the singular material used throughout the concept. It is also the first contemporary kitchen design finished with tin.

As a starting point for this design, we rethought the block-like typology of a kitchen island and transformed it into a dynamic shape, resulting in carefully proportioned shifts between the sculptural blocks. The design has been conceived as derivative of our studio’s architectural typologies and grants different views and perspectives around all four elevations, reinforcing the concept of a kitchen island as a functional sculpture.

The tin cladding, wrapping the entire volume, offers a high level of tactility paired with softness, which contrasts beautifully with the minimal geometry of the island. As tin gains a unique patina, the aesthetics of the kitchen will beautifully evolve over the course of time, resulting in every kitchen to be unique.

MM House in Mexico City, completed between 2014 and 2017, caught my eye with its intriguing design. Could you delve into the details of this project and share what inspired its creation?

While the main brutalist concrete structure was kept, we transformed it by adding new layers to the house: we came up with the idea of an interior patio with a small reflecting pool and a minimal spout to add a sense of calm to the space.

The sound of the water feature echoes throughout the house, linking the floors and rooms together, as is customary in many Mediterranean countries. We tried to create a very cozy and warm scale in a house for one and relied on the lessons of the potential found in augmenting a sense of balance through proportions. The placement of artworks, such as Terence Gower’s black-and-red steel sculpture The Couple that appears to float on a reflecting pool, provided a sense of drama that conceptually and materially resonated with other elements of the house, such the exposed raw steel staircase that created a similar juxtaposition of weight with a perceived sense of weightlessness. 

Through a great transnational collaborative process, we were able to transform the house from a closed-off heavy bunker into a home where air and inspiration could freely circulate. One way we achieved this was by leaving the ground floor partly open. Alberto had the brilliant idea to extend the concrete slab that was on top of the old entrance to create a garage and a suspended garden on the second floor, allowing us to close off the house from the street and create a small, secret, and secluded landscape within. The effect was similar to what we love in Belgium, where the exterior of a building can bely, the magic found within it. Alberto also added thoughtful landscaping to ground our project to the land of Mexico with a design scheme based entirely on native plants. A restrained material palette spanning the entire house, from polished concrete floors to cement finishes on walls and ceilings, Arabescatto marble for the kitchen and bathrooms, and locally sourced Parota wood for the millwork creates a sense of timelessness to frame a contemporary art collection that celebrates ruptures with tradition.

What are some upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

We are handing over three exciting projects right now, a private house/museum for an art collecting couple outside of Antwerp, a concrete “tropical” bunker on the west shore of Bali, Indonesia as well as an extensive townhouse renovation in NY (Larry Gagosian’s former house).

Finally, what advice would you give to emerging architects and designers?

Your education in architecture has hardly begun: work, stay curious, humble and most importantly by persistent and tenacious in all your endeavours.

In order of appearance

  1. NM House, Mexico City, Mexico, 2014-2017. Nicolas Schuybroek Architects. Photography by Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.
  2. Aesop, Lyon France, 2023. Nicolas Schuybroek Architects. Photography by Romain Laprade. Courtesy of Aesop.
  3. Aesop Salone del Mobile, Milan, 2024. Nicolas Schuybroek Architects. Photography by Romain Laprade. Courtesy of Aesop.
  4. Obumex Signature Kitchen, Milan, 2022. Nicolas Schuybroek Architects. Photography by Eric Petschek.
  5. NM House, Mexico City, Mexico, 2014-2017. Nicolas Schuybroek Architects. Photography by Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.
  6. NWJ House, Antwerp, Belgium, 2015-2018. Photography by Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.

    All images courtesy of Nicolas Schuybroek otherwise stated.

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 anymore..so 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. 

Team

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

Credits

  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

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