Mount Kimbie: Constant motion

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When inthemix is connected to Mount Kimbie’s Dominic Maker, he’s in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a crisp Spring morning. In four hours, he and bandmate Kai Campos are set to fly to Japan to continue a tour that’s effectively been running for two years. It was June 2010 when Mount Kimbie released its assured debut album, Crooks & Lovers, and the duo’s live show has been a work-in-progress ever since. Onstage, the understated pair commands its instruments – guitar, drum pads and assorted machines – with a quiet intensity. It’s a show that gets its hooks in and keeps you immersed.

After Japan, Mount Kimbie is heading back to Australia for three shows in May, following a much-buzzed-about visit in 2011. This time round, the set-list will be part Crooks & Lovers, part in-between EPs and part unreleased material. Here Dominic muses on the art of playing live, the joys of breaking new ground and why mastering the thumb piano ain’t easy.

This is a really interesting tour you’re on: Russia, Japan, Australia. How’s Russia?
Well, it’s crazy. The first show was in Moscow: everything’s different. I mean obviously we’re not that far away in England, but Russia’s always been such a mysterious place to me. The shows themselves have been wicked.

So in Russia are you playing clubs?
Yeah. It reminds me of the kind of venues we played when we first started out. There’s something about a small, sweaty club that I like. You know, sandwiched in between two DJs playing like crazy hammer music. The soundchecks don’t happen. It’s classic early touring stuff. The hammer music stuff always seems to happen to us. The DJ always seems to drop the biggest tune of the night just before we come on. And of course then everyone’s like, “Ambient shit, no!”

When it comes to venues, how large can you get before it starts to feel uncomfortable for your music?
We’ve played some where it’s like, okay, this is way too big. Some festivals in France in old industrial warehouses, and at one the sound desk was so far away we couldn’t see our sound guy. You can’t really beat the ‘chamber’ sound, and with big venues it’s quite difficult. When we’re onstage performing, you get such a buzz from having people up close to you. It’s quite difficult when you’re miles away from everyone on a huge stage.

I saw that you said the last tour of Australia was “an amazing surprise” for you. Why was that?
Kai’s got family ties in Perth, so he had been to Australia before. For me, it’s like the same thing with Russia, you really don’t know how it’s going to go. It was amazing, though. They were really some of the best crowds we’ve ever played to. Just the physical distance from Australia made me think that no one’s heard of us there.

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