One of my new favorite beat makers, Mux Mool, sat down with me on the phone this weekend to preview his stop at the upcoming Sacramento Electronic Music Festival this weekend at Harlow’s/Momo Lounge. The second Ghostly International recording artist to take the SEMF stage (last year Tycho made an appearance), Mux Mool will be one of the headliners on Friday, sharing the stages with the likes of Jantsen, Giraffage, and Little Foxes (Jacob Golden), along with local act Bad Looks (Waylonn + DJ Whores) Tha Fruitbat, Boss Magic and more.
So, you’re heading up to the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival…have you ever been to Sacramento?
I know I’ve been through Sacramento, but I don’t think I’ve ever played. I’m not certain, though.
You grew up in Minnesota, is that correct? How old were you when you first moved out to Brooklyn?
Yeah. I think I was 25…no 24, and then I turned 25 shortly after I moved there.
How old are you now?
What was it like moving to New York? I assume that unless you lived in the twin cities, you probably lived in a pretty small town.
Well, I grew up in smaller towns, and the last six years before I moved to New York I lived in Minneapolis; but it was still, Minneapolis the city would fit in one neighborhood in New York.
Were you doing music when you were living in Minnesota?
Yeah, that’s why I moved to Brooklyn is that I had a few things together and I wanted to go try it out in New York. I knew that if I was going to…it occurs that many Minneapolis bands typically…a lot of people that come out there that end up being popular, end up staying there, and are only popular there, and I didn’t want that. Early on, with only a couple of releases, I should probably go to a more major city.
What sort of stuff were you doing in Minneapolis?
I used to do beat battles, at hip hop clubs…I used to do a lot of those. I produced for a couple of local rappers, but I was never a huge part of it. People thought I made weird beats.
What sort of thing do you get yourself into locally in Brooklyn, or do you prefer to just work in studio and tour?
Brooklyn is an even harder place to be popular than Minnesota; there’s other parts of it, like meeting other musicians, shaking hands and stuff, that’s the reason I wanted to come out to New York. I got a lot of that stuff together, so now, there are not a lot of local plays, so yeah, I just go out and tour and when I’m home working on stuff. I just moved to Ann Arbor for the summer. So I’m away from New York actually.
Are you recording out in Ann Arbor?
I came out here to work with a couple of people – in a couple different studios, actually.
Is that a new experience for you, working with a lot of other people during the recording process? Do you prefer to work alone?
Yeah…I used to write with a friend of mine for a long time, before I started doing solo stuff. That wasn’t the only person I had ever worked with, but we were really good friends, so developing that sort of report with somebody else, the kind of silent communication you have to have, the ideas to get things done, I don’t usually have that sort of dynamic with people, but I’m trying it out with friends here.
Have you been producing beats for other artists, or have you been working on your own material?
Initially, when I began making beats…that was my plan was to produce rappers…I never planned on playing shows. I didn’t think the scene that has come up around, deejay scene to the forefront, I didn’t know that was going to happen, or ever be an option. But, now, ten years later, I am finally getting some work with some decent rappers this year.
Which experience do you prefer now?
I like performing with an emcee a lot more than I like working alone. I mean, I can play the songs…but having an emcee really connects with audiences a lot better. But I would say that working with rappers can be pretty difficult. There are a lot of people that want stuff from me, and you send it out and you don’t to hear from them for six months. Working with someone who is really excited, can definitely be really cool. Because they’re hearing good things in what you’ve made, and you’re hearing good things in what they’ve made, and it kind of feeds off of itself.
What about the current electronic music scene is changing that you prefer and what about the way electronic music is headed do you feel is negative?
Well, it’s tough because right around the time I first started playing shows, learning what was going on with electronic shows across America – because I had basically no idea that was going on, how it is with festivals and all of that – and then I started reading up about that stuff, and not that I have anything against the genre, and obviously I owe a lot to the advent of dub-step for being able to play all of these shows, but it’s just unfortunate going to places and seeing eighteen and nineteen-year-old kids on a lot of drugs, missing the music and really just thrashing. I don’t know, that’s just one part of music for me.
How about along the lines of trends in the actual music…I have noticed a lot more beat production and a lot less of the remix. How about yourself?
Yeah, not a lot of remixes. It’s funny, because I find myself over time continually intrigued by the same thing that I was intrigued by the first time I heard electronic stuff of this kind. So, when I hear somebody making really solid, 90’s hip hop beats with samples of classic gear, and it’s emulated so well, that’s what really intrigues me.
Are you a nostalgic person?
I am nostalgic, but not when it comes to gear. I like my computer, I like not having to carry a bunch of stuff around.
Get your tickets for the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival here