Real music for real people.
Stockholm’s mischievous live duo Mount Liberation Unlimited have well and truly landed with an explosion of high energy party starting cuts, an exhilarating live act, stupendously funky videos and an outstanding sense of humour to boot. We catch Tom and Niklas as they continue their rapid ascent up the mountain after dropping heat for Superconscious, Junk Yard Connections and a massive release for Beats In Space due any moment now.
I know you guys spent a lot of time jamming in bands and at music schools together in your formative years, at what point did you realise that you wanted to make high energy club music, and were there some particular parties or DJs in Stockholm that were influential in that shift?
It’s interesting, because people from both camps often tend to assume that there’s this concrete divide between playing in bands and making electronic music. For us it’s always been more of a blurred line. But, yeah, out of the people we were playing with at the time, we were maybe the two who were more drawn to the club aesthetic and the more electronic and eclectic side of music. One didn’t cancel the other one out though!
Early memories of getting far too caught up with high energy club music to avoid it was sneaking in to Kornél Kovacs legendary club ”Happy Nation” in Stockholm at the age of 17. He was playing Jungle, House classics, Drum’n Bass… Just mixing everything, which was really inspiring! Local nights like that together with Stockholmian barely legal late nite parties and open airs in the summer were really inspiring and reinforced our interest in dance music and culture enough to get involved.
It feels as though there’s been a bit of movement away from the traditional laptop & midi controller live setup’s, with an increasing amount of new live acts incorporating real instruments and more engaging human elements. What can you tell us about the MLU approach to playing live?
We try to keep it real and human! Haha…
Maybe more than other electronic live acts we try to think more like a band. Not in the way that we play 3-minute songs with applause in between. But in the way that we try to perform and recreate our original material in a way that feels faithful. Maybe what we’re trying to achieve is to capture the complexity of the original songs, without making it too easy for ourselves and just do it playback from a laptop.
Dynamics is probably the single most important factor when we plan out a set though, and with that in mind we really try to play with each other and feedback from each other’s actions. Just like when you’re jamming with a band, you learn how to communicate without words.
You’ve spoken before about striving to exist outside your comfort zone, and that you have a broad view of what MLU is and what it might become… With this in mind, have you envisaged the band incorporating or collaborating with additional players at some point?
It’s been envisaged for sure! We hope that 2017 will be the year that we finally get to arrange ”Who’s Got Talent?” castings for new band members in our studio.
Nah, but we do have some ideas and dreams that hopefully can come to life next year!
On your Superconscious EP sleeve notes you said you made the music for real people, created for real reasons. How did you guys get to working with the real folk at Superconscious, and would you do it all again?
Your attention to detail is impressive Myles!
It’s a very Melbourne-related story actually. Tom met Griff on the dance floor of your wonderful institution The Mercat many years ago, and from that morning on he knew that Griff was the real deal. So there was no hesitation for us at all when Superconscious showed interest in our music, and mutually for them when we showed interest in their label we guess.
Working with them was a real pleasure and we’d do it all over again for sure!
In this mix for us it sounds as though you’ve set out to tell a story. What can you say about the idea behind the mix, and some of the music it contains?
It’s funny because none of us has ever been able to relate to this “storytelling” kind of DJing. At least not in the strict literal sense. For both of us it’s always been more about creating and prolonging a feeling and a certain energy. As with our live set and life itself it comes down a lot to dynamics and finding your flow. You need some highs, some lows and some in-betweens.
Maybe it’s a primitive way of looking at it, but for us the most important thing when DJing is always to present good music that pleases and interests the dancer and listener in more than one way. And to find/create a nice dramaturgy and tension out of that.
Track-ID wise for this mix you’ll hear sneaky peeks from our next 12”, a recorded live jam from a gig in Italy, some dollar bin goodies, Swedish psychedelic rock and a bunch of other music we’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks.
I know you’ve got some pretty big record news soon to drop, what can you tell us about all that, and most importantly, can we be expecting another funky video too?
Our next 12” should be out any second on Beats In Space, or whenever the pressing plant gets back from their lunch break, haha. And if you listen real carefully during your dance sessions this summer (strayan winter) you might find yourself dancing your pants off to our next record after that. Tip: listen for Patrick Adams-like chipmunk samples, a smashing piano solo and the Studio Barnhus guys doing a sing-a-long.
Obviously this will all be combined with amazing video work from Johannes Palmroos. Next up is a 10-minute documentary we shot this spring. Things are getting real!