In 2010, Carl Ritger (a.k.a. Radere) connected with Brooklyn-based producer Brian Lindgren (a.k.a.Mux Mool) and talked to him about his hazy, ever-evolving sound and how he connected with Ghostly International. As the conversation below reveals, Ritger learned that Lindgren never met a genre he didn’t like.
Since debuting on the scene in 2006 with a single track on the Brooklyn-based Moodgadget imprint’s Rorschach Suite compilation, Brian Lindgren — a.k.a. Mux Mool — has rapidly carved a niche out for himself in the ever more crowded musical landscape. Pairing blunted, Dilla-esque hip-hop with a penchant for blog-house aesthetics, he’s earned his notoriety the old-fashioned way, touring: relentlessly and marketing the hell out of his work. Big Shot caught up with the producer shortly after the release of his Ghostly International debut, Skulltaste, earlier this spring, touching on everything from his approach to keeping laptop performances interesting to his feelings about being constantly compared to Ghostly label mate Dabrye.
Listening to your latest album, Skulltaste, it’s clear that your musical output is the product of a lifelong obsession with music of all genres, from dub to disco to hip-hop and back. Where do you draw your inspiration from? What sort of records do you find yourself listening to when you’re not building your own beats?
Mux Mool: I’m a firm believer that if you produce music, especially electronically, that one must be aware of the dynamics and history of all music. I would say very few of us are actually born into a listening world of indie beat music; rather, we all come to it at a certain point after we’ve been exposed to many, many other music. My listening tastes tend to vary greatly from day to day. I think that because of “I’ve always been into electronic music. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made music without the help of a computer or sampler.” Being more or less inundated with “beat” music on the regular, I try to listen to things that cleanse my palate. That could be anything from Slayer to Enya, or Big Business to Dream Academy.
Have you always been an electronic musician, or did you play in bands before discovering the joys of software?
I’ve always been into electronic music. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever made music without the help of a computer or sampler. I was in choir in school — I think my voice is pretty terrible, though.
You’re known for using an extremely minimal set-up, both in the studio and in performance. What kind of gear and software are you using these days?
Same thing as I’ve been using since the beginning, really: computer and MIDI keyboard to create, and computer and M-Audio Trigger Finger to perform. Ableton Live and Reason are staples. I can’t really keep up with gear, and a lot of how actual sound works is confusing to me. I just know how a computer works. Also, I can’t really afford to purchase new things with any kind of regularity, and programs like Ableton are so deep already that I find more in just exploring that than constantly switching gear. Also, being able to do one-off shows and only bring one bag that has everything I need in it is fucking awesome. It’s like a port-a-party.
“From what I understand, Dabrye is a smarter and more serious guy than me; I’m definitely more goofball.”
You seem to be out on the road constantly, a bit of a rarity for modern electronic musicians. What drives you to tour so much? Do you feel it helps you build your “brand,” or does it run deeper than that for you?
I am not on the road as much as I’d like to be. I’d be gone all the time if I could. I know a lot of electronic musicians that tour a lot more than I do, though. The current state of the music world is in is kind of rough. No one is really making money off of record sales, and I don’t see record labels as eager to pick up new artists in general because of the lack of income from that side. For musicians, playing live is really one of the only ways to have a steady income. I know a lot of producers [historically] don’t want to play live, or the gear is too bulky to afford to move, or there just isn’t enough interest in having them come play because to an audience we are all basically just playing solitaire or checking e-mail on stag It’s not very interesting. I’m trying to find ways to make it interesting: getting on the mic or dancing, whatever. It’s not necessarily a way to get more popular, but it’s the best way to reach people on a visceral level where it’s you and your computer noise going directly into their brains at harmful levels.
How did your working relationship with Ghostly International come about?
Coming to Ghostly was a tailoring process. I started working with [A&R man] Jakub [Alexander] at Moodgadget in 2006. I was just a hobby musician then. Over time I wanted to do more and more. Ghostly picked up “Night Court” for the Ghostly Swim compilation, and I think that song did pretty well there. I eventually pitched an album idea to [label owner] Sam [Valenti IV], and he liked it. I think I’m just really lucky…and really patient.
Do artists like Ghostly International mainstay Dabrye make you uncomfortable? Do you feel that the two of you share the same sort of “aesthetic space”?
I don’t know how or why that would make me uncomfortable. Any comparisons there would just be flattering, as Dabrye is a great producer. I don’t really think we share the same aesthetic space, either. From what I understand, Dabrye is a smarter and more serious guy than me; I’m definitely more goofball.
What’s next for the Mux Mool project? Back to the studio? Back out on the road?
I have a few things in the works. More songs, yes. More remixes, more EPs, some MCs, some upbeat, some slower, a bunch of drawings, maybe a comic book, T-shirts, more shows, bigger shows, costumes, choreography…and nudity.