Recipient of a recent Ibiza Spotlight Album of the Week award, and electro-hip hop downbeat house producer extraordinaire Brian Lindgren stops by to expound on the alias that rhymes with Lux Lool, his relationship with revered US label Ghostly International, and the state of play in America.
For those that don't know, who's Mux Mool and what kind of sounds does he make?
Well, for all intents and purposes I suppose that I myself am Mux Mool. That is to say that Mux Mool isn't an alter ego, just a project name. We're the same guy. I tend to span genres, that is if genres are defined by the varying tempos and drum patterns made within electronic music.
In my mind, it's all more or less the same, it's kicks, snares, hi-hats, all arranged with a percussive focus highlighted by clever sample chops, synthy arpeggios and bass lines. I would like to think that I make beats, as simple as that. My process is closest to that when it comes to writing music. As far as defining characteristics, I would say I try to inject feelings into it. I may not have the bangiest bangers, or the headiest chilled out lo-fi, detuned space beats, but there is always a mood present.
Planet High School is a little different to your last album Skulltaste, what happened between the two LPs?
On Skulltaste I intended to show my production range. Since then I've played a lot of shows, learned more of what people respond to, and gotten deeper into my own process.
With Planet High School I didn't really feel like I had to prove what I could do, and instead focused much more on styles that I like, and where my strengths are. So on the new release there is still a variance, fewer different styles, but a wider distance between the hardest and softest moments. I was also finally able to invest some money into decent monitoring and I think that made a definite improvement sonically.
Both LPs have been carried by Ghostly International, how did your relationship with the imprint first begin?
The first song I ever released was through a label called Moodgadget, which is not a Ghostly imprint but more of a little brother to Ghostly tied by personal connections. So, after doing a few releases with Moodgadget and also moving to NYC in pursuit of a music career, I slowly developed a relationship with some of the Ghostly employees.
To be honest, my career direction was pretty vague at first. I didn't know how anything in the industry worked. At the time I didn't have Ghostly on my mind and didn’t really consider myself to be of that caliber. But I paid attention, asked a lot of questions, intending really just to learn the ropes and to see if I could learn what it takes. I think through that preparation I actually became ready. So, I pitched the album, they liked it, here we are.
Your own youth saw you move 'from one small Minnesotan town to another'. In terms of exposure to electronic music that sounds quite limited- when did the bug first bite?
I don't know exactly when it hit me, I think being raised on video games and loving games definitely had something to do with it. Even before I really started listening to contemporary (90's) electronic music my ears would always gravitate towards the synthetic.
In that way it wasn't really a conscious thing for a long time. Once I started really getting into the electronic music world I was enamored by it. It seemed so new and so different from the onslaught of terrible 90's rock bands, and it always felt like, and in some ways still feels like there is the world of music, and the world of electronic music. It was a different place with it's own set of rules and I really liked that.
In your own words "today, young Americans have very little to look forward to except endless war, endless debt, no social security..." Is it really all that bad over there?
It is and it isn't. America on the whole is still a great place to be, but the direction we're heading seems scary sometimes. I honestly don't know much about politics, and my feelings about what's happening here stem from what I see in the people I know.
People are broke, they're overworked, and they're not making as many financial commitments because it's barely worth it anymore. And as things get worse for the majority, our leaders continue to make decisions that reduce the quality of life for the average person, setting the divide even further. It just feels perverse now that schools still subliminally teach the virtues of getting married, owning a house, two cars and working at one job your whole life straight from education.
Because the reality seems more like you're told at a young age that you won't be happy or have a good quality of life unless you have these things. But, in order to get all those things, you have to put yourself so far in debt that your entire life, or at least a large portion of your healthiest years, is spent working only to pay back all the loans it took you to get there.
Do you have any solutions?
Pursue your own dreams, don't let outside forces influence that, and don't let fear of failure prevent you from following that pursuit because there is no end game, the real joy is in the chase itself. Now I know this sounds like I'm a talking motivational poster here, and I don't mean to go around giving half baked advice about how to 'succeed in life'.
But I can say from personal experience my entire life was miserable, confusing and frustrating before I decided to go after my statistically unrealistic dream of making music for a living. And I'm not famous, nor rich, and I wouldn’t say I'm a success story worthy of a biography. But it doesn't matter because - I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.
Regarding your own experience of high school, was it more Ferris Bueller or Heathers?
Oh wow, uh... I can't say it was even close to either of those, I feel like it was closer to Gummo. I was fat and weird and unpopular. But for my junior and senior years of high school I went to a place dedicated to the arts; I opted for visual art. I would say that the school was like Fame, mixed with Hackers, albeit with an uglier cast.
You're also an artist, given the choice, or if the choice were forced upon you, would you prefer to make money from drawing or producing?
Producing. I could not pursue drawing for work because the dynamic between me and my drawings is one where I feel I'm almost at the whim of the pen and paper and not the other way around. I can sit down under pressure and produce songs and even handle the minutia of making computer music, but when it comes to drawing, I can't force myself.
Sitting down to draw is my vacation, it's my imagination land, it's my diary, and I've always avoided trying to harness that for money because I don't know what I would do if I didn't have that way to escape. So, make beats for work, draw for fun. That sounds just about right.