Mumbai Science is the brainchild of two mild-mannered Belgian’s Maarten Elen and Jonas Kiesekoms. In a previously life they were scientists and also played together in a rock band, where they covered Soulwax tracks. Now, they are the first in line to be the kings of Future techno.
Future Techno is a new off-shoot which it takes the darker, more unhinged sounds found in the basements of Berlin, and combines them with the high-energy and impact of French electro to create Mumbai Science’s unique sound.
The follow-up release to 2011 anthem ‘Lotus’ is ‘Unified Theory’. Three EP’s that will be released over the next three months. From the moment you listen to ‘Researchers’, you know that you’re listening to producers heavily influenced by the DeWale brothers, we’ve said it before but ‘Researchers’ sounds like long-lost DeWale techno.
The whole track is underpinned with a sublime vocoded vocal, which is then scientifically sliced and diced to create a mind-boggling electro track than seems to continually build upon a crescendo of white noise and big drops.
‘Commandments’ is a much more deranged, darker offering – more Berlin basement than Paris disco – it hypnotises you with uneasy basslines, deep vocals and jittery percussion. They’re the two sides of the same coin, but show-off perfectly the dark and light side of the Belgium duo.
HBF Rating 4/5
Mumbai Science took some time out of their schedule to answer some of our questions. It went a little something like this….
You have three EP’s coming out in quick succession. What was the concept behind this?
Martin: Well, I guess, we started out by making loads of tracks, and we couldn’t decide which ones to release. We loved them all and really couldn’t decide which ones we should release. We couldn’t do it as a single EP; as there are too many tracks. And there weren’t enough to do an album; it’s not big enough – so we decided we would compromise and release three EP’s in a row.
Unified theory Part 1 explores the sound between techno and electro, but how do the other two parts differ?
Martin: Well, the second EP is quite a bit different. It’s deeper and darker, and the third is similar to the first. If that makes sense.
Jonas: Yeah. It’s the typical trilogy thing – like Star Wars. The first one is pretty normal, then the second one is really dark and then the final part of the trilogy no one knew what to expect. What we do know, is everyone is going to have an opinion on the final part.
There are know remixes in Unified theory Part 1. Are there any planned?
Martin: Nothing yet, maybe later. We wanted to focus on our original tracks, for now. There are six tracks, if we got some remixes then it become 12 and it would become too much – so we aren’t really thinking about it. But, maybe later.
How long have you been working on the tracks? Do you work together or separately when writing music?
Jonas: We’ve been working on them since the summer, just after the release of ‘Lotus’. We took a week off and made some of it then. Martin can’t stop making tracks, he always making something new, but its taken quite a while to get them finished.
Martin: Our studio is at my place. So the tracks are made at my place, I send them to Jonas for feedback, and I implement the changes and we work it like that. We’re constantly sending stuff back and forth. We use both software and hardware. We tend to use Logic, with loads of plugins, but we also have our Moog and other bits of hardware. But, to be honest, I don’t have a strong opinion either way on what is best. So we work with both.
Belgium has had a big influence on Electronic music. Is Belgium more open to electronic music than the rest of Europe?
Martin: I don’t know whether we’re more open. But we do have a big history of electronic music in Belgium. You’ve got the New Beat of the 80’s, then you have 2 Many DJ’s & Soulwax who opened a lot of doors for Belgium producers. They’re a big inspiration for a lot of young people out here and for us. But, I think there’s a lot to get inspired by and influence by, because there’s a lot of coverage in mainstream media, not just the internet. So you definitely get a head start here in Belgium.
What’s the story behind the name Mumbai Science ? You used to perform under different name? Tell us about that.
Martin: Yes. We used to perform under the name Project Cyborg. But, it was time for a new chapter in our professional lives and our musical lives. It sounds really heavy when I say it like that. But, basically we changed the name when we signed the Lektroluv. The science part is because we both really into science. We were both scientists before we came to be producers and DJ’s. So when you look at like that it’s quite obvious. We’ve never been to Mumbai, but we’ll be there in January. So were pretty excited about it. Although we have no idea what to expect. According to Facebook, we have load of fans in India, but that might be because of the name Mumbai, than the music, haha.
Lotus was charted by loads different acts from Boys Noise to 2 Many DJ’s. For you what was the main highlight of 2011?
Martin: It’s has to be I Love Techno.
Jonas: I Love Techno.
Martin: I was a few weeks ago, we were there with all the big acts like Boyz Noise and Tiga. We had such an amazing set there, we closed the festival from 5am to 7:30am on the last day. There were still thousands of people dancing into the early morning. We got to talk to a lot people about the new EP and got great feedback and Boys Noise finished his set with our new track which was pretty amazing.
Jonas: We grew up with this festival, we used to go when we were 14. So when we got the chance to close it, that was a pretty special moment.
You’ve obviously have a history playing Live. Is this something you want to do with Mumbai Science?
Jonas: It’s certainly something we want to do someday. But, we haven’t really got anything planned. I guess if we were to do again, it would have to be perfect, but at the moment, I just can’t see our songs played live. I just don’t think we’re big enough to do it yet.
Martin: I love to DJ, and there’s too many great tracks out at the moment, so I’d be too hungry to do more if we were only doing live shows.
Jonas: the only reason why I think about it now is I miss it, it’s totally different when you play live then when you DJ.
Martin: If we do an album, it obviously would be the next logical next step. We would have worked on it for a long time and the music would be in our blood – then it would be obvious to do a live show, but as we’re not there yet, we haven’t really thought about it, but maybe one day.
Have you begun to work on a Mumbai Science album?
Jonas: No, we’re only just finishing the final series of the EP’s, so were not speaking about it right now.
So we can’t expect an album in 2012?
Martin: No. If we make a Mumbai Science album it has to be perfect. We want to take our time. You have only got one debut album, and we’d want to make sure it’s just perfect.
If you’re studio was on fire and you go back and save one thing, what would it be and why?
Jonas: hahaha, I would recover Martin, hahaha.
Martin: I would recover the hard disks.
Jonas: Ah c’mon, that’s harsh. You’re breaking my heart.
Who have been big musical influences when you were young?
Jonas: The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk. It’s everything we know.
Martin: Laurent Garnier was a big influence for me, he was one of my first experiences with dance music. For non-dance music it would have to be Soulwax. We even used to cover Soulwax tracks in our band. Against everyone’s advice, though.
How do you see the electronic scene evolving in Belgium?
Martin: At the moment Dubstep is really big with kids over here, we tend to make music that we think people will like. We would never make dubstep. I just don’t see what a dubstep Mumbai Science track would sound like. It’s a cool genre, but it’s not something we would never do. I like to listening to it, but not to rave too. But, that’s because I don’t think I could actually dance to it.
Techno-wise who has been a big influence on you?
Martin: We don’t know a lot of about Berlin or Detroit techno, but we just try and incorporate that underground vibe into our music. We would go to clubs, and there would always be a dark room playing techno, we wouldn’t know the songs being played, but we just really liked it, and wanted to bring those influences into our music.
Who should we be looking out for in the 2012?
Martin: Attaque, who releases on Bad Life. He’s making some excellent music.
Jonas: TWR72, their tracks really surprise us everytime we hear them, and even more when we play them out.
Unified Theory is out now, buy it here: http://www.beatport.com/release/unified-theory-part-1/849961