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Quick-fire Q&A with mad scientists Mumbai Science

There’s a saying in dance circles in Europe that “Belgians do it best”, which spawned from the success of Belgian-based electro acts like Soulwax and 2 Many DJs.

In 2015 the saying still holds true, and flying the flag for Belgian electro is Mumbai Science who released their excellent debut album last year, and are ready to unload some new music on the unsuspecting music masses. ‘Black Hole’ gives us another peak into the wayward universe of Mumbai Science, and it’s a garish blend of hip hop, sleazy electro and face-pummeling techno.

With early support from Annie Mac, Boys Noize, Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Scuba, Dustin Zahn and many more, ‘Black Hole’ sees the Belgian duo doing what they do best: making noisey electro to lose your shit to, and ‘Black Hole’ certainly fits the bill.

We sat down with mad scientists Maarten Elen and Jonas Kiesekoms for a quick chin-wag.

‘Black Hole’ is out October 23 via Lektroluv Records.

Hello Mumbai Science – whereabouts are you today?

J: We’re still living in Belgium. The promised land.
M: The magical place where people are made of beer and chocolate.

Tell us a little bit about your new single – quite the banger isn’t it?

M: We had so much fun making this track. We kind of wanted the track to convey the feeling of going on an inter-galactic bus ride with all our buds. I’m not sure how we came up with that idea. It might have been the chocolate. The chocolate in Belgium is strong these days.
J: If you listen closely, there’s also an elderly man sitting in the back of the bus, just being at peace with himself. He’s the glue that holds this track together.

How has the reaction been to your excellent debut album from last year?

J: It’s been amazing. Great reviews across the board… We didn’t know what to expect to be honest, but the response has been incredible – especially for “Déjà Vu” and our collabs with Peaches (“Whistleblower”) and DJ Spank-Spank (“King of the Top Floor”).
M: A full album isn’t the easiest way to go for dance producers these days, but we wanted to take a shot at it anyway. I’m so glad we did. There’s a lot of weird stuff off our chest now. We can finally move on now.

What was the first record you bought…?

J: I can’t really remember the name but it was a Mix cd by the Belgian Antler Subway label. Filled with Hard-Trance and Euro-House. Very cheesy but it worked for me as a kid. The first vinyl i bought was Ros Ros Ros by Sebastian allmost 10 years later.
M: My first notable record would be Surrender from the Chembros. But let’s be honest, I also have tons of cassettes lying around from my favourite kids TV show at that time: Samson & Gert. It’s about a talking dog. Look it up on youtube and be amazed.

What was the last record you bought…?

J: I still buy a lot of music. I’ve been listening to Kendrick’s latest and The Weeknd’s beauty behind the Madness. I discovered Tom Misch recently and his amazing album Beat Tape 2. The last record I pre-ordered to play out as a DJ is Klanken on the DEEWEE label of 2 many DJs.
M: I’ve actually completely switched to streaming. Last record I listened to was Obsidian by Benjamin Damage. It kept me up last night.

What track do you wish you’d written…?

J: Retrograde by James Blake. Because that would mean that I’m a kickass musician.
M: I see your James Blake and raise you with the Beatles. Anything really.

What track makes you happiest…?

J: That would have to be Prince – Purple Rain. Whenever that track comes on I’m out drunk with friends playing air guitar.
M: The most beautiful moments in life.

What track makes you saddest…?

J: I rarely get sad from music. But James Blake gets me pretty melancholic. A feeling I can enjoy from time to time. Not on tour though, that’s the stuff that gets you crazy.
M: Yeah, it’s always the tracks that remind you of certain moment or person in your life. That’s one of the best things about music: it’s a time machine.

What’s your favourite club…?

J: For me, Womb in Tokyo was one of the best experiences for us as DJs.

What’s your favourite after party record…?

M: So much love to give by DJ Falcon and Thomas Bangalter. It just keeps going and going and creates the perfect atmosphere.
J: We play it often as last track in our set when we close a club/festival down.

What track has had the most influence on you…?

J: E-Talking by Soulwax on their Nite Versions album. It showed me that merging dance with rock influences is possible and how powerfull a short lyric can be.
M: Anything on Surrender from Chemical Brothers. I still listen to it, almost 20years later. Remember that track “let forever be” with Noel Gallagher? Or how a track can be completely dissonant but making sense at the same time.

Which of your own tracks are you most proud of…?

J: Ancova. I still remember all the discussions we had about it in the studio and I had the weirdest feeling about this track being the one to launch our careers. It felt like looking in the future. Very weird experience. Might have been the chocolate again.
M: For me it’s Lotus and its b-side Panas. We still play them out in all of our sets. I think that if there’d be one Mumbai Science EP that might be able to stand the the test of time it’s that one.

Who do you owe a debt of gratitude to for becoming a successful DJs…?

J: Dr Lektroluv, he has been a fantastic mentor. He has given us a lot of opportunities to do music our way. I don’t think we could have made this happen on any other label.
M: Also Brodinski, Soulwax, Erol Alkan. They were the first ones who played our records.

What’s your current favourite record…?

M: I’m obsessed with anything that Randomer puts out. Last one on Clone is crazy good.
J: Dr Lektroluv – Through the Night. It’s a peaktime banger with the right amount of energy without resorting to the usual cheap tricks! Love it!

If your studio was one fire and you go back in a save one thing, what would it be and why…?

J: Probably the cat.
M: Definitely the cat.

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