Musicians: MSTRKRFT aka Jesse F. Keeler & AI-P
Nationality: Canadians (Toronto)
Musical Style: Electro Rock, Techno
Label: Last Gang Records
Interviewer: DaftSide aka Ludovic Carminati
After our review of the album OPERATOR here, here is our interview:
DaftSide: Hi MSTRKRFT, can you introduce yourself to people who don’t know you or just a little?
MSTRKRFT: We are JFK and ALP and we have been making music together as MSTRKRFT since 2005. We live in Toronto, Canada.
DS: JFK, you started music with the excellent band « Death from above 1979 », can we hope for a return of DFA after « The Physical World » (2014)?
M: Maybe, but isnt not knowing more fun?
DS : Why did you not pursue your visual identity around the golden hockey masks?
M: It was way too hard to drink and smoke while wearing the masks. Also, they got incredibly hot while we wore them. Honestly, thats the real reason.
DS: After the excellent « The Looks » (2006) and « Fist of God » (2009), why wait so long after 7 years to sign your big comeback?
M: We needed time to work on music and think about what music we wanted to make. It took awhile to decide what equipment to use, and how to play live with it etc. we started recording this record at the end of 2013, so it doesnt feel like a long time to us.
DS: How long did you take to compose your new album, Operator? Why this theme around army and fights?
M: We recorded from the end of 2013 until the summer of 2015. We mixed the album in september of 2015. Seems like a long time, but we worked on and off, kept moving to different rooms to work in etc. You know we didnt intend on it being so aggressive, we just decided to make a record that we liked and that reflected where our heads were at. Im not sure what that says about us !
DS: When we heard you the first time with Hits like « Easy Love », « Work on You » or « Bounce » and after, we listen to your new album with some tracks like « Wrong Glass Sir », « Little Red Hen » or « World Peace », we realize that a giant door is turned. What were your main influences for this new LP?
M: The only real concept for us on this record was to just be ourselves and not censor any of our impulses. Being away from the music scene, we sorta made the album in a bubble. We didnt know we were making an album until about half of it was already recorded, then someone suggested that we should do something with all the recordings we had already made. The gear has a lot to do with the sound of the record as well.
DS : Techno and Acid House are the hallmarks of OPERATOR, you decided to return to the roots of electronic music by abandoning the Electro House.
Can you describe the main instruments that were used to create this album?
M: The whole album is 909, 808, 707 and our modulars. Theres some sh-101 at times, a moment of mellotron and a little bit of live sampling, but thats it. The modular setups change somewhat all the time, and we have put all that info on our website in the sections labeled ‘nerds’ if you want to see all of it. Some of the songs are incredibly simple.. little red hen is literally 3 tracks. 909, 808 and one modular take..
DS: Seeing you handle your machines into the video of « Party Line » like The Chemical Brothers, we feel that this new LP was created for LIVE.
Have you planned a world tour? In Europe, France?
M: We will happily come play wherever. Lugging all the gear aound is a bit complicated, but we have a few different variations of the live setup, some of which are easier to travel with. I hope we can come out there soon.
DS: Why no more robotic voices like your previous tracks? Tired of being compared to the robots… Daft Punk?
M: Its funny you say that because right near the end we almost did add a vocal like that. Next record, i think those sounds may make a comeback. There is actually a lot of vocoder on the record, but its just not typical sounding at all. All the ghost like voices on the record are actually through the vocoder using noise as the carrier.
DS: After a listen to the track « Morning Of The Hunt », we imagine a wonderful scene of a « Tron Legacy » sequel. What do you think about that?
M: Sure ! it is a bit of a soundtrack type piece. For me, its like a soundtrack for the process of making the album. You can actually hear al walking down the hallway with his keys in the track.
DS : For the final track « Go On Without Me », you get the idea to mix a purely Hard Metal vocal (which reminds us Sepultura), accompanied by a pure and aggressive Techno Music. Why did you think to this concept?
M: I love converge and have great respect for the band, so i didnt think about what sort of music we were making, just that i was excited to work with someone whos music and art i like so much. The lyrics mean a lot to us as well.
DS: A few words about our favorite track « Playing With Itself »?
M: Thats great that you like that one, as its very fun to talk about. Most of that track was recorded while we were out of the room, outside sitting at a picnic table drinking beer and smoking. When we came back into the room, we listened back to what happened with the patch we made before going outside.. and somehow it became that constantly modulating chord. Its called playing with itself because thats really what happened. The modular created it. Ive tried to re-create it myself and cant figure it out !
DS: You have remixed some pioneers like « Armand Van Helden », « Justice », « Para One », « Chromeo » but also « Kylie Minogue » or « The Kills ».
After « Parallel Lines » by A-Trak, what will be the next one?
Our preference is always to remix dance music. I think our favorite remix we ever did was for para one. As to whats next, theres some stuff on the table but we need to find time to do it.
DS: Future projects, video clip, EP?
M: We have been recording since we finished this album, so theres much more music to finish and release !
OUR REVIEW OF THE ALBUM OPERATOR HERE