The five catalysts and inspirations for the birth of Mild Minds
To say that this year has been huge for MILD MINDS would be an understatement. 2018 has seen him sign with ODESZA‘s Foreign Family Collective joining a couple of other Aussies on the label including Rüfüs Du Sol and Golden Features.
In case you’re not acquainted with this project, it’s the brainchild of Melbourne’s Benjamin David. He’s had his part in a bunch of pretty successful Aussie music projects, but this is his first foray into the solo world. Why wait to delve into this one? His debut EP Swim is out right now!
The three track EP explores a multitude of genres – lo-fi house and dreamy electro-pop spring immediately to the fore upon first listen. I guarantee you’ll want to bump this one driving down to the beach on a hot summer’s day, or dance the night away to his brooding, airy vocals.
There’s an element of funk to some of these tracks, particularly ‘Dont Want Ur Love’, less so on ‘Weak Signal’, but the lo-fi house influence really brings variety to this EP. The title track is potentially my favourite of the lot, with its lush, sweeping melodies and dazzling synths, Mild Minds explores so much in only a few tracks.
To get to know him and the project, he shared with us his top five inspirations and catalysts for the birth of this entire project.
For me, this project was all about letting go and doing things differently. I had been locked into the same ideas of music for years, straight forward structures, overthought songwriting and dense, heavy mixes. In 2017 a few special moments and a lot of new music helped completely flip the way that I saw music. So, although there were no single artists or genres that inspired me through this period, these are 5 tracks that represent the elements or ideas that were part of the perfect storm that inspired me to do this EP, but with a heavy focus and representation of the upcoming album.
Minimalism: Four Tet ‘Locked’
I heard this song and his album just after I had come back from Japan. I had an epiphany (maybe my first) there while listening to ambient music in a bar and watching samara. It was extremely peaceful and that moment reminded me of how open ended music is. It was maybe the first time I realized that great music doesn’t even need a beat. This was such a foreign idea to me as drums are often the main part of my mixes. I somehow stumbled across this song around the same time, which also opened my eyes to minimal music and how it feels to listen to along with how fun it is to create without a track needing to ‘be something’ obvious.
Dynamics: Caribou ‘Back Home’
Although there have been a few ‘behind the scenes’ comparisons with Caribou because of my vocal style and title track name “SWIM” i would argue that’s just my voice and basically the only way I can sing. For for me the bigger piece I take away from Caribou was certain production techniques. So although I may not have realized it at the time, I think the way that his music both progresses and “feels alive” are aspects that I really wanted to include in this project. I love how his progressive song structures and warping synths breathe so much life into the tracks. Its beautifully intricate.
Flow: Christopher Port ‘Nobody Chose You’
I included this song, because it’s not easy to make a track like this. In my opinion you can’t really ‘set out’ to do it. It just simply happens. I find it both genius and inspiring for that reason. One element of this project was supposed to be about opening the door to creative flow while making and releasing whatever comes out without second guessing it. This is strangely a new concept to me.
Naivety: Air ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’
This was such a magical song when my friends showed me this back in 2003/4. I was super young and just starting to get inspired to produce electronic music. I had no idea how they would make sounds like this, or make a song that ‘felt’ this way. I wanted to find that place of naivety again, where I could start creating music without really knowing what i was doing while listening to genres that had sounds I would never normally use..
Inspiration: Burial ‘Archangel’
Speaking of new genres, garage and ‘future’ garage’ were two genres i thought i’d never touch. In fact, they seemed so far from the music I liked that I would say I looked down upon them. So what better music to start listening to? This song and a bunch of future garage inspired some of the more broken rhythms and beats on the upcoming album.
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF