Friday night I strolled into 330 Ritch to Brazzabelle’s thumping House music and ruffled feathers. I love seeing a female DJ throw down an awesome set in a male-dominated industry. Even more impressive was enjoying an opener, because it’s all too common for the first 2+ hours of a show to be shitty DJs – all for the economic gain of the promoter. Brazzabelle put together a solid set, and I plan to make it out to see her play again.
John Roman was highly anticipated, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I remember looking over to my friends, mouth gaping wide, with an expression of “Holy shit” on my face. Roman threw bass at the crowd in a way I had not experienced before. I, like many others, are sick of Dubstep’s tendency to attack the crowd with as much bass as the in house speakers can muster. While Roman made the floor rumble, he made my ears happy. Like Brazzabelle, I enjoyed his performance so thoroughly that I hope to see him again, sooner rather than later.
Next up were Maarten and Jonas, who combine to create Mumbai Science. Their techno-infused vibes were a nice change of pace after a couple hours of heavy House. The two communicated with each other on a track to track basis, as they never pre-plan any of their sets. To the crowds delight, Mumbai Science originals were weaved beautifully with a compilation of other tracks from Mumbai’s arsenal. Brazzabelle, John Roman and Mumbai Science played off each other perfectly.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mumbai Science. A big thanks to OurHouseRecords and PIE artists for linking us up. We exchanged words over 330 Ritch’s thumping music in the Green Room. Jonas and Maarten were amazing to talk to, and the friendship/connection between them was apparent. Get a feel for them yourself:
MJ: How did you first get into electronic music?
Maarten: We always have been. I started very young. The first CD I ever bought was Chemical Brothers.
Jonas: First CD for me was by DJ Visage. In Belgium it’s woven into our culture. Dance music is really born and bred there. You really roll into it. We were both really young when we first came in contact with electronic music.
MJ: How would you guys define your sound?
Maarten: It’s Techno driven, but more contemporary techno.
Jonas: You’ve got the Techno baseline going, combined with new electro sounds.
MJ: Have you ever thought of going away from CDJs to spin, weather it’s vinyl or a controller?
Jonas: We started with vinyl. We actually spent a lot of time working shitty jobs to be able to afford getting new stuff every week at the record store. But we had to stop when we started traveling a lot. Because it’s so heavy, and not very practical. A lot of clubs these days aren’t really providing good support for vinyl. Needles start shacking, and things go bad. What comes first is music, not what it’s being played on.
Marten: At the same time, a lot of the music we find on blogs just isn’t being pressed on vinyl. These days, there is a lot more music online than in the record store. I think we would only use controllers if we did a live set, but we are just fine with our CDJs.
MJ: I saw you guys play a couple months back at HARD Oakland. Does your set change when you play larger crowds and venues, compared to a smaller, more intimate settings?
Maarten: It differs, especially for festivals versus club gigs. For festivals, you have these really, really big crowds that you need to build up a little bit, but not as much as clubs.
Jonas: In a club you can really work the crowd. It’s one on one, you really make eye contact, and connect. For the festivals, you have to go larger than life. I wouldn’t want to pick a favorite because I really love them both, and they are just so completely different.
MJ: What have been some of your favorite places to play?
Maarten: I love Belgium. But I don’t think it’s country to country that changes as much as venue to venue. Tomorrow we are playing in San Diego and Club Voyeur, and that is always a really amazing experience.
Jonas: Voyeur is a great club. I love playing there, but it doesn’t always have to be that fancy. We played in Philadelphia in a warehouse, which was really dark, super rave scene, which was great as well.
MJ: How about production, how do you go about creating a track?
Marten: We use both software and hardware. For software it’s mostly Logic. We combine analog sounds in as well.
MJ: Where do you begin a track, what’s first?
Maarten: The drums. We spend a lot of time just making the drums sound good because that’s what drives the track.
Jonas: I wouldn’t spend as much time on drums, but he’s been drumming since he was 16, when we played together in our old school rock band. We go way back.
MJ: You two started out doing rock before you moved onto electronic music?
Jonas: Yeah – Maarten was a drummer and I played the bass.
MJ: And do you see that impacting your music today?
Maarten: Music started for us when we were ten years old. We both went studied classical music. Along the way, with everything you learn, you take along some parts that inspire you.
MJ: And how did you two link up to start playing together?
Maarten: We lived in the same city, and just were always friends.
Jonas: We’re friends, and fuck, it worked. It’s still working. I still love you, man.
MJ: How is it up on stage with four hands?
Maarten: You really have to be on the same level.
Jonas: We each have our own CDJ. He gets the left one, and the right is mine. And we are always talking.
Marten: We will never play a track that the other one doesn’t want to hear.
Jonas: We are always asking ‘Can I play this track? Can I play that track?’ We make the decision together. That why it’s important that we are such good friends. If he says “I’m going to play this track’ and I tell him ‘Fuck you, you won’t’ he listens and won’t be offended.
MJ: So all your discussion is live or do you pre-plan your sets?
Maarten: Always live.
Jonas: Always live.
Maarten: You went to HARD Fest, so you probably saw us discussing our tracks the entire time.
Jonas: We actually never prepare.
MJ: Do you find that more stressful or more rewarding?
Jonas: It’s more rewarding for sure.
Maarten: We prepared our sets a couple of times, and it just never worked out. You’re not working with the crowd’s energy.
MJ: Have you had any backfires?
Jonas: Yes of course, sometimes when your tracks aren’t working they just aren’t working.
Maarten: The worst is when the CDJs don’t work. A couple weeks ago we were playing in Vienna and randomly the CDJ doubled the BPM periodically threw the set.
MJ: Talking about BPM, what do you think of Moombahton?
Jonas: It’s cool. I love it.
MJ: Do you think it can be called a genre, even though it’s just taking house and lowering the BPM to 108?
Maarten: Yeah – What’s dubstep?
Jonas: We toured Australian with Nadastrom. It’s amazing how they can play the crowd and drop the perfect Moombahton track during their set. People just love it.
Maarten: I think it started out with Dave Nada, and it will start evolving. It’s already evolving.
MJ: Tell me about your CD case.
Jonas: We are pretty strict. We have a small CD case, about 250 tracks, and whenever we want to add a track, there is another that needs to go.
MJ: Any last words for the fans?
Jonas: Stay optimistic, and when it’s time to party, it’s fuckin’ time to party. Put your worries aside and be in the moment.
If you want to checkout some of their music on Metrojolt, click here.