Tomorrow from 5pm, Camden Crawl kicks off for the first time in Dublin. There will be 100 bands over two days in 15 different venues and you don’t find out until the day who is playing where, you only know who is playing each day (all the times, ticket and how the festival works is here). I can tell you that I am hosting The Grand Social on Friday and will have Little Xs For Eyes, Trophy Wife, Young Wonder and this fellah, Glasgow-based electronic musician Tom Marshall aka Dam Mantle on the lineup for my night. Dam Mantle has released a few EPs and an album First Wave on Wichita over the last few years that have ranging from bumping rap instrumentals to sample heavy chopup madness to a more classic electronic sound taking in house, juke, dark edgy percussive tracks and a Twin Peak-esque sample. I asked Tom some questions electronically. He responded via words also written electronically. Here we go…
How’s the new album coming along?
I’ve just finished a modest mass of music and I’m figuring out what to do with it – how to compile it; how I might adapt it. I often get swept up with making new things before I’ve presented anything, something will slip through I’m sure.
Your We EP was dense and had a more classic electronic sound. What inspirations inform the latest tracks you’re working on?
Yeh, I suppose the sound palette immediately echos a heritage, maybe the nature of the instruments.
I think by the time you’ve collected together a body of music to present, the variety of music that’s been consumed has covered a fairly broad spectrum and there’s normally a fairly substantial gap between when something is finished and when it is presented.
But yeh I guess it comes from accessing a variety of music, and that is the central point.. so for example it might be that I spend my day making House with friends, come home listen to Hip Hop and go out and listen to Dub – all of this is consumed and characterises the output in some way or another.
Did the split release with Becoming Real feel like a collab? How did working on that release differ to working on your own release?
Maybe in the way that we were sharing music.. sending stuff we were working on back and forth etc.
The We release came from a select period of time using particular instruments, perhaps with the intent to sit next to each other. The track for the split was more just something I was playing out and wanted to get onto vinyl.
It’s so easy for producers to upload tracks to Soundcloud etc now that you often get good producers throwing up hastily made / half-finished ideas. How do you know yourself when a song is done and ready for the wider world?
I think I enjoy playing music out live in reality more or at least before it goes up on the internet, that’s where my priority lies. Playing something new to a small audience before it finds its way into some sort of public arena.
I guess you just know or feel when it’s right to put it into that realm, I like the idea of doing more short mixes, clusters of music that were listened to in the same space.
Do you DJ much? What’s the best and worst thing about DJing?
Well, yeh i think DJing in the widest sense is at the heart of all of this. Often I don’t feel like bowing to the pressure of playing out in environments where there’s this feeling of having to play this sort of constant peak, no foreplay. i prefer the idea of playing deep jazz or something to the two-o’clock-sweaty-club – the reality is that audiences probably aren’t gonna go with you on that.. and that’s cool, I’m happy on the other side of the booth to be honest. Saying that I mix a lot at home, I have done for a while and it’s probably what’s shaped the direction i’ve been going – it just tends to be that I get booked for live sets instead.
Similarly, what’s the best and worst thing about playing live?
I guess a negative is that if the DJs or acts before you in the evening are on a whole different tip then there’s only so much you can do in terms of adapting to the audience. I don’t know what the best thing is but I love it all.
What are your top 5 records at the moment?
Who are your favourite producers at the moment?
Producers? im not always that concerned with what is going on currently, so much history to dig through..but… off the top of my head: Jonti, Mono/Poly, Floating Points, Kyle Hall, Herbert, Thundercat, Dimlite, Bullion, Matthew David… all sorts really.
What’s your favourite remix by you?
Not really sure i have a favourite, probably one that hasn’t come out yet or one that got turned down. Every track demands something different so my remixes are always quite varied. In a way most of the Dam Mantle stuff is a ‘remix’ of some sort, whether it begins from a sample or whether its reworking a jam that happened in real time.
And by someone else right now?
Some of the stuff Gold Panda’s been sending over is pretty great, I guess they’re remixes of sorts. Just heard the Hud Mo remix of Bjork yesterday, that was lovely, really stripped back and loose – hovers between movements really nicely.
What differentiates a live Dam Mantle show from the recorded material?
Tracks often gets taken apart a bit and reconstituted. sometimes I’ll play stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily release. Things maybe come together a bit, maybe it gives the tracks a bit of a stronger context when they’re layed out along side each other.
It seems from the outside like Glasgow has a good electronic scene at the moment. Can you give us an accurate picture of what’s going on there, where it’s happening and who’s doing it?
No probably not, it’s whatever it is to the individual. but yeh I’d say it was good, it does tend to be dominated by this 11pm-3am mentality of dashing to a peak and staying there, trying to overtly retain the attention span of the audience etc etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just drawing attention to how it might characterise part of the ‘scene’, If you like.. I wouldn’t say my focus is always on the electronic side of what happens up here, mind you. If it lacks anything it’s a decent jungle night.