Brian Lindgren, aka Mux Mool, is one of the featured artists at the August edition of Low End Theory, arriving at 103 Hariett on August 5th. With synth-heavy beats, reminiscent of 80s video games over polished hip hop beats, Lindgren has made a name for himself with releases on Ghostly International and Moodgadget Records. He recently spoke with us about his productions, background and playing live shows.
How did you become interested in electronic music and what inspired you to start producing?
I always liked electronic music because when I was a kid I played video games, which feature electronic music, of course. I think subconsciously you’re hearing a lot of really base electronic sounds and it’s going on in the back of your mind. I also listened to a lot of Weird Al and I did a lot of classic rock stuff and the Beastie Boys. That eventually shifted to listening to Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim—those sort of late 90s popular electronic acts.
How has your sound developed since you started producing music?
When I started, I wanted to make dance music. I wanted to do progressive house and trance and Basement Jaxx stuff, Cassius and Daft Punk. I just found that they’re so much more nuanced in making hip-hop styled beats. It was more open but the rhythms were more confined. Dance music had to be this weird cyber-disco or these touchy-feely trance songs. What I was seeing with hip hop beat [makers] was that they listened to a lot of music and they owned different records and it was this whole study.
It’s hard to say if I’m getting better. Sometimes I only feel like I’m getting faster.
I think one thing that’s lacking in a lot of electronic music is an emotional presence. It’s historically been a subgenre of music, more relegated to smaller clubs, smaller scenes and underground situations that lead to a lot of hardcore partying. I think it’s kind of funny that if I was to go play a really good ambient music at an electronic music show there’s no way to make that pop off. The inverse of that is that you get a lot of people who play completely emotionless, “let’s get high,” rage until our brains explode. It’s really expressive, it’s really bright, and it becomes really popular.
I understand all that but that’s not all of it, especially for me. I want to convey a certain kind of feeling. That’s what I work on more than anything. It’s more about just finding a deeper connection with what I’m trying to project.
This will be my first time playing Low End at all. I’ve been watching Low End for a long time. To me, it’s the beat show. It’s about playing your beats.
What are you looking forward to in terms of your shows here and in LA?
It’s cool because I get to play with Syd from Odd Future. I think people will be really excited for that. I’m somewhat worried about what to play because what I set out to do was just make beats and play a show with the beats that I made. But having played so many shows at this point, just playing the beats doesn’t always get across to people. So I don’t know if I have to make remixes, play acapellas. I always add Wu-tang or Method Man but those things have been done quite a bit. And a lot of what’s been popular in LA has been a lot of broken or scattered beats, things that are really heavily shuffled and way out of time intentionally. I try to do things, not perfectly straight, but a lot straighter than some of what’s going on. I hope people still like regular beats.
Are there any difficulties for you in playing those live sets?
It’s really difficult. Part of the difficulty is that I never intended on playing shows. I meant to just make beats and then sell them to rappers. It’s fortunate that things have changed in such a way that DJs and producers are out in the front now.
It was pretty weird to get used to playing shows, in general. Then to figure out what to play gets even more strange to me, because I already made the song—then do I break it down crazier in order to play it live? I would like to play the songs exactly as I made them because I made them that way, but you can’t always do that in a live setting because they’re like “I’ve heard that” even though now they’re hearing it on a huge sound system. People add live drummers or in some cases they add insane visuals, $30,000 lighting rigs and whatnot. Obviously I’m not going to have that alone.
What makes for a good show?
When I hit the pads at the right time, when I’m feeling the rhythm, that’s when it’s really good. It’s difficult to play instrumental music to reach an audience—people like words, they like voices a lot more than they’ll ever like instrumental music.
I think a good show for me is when the first and the last song are really good. Like when you play the first song and people really start getting into it, and then there’s the whole midsection for the show where you do this and that people are paying attention and dancing or nodding their heads, and then the last song is really memorable and they really feel it. And then you’re done.
Mux Mool plays with Syd (Odd Future), and Virtual Boy, among others Friday August 5. Presale tickets are available for $15.