David Cronenberg. William Burroughs. A typewriter that under heavy drug use becomes a bug that that tells you to kill your wife.
Standard everyday fare for acid house musicians.
“Unsurprisingly, my name isn't Mugwump. It relates to David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch" adaptation. I'm a huge Cronenberg fan and that hybrid creature within the narcotically-fuelled delirium of Burroughs seemed to sum up what i wanted to explore in music : psychedelia, fusion and independence.”
Geoffroy Mugwump has just released his first album Unspell. Does it attest to that exploration?
It’s an album full of fusion undoubtedly. Hispanic rhythms, late Eighties, Prince, Motorik and Devo. Oh, and very clearly soundtracks.
“I have a real love for soundtracks so I heartily welcome your comment. I’m a big fan of Michael Nyman and obviously Howard Shore. Loads of earlier Mugwump productions had soundtrack influences, but I got to tell you I'm not the biggest “Drive” fan.”
Cinema is a big influence, “but also the odd bit of politics, voodoo or witchcraft.”
Mugwump’s track 'Boutade' was a huge A Love From Outer Space rekkid a couple of years back and, with that space cadet love in mind, The Guv has delivered an outstanding remix of the first single from the album.
Geoffroy is also a partner in Leftorium, a Brussels nightclub. Renowned for it’s off-grid guests and an Acid House flavour with it’s contempt for classification and purism. Does he bother going out much with all that going on?
“There's loads of live bands I'm checking when I can and quite a few DJ's I really like, mostly the ones I do book at my night.”
So, after serving and delivering DJ sets and cramming sweating clubs since the late 90’s, what made him move to a live act? Showmanship, camaraderie or that earthy need of gang mentality?
“This album led me to that. I think that if you're making an album, especially if it touches on pop, rock, indie and kraut, and you want it to have a shelf life a bit longer than its month of release, there should be a live performance to defend it. I'm really lucky to have some amazing musicians on board so I'm going to try that "Band" thing a bit. After 20 years of DJ’ing it is also something new and challenging and the first experiences with it were really cool.”
The live band consists of friends DC Salas, Stephane Fedele, and Raphael Absolonne on vocals. The new single “Halo” features Luke Jenner from The Rapture bringing the words. The Rapture aided further onlookers towards another style, or is it maybe reminiscence? What does Geoffroy think of that indie dance drug conduit? Mountains of great music still gets called 'Indie Dance' on Beatport. Where does he see the band’s music sitting in that clash/ class war, or is that even important?
“I'd definitely place this album in that Indie/Electronic joint segment and The Rapture were a prime example of that. Their first DFA album brought a lot of attention back to punk-funk, no-wave, post-punk and helped shift the musical focus in the early/mid Noughties a bit more around these styles and onto electro (clash), as back then, deep-house had become that shitty "funky-house" or lounge sort of thing, which is even more the case now with deep-house being so formatted, stereotyped and the next main dance-music genre after EDM.”
“Anyway, being Belgian, we have quite a long history in the Indie/Electronic field of course too, with Les Disques du Crepuscule, Crammed Discs, Factory Benelux and tons of other great music having been made or released around those corners. Trevor Jackson's Output label was also a fantastic affiliation of that so if we're speaking about "Indie Dance", that's where my money is.”
The album is release on Subfield, Mugwump’s own imprint on the longstanding !K7 label. Did releasing on his own imprint put additional pressure on it’s reception, and what are his hopes for it?
“To be honest, releasing it on my own label with !K7 has given me more confidence because I, for once, do have total control on the releasing process and the PR. My hopes for this first album were, musically, to try covering larges parts of the eclectic Belgian musical landscape and history, mostly within the numerous post-punk umbrella and with a little nod to kraut-rock as well.”
My notes for the album included “John Cale singing Kraftwerk”, “reflectory shimmers”, “Christopher Nolan”, “Annik Honore” and “dynamo bass”. It’s an album, most definitely showing it’s independence and as Geoffrey wanted to realise, a long player. It recognises the connection between great soundtracks, stories and the dance floor and the spirit of that era of Brussels which he believes will never leave.
Mugwump's debut album Unspell is out now via !K7.
See him at Orlando Boom on Saturday 4th April.