Mugwump – The Ransom Note Mix
Mugwump's history stretches far… over the years he's released on labels like Kompakt, R&S and Gigolo and remixed the likes of The Asphodells, CCC – and Bob Sinclair no less. Just a cursory glance at his back catalogue illustrates the diverse nature of Mugwump's approach to production, combining a variety of influences from 80's pop, dub and new-beat with disco and techno – let's call the overarching flavour 'mutant disco'.
Now, with Subfield, Mugwump's own label and his rather fine Leftorium clubs he's solidifying this diversity. We thought it was about time we asked him to lay down his Ransom Note mix mandate and we found out a bit more about the man like Mugwump.
First up, the mix… get this in your ears:
So without further ado, please introduce yourself…
Memory Lane Refund:
What was the first electronic record you ever heard? How did it make you feel?
Let’s talk about Boccacio. It’s a club that’s always fascinated me. It always feels wrong / fetishistic to hark back to the old days but it was one of those really influential clubs from the annals of time that people pore over.
Would you mind telling us a bit about it…
Fascinating it certainly was. Totally. I always had this sort of little fear taking over me when arriving nearby through the highway, there was a giant lazer flashing at miles around so you knew it was coming and just when you got in the club, the tension would only go up because of the music : slow, dark, ultra loud and at the beginning the fauna in there was quite intimidating. It was absolutely thrilling. I went there a thousand times although it was on Sundays and it had several lifetimes, from the early proto New-Beat era (where they'd play Steve Reich, Coil, Klauz Schulze and Severed Heads to a full house that wasn't specially on drugs by the way) to the more mainstream New-Beat explosion (still mostly drug-free), then onto house, techno, rave and in the end, sadly, hardbeat and trance. As far as I'm concerned, it stopped being relevant quite a bit before THAT historic drug raid in 1992 or something and the new licensing laws that made it closed at 5am instead of the Monday evening. After that it was over for me, the whole scene went berserk to the sounds of Bonzai, which I really disliked…Anyway in its heyday, I knew quite well one of the resident deejays, Eric B, who I had met earlier and hung with, at La Gaité, a small club in Brussels where they would let in very young folks. After the club closed, he would take me to other clubs where they let me with him. I ended up buying records at USA Import in Brussels where he'd hang out with all the resident DJ's from many clubs around. Later I started to work there. It was always closed on Mondays of course…it was a glorious era.
To close the subject, 5 years ago, there was a Mugwump track that's some sort of homage to the club and amazingly enough, it was released on R&S, the label that's forever tied up with the Boccaccio history… I still play it.
Is it true that the Bocaccio name has been sold again and it’s opening again in Ostend? Or that it’s re-opened as an Italian restaurant in Wakefield: http://www.
The name was bought many years ago and a really commercial club in Halen was made out of it, they have a seaside version of it in Ostend probably but it's not even worth talking about it. The original club is still open but with another name. Again, very commercial.
What was it like hearing New Beat for the first time?
I can't really say I discovered a New-Beat sound once in a club. There's always been a scene of DJ's playing obscure music (Popcorn) before New-Beat 'arrived' but the massive reaction to obscure proto-New Beat stuff being continously played by the residents of many Flemish discotheques after the Popcorn craze led producers to slowly start making their own music based out of that vibe, it went a bit more commercial and mainstream of course, but it was more the slowness of the music that was particularly great and felt like something new and totally hypnotic of course. People don't always realize we had this huge electronic scene that drew thousands and thousands of people in the Belgian clubs every weekend, way before house & techno started.
New Beat continues to rear it’s head over and over again within many musical corners. What do you think it’s enduring appeal is?
Definitely the rebelling factor. It has a big 'Fuck You' written all over it's dark synths, the slow beats, the tension, it's just not easy and disposable. And incorporating these influences into new music right now is probably an antidote to all this homogenised deep-house that's flooding all over.
What was your last day job and when did you realise you could give it up?
Unsurprisingly I've been working in quite a few record stores in the past. I'm still part-time working right now, promoting cultural events, and I do run my own Leftorium events with my partner Prince Off.
What’s left is right…When I first moved to London I used to work at a place called Smithfields where Heavenly had a club called Leftorium where Harvey would play for 8 hours solid – and piss in pint glasses behind the decks that I had to clear up – tell us about how Leftorium
I’m guilty of pigeon-holing – and for that I’m sorry – so bear with me but what effect has the whole ALFOS / slower chug sound had on you in recent years. I think it would be fair to say Boutade – which still sounds amazing today as it did back in 08 – was an influence on the art of slowing down, don’t you?
Do you have an i/smart Phone?
Yes of course.
Do you use social media and for what purpose?
Geoffroy aka Mugwump;
What are the musical nuances between Geoffroy and Mugwump and why produce under different aliases?
First and last record bought?
What is the state of mutant disco in 2014?
Which song do you wish you had written?
Musically you’re all over the place at the moment. I don’t mean you don’t have a direction I mean you have a lot coming out and are playing a lot. Why do you think you’re so prolific at the moment?
"If you bubble under the surface you’re always relevant.” I read that somewhere when listening to the end of your mix where you finish with that excellent Tiefschwarz mix of Unit 4 but it got me thinking. Tiefschwarz blew up in a big way where you couldn’t move for a few years without seeing a Tiefschwarz remix on everything… I would imagine it was difficult for Tiefschwarz to remain relevant with such a high profile. But as you’ve always bubbled under the surface of things you’re always relevant in some way. Or am I talking nonsense?
You're probably refering to that UK national treasure which is 'hype' ? : ) I don't believe any creativity would be altered because of some over-exposure. If you're listening to anything Ewan Pearson, Joakim, Andrew Weatherall or Ivan Smagghe have recently produced, the spark and the creativity is always there and we can fairly say they had and still have a lot of hype around them.
So, onto the mix…
Where was the mix recorded?
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
What should we be wearing ?
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I still have tapes from Dimitri (The Roxy Amsterdam) which are absolutely mint.
Joining The Circus
What to do for British politics?
Solidarity with Ukraine
URL vs. IRL
Do DJs Today Need Social Media to Be Heard?
I Hear (Borusiade Remix)
Mother of MarsShop Now
Hologram TeenShop Now