Artist Spotlight: Mausoleums (June 2017)

By: Thomas Anderson

Band/Artist: Mausoleums

Newcastle-based electronic two-piece, Mausoleums will be releasing their new EP 'Into The Gyre' this month with a release show arranged at the Cumberland Arms stage of Northern Electric Festival, in Newcastle, on Thursday 22nd June.

Thomas Anderson caught up with band member Simeon Soden who is also founder of the local IDM group and Kanedo Records - a North East electronic label. He's been into electronic music since age 13, with his main influences being artists such as Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada:

“IDM stuff really drew me in early on with their intricate percussion, glitches and textural layers. Production-wise this still influences me subtly, in the choice of synth sounds and the workflow of using a lot of hardware. As well as letting the properties and limitations really influence how things sound, Steve Reich’s minimalist approach also resonated with me and I would say that massively affected how I structure things. 80s minimal wave is another massive influence, and you can hear that in the synths and the drum patterns. I was drawn to Witch house as a genre as it used to be a blank slate - you could basically do whatever you wanted without a lot of the constraints of other genres because no one could really define what it was. It was more to do with creating a nebulously dark atmosphere. This atmospheric quality I think is in the EP, and the vocals take a lot of cues from stuff like Crystal Castles.”

The group describe the EP's sound as a combination of 'Plane, Crystal Castles, Psychic Rites and Youth Signal'. With the EP being in production for over two years, starting just a week after their first self-titled EP was released back in 2014, the group use a range of hardware to create their sound, ranging from Yamaha drum machines to Commodore 64's:

“Working with physical hardware is a completely different process to using software because you have to learn the characteristics of how it sounds, and working within its more limited parameters shapes what you compose. It makes you use what you have more creatively, to overcome its more limited capabilities. It pushes you to do more interesting things,” added Simeon. “This EP is lot grander in scale: there are a lot of the same ideas and influences floating around, but everything is just a bit fuller and better formed. It's actually kind of gone back to some stuff we used to do in a band we used to be in. The kind of electroclash/electronica/minimal wave vibes are a lot stronger, and I think rhythmically it’s generally a bit more angular. Vocal-wise they’re rawer and Elliot sings about some rawer stuff too.”

Releasing an EP isn't without its setbacks. About a year into writing the release, the computer they were using for production broke, with the hard drive disk shattering. They lost half of the tracks, but managed to piece together bits of the memory, which is where the track 'Winter' came from. The two-piece provide something a little different for the local scene. They are part of a new, thriving electronic scene in the North East. Simeon noted that he set up the label to add to the ever growing scene:

“We really wanted to contribute and raise the profile of electronic music in the North East. I think Newcastle has a really strong clubbing scene and a lot of people are interested in electronic music but I think the gig scene is still more dominated with more rocky stuff.”

For further information about the release, and to keep up-to-date with the world of Mausoleums, head to Mausoleums.bandcamp.com.


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