With their Transformation EP on Ram Records still blazing its way across the globe this summer, the legendary duo known as Mind Vortex stop in to chat about their ability to stay inspired and consistently elevate the bar with each and every release over the course of their career. From linking up as teenagers over a shared love of music, the classically trained artists have been able to channel their love of jazz, soul, funk, and classical music into the raw unleashed power of their dancefloor-driven drum & bass. Able to crush it on the chest-thumping tip just as much as they can elevate listeners with celestial vibes, the duo show no sign of slowing down any time soon so check the beats and dig into the nitty-gritty and prepare for the continued Mind Vortex takeover as they look to the future.
The title of this EP is Transformations, which seems to suggest some larger shifts going on in your own growth as artists. Looking back on the journey thus far, what would you say were two or three big turning points in your ongoing evolution as artists?
As artists I guess [one of] the turning points would have to be getting signed to Ram Records, that was a major big deal for us and a huge turning point. Then the real work began to really hone the sound and craft, so I guess the next milestone would be when the music we released became really popular. All the DJs were playing our tracks, and we were hitting Beatport number ones. Each milestone gives you a kick up the metaphorical backside to not only get better, but to be different, to stand out from the crowd. After that, each show we play is a milestone, whether it’s to 200 people in a sweat box going crazy [or] to 15,000 people in a football stadium; each one impacts the evolution of our sound.
Looking ahead to the future, now that you’ve reached the level of success that you have, how do you stay inspired while also dealing with the pressure to consistently deliver the quality that’s expected of you guys?
Inspiration comes all kinds of sources. Pressure to deliver quality is only something we put on ourselves, it’s our own bar we personally like to hit. Check out John Cleese on creativity, it’s really eye opening on the creative process and inspiration.
One thing we love about this EP is the way you guys are still pushing the sound in unique and interesting ways. The title cut is a great example of how you are able to combine epic cinematic sweeps with high-energy banging vibes while “Shall We Begin” is a great example of how you can take your signature epic structure and flips the script with a kind of unexpected beat that still packs some serious punch. Talk a bit about how that tune came together and how you guys approached the writing process for this EP in general.
“Shall We Begin” was written quite quickly. I had the idea in my head for a track that starts with nothing, no sense of timing at all, beginning with silence and progressing and adding to the suspense as it develops; flipping the drums so they became melodic instead and adding the intro vocals, then the tune started to take shape. It wasn’t much then to layout and variate the track and start testing it out on the dancefloors. The writing process is exactly that—we didn’t say “Right, we need to do X, Y, and Z…cater for this fan base and make this sound.” We just write tracks and then put out the best of what we have at the time.
“The Day After” is another example of the way you guys are able to blend together intricate layers of the cinematic with intricate melodies and deep and heavy vibes. This one is a master class in taking as much time as you need to really build the vibe to the breaking point. It also suggests a kind of confidence to let the melodies and harmonics rise to the top and take center stage. Any advice for up-and-coming producers out there who may be looking to elevate their own sound in the same way?
To up and coming producers, think bigger, think outside the box. If you see a trend or something that everyone is doing, do the opposite. Dare to be different.
Likewise, the special sauce you guys deliver on that VIP of “Future Fold” is off the chain! It’s a good reminder that you both have been a duo since you were teenagers. What’s the secret to your on-going partnership? What makes it work?
Communication, just like any marriage.
Even more importantly, what strengths do you see each other bringing to the Mind Vortex project? Is it almost like you each have a special superpower or strength that would be missing if you each went off on the solo tip or is it more of a vibe or language that you guys have developed over the years?
I guess we have our own individual strengths. Together we have a sound and separately our sounds wouldn’t be too dissimilar, but the sum of the parts…
Last but not least, we are eager to sink our teeth into a full-on album project from you two so give us a sense of when we can expect the next long-player to come down the line!
No plans to do an album project at the moment; maybe a collection of watercolours painted by my nan could be for sale.