When Sebastien Tellier, Blood Orange’s John Kirby, and Siberia Records’ Dan Stricker Collide
We Skyped electronic music’s newest supergroup.
This article is presented in partnership with MoVement Sydney.
Mind Gamers is a new electronic project, bringing together three musical heavyweights: Dan Stricker (Midnight Juggernauts, Siberia Records), John Kirby (Blood Orange, Norah Jones, Cypress Hill), and Sebastien Tellier.
They've created a futuristic sound filtered through psychedelia, augmented reality bites, and dreamscape melodies. They've also tapped into a more techy side of all their musical tastes with the use of experimental, glitchy textures. Flitting between tweaked-out expressionism and synchronisation, one minute you get them and the next you don't.
On Australian soil, the trio are playing their first live set courtesy of MoVement Sydney and Siberia Records at Oxford Art Factory on the 21st of October. We Skyped the trio to try to unshroud some of the mystery behind Mind Gamers.
What kind of music is Mind Gamers?
Dan: It's mostly electronic music. We're trying to find new production techniques that we wouldn't normally be using. We're all bringing our individual style to it and pushing ourselves to find something new outside of our comfort zones.
Musically, do you struggle with trying to combine everyone's individual style while remaining cohesive?
Sebastien: For me, the best insight to Mind Gamers is to become someone else. I want to try to forget my current musical style. My goal for Mind Gamers is to create freedom in the music. With Mind Gamers I just want to do something that's free-spirited and entirely different.
You guys have an album coming out soon, right?
John: We do indeed. It was recorded all over the globe. Sebastien and I had started some demos on the road, then I went to Australia and worked on it with Dan. But the majority of it came together in Greece on the Island Hydra.
Sebastien: Hydra, oui. Oui, oui. Hydra for French people means love.
Dan: There is the mountain of Eros in Hydra, which is where the god Eros apparently lived. He's the god of sensuality. I think Kirby used to hike up there most days.
Your sound does seems to invoke this sort of sexual awakening. Was this a preconceived idea or a beautiful accident along the way?
John: I think we're all thinking about sex and talking about sex. I like to explore that in music quite a bit, so I guess that would just be a natural thing that might happen.
Sebastien: If you're in music you have to be sensual. The goal is not to be German in a way; the goal is to be African with music. What we like with music is to feel the heat of humanity. The music has to be hot, in a way.
Are there any boundaries?
Dan: I think the one important thing is that the music has a soul. Even if it sounds completely crazy, it still has to have some natural essence to it.
So do you draw the line on a beat that might be too left-field or is there no such thing?
Dan: We try to; we draw the line when it's not helping the song. If it gets too crazy, then it's just distracting.
Is this a project of improvisation?
John: I don't remember what it is anymore as the creation has evolved over time, but there is a collective purpose between us. We're continually striving for that. Mind Gamers is about unity, power, and freedom.
The Mind Gamers teaser clip reminds me of being mid-dream. What was the aim with the visuals?
John: We wanted to look at different groups of people being free in their own strange way. What we were thinking of was exploring that part of diversion amongst the human race, and the different states of diversity.
When you write music, do you think about how the listener will respond?
Sebastien: Yes, it's my tradition to watch the effect the music has on an audience. For me, it's about repetition. I'm always thinking about it. The important thing is what you give to the audience, and what people can feel listening to your music. Even when I'm alone in the studio I imagine I'm on stage in front of people, trying to give them something special.
Mind Gamers are playing Oxford Art Factory on Friday October 21, supported by Shags Chamberlain, The Crystal Machine, Zuri Akoko, and Siberia DJs. Tickets available here. They're also headlining MoVement Sydney, which features 25 parties and events across the city from the October 19-23 including warehouse parties, curated club nights, record swap meets, exhibitions and more. You can check out the full line up and buy tickets here.