It’s easier to say what Mamiko Motto isn’t than what she is! The London-based DJ, producer, radio show host, and founder of GASS record label opens up about her sexy sound, anticipating new music trends and managing her own label.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with your sound how would you describe it?
Sexy, dirty and an off the wall mix of personal inspirations with extra spice.
You’ve got some incredible things under your belt. Let’s just touch on your radio show NTS, and unearthing underground talent. Is discovering that talent quite a subjective process?
It just comes naturally to me. I’ve been doing radio since I was a teenager, and somehow foreseeing new trends ahead of its time comes naturally to me. I never overthink music — I just gather stuff I like and push towards that new sound that I love, until it almost blows up and then I drop it, and move onto something new.
It’s not always a good thing… and a lot of the time I wish I could love just one genre and stick to it and really build on it. But, it’s just not me.
You launched GASS in 2015. How important is having your own label?
It’s a lot of fun but it really is hard work. I am really happy I didn’t start a label any earlier than I did. Even with having a lot of experience as an A&R for other amazing labels in my past doing your own thing comes with a complimentary fruit basket you actually don’t really want. But, label management struggles aside, as an art project, it’s the most amazing and fun thing I’ve done so far and it feeds my creativity to the maximum.
You’ve also collaborated with different artists across many mediums. Often artists might find some collaborators impeding their creativity. Is collaboration always a symbiotic process for you?
I love collaborations. It is actually my favourite way of working. It’s kind of weird, as I am an only child, so you’d think I’d rather be left alone, but actually I think I perform best when I work with someone else. Although, I only work with people whose work I admire. Maybe, that is what does it for me. It makes me want to be better and not let them down.
What’s been a huge turning point in your work as a composer?
The turning point was to actually realise that I can do it. I’ve been doing some appearances here and there for years, but I never was brave enough to actually start solo projects. As soon as I started it and realised how much fun it is it allowed me to be free and get things going.
What key pieces of mixing gear do you use to create your sound?
Very basic stuff. Bitwig and a keyboard. I sometimes ask my famous friends to let me use their studio for a day and finish things up to sound better, but mainly, I really think it’s all about your idea. You can have the most badass dream studio, if you don’t have good ideas, you’re screwed.
How has your style evolved, especially with your previous work?
I am currently in a lover’s trance. I focus a lot on ‘sex’ as a topic in my work, but in a really broad way i.e. eating a great bowl of pasta is definitely sex to me. You know what I mean? Then I bypass it all through my comedy filter, pour some chilli sauce on & voila…
This world is so fucked up right now, but as an artist and an entertainer, I want to bring light and laughter to my audience. I want them to love the music I’ve made, the show I’ve put on. But above all, I just want them to feel a little happy deep inside for as long as I’m controlling that stage.
Who are you listening to currently?
New EP by Blaqstarr for GASS, coming very sooooon!
What are the five albums of all time that have influenced you?
This question is the hardest for a music lover like me. I don’t have that list…but the five albums that come to mind now are:
1. Sun Ra – Space Is The Place
2. Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians
3. Don Blackman – Don Blackman
4.KMD – Mr. Hood
5. Air – Moon Safari
Where are you most at home in the studio or doing live sets?
Currently moving to my new studio, which I am super excited about. I very much want to have a year where I mostly live in the airports. I’m ready to heavily tour …. BRING IT ON!
How do you maintain the creativity to make new and different music?
I just do me. I try to never engage too heavily with any kind of scene. I also love wine. My team at Behind This Wall bar introduced me to the best natural wines … I definitely think it helps me a lot to stay fresh.
Lastly, what lies ahead for 2016/17?
Releasing new music on GASS, a few new European Residencies. Exhibiting some art shows and hopefully a world tour in 2017.
By Hanna Duggal
Mamiko Motto – 16th December 2015
By NTS Radio