Ahead of the The Playground’s next event at The Steelyard, we chat to DJ, producer and composer, Mamiko Motto about the emotional character her music takes on, the fascination with computer games and the changes in mood she takes her listeners on.
Your mixes highlight a variety of beats, riding waves of scattered tempos that groove depth. They tend to come across as elastic and movable, evoking an emotional ride of euphoria for the listener. If these mixes were a character, what would they look like?
Thanks very much for your kind words. I never thought of my music as it were a character, I see my music in colours a lot though. If I would have to think of it, it would probably be a nightclub full of weird animals, from sexy kittens to gangster dogs, from really depressed horses to overly excited monkeys and so on. They would be all very different but they would all hang in the same club, if that makes any sense.
Given the scope of your sound, we can see how it would slot into video gaming and assorted audio visual exhibits. How did you get into that world and what stimulates you about it?
I have been always fascinated with computer games, since my childhood and post-soviet union days where one person in the whole neighbourhood would have an Atari and all the kids would come by to just watch two children play. I LOVE gaming. Arcadia is a place I find a lot of inspirations in for my art. If I could, I would just work on gaming sound design and I hope, when I get older I can just do that, because it’s fun. I guess, what it is for a children’s book writer to write children books, for me – making sounds for games.
Your mixes cater to a variety of taste and style which can be slotted into many different environments. Give us an idea of where you enjoy playing the most.
My favourite place is the place where I can really connect with my audience. Where people come to really just listen to great music and dance the pain away. I really think, if you don’t love music, you don’t love life. So for me, to have the oneness with the people who come to hear me select music and play it to them is the biggest gift and reward. No matter if it’s 20 000 Roskilde fans at a festival stage or a sweaty 70 people capacity bar in Dalston.
Your audio sign off in your tracks has a great quirk to it. Has it evolved since you started? How did you build that into your identity?
I guess I’m just weird. I just do me without following any trends or care much about what anyone thinks. I should be more commercial, I think about it a lot, but then again, I don’t know how to do it. My friend and I are trying always to establish a project creating a more “ popular” sound and I can tell you, we are amazing at failing to do so.
The presence of jazz comes across in such a contemporary manner in your material. Tell us about that particular influence. A genre you grew up in or grew to love?
Nicely spotted. Yes, I grew up on Jazz. This was the first music genre I listened to as a child. Nothing really special, same story as many music people – I got it from my father. I am really glad to have been taught so much about cultured music and the culture. Without Jazz, I would have been nothing, even if I do not really listen to it much anymore. I feel like, if you’re calling yourself a music person and you don’t know Sun Ra or John Coltrane Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock, you are really not a music person, no matter how many followers you have on your SoundCloud or Instagram accounts.
You often go from extremes, moving from dreamy ambient sounds to turbo charged electronica. What’s in the middle of all of that?
🙂 see, what might seem extreme for you, might seem minor for me, it’s a question I can not really answer the correct way. But a great quote from Basquiat that sums it up really perfectly: “what’s my medium? I say – extra large”
Your collective GASS is a miscellania of art, tech and music. Can you share how the combination cross-pollinate in your industry as well as your connection to the trio.
I don’t consider myself a DJ or musician anymore, I consider myself as an artist. I’m currently working on film, animation, sculpture and various different art projects I always wanted to do. So I decided to build a collective from the like minded people, who share the same passion and fit into my lifetime research between the connection of Humanity x Sexuality x Technology.
I invited a bunch of friends and artists I loooove, who trust in my crazy ideas and we started this collective together who believe we can change the world. I really encourage all creative people check GASS out and join our movement by sending your music, your art portfolios and your CV. SKY’S THE LIMIT!
How has the support of the internet helped in your career?
I have to thank Frank Bongers, who developed Fruity Loops, for everything I’m known for. I started as a radio DJ from Belgium in a small town called Antwerp and a really small community radio station, called Radio Central and my radio show – Hep Cat Radio. Frank taught me how to do the most basic podcast before podcasts were a thing. My show went viral and since then my music career began. Now, I actually try to stay off internet, because I got tired of “ look at me, I’m cool” instagram pics and tweets and I just try to do my new GASS project and use internet as a promotional tool. I really don’t care anymore about being cool online. I’m like a dude from the Big Lubowski. I honestly do not give a shit. I just do me.
You can catch Mamiko Motto’s set at The Playground event at The Steelyard on 30 September 2017. Get your tickets here.