Consisting of ex-Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera, his DJ wife Laima Leyton and renowned bassist Max Blum, Mixhell is remarkable for its ability to blend many disparate elements into a unique sound.
The result is a powerful concoction that sits somewhere between electronica, dance and rock that has seen them winning support from some of the biggest names in music, including Alex Rhida (Boys Noize), Erol Alkin and Gui Baretto to name but a few.
The trio’s debut LP Spaces was released in 2013 to impressive reviews, and saw them taking their captivating live show to venues around the world. London fans will be able to experience this firsthand when Mixhell join LEFTFIELD, Model 500, A Guy Called Gerald, DJ Hell, Troy Pierce and iTAL tEK on the lineup for our next Playground night at Koko on 18th October.
To get everyone in the mood, Mixhell have shared an exclusive Playground Mix with us. We also spoke to the group about how they arrived at their sound, the reaction to Mixhell so far, and what the future has in store for them.
Hi there, how are you guys and what have you been up to today?
Iggor just got back from an extensive tour with metal band Cavalera Conspiracy and we are preparing a special Mixhell set for The Playground. Then we will concentrate on the studio for a few weeks before departing on a South American tour in November.
Can you tell us a little bit about how Mixhell began and how you have developed your unique sound?
Mixhell begun totally by accident as we started to DJ for fun. Soon enough we were asked to remix acts such as MSTRKRFT and then we went on tour supporting 2manydjs and Soulwax. From there our style begun to be created, a mix of electronic music with a strong rock background.
What would you say are the individual strengths of each member of Mixhell, what do you all bring to the table when you are creating music together?
The strengths are very different. Iggor brings the beats of course, the looseness of composing without thinking too much, while Laima is a bit more conceptual, and Max brings the engineering touch to all of it. The three of us mixed results in Mixhell.
So how do you bring all these elements together – for example how have you managed to implement Iggor’s metal past into Mixhell’s more electronic style?
Iggor’s past and present is not as metal as it seems, Iggor is and always has been all about the beat. Even in the old metal days he has been researching different beats teaming up with Brazilian Indian tribes and hip hop artists. As we mentioned, each of us has his/her strength but challenging each other not to work only in the “comfort zone” is what energizes Mixhell.
How does the collaborative songwriting process work between you guys? Do you each come up with ideas and add to them individually or do you get a chance to get together and jam?
Producing electronic music is quite different then recording with a band. It’s more introspective and sometimes we spend hours in the studio to nail down a kick sound for example. The cool thing is that not always the drummer comes up with the beat and the bass player with the bassline for example, we switch positions, when producing and sending parts all over, we got the chance to create parts of other instruments we don’t necessarily perform. Then, when we decide what tracks we will play live we jam to get them done and often it’s a new version of the track so it’s a constant change.
Your debut full-length Spaces came out last year and received some amazing reviews, how have you found the reaction to the record from both the press and the public?
It has been very good. Spaces was built in a very unique way. It is an honour to have people like Alex (Boys Noize) suggesting bits and ideas, and then collaborations that goes from math core band’s Dillinger Escape Plan frontman to super talented electronic artist Gui Boratto all together in the same project. We’ve played Spaces all over and it was very cool and fun.
Spaces is released on through two pretty amazing labels, Sunday Best and Boysnoize Records, does it mean a lot to you to have such influential names behind your music?
Sure it is, apart from being amazing labels, they are also related to friends so that is even better.
We understand there have been a lot of industry heavyweights who have helped you out along the way, can you tell us about some of the artists you’ve collaborated with and taken advice from?
Well, the cool thing is that most of the people we met since we started Mixhell were already big fans or admired/respected what Iggor did before, so they understood where we where at. Soulwax and the 2manydjs where the first ones to take us on tour and playing in between these two acts is a lot of learning. DJ Hell was the first to sit hours in the studio to produce with us, and that was also a great amount of learning. Having Erol Alkan and James Murphy going through our tracks, Pedro Winter giving us ideas and opinions, that all made Mixhell bigger for sure.
We’re really excited to see you’re live show – can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect when you guys take the stage?
The cool thing is, when we play “live” we want people to dance, have fun, enjoy themselves instead of just staring at us, so we will prepare a special late night set to make people move. Apparently we will also play back to back with DJ Hell, which will be very very exciting.
What is on the horizon for Mixhell – is there any new material coming in the near future?
Release wise we have 3 surprises to come, through Bad Life Records, D.O.C (Kompakt) and Trax Records from Chicago. It will be an exciting end of the year.
Mixhell join LEFTFIELD, Model 500, A Guy Called Gerald, DJ Hell, Troy Pierce and iTAL tEK on the lineup for our next Playground night at Koko on 18th October.
Head to the event page for info and tickets.
Mixhell’s debut LP Spaces is out through Boysnoize Records.
Written by Will Van de Pol