Ahead of its release via Foreign Family Collective this week, we got in touch with Melbourne raised, LA-based producer Mild Minds to chat about the cultures and destinations that inspired his new album, MOOD.
What I really liked about Tokyo, is the balance between its eccentricity, and also the definition of order at the same time. The respect that the Japanese have for each other, their culture and tradition is alluring. They have no trash cans in public because everyone is respectful enough to carry their trash with them.
One of my other favourite attributes of Tokyo was how retro-futuristic it looked, which is mainly because the majority of its growth and development was in previous decades. That, along with the aforementioned balance of eccentricity and tradition in its nightlife really lends itself to a feeling of timelessness and mystery.
It's an atmosphere that is hard to explain. I was invigorated with a somewhat childlike awe that I hadn't felt for a long time - which helped to remind me why I got into music in the first place. My experiences in Tokyo were a huge piece of why I started this project.
Kyoto is far more traditional than Tokyo in terms of style. That tradition also makes you feel a sense of timelessness, as the city has an undertone of patience, discipline and standards. All of which are things that can be hard to keep on top of in the way we live our life in the west, but very helpful traits to have when creating music.
LA is a vast city - realistically it's more like five or more cities in one. The first thing you notice about LA (besides the way it looks) is the vast range of people, culture, and ideals as well as geography. With varying climates, from the beach, to the mountains, to the desert, mere hours away from the major metropolitan area. It's a transitional city where people come with a glimmer of hope looking for a way out of the mundane.
Everything looks like a movie that you grew up watching, and I think that inspires people to let go of their past and explore who they want to be, in a city where nobody seems to judge them for that. You see so much expression that it doesn't take long before it feels commonplace. In LA, you'd barely look twice at the guy riding his bike in a gold sequin Elvis Presley suit, or bat an eye at the guy walking down the street dressed as Jesus.
LA teaches you to let go, and to not to care so much about the trivial things that you may care about in a smaller city. You have much more room to express yourself.
Melbourne has always been aesthetically a little raw and rough around the edges, far less pretty or show-y as somewhere like Sydney. Lots of brown brick warehouses, run-down supermarkets. Practicality over beauty. Although a lot of that has, and is currently changing I still think it had a bit influence on how our Melbourne's identity developed. Melbourne taught me to be hyper-critical, yet down to earth. Melbourne keeps you in line. In my case, Melbourne may have kept me a little too in line sometimes. However, I like that the people and the city can be hard on you, and push you to be better. It still feels very much like home for me, and it's an easy place to freely create.
For me it's a city where aesthetics, traditions and finding pride in your art form are integral. Parisians seem to add depth to even the most simple of thoughts and endeavours.
I think there's a lot to learn from cities, like Paris, that work to preserve their uniqueness. By heavily regulating their design, they hold themselves to a standard of excellence.
Without these principles and traditions that city wouldn't be the same. My takeaway in music, would be trying to find that depth and integrity in my work, versus the superficiality of how it sounds or is produced.
MOOD, the new album from Mild Minds, is out Friday March 13 via Foreign Family Collective / Interia Music.