When the original ‘Martian Chronicles’ was released on Commercial Suicide, the Budapest-based Mindscape quickly found himself launched into the stratosphere as the success of his sci-fi concept album took the scene by storm with its epic tech-step and neuro-funk sound. Now, two years later, the album resurfaces stronger than ever as eight tunes get the remix treatment from the heavy-hitters like Jade, Chris.SU, Nymfo, CZA, Optiv & BTK, Maztek, Klute, and Dose & Teknik.
Continuing in the thematic vein of a futuristic interplanetary adventure gone bad, the ‘Martian Chronicles: Invasion’ LP project proves to hold its own both as a collection of top-notch remixes and as a conceptual frame centered on a cinematic narrative that the Hungarian is more than happy to imagine as a full-fledged film. Here now, for the first time, is an exclusive glimpse into what the album would look like if it were transformed into a film and each of the remixers were cast as characters in this ill-fated tale. As if that wasnt’ enough, Mindscape hits us with a soundtrack in the form of a guest mix so strap on your helmets and prepare for lift-off!
The last time we spoke your Martian Chronicles album had just been released and things were looking good. What have you been up to since? Are you still living in Hungary? Have you started in on another album yet?
I have some plans in my mind for a new album, but in 2015 I’d like to spread some singles and EPs on my favourite labels instead: Eatbrain, Blackout, Suicide, P51, Red Light, F.A.T.E. … Then I’ll start to think about a new album seriously.
I still live in Hungary as I have all my family and friends living here and it’s a cheap country compared to western Europe, so it’s easier to live here. Plus, the scene is quite strong here, which is very important for a dnb producer/DJ like myself. I just moved into a new flat and have been working a lot on new tracks. I’m living in the same building as Chris.SU now so you can definitely expect some collabs with us soon.
Speaking of which, what is it about Hungary that brings the sci-fi neuro out of you guys? Am thinking here of Chris.SU as well as Jade, SKC, and Zero Method. In other words, why isn’t Hungary the home of jump-up? Is it the weather? Something about your attitude? Were there a lot of sci-fi movies playing on M1 when you guys were all younger?
Haha not on M1, we had only a few old-school Hungarian and Czech sci-fi series there. I do remember watching Alien for the first time on a bad quality VHS copy with very crappy Hungarian voice-over; it changed my view of life as a kid, made me a sci-fi addict and I think this was the beginning. I’ve seen lots of sci-fi movies in the cinemas too and I grew up on the Star Wars saga (just as many others in this universe). I think sci-fi and drum and bass go hand in hand and I fell in love immediately with the futuristic sound of it. I still love to watch or read science fiction, just as my fellow Hungarian dnb producer friends do – and yeah, Hungarians can be moody and depressed sometimes, but we also love to go out and party hard, it’s a good breeding ground for dark neuro vibes.
This remix project is an absolute killer. When did the idea for a full-on remix LP come about? Did you allow each contributor to choose their own selections or did you “assign” each artist a tune that you thought they could work with the best? What sort of feedback process was there? Did Klute have to crack the whip and make sure everyone was on task throughout?
We were planning some remixes since the album came out. I started to look around for possibilities, talked with some producer friends personally and on AIM about it (yes, I’m still using AIM), everybody seemed to be excited and wanted to be part of the project so we thought, why not make more than just a few remixes? Why not a remix album? We let artists select the tracks in the beginning, but as more and more tracks were chosen, we had to assign the rest of them.
There was no problem with deadlines other than distributor complications, so there was no whip cracking or stuff. It was me only at the end who was a bit late with the artwork, but I’m usually in late with everything so that’s OK. For such a big project with so many big musicians working on this project, they all did a great job! So I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to you all who were involved in making this happen!
In many ways this was your easiest project to date – all the work was done and now it was up to the remixers to do their thing – did that feel a bit strange to you? Were you itching to be more involved in the process or was it more like waiting to see what sort of birthday present everyone got you when they were done?
It was a bit weird yeah, but it’s an interesting experience as well. I was waiting to hear the remixes curiously and impatiently, just like a little kid waiting for presents on Christmas. I wasn’t involved in the production process as I didn’t remix any of my tracks but there were still lots of things to do, bouncing stems for every tune, communicating with the remixers and the boss (Klute), and of course I designed the cover art again because we really wanted to make this project a true sequel to the album visually as well.
I love Klute’s write-up on the one-sheet: “Mindscape has carefully selected a number of artisinal craftsmen to delicately fondle and caress his excellence …” If you had to choose one or two of your remixers to actually do some fondling and caressing who would it be and why?
If I had to do it all over again I would still choose them all to fondle and caress my beats, sometimes very gentle, sometimes hard, but always with a “happy ending” as the remixes are out now and damn it feels so good.
If I remember correctly, the original album was an homage to Ray Bradbury’s “Martian Chronicles” series and each tune was like a chapter in the telling of that story. If this is the sequel to the original, what sort of story do you see it telling now? If the original was about the colonisation of Mars and this one is titled “Invasion” how do you see the narrative evolving?
On the [original] album cover you can see a lonely rocket escaping from the exploding planet Mars. This time those Martians are coming to Earth searching for a new home and to invade it. If you check the cover, there are eight big rocket spaceships – one for each of the remixers, attacking our planet with their audio-laser beams. It’s the beginning of their colonization process… This is actually a story I just made up right now, but I really did make a rocket for each of the remixers.
I think what’s most interesting now that the remixers have come on board is the way the old techstep influences are really brought to the fore. This album feels retro-futuristic almost. Was that something you noticed as well? If you look back at your own influences, is it easier to hear their impact on you when you’re a bit more removed from the process?
I’m a big techstep and early neuro fan since ’96, listening to Trace, Ed Rush & Optical, Kemal, Goldie, Bad Company, Usual Suspects, Nico, Fierce, Dom & Roland, Stakka & Skynet, Cause 4 Concern, Jonny L (the list can go on and on …). Their music formed my musical taste and I think you can hear their influence on me if you listen to Mindscape tunes. So this time the remixers definitely got a heavily tech-step influenced pack of tunes and stems to work with, so you can clearly hear their own impact combined with the original tech-steppy vibes. It’s also very interesting that I made the original album alone (and alongside with the collaborators) and now you can hear the same stuff from eight totally different perspectives but at the end it’s still a coherent pack of tunes.
The last time we chatted Prometheus had just come out so I have to ask about this year’s big sci-fi flick, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar – what’s your review? Any other films that may be off the radar that we should be checking out?
Oh man i could talk about this for hours and it’s not easy to review it without spoilers. I love that movie as a science FICTION flick with awesome visuals, huge soundtrack and a good story. They promoted it as the most realistic sci-fi movie or something… well I could argue with that, I had a few face-palms during the three hours of it (which is sadly the norm with Hollywood movies). It’s “some science” but more fiction. As for other films to check out, I’ve recently watched this movie “Autómata” which is not a well known “big” movie with a big explosions and stuff but one I really enjoyed for the philosophical Asimov influences in it as it pertains to these robots, their protocols and the future of humankind.
If we take a step back and look at all of the remixers lined up for this project it’s like a neuro/tech superhero crew. If we could get them all in one room or make a film about them, what would each of their powers be? If you’d prefer – imagine this was the cast of a sci-fi film you were making – who gets to be what in the film? Jade is a special space zombie with high intellectual abilities and is immune to every form of hangover. Chris.SU is an alien from an advanced civilization who has an ultrasonic hearing skill. CZA is the muscle of the crew; he doesn’t ask anything twice. Nymfo is a special AI with emotions in a humanoid robot body. Optiv is the mad professor; he’s always in his lab doing weird biological and mechanical experiments on BTK who now has superhuman powers as a result. Maztek is the bad ass military sergeant and he has urban camouflage implants in his body. Klute is the boss who assembled the whole team for this expedition and he came with us on board to control this crazy crew. Dose & Teknik are the cyber-Kiwi soldier brothers from the other side of the galaxy defending our mission with their hi-tech sonic weapons.
and me, I’m the captain of the spaceship, of course.
As captain, it’s not as if you’ve been sitting back and letting all the others do all the work. You’ve been busy knocking out your own bits as well, most notably your remix of Dom & Roland’s “Mind Feeders.” Talk a bit about how this one came together and your approach to it in the studio.
It was a honor to make an official remix for him, as I’ve been a big Dom & Roland fan since his “Industry” album. He offered me to choose a tune for remix, and “Mind Feeders” is one of my favourites by him. He sent me all the stems of the original, I loaded them up, cut ’em up and started to rearrange everything and got use to it in my own project file. Then I made a new groove, keeping the original vibe. I love those remixes which are similar to the original but with a twist and an updated sound, so I tried to make something like that just adding some Mindscape vibes. It’s basically the same tune with a new sound, new beats, and new bassline aimed for the dancefloor, yet even when you hear it, you know it’s “Mind Feeders.”
Last but not least, you’ve hit us with a wicked guest mix – what kind of journey are you taking us on?
I’ve decided to include every tune off this remix project alongside some older and forthcoming remixes I’ve made so consider it a “Mindscape only / remixes only” mix.