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Dam Mantle

Ahead of his live performance this Saturday at the NOTOWN Records London showcase we caught up with Dam Mantle aka Tom Marshallsay to find out more about his relationship with Gold Panda and being part of his label NOTOWN Records, plus what he’s got prepared for his live show in London. Recorded at his home studio in Glasgow, Dam Mantle’s mix travels through various feelings and points in history, encompassing techno, electronica, soul and jazz.

“It’s a story of some sort, about being adjoined with machines and embracing them but eventually feeling the need to get back to the Soul and to Love and Reality. There’s some raw, live recordings and jams mixed in with some tracks from friends and peoples music I’m into, working its way back to the kind of stuff I put on in the morning, or the stuff I dream of playing in a club where peoples attention spans might be more welcoming to something beyond a mix-a-minute Serrato set.”

Dam Mantle thanks for recording your mix for Inverted Audio, how are you?

I’m good thanks, just now I’ve been working out some sequences with my friends for this gig on Saturday, Lovers’ Rights we’re calling ourselves at the moment. Been screen-printing the records for release next month and gradually working on some other music projects. Just Living, trying to love, trying to bring something positive, trying to pay my rent.

You’ve titled the mix as “Return to Love: Back and forth from the Machine to the Soul: The Present to the Past to the Future.” – `Tell us about the mix you recorded for IA?

I recorded it at my home, where I have my studio. Take the title however you like, It travels through various feelings and points in history, its a story of some sort, about being adjoined with machines and embracing them but eventually feeling the need to get back to the Soul and to Love and Reality. There’s some raw, live recordings and jams mixed in with some tracks from friends and peoples music I’m into, working its way back to the kind of stuff I put on in the morning, or the stuff I dream of playing in a club where peoples attention spans might be more welcoming to something beyond a mix-a-minute Serrato set. But yeah I figured since it was gonna be online and people were probably gonna play it out of their laptop speakers or whatever I may as well try and tell some sort of story and get some music out that wouldn’t be otherwise.

We’re eagerly anticipating your live performance at the Notown Recordings showcase in London on Saturday 6th April – What can people expect from your live set?

Yeah, It’ll be a range of stuff – more slanting towards stuff to keep the heart and potentially the body moving. Remixes of tunes I’ve released, new stuff, stuff I’ve been working on with other people – all mixed up. I try to keep my set up fairly stripped down, an MPC, computer, and controllers.

Your mix features a wide variety of music; soul, techno and jazz. What artists were important to you when you were starting out in electronic music?

Yeah, I wanted to make it clear that I haven’t ‘gone jazz’ or ‘gone techno’ or anything like that. I love all music and it all connects up, I’m interested in joining the dots. I figured if it’s an online thing and people are gonna be listening to it off their laptop speakers or whatever then I’d at least try and tell some sort of story.

I don’t know whether it was any artist in particular – just being with a mass of people feeding off the music. And I suppose the idea of re-programming or re-producing music appealed to me, it reflected what I was into with my visual stuff, this collaging of previously existing things seemed pretty relevant.

When did you get into the idea of experimenting and producing electronic music?

I’ve been making stuff on my computer since I was playing in bands at school, whether it was just recording songs or pots and pans or whatever and then yeah, it just changed with my experience and the equipment I acquired as I went along.

How did your relationship with Gold Panda stem?

We were introduced and ended up doing some tours together. I dig his approach and we’ve just been in touch since, sending each other stuff and catching up when we’re in the same City.

What does it mean to be part of NOTOWN? Do you feel you share a lot in common with Luke Abbott, Gold Panda and the rest of the NOTOWN crew?

Yeah in a sense, I mean I do a lot of different stuff so some of it maybe is more obviously related to the kind of things they do than others. I suppose we share a love of analogue equipment and not being afraid of things being a little rough round the edges, perhaps.

How does it differ to other record labels you’ve released on? What do you hope to achieve by releasing records via NOTOWN?

I trust them and I’m really into everyone on the label. I don’t see my self as ‘signed’ to anybody, I’m just happy to work with decent people that are true to their work.

Tell me about the artwork etching you provided for the mix and for your album ‘Brothers Fowl’ – Where do you source these images from and what is it about this aesthetic that you admire?

Like most people, I have a fairly fragmented relationship with history. I’m just reworking images, appropriating, just as with the music. I dream in 19th century pleasure gardens, and am held to my experience of the Architecture I’m surrounded by which no doubt infiltrates my ideas. The album artworks got a story of its own – is rather leave it open to interpretation, besides … making stuff out of photocopies of old books is something I can actually afford.

What have you been working on lately? Have you got any new material coming out on NOTOWN in 2013?

We’ve talked about doing a vinyl only thing, I had an EP of some stuff but I think I’m just gonna hold tight and just keep making stuff for a bit. Music can only ever reflect what you’re experiencing in life and that’s changing all the time.

Dan Tombs is performing live visuals for you at the NOTOWN Recordings showcase. Have you incorporated live visuals into your live performances before?

A little bit, I use a wee 8bit video synth from time to time. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with it, working with someone that’s got a focus in that field.

Have you discussed with Dan about what imagery you want for the show?

Not yet, I’m up for letting him do his thing really and seeing what he comes up with.

Are there any artists in particular you’d like to mention?

The ones living down the road, the ones singing in the shower, the mothers, the fathers.

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