What kicked off your passion for playing and creating music?
I think it was just an appreciation for Daft Punk and what they did – certainly from my point of view. We just wanted to kind of recreate the Daft Punk sound a little bit and tried our hardest to build our own sound from that.
I heard that you two started writing music together after talking on a Daft Punk fan site?
Yeah, it was a Daft Punk appreciation forum called Daft Club. It was just a place where we could meet and talk about Daft Punk and any new albums that were coming out. A few of us on there were creating our own little bits.
There was another website that we used that was really cool called SoundClick. It was like an online chart for unknown musicians. When you looked for bands you searched for ‘sounds like’s’. When you searched for ‘sounds like’ Daft Punk, you got Matt Hughes, myself and a few other artists. We all got to know each other that way and ended up on the Daft Punk forum. It was quite competitive at first between us as Matt was one of my main competitors. A couple of us had met around the country but Matt and I were so close, both living in Leeds, so we thought it was about time we both met up and it went from there.
Your sound has obviously come a long way from being a generic ‘Daft Punk’ sound: what were your productions like before you both met?
Between Matt and I we know what we contribute [to music production] and how that works. Before we met I had a lot of melodic and classical sounds going on in my tracks, a lot of it was very orchestral and emotional. Matt’s sound was a lot faster with sampled loops.
So would you say that your sound is an integration of your two musical styles?
To be honest, Matt had the answers that I needed and I had the answers that Matt needed. After we opened up to each other and spent a good year-and-a-half working together we fully exchanged our knowledge base and that’s kinda how we got to where we are now.
Could you tell us a little about your studio?
It’s in Leeds, just a little bit out of the centre. Really cool old stone mill where they used to make wool. Basically we dug it out a few years ago and put a couple of separate booths in there. It’s a central hub really for everything: production, office work... its where all the magic happens, we call it the hit factory these days.
What’s the production process like when working together? Do you tend to take on specific roles?
It’s quite a musical process when work together - we get some beats rolling then press a few keys, see how that sounds and play around with various ideas. I may hear something while Matt’s playing and I’ll have an idea to put in and vice versa.
So it’s a sort of call and response production process between you both?
Yeah, of course, and sometimes I’ll be on the other side of the world to Matt - I’ll just work something up on the computer and send it over to him and we can work remotely as well. Our systems are set up in a very similar way which enables us to collaborate from a distance.
Do you ever hit a brick wall when working on your productions, and if so, how do you overcome that?
One thing I would say, and I’ve said this before recently, is that it sometimes can get to that. But then you get to a level where you don’t really hit that dead end. Because you’ve got so much going on around you and so much inspiration, you just keep going. A lot of it is down to self belief and perseverance, and not sitting there and thinking damn I’ve hit a brick wall... what do I do next? What do you do next? You try and understand why you’re at that block and you overcome it. I mean that’s why we’re still here ten years down the line. A lot of people, the same guys that we were on the forums with, are hardly making music now.
Settled down, had kids?
Well, even Matt’s got kids now, but essentially we still have a dream and the passion to keep it going and you know, a lot of guys didn't have that. Quite recently we said the reason that we’re still going is probably because we’ve both got each other to pull ourselves up.
Can you tell us a little about the EP released with Fina Records?
It was a really cool EP. We had that track for a while and we were very excited about it. A lot of our friends including Soulclap and Wolf and Lamb were playing and pushing it round the world. We knew we were going to work with Matt Long (Monocult) and Simon Morrell (Fina) and it was the perfect EP to put out. They were looking for something a little different. So yeah, it was perfect. We would love to do something else and I’m sure we will do something else. We’re proud to have done something on a homegrown label, you know, and a Leeds-based label at that. For us it’s not about the money, it’s not about the size of the label: it’s about what we love. One thing is for sure: we come from Leeds. I still live in Leeds and I always will, no matter where we travel. It’s great to be on a Leeds-based label.
You’ve certainly got a large fan base in Leeds....
It’s certainly grown. As the minimal times have died out, the funk has come back in. There’s a big appreciation for what we do, because let’s not get it wrong, Matt and I have been around for over ten years making this music. We've been going out to the clubs and we’ve been DJing and people just haven’t been into what we do because it just wasn't at the forefront. We’re working with a new agency now so there’s quite a lot of new stuff happening.
When we were enjoying your set earlier I noticed that you use Ableton Live alongside the CDJ’s. Can you tell us a little about how that is integrated into the set?
In the beginning I used to work with it very much like a live show. Throwing loops in/different bits. Instead of just mixing records one into the other, I was trying to mix it up and make it a little more interesting and unexpected.
When we use Live it’s primarily to remix on the spot. So if we’re playing tracks that don’t belong to us we tend to chop them into different sections so we can build the track and work with the crowd. I tend to control the main mixer and the output volumes whilst the creative process is happening on Live. It’s quite easy for me to man things out and ensure that everything’s sounding tight on the CDJ’s and the main mixer.
It must be pretty handy having four hands to build up the set?
Yeah it's cool, cause if I wanna build a spliff or have a smoke I can go off! When we do these things we always take it in turns and it’s a similar ethos with the productions. Whoever can take care of it will take care of it at the time.
I heard that you would like to one day produce other artists and bands?
That was something that I said in an interview. It is one of my big aspirations. I’ve actually already started producing other artists and bands and I’ve done some work for major labels Columbia and Sony records. It’s amazing because these are aspirations that I had years ago and I’ve suddenly found myself actually achieving these goals.
Can we see any collaborations in the near future?
We’ve got a couple of exciting collaborations coming up, some with other bands.
Can you name any of them or are you keeping them under the hood for now?
I’m quite excited to tell you that we will be making tracks with PillowTalk this year. We’re really excited about it because they have a similar ethos to us, you know. We really dig how quirky their band is. We’ve got a nice sunshine vibe going on with our music and I actually think we’re going to do something really cool together. There are a couple of other collaborations but we’ll have to keep them on the down-low for now. You can also expect the next MAM album that will drop on Outcross records soon. We’ve still got quite a lot of work to do.
Is that going to be a full traditional album?
Yeah, it will be our third album together. We’ve done two so far and both of them were on Outcross Records. The two before didn’t quite reach the numbers that we’re reaching now cause we weren’t as popular at the time when we released them. And it’s a shame because it’s like two fucking really good albums and they’re just sorta sat there. But now I wouldn’t really want to do anymore with them, because we did them together and we did it for a reason.
They were released on Outcross right?
Yeah, we released them on our own label and again, it was at a time when people weren’t really paying enough attention to our music that it might have deserved. However we did what we did and we’re happy with the direction of it. If people do want to buy it, it’s still there, but we’re not pushing it down people’s throats, you know. It’s just there if people want to hear it.
Any other exciting releases that you would like to mention?
We have got our first release on Outcross Records with our new distributor, which is myself and Matt Hughes on a record called I Can Fly. We’ve been holding on to this record for two or three years now. We kind of knew it was a special song, so we held on to it. Now seems the perfect time to deliver it. We have a really cool series of records coming out on Outcross Records with artists like Lee Foss and several others gracing the label. Shall we tell them about the Deadmau5 thing…?
I think you should...
Basically, we’ve recently done a remix for Deadmau5, a track that’s gonna come out on a mutual friends label. It’s kind of on the hush hush... It’s really cool ‘cause it’s electro music and I have a lot of respect for it because some of it did spin from the French house thing. But it kinda got a little too noisy for us, you know. We’ve managed to keep the spirit of the original record in there but it’s an MAM sound. It’s got the nice French touch.
Is there a release date for this?
It’s something that we haven’t got a release date on, and were not sure who else is going to be on the package. It’s something that should show up around summer time and it will be cool ‘cause it’s something that will hit another fan base that I think will really dig what we do.
Sounds very promising. Are there any other artists around at the moment that are really doing it for you both?
Our man Maceo Plex is killing it at the moment, Pillow Talk, Tales of Us... they’re doing it, you know. We listen to a lot of Tanner Ross’s tracks, he’s a good friend of ours… Soulclap, Jamie XX… All of our peers make some of the coolest music around, so we’re really lucky to be on the scene at this time. Because we spent that much time in the studio listening to our own tracks and listening to tracks of our peers, we missed out on a lot of music that was out there. We’re now discovering new music all the time. It’s usually when we meet another fellow DJ or artist and we check out their back catalogue and we either dig it or we don’t.
Check out MAM’s release on Fina at: