Mt. Eden Discuss Influences, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceoros, and Maternal Love (Or Lack Thereof) [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

two door cienma club

Few things are absolutely certain when it comes to New Zealand-based Mt. Eden. For starters, fans will most assuredly be won over by their inventive, lush, and textural melodic dubstep, trap, and DnB sets, featuring a vast catalog of original work. This much we already knew, having seen them perform in the past. What we didn’t know, but do now, is that any conversation had with members Jesse Cooper and Harley Rayner is sure to result in hilarity.

We were lucky enough to catch up with this cheeky duo down at Beta Nightclub for both of the aforementioned experiences. And, as we said, hilarity ensued.

TMN: Hey guys. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us tonight. Welcome to the Mile High City! This is your second show at Beta, correct?

HR: Thanks man! This is our second show.

TMN: You guys play all over the world, how does Beta compare to some of the other renowned clubs out there?

HR: Imagine a pirate ship, run by Darth Vader.

JC: And Yoda.

HR: Yes, and Yoda. And you put them together and it’s a team operation. Everything is put together super tight. Everyone’s got walkie talkies. There are no problems whatsoever. The sound system is perfect.

JC: The force is strong here.

TMN: So, Electric Forest is definitely on our festival bucket list. How was your experience there? How does the vibe feel in comparison to some of the other larger festivals?

JC: With Electric Forest, it was a real passionate crowd. The forest is so decorated. The vibe was amazing. The security was overly nice. It didn’t feel corporate. The artists were really cool. We met up with 12th Planet, Snails, Vaski, Black Tiger Sex Machine…and everyone was really cool. It was like a family gathering.

HR: There’s no other festival where Macy Grey sings, Mr Carmack plays the drums, and it’s all fun and games. There’s no pressure on anyone to be in a scene.

JC: And there were so many back-to-back sets. It was Skrillex and Snails and Vaski doing DJ sets together. It was really cool! Everyone was mixing and mingling and everyone included everyone. You never felt left out.

HR: We could talk forever about how cool it is. It was one of the best festivals we’ve played at just due to the energy.


TMN: Your travels across the years have to have a couple of “holy shit” moments. Do you have a festival experience or an encounter with a fan that simply blew you away?

HR: Some of our fans in Germany came out in Berlin and then followed us for three shows in Poland, and then brought us a big framed golden record for “Sierra Leone.”

JC: We have some dedicated fans who just follow us…it’s really cool. In terms of shows – we did a show with DMX, and that was fucked up.

TMN: Fucked up good or fucked up bad?

JC: Fucked up weird. He said “Who the fuck is Mt. Eden?” We were like “that’s us. You kicked us out of our own green room, but fuck you. We’re playing after you.”

HR: There was no beer, because he locked us out of our green rooms, so we were all just hanging around sober behind the stage. Meanwhile, DMX was having a psycho fit in one of the green rooms. Good on him, he’s all sober now.

JC: All we can say is, “DMX opened up for us.” (Laughs)

TMN: “Stronger” just came out a few weeks back. And “Distance Kills” came out a few months back. Both have a very textural, ethereal, atmospheric feel, but they’re both really different. Talk to us about the approach in the two different tunes.

’Mt. Eden – Stronger’
’Mt Eden – Distance Kills feat. Nolita Knights’

JC: “Distance Kills” is a track that was brought to us by this guy called Dillon, who live in Australia. It came about when our Manager sent us this track. It was already a made track, and officially, it would have been a remix, but we cleared the sample. So, we cleared the sample and we made it our own track.

For “Stronger,” Flume made this awesome track called “A Baru in New York,” with Yolanda Be Cool.

It’s part of our inspiration as artists. You find songs and say, “wow, this is really cool.” We’ve kinda moved into the trap scene and added our Mt. Eden flair to it, with the low-end, reese bass.

’Yolanda Be Cool – A Baru In New York ft. Gurrumul (Flume Soundtrack Version)’

HR: It’s funny, because “Distance Kills” sounds so different because it was actually made two years ago. The new version of “Stronger” was finished up two months ago, the day before the deadline.

JC: We had four different versions of “Stronger.” We had a trap version, then it went to big room, then it went back to trap. We thought if we put out the big room thing, we’d probably get a lot of hate from it.

HR: Especially because our last single was a throwback dubstep track. We wanted to showcase what we’re doing now.

TMN: Everyone’s sound evolves through the years, but we’re always curious as to why. Talk to us about some of the influencing factors. Was it the industry? Personal musical influences?

HR: There’s also another artist – Lorn. Really, really cool. It’s inspiration for what we just came up with.

JC: Me and Harley were brought up on drum & bass. We were listening to Concord Dawn, The Upbeats, and State of Mind. It was that real, gritty, heavy, low-end reese bass. We went to a festival called Feather and Iron, and it was the first time we had heard dubstep. We saw Skream, Andy C, Benga…we were like, “fuck. This is really heavy. Why don’t we make melodic dubstep?” And that’s when “Sierra Leone” came into part.

TMN: You guys have put out your fair share of drum n bass throughout the years. One thing we’ve always found interesting is how DnB had a place in the early rave days in the US, but then fell off. Now, it’s a struggle to peg more than one DnB artist at an American festival. Usually it’s Netsky. Why is that?

JC: It’s very rare. I think there’s not enough money being put into it, and I don’t think there’s enough interest, like there is with trap.

HR: It’s died in New Zealand too. When we were 16 we were always jamming drum and bass. Now, I think, people have found a way to make beats hit harder. It’s more intense and Americans seem to like that.

JC: It’s very Americanized – dubstep and the whole dance scene. It’s “Guns n’ Whiskey.” You go hard as fuck.

HR: (Laughs) I reckon it will become popular here again, but not as big as it once was.

JC: I think the drum and bass crowd is an older crowd.

TMN: You trying to make me feel old? (Laughs)

HR: (Laughs) We like it too, man! Half of our set is drum and bass!

TMN: So, what’s on the horizon for the rest of 2015? What can Mt. Eden fans expect?

JC: Back to the old roots! But, keeping it current. That’s all we can say to our fans. We made the mistake of doing other people’s shit. We went to so many shows where we saw other people playing and the crowd going crazy, and thought “fuck, why can’t we do that?” We found out that we were going backwards, and not forwards.

HR: There’s so much music. We’re trying to be tactical about it and not dump it randomly. We’re going to put out EPs through the label and then put out some stuff on the side.

TMN: Flight of the Conchords gave Americans the impression that…

JC: The Hiphopopotamus couldn’t beat the Rhymenoceoros…

HR: Poppin’ off the top of this esophagus…

TMN: America has the best…

HR: Beers n’ blowjobs.

JC: Boobs!

TMN: When I’m drunk, everyone gets mad when I…

JC: When Harley goes home.

HR: I go home with your mom!

TMN: If given the opportunity, I would re-score the film….

JC: Titanic.

HR: You know the movie Warriors? I would rescore that.

JC: Lord of the Rings!

HR: We should say that we started doing scoring for a marvel character named Alita. It’s a web series. We’re trying to get funding to do a proper blockbuster film. Hopefully we’ll be entering that realm sometime soon!

TMN: If Cooper (Jesse’s Dog) could give us one piece of advice, it would be?

HR: Relax, you’ll live longer.

TMN: That’s a very zen dog

HR: There’s this one question I always thought was cool. “What’s one question you hate being asked?”

JC: I reckon we should switch it. Back to you, mate.

TMN: Are you asking me what question I personally hate?

HR: Yeah. What question do you hate being asked? (Laughing)

TMN: Not sure I want to get into this…(Laughing)

JC: Mine is “Does your mom love you?”

TMN: Does your mom love you?

JC: No.

JC & HR: (Erupt laughing)

HR: Mine is “what is one thing about yourself that everyone would be surprised to know.” How do you answer that?

JC: Or, “who do you want to see at the festival?”

TMN: Ok, we just have two more. Who else do you want to see at Beta tonight?

JC: (Laughs) Obviously you.

TMN: If aliens landed on earth and asked me what music was, I would play them….

HR: Probably Hanz Zimmer.

JC: Andrea Bocelli.

TMN: If Mt. Eden’s music were an animal, what would it be?

HR: I reckon it would be a Sphynx.

JC: A Sphynx? Fuck that shit. (Growls)

HR: The Hiphopopotamus. That’s the one.