A chat with: Magic Mountain High

Jacopo Villanacci

Let's start with "truth & legends": is it true that Magic Mountain High exist thanks to 17kg of porchetta?

Jordan: It's all true ;)

But when did you actually decide to create this project?

Jordan: We met in Foligno, Italy at the Dancity festival where both David and ourselves were booked to play. We hung out there and decided to try to meet in Heidelberg at David's studio one day in the future. Thats how it started...

Your live gear is really varied. What is your balance between analog and digital?

Jordan: We use both analog and digital synths/drum machines/fx. The analog thing was kind of stuck to us because people think that anything that's not on a laptop is necessarily analog (which of course is not true...). We love digital stuff as well as analog stuff, as long as it sounds good and is fun to play with, we will use it.

Improvisation, a key aspect of MMH. Someone argue that true improvisation is possible only in jazz. What do you think are added values and cons of improvisation in electronic music?

Jordan: I don't think there is a real difference between electronic or non electronic improvisation. What is different is the fact that we freeform improvise for a dancing crowd, which imposes some limitations on us — which is one of the things that make it so interesting for us to attempt.

George Gershwin said, "Life is a lot like jazz, it's best when you improvise". So, in your opinion, is this true also in electronic music?

Jordan: Not really. Improvising is super cool for us right now, but definitely not "best", or "better" than other ways of working. It works for us. Keeps things interesting/challenging.

Although it's even the result of jam sessions, isn't "Tiny Breadcrumbs" your first studio EP? Does a studio jam offer you something exclusive compared with a live jam in a club? I imagine we are talking about two different kinds of freedom and chances...

Gal: Actually it is our second studio EP, the very first one was released on Workshop on 2012! Our basic approach to both live and studio jams are similar: we connect a bunch of gear and just roll with it, while trying to listen and react to each other. The difference may be that in a studio situation, we have the luxury to spend more time exploring a certain idea while playing. We also have more freedom to change the synths hooked up between jams and stuff like that. In live situation, people are dancing and we have to flow much faster from one idea to the next which is also exciting and keeps us on edge.

Bring a project like this on the dancefloor could be risky. Did you ever think "hell, they are not dancing"? What would you do in that case?

Gal: Worst case scenario, we push the 909 kick drum louder and everybody is happy on the floor... But seriously, I don't think it's THAT risky, people are usually open to what we do and enjoy the fact that three people are playing instruments live on stage. We try to feed off the crowd's energy, and many times the more "risky'' we go musically-the more fun it is.

Looking at how you share machines I've noticed there actually is a certain tasks division: who has more to do with melodies and synth, someone with bass lines, someone else with percussions and drum machines, and so on. Is there a kind of division of labour? How do you succeed in keep going all in the same direction during the performance?

Gal: I guess the main thing is to listen to each other and have patience and trust. In our live shows Jordan is in charge of the keyboards (Chords, melodies, arpeggios etc), David is in charge of the basslines (and more synths) and I do mostly Drums, effects and guitar. But as the show progresses, each one can always do some other stuff if the moments calls for it.

Picking up the story of your birth: 17 pounds of pork should mean 17 Ep, isn't it?! There is still such a long way to go to keep the promise! What can we expect, maybe a return to the studio?

Gal: we certainly have a lot of material, so hopefully we will reach the 17 ep mark one day! Every time we meet up in the studio we end up with few hours more of new music, not to mention many cool live recordings... So there's a lot to go through and a lot coming up.


Magic Mountain High

WorkshopOff Minor Recordings

Near death experiences bring folks together.
On a crazy Porchetta infused race from Rome to Foligno, Move D & Juju & Jordash first met. They decided that if they survived the curvy mountainous roads of Umbria they would form a band and release 17 LPs together, to symbolize the 17 KG of pork they ingested that fateful morning.

The three decided to plan a studio session at David's home studio in Heidelberg. That session turned into a 4 day jam lockdown and a few months later a few more jam packed studio days were planned. Due to the groups improvisational inclinations, live improv sessions were the next step, and thru out 2011 several of those occurred, each one more enjoyable and more successful than the one before.

That's the legend anyhow...

Magic Mountain High love hardware synthesizers and drum machines.
Magic Mountain High love group improvisations.
Magic Mountain High love Techno.
Magic Mountain High love House.
Magic Mountain High love it when everyone is dancing.