Interview: 5 minutes with… Mountain Range

London-based producer Stuart Thomas aka Mountain Range makes true electronic gems, blending ambient, post-rock, experimental and lo-fi sounds, spreading a unique dreamy and peaceful feel. In just two years, he released two brilliant EPs, remixes for acts including Bon Iver and Sun Glitters and now working on his forthcoming debut album. Mountain Range latest EP ‘Adjustments’ is out now on Bad Panda Records – Once listened to it, we can’t wait to hear what’s in store for the next year!

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

I’m good thanks! My favourite season is settling in, so all is well. Today is a day of remixing, I have a few to work though so constant coffee is a definite must.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

I would say is laptop based, post-rock and beats influenced electronic music.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

Takk… – Sigur Ros
All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone – Explosions In The Sky – Peter Broderick
Lucky Shiner – Gold Panda
Cerulean – Baths

What other artists (electronic and non-electronic) do you really like at the moment and why?

It’s safe to say we all love Jon Hopkins right now. The moment I heard the trailer for the new album I was just blown away. That perfect balance of ambient and hard techno is excellent. I’ve been a long time lover of The National, and the new album caused some inner turmoil in me (I found it a confusing listen) but I’ve really fallen for it now and my faith restored. I love Volcano Choir as well, and their new album is stunning. Justin Vernon just moves from strength to strength and I think he’s a true talent. Some smaller electronic act’s I love are; Ole Torjus, who always releases the most interesting beat driven tracks. Cass. who writes these beautiful ambient piece, and Sun Glitters, who takes found-sound processing to a new level of slick. They’re just a handful of artists would are taking laptop based instrumental music to great places right now.

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?

There are a lot of plugins that I’d be lost without; Michael Norris’s ‘Spectral’ plugins are essential, as well as Kontakt 5 for the most convincing virtual orchestral and percussion instruments. NI’s FM8 is an amazing software synth, and I’d be lost without Ableton 8 for sequencing and time warping. In terms of hardware, my MPD32 is the hub of my live shows, and my KRK VXT4’s are crucial near field monitors for writing and mixing.
Also, my mobile phone! A lot of my percussion lines are built from found sound, and the mic on my phone is good enough quality to record anything anywhere, which is an indispensable asset to me.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

I supported a Leeds band ‘Vessel’s’ in Leeds last year. Firstly they’re a band I love anyway, and secondly I had an hour slot right at the end of the night, which is rare! They understood my style exactly and the crowd were just right (or just the right level of drunk) but either way, it was an awesome show. I didn’t ever want to leave the stage. But I ran out of songs.

What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?

I played another gig in Leeds where the venue was a bar that was part of a restaurant. The promoter was working in the restaurant as a waiter whilst trying to organise sound-checks and stuff, and when I turned up he’d forgotten that he’d booked me as part of the billing, but he ‘squeezed’ me in as the first act. They had no idea of my live show so there wasn’t even a table for me to set up on, and the other bands were like, Oasis cover bands. It was awful. And a lot of my friends had come to see me play and had no idea what was going on, it was embarrassing. Needless to say I played, shook some hands and never went back.

What do you think about the following music genres?

I’ve been trying to learn the piano for years, and I try to play a lot on my own tracks, so classical music has been something I’ve always been been inspired by. I love contemporary artists such a Nils Frahm, Olfur Arnalds, Johann Johnnsson and Peter Broderick. The sounds of piano and strings are so perfectly matched I don’t think any other combination of instruments can sound as beautiful.
I was never into hip hop growing up, but more recently artists that are massively hip hop influenced have released some of my favourite albums. Shigeto is a big one for that, as is Gold Panda and Eskmo, so I fully appreciate it in an instrumental sense. Death Grips are taking the whole thing in a great direction as well, blowing the whole genre wide open, and the characters the lyrics paint are just horrifically excellent.
Folk has had a place in my life over the past five years or so, a lot of my friends love it and I played drums in a folk band for a little while. I’ve always quietly liked Mumford and Sons, they’ve revived the genre in huge commercial ways (maybe both good and bad). Folk guitarists are some of the most solid musicians I think, and tell some of the saddest stories.
There was a brief period where I couldn’t help get sucked into some dubstep stuff, but I’m not sure if it was actual dustup or more whatever dubstep had become by that point, commercial mess. I really liked Borgore for a while. Is that Dubstep? It appealed to the massive Hardcore/ Metal fan in me.
I don’t really know what that is, sorry.

Mountain RangeFacebook // SoundCloud // Buy ‘Adjustments’ EP here

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