Vinisha Mulani has a chat with Matthew Compton of the bangin’ and soon to be tourin’ Electric Guest:
So here's the history lesson on Electric Guest. The band is made up essentially of two guys, Asa and Matthew. Asa’s brother is Jorma, of Lonely Island (Dick in a Box, anyone?). Jorma is friends with Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse is a magical producer who has worked with the likes of the Black Keys, Beck, Gnarls Barkley and The Shins. He heard them, he liked them, they moved in, they hung out, they recorded.
So tell us a bit about your debut album, Mondo. Having Danger Mouse as a producer must be exciting.
Yeah, I mean it kind of happened a while ago. Before Asa moved to L.A. he was living in Brooklyn, and his brother Jorma is friends with Brian (Danger Mouse's real name). One day his brother played [our music] on the phone, and Brian liked it. We moved to LA, Asa took Brian’s room and Brian had made a studio in the basement, so we started recording there.
We worked for years on the album, we both kinda had our things, and we worked on things together, then we got a bit more serious about it. It wasn’t real until we were mixing the album and Brian said ‘You guys gotta put your band together’.
Tory and Todd Dahlhoff play with us live. Todd’s amazing. He just moved to LA with his brother- we rehearsed for a year before we started playing together.
I read that you cite some of your influences as 60’s era French pop and Indie Rock. Anything you’re listening to right now in particular?
Yeah, it definitely influences my bass. I listen to everything, but I really like Michel Colombier, who is a composer. And there’s another guy, Francois de Roubeaix - he’s one of my favourites. He does mainly films scores, and he actually records by himself, writes the scores himself, he does everything.
So you’re the drummer live, how about when you’re recording?
Yeah, live I do drums. While recording I do a few of the bass parts, a few of the guitar parts, just kind of whatever.
So you’re a bit of a Francois yourself?
(laughs) You could say that. Or trying to be, anyway.
What did you do before Electric Guest?
I’ve been touring for 10 years, or something like that. I played in a band called Cursive for a while. I played in a lot of rock hardcore bands, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I always wanted to play in a band with more like electric bass lines, more like this one.
Do you and Asa write together? How are your styles similar and different?
Yeah, I mean a lot of the ideas we have to make a good song are the same. We worked on Mondo together for years. We come from different places, from different backgrounds. He’s more into hip-hop and I’m more into indie rock but we love that. We both agree on what works about music, and we both like the same things about songs – we both like the same pulse about the song. We agree on what works and we find a common ground between the two styles.
You’ve been touring for a while now – and still have a lot of touring to go, with a lot of fun festivals coming up. Where are you looking forward to going?
I’m the most excited about Australia (the band is playing Splendour in the Grass this year).
No, really! Because I’ve never been. I’ve been talking about it all summer long. I was really hoping to go, I’ve heard really good things about it, and I heard Splendour in the Grass is a great festival.
One of the guys that plays in the band with us has been before, and I’m really looking forward to it. Someone told me that people in Southern California and people from Australia have the same attitude, same way of life.
Finally, what’s a dream collaboration for you? Who would you love to work with one day?
Blonde Redhead. They’re one of my favourite bands.
You can check out Electric Guest's tour dates over at their Facebook page.
Interview by Vinisha Mulani.