Sometimes the best process is no process at all, and producer Mo Kolours totally has that down. By building songs from whatever is around him and basing everything on feeling rather than structure, Kolours achieves a primal, tropical sound that grooves on elusive melodies embedded in the rhythm section.
Lauded by tastemaker DJs like Gilles Peterson and Rich Medina, Kolours’ sound is distinct from so much of the hybrid hip-hop/electronica coming out of his native London. He’s currently in the midst of a three part EP series for One Handed Music, the second of which, Banana Wine, will come out on March 19th.
Here’s a free download of the title track off Banana Wine, and below is a brief interview we did with Kolours to find out where he draws his inspiration from and how he lays it down.
The Creators Project: Sounds like you use a ton of shakers and hand drums when making your records. What are some of the instruments in your collection? Any favorites?
Mo Kolours: I’ve just got some bits and pieces, basic stuff. I try and use what’s around me. I don’t really have any favorites, but I’m proud to own a talking drum!
So far in your EP series, you’ve released Drum Talking and Banana Wine. What’s in store for number three?
I’m not really sure how the next one will sound yet! But I’d like to bring a feeling that you don’t get in one and two.
What do you look for in music you listen to?
I love drums, and the collision of two bodies to produce a sound! I love a feeling of freedom of expression in general. Something with the funk, a realness, something that isn’t just music, something that represents love for searching and moving forward, but reminds us of what we knew [in the past].
What does your production setup look like?
My set up is really basic—a few things to bang and slap, a mic, a stack of records (that keeps growing), a couple of mash-up keyboards, and a pot of coffee, with a tree burning in the ashtray!
What will your forthcoming solo performance entail?
I want to make people dance, or a least feel like moving. I think it’s an important way to connect with each other through the music. Spontaneity is a great way to feel alive, so I hope to bring something new each time and roll with it.
There’s a distinct sharpness to a lot of your percussion, particularly your snare hits. Do have a go-to effect or EQ preset to achieve that?
I’m always finding new ways to manipulate sounds, so I don’t have a go-to preset or effect. I just enjoy listening until it sounds nice, but I don’t like to dwell on “getting a sound right” or fiddling around for ages. I try and go with the gut!
Where do you pull your vocals from?
My vocals just come. I use melodies that are in the instrumentals I create. The tones of drums are just as much melodic, and an inspiration for the vocal ideas.
Can you briefly describe your production process?
My production process is sporadic! The starting point can come from any number of places. Often though, I like to sit and listen to some records in order to get some perspective—listen to some wild, expressive characters of the past—people who had no choice but to create to express themselves.
Look out for Banana Wine droppin on March 19th.