Q+A & Listen :: Super Magic Hats
December 28th 2012
Melbourne’s Super Magic Hats is charming our ears with ‘Wind’ – the cheerful first release off his debut EP. Like a zephyr on a stinking hot summer’s day, this track is guaranteed to cool you right down whilst simultaneously compelling you to get sweaty. The Flog spoke to SMH’s electro wizard Rob Masterton, to find out how he mixes his magic.
FBi: ‘Wind’ is the first release off your debut EP…. Congratulations! Tell us a little about the track and the process?
SMH: Wind is quite a summery track… It’s built around a few samples mainly, a couple of me playing guitar and a little vocal sample… and then playing around with that vocal sample. It sounded really nice and summery, so I recorded a guitar part over the top which I, kind of, chopped up into individual notes and then put back together, and got it more glitchy as the song went on.
If ‘Wind’ were featured on a soundtrack – what genre of film would it be?
It definitely wouldn’t be an action film. It would probably be one of those feel good films – maybe a chick flick.
I read that you set about making music: ‘to dance to, that also makes sense as music,’ what do you believe is fundamental for music to make sense?
What I meant by that comment, is that I want to make music that you can dance to, that you can listen to in the car, you can hum along to, you can listen to at home, on headphones. It’s music that makes sense in a lot of different contexts.
You are experimental and have a fresh take on making music – do you have a process of influence that drives you forward?
All sorts of things really; I just always can feel that I have tunes in my head, and I go a bit crazy if I can’t sit down in my studio every so often and just let them get out. Sometimes it may be that I have a chord structure in my head that I just play around with on the keyboard or guitar; sometimes I might be humming a drum beat, or something, and I can get that down, and music might fit in around that… so it can start in any number of ways really.
How much live instrumentation will we hear on the upcoming EP?
There is quite a bit on Wind: the part that sounds a bit like a steel drum is actually guitar, but heavily processed and there’s a couple other guitar parts in there as well. On the EP itself there are little bits here and there. It’s not quite as ‘live instrumentation’ driven as Wind.
Did you ever want to be in a band?
I actually played in a few bands; I found that it’s an interesting experience… we had drummer problems… it’s kind of funny cause when you watch Spinal Tap you think that that really can’t happen, but the drummer problems are just as they are in Spinal Tap; it’s got a really strong basis of reality.
SMH is fundamentally a solo project, but could you see yourself collaborating at some stage, and if so – in an ideal world – who with?
I’m looking to collaborate with some vocalists, definitely, for – not this EP, but the next one after that… I’ve done remixes for a few guys and they’re doing remixes for me as well, so that’s as far as we’ve got with collaborations this far.
I’ve been lucky enough to play with a heap of really talented guys around Melbourne, so it would be awesome to collaborate with guys like Friendships or Flash Forest, who are both, really really talented. I guess [my] dream collaboration would, maybe, be someone like Dirty Projectors or Gold Panda who are, pretty much, my production idols, or my musical idols.
Another ideal world question: who would you most like to remix your work?
I’d be really interested to see what a number of different people would make of it. Jamie XX always seems to pull out some really solid remixes and Star Slinger; he’s done a heap of remixes and all of them have been kinda interesting in their own way; both of them are different enough from the music that I make to take it in a direction that I wouldn’t have thought of myself, whilst still being music that I like.
Do you ever cast a sneaky sideways glance to a bygone era?
I like the Beatles. They’re one of my favourite older bands. Quite a lot of their stuff is experimental – or was at the time. I really like Sergeant Pepper’s, and I really like Revolver. The 80’s… I quite like the big synth sounds, so I sometimes pop that influence in my music a little bit.
And lastly, are we going to see SMH in Sydney any time soon?
I’m trying to set some things up for the EP launch, so hopefully looking at doing a couple of dates around February/March… it’d be really interesting to see how my music goes down with the Sydney crowd.
Get ready to put your magic music hat on as Wind is available as a free (or name your price) download from Bandcamp.