Interview: Mode7 + Exclusive Download
18 October 2012
Raffael Kably plays a mean game of charades. When asked about the Mode7 alias, he stays reticent: clawing at the air frantically and then shuffling his adjectives onto a grid. Surely this has something to do with the launch of his debut EP and re-injection into Mumbai’s electronic underground.
The debut entitled ‘All in Faded Days’ trades triumphant bass drops (from Kably’s stint with the incalculable Bay Beat Collective) for brooding beatscapes and otherworldly subs. The music he eventually brands as ‘easy listening’ is an open-format documentation of his darkest inhibitions, pulsating with reality, imagination and rawness.
With the four-track currently up for free download, we took the liberty to snatch a fifth oddity from the Mode 7 case file. This one’s a rehash of Foster The People’s Helena Beat (available for stream and download below).
Onto the man in the straight jacket:
Dude, you were in BBC, what happened?
Well nothing really happened. I love BBC and it was probably the best years of my life; they've always been really close friends and influencers and will remain that. It was just an internal biting feeling that I didn't want to DJ anymore and move on to a newer, fresher sound that suited me more. It could be said that I could do both but at the end of the day I just wanted to move in an entirely new direction.
Mode7 seems a lot well, reclusive, when compared. Is this therapy?
When I actually conceptualised Mode7 it was just a bunch of tracks that I was making as.. you could say therapy.. but mostly just a new form of release. I wanted my music to mean more than just something you could dance to and that's not easy to do as an electronic producer. It’s been brewing for a while; the sound comes from a full on amalgamation of all my favourite kinds of music. You'll notice elements of stoner rock, techno, dub, dubstep, post-dubstep, bands like the XX and Baths, some folky stuff too - it's hard to put a finger on it!
After a riotous debut at the last Grime Riot Disco you seem to be one for quiet appearances - exclusive or esoteric?
Grime Riot Disco is such a crazy party man. It was so much fun to play at that gig but it wasn't entirely Mode7 in the Mode7 sense. I was scheduled to play a Mode7 set with some of my original tunes and after I finished another DJ was to take over and play a funkier, more banging set for the audience to dance to. His turntables refused to start up and the crowd was getting restless so the organisers asked if I could fill in while they sort out the technical issues. What happened then was just a fun, old school Raffael set - a lot of funky breaks and glitch hop like I used to play back when I started DJ'ing 6 years ago. Breaks is one of my favourite genres ever and it saddens me that people don't play it any longer so you could say it was almost a revival set. It even led to Reji (Ray G) another avid breaks fan, and me talking about doing more collaborative breaks revival sets like back in the day. It was just an awesome kick of nostalgia and it had the whole party jumping.
How much of Mode 7 is a studio project versus the all-out DJ sets we've come to expect from you?
When Mode7 came about and was launched it was supposed to purely be a studio project, just to make music that people can listen to. But you know what they say about performing live: once you've had a taste of the action, you're hooked and I'm no exception to the rule. I’m doing a few select live gigs that I believe in purely because I’m addicted to massive audio systems.
Speaking of massive audio systems, with all that bass set to resonate at this year's NH7 Dub Station, do you worry a project like Mode 7 might get drowned out?
Man you spoke my mind! I am a little worried about that. I've been part of NH7 before where I've played massive D&B and dubstep sets that just go hard for an hour and a half but this year I'm on the exact opposite end of that spectrum. Mode7 is going to be a superbly chilled out, groove oriented sound and I don't know if people at NH7 are going to accept that. However there is a bright side to it. Festivals all around the world have certain time slots and stages dedicated to chill out and ambient music and it's great that in all that bass heaviness I see a couple of artists who are doing something different and putting a spin on things. It shows us that India's sound is moving forward from just slamming ravey sets to different less mainstream/more experimental sounds. It should be an interesting gig for sure.
With ‘All in Faded Days’, were you comfortable beating the entire project into a four-track?
The EP is a collection of mood music from Mode7. The idea is for you to be able to play it in your car while you're driving around in the rain, maybe listen to it when you're boning, or lighting up those candles for a hot bubbly bath. But on a more serious note, it's completely concept and cinematic and will mostly be a collection of my personal favourites - from the singles I've put out to a couple of hidden secrets. There's a whole new level of collaboration that I want to experiment with but I don't know how soon that will happen. This is why I won't talk about it just yet.
So the Helena Beat remix we’ve got here is one of those ‘hidden secrets’?
Well this is a remix I did for a competition with Foster The People and it kind of just became one of my favourite tunes. I actually finished in the top 10 out of about a thousand people in the competition and what's funny is that my track was the only one that was not a commercial poppy trance-related one. That to me was kind of flattering. What I also love about it is that it goes so far away from the original song that it pulls it into an entirely new dimension. Also the groove is pretty kickass, don't you think? (Tell us Wild City readers - listen and download below)
We’re starting to see a pattern here. Should we get comfortable?
Mode7 will forever be an evolving sound. It might sound like this today but tomorrow I might drop something with a rapper on top of it. That's the beauty of an experiment like this. It can go anywhere at any time and there's no need to bind it in the metaphorical cage of a genre. Soon enough though I want to take the sound to a new level, and not just be me with a laptop and controllers. I want to invite musicians to play and maybe write songs alongside me under the Mode7 name. This will obviously start in the studio and where it moves from there is something all of us (including me) can't wait to find out.
http://soundcloud.com/thewildcity/foster-the-people-helena-beat/s-ja99J(Download via arrow on right-side of stream)
Words: Jash Reen