Mike Slott Talks Collaboration w/ Martyn (All City Records) & Hudson Mohawke

[Mike Slott/Martyn - "Pointing Fingers"]

Collaborations between musicians are an important means of building skills, say artists from Gaslamp Killer to Modeselektor. Emch from Subatomic Sound has even gone as far as to say that collaborating is, “The future of music in the absence of a corporate major label environment or any source to nurture, fund, and support music.” If this is all true, then Dublin’s All City Records will benefit the music world by starting their series of collaborative singles. The first in the project is a 12″ by Mike Slott and Martyn, who did all their work over the internet. Although the two have different styles, there was enough common ground between them to make moves, Martyn says. “Both our music is very sample based, very on the fly sounding, and also relying heavily on melody rather than just sound(scapes).” In the end, he says that while both of their styles are visible throughout, “All Nights” reveals more of his touch and Slott shines a bit brighter on “Pointing Fingers”.

[Song: Martyn/Mike Slott - "All Nights", Image: Martyn]

“Nights” is primarily a rave throwback with its synth stabs, unwavering pulse, and vocal samples. But the incessant cowbells that worm their way into your subconsciousness, the lively hollow wooden clacks, and the jittery surprises in the beat reveal an added layer of thoughtfulness. “Fingers” evokes a complimentary sense of euphoria by means of harps, glitters, and angelic vocal cuts. They pair that mood with a chunky melody over a boom bap beat square fit comfortably into a 4/4 circle, interjected with the occasional free spirited digression.

Slott started off working with Hudson Mohawke, so he’s got a lot of experience collaborating, although this is the first project in a while. “It’s important that you are honest with each other instead of being a ‘yes man’ in the studio, because you’ll never get anywhere that way,” he recommends in an interview with Dubspot. “Also it’s important to be detached from your own ideas, once you put them down they’re not really yours anymore, they belong to the collaboration itself.”

Upcoming collabos in the All City series include Lone paired with Koreless and Low Limit working with Ghosts On Tape.- MS

[Mike Slott]


Really through hearing each others records, through both working on Flying Lotus’ remix project, bumping into each at gigs…I think we probably both approach music in a similar way albeit with different results so maybe it was an obvious choice for Olan [from All City].


We both have different setups as far as I know, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. Everyone has there little secrets, but it wasn’t enough to stop us from rendering files, sending them back and forth, then rendering two tracks and playing over the top of that and rendering out those stems and so on. In a nutshell, we started with a group of sounds and each made arrangements and started sending them, weeding out bits, speaking online and writing new parts and so on.


It took ages, but we weren’t consistently working on it for two years obviously. We did a bit here and a bit there and then would come back to it. There was traveling and gigs and other records in between all that so it just dragged on. The actual music making process itself I found very enjoyable. Skype made it much easier. We [also] used iChat. Screen Share was very handy as it let us look at different arrangements we’d come up with and actually point out to each other where we thought things needed moving or changing etc.
I don’t think we had a plan when we set out we just asked each other questions and worked on what we enjoyed and sent stuff back and forth and saw what stuck.


I think initially there was talk of doing some stuff in the studio together but it never ended up happening. I think that’s a different type of collaboration again… I’ve done that before and it can be interesting. At least with this we had time to mull things over, pull parts out we didn’t like, listen again and again. all at our own convenience. Maybe for the next one it’ll be a studio collab.
There wasn’t many [disagreements], if any? We kinda went with the flow. Working on ‘All Nights’ was fun because we both didn’t know what it was we were making but we really liked the sound of it. It was exciting.


At the moment not so often. I started out making records that way (with Hudson Mohawke), although it was different to how myself and Martyn worked together. I like the idea of collaboration but for me it has to be with people you connect with musically and on a personal level. I think it’s important that you are honest with each other instead of being a ‘yes man’ in the studio because you’ll never get anywhere that way. Also it’s important to be detached from your own ideas, once you put them down they’re not really yours anymore, they belong to the collaboration itself. And of course be detached from taking any offense.


I think to be as open as possible but not to be afraid to say what you disagree with in respectful way. Just to approach it in the spirit of learning is probably the best way in my opinion. Collaborating online is different than in person. Both have pros and cons but this was an enjoyable way to make music and learn new stuff at the same time. I feel it was very beneficial, in terms of learning how some else works, how efficient they are, little technical details I wouldn’t have known, etc. Very enjoyable process. Took a while for us to actually finish it but I would do it again.