In case you didn’t know, MNDR is everything. No, really, she legit does it all. When she’s not producing, writing, or making killer beats for pop stars like Kylie Minogue and Rita Ora, she’s deejaying at parties or working on her own music. Last week, she kicked off a weekly DJ set right here in downtown L.A.–and she’ll be back for two more sessions! Check out what you missed the first time around, and in the meantime, get to know MNDR a little better in our interview below.
Tell us a bit about you!
I am MNDR (pronounced M N D R aka aMaNDa[R]). I am a producer, writer, DJ, and artist.
Why did you decide to swap coasts in 2008?
I needed a change, and I had some opportunities to work as a music director with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs building their keyboard set up and playing guitar and bass with them for their It’s Blitz tour. I also had opportunities as a producer and engineer that I wanted to pursue. All of these things brought me to making MNDR into a pop project from a minimal experimental project. It was a weird sort of unintentional path to where I am now, which makes it a lot more giving and forgiving, if that makes any sense.
You said Marina Abramovíc inspired your “Feed Me Diamonds” track. Why is she so important to you?
I feel like it is super pedestrian and trendy to claim now in main stream culture that Marina Abramovic is a huge inspiration for pop musicians. But in all honesty, she is! Peter Wade and I wrote “Feed Me Diamonds” in 2010 and the inspiration was taken from a Marina Abramovic documentary I watched on YouTube. She claimed that her father, who was a political hero in Serbia during the second World War, was murdered by being fed crushed-up diamonds. Apparently, this was done during the times of tyrannical kings and queens. You could crush up diamonds, feed it to someone, and eventually they will bleed out. I believe Abramovic’s claims were a metaphor for the state of Eastern Europe and weren’t mean to be taken literally, but regardless a beautiful image that inspired that title track. I also am part of a multi-media performance/music art group I co- founded called 0th in 2006. Our whole ethos are directly influenced by Marina Abramovic.
Who else do you look to for inspiration?
I sort of become obsessed with other artists throughout my life. Other inspirations are Chris Burden, Holly Herndon, Pauline Oliveros, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, John Cale, Prince, Madonna, Wendy O. Williams, Planningtorock, Carol King, Plastikman, Thomas Feldman, Harry Nilsson, Mark Ronsons, Nina Simone, Boy George, Arthur Russell. I really admire a lot of people, and it is always changing all of the time.
Why do you love pop music?
I used to make experimental/noise music, which was a different sort of exclusionary art form that connects with people. I love pop music because it is about connecting and including everyone, which was sort of opposite of what I had been making prior to MNDR. That is my ultimate goal with pop music—to connect with everyone!
Tell us how you hooked up with Mark Ronson for the “Bang Bang Bang” track!
He called me to come on his radio show on EVR and from there, we began working together. He is like family to me, like a brother or something. I really look up to him so much and admire his talent, kindness, and overall elegance. Haha, he is really elegant!
How would you describe your personal style? How does music influence your personal style?
My style is comfort meets high/low. Bring me to Walmart, and I will blow your mind. Bring me into any couture, high-end store, and your brains will explode. I love it all.
What’s a typical Saturday night for you?
I really love performing and deejaying. So if I’m not doing that, I like to go to parties and see my friends play—or go to see a great DJ at a club or warehouse. I also am a total studio freak, so I am usually in the studio all the time working. So I guess party time after the studio.
What’s a project you worked on recently that you’re really proud of?
Ahh! I am so, so, so proud of the writing I did with Kylie Minogue this year. I love her. She is so much fun to work with and just has this glow around her. She glows—honestly, she glows! I also have been working with Rita Ora, and I just absolutely adore her. She is going to take over. As MNDR, I am most proud of my features I did with Tokimonsta and RAC this year. It’s been fun to write over other people’s music, especially musicians I love! I have been doing some writing on this project Sweet Valley (side project of Nathan and his brother from WAVVES). This is my favorite creative endeavor I have been a part of as of later. Their music is beyond.
We are so excited about your residency at the Honeycut. What can we expect?
THE ABSOLUTE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. BOOM LIKE AN 808.