The making of Mile Me Deaf’s latest album.
Mile Me Deaf has come a long way since the days of the outfit’s intense infatuation with psychedelic guitars. In fact, latest album Alien Age abandons the faithful guitar tones almost entirely. Here, we go behind the sounds on Alien Age – according to the mind behind Mile Me Deaf, Wolfgang Möstl.
On the origin
After breaking my finger on his 2015 tour, I couldn’t play guitar for more than a month, forcing me to hang around my studio and busy myself with a newly purchased sampler, that could be easily used with one hand. The resulting tracks would later become the foundations for the songs on “Alien Age”. By the time the cast was removed, interest in making another guitar album had pretty much disappeared, and the MPC 1000 was the declared instrument of choice for the upcoming MMD record.
On the challenges
Since every MMD record had been influenced by a different production technique, this was no radical change, but writing songs without a guitar proved quite challenging after 15 guitar driven years and the complete absence of piano skills. The foundation now came from beats, loops and tons of samplers from from vinyl, audio cassettes, magnetic tapes, mobile phones, etc.
On the samples used
The record features fairy tales from Switzerland, a new-age tutorial tape, Japanese and Austrian folk music, an East Frisian joke, homemade field recordings, a Russian language course, a brass band tape, Spock’s Vulcan harp, song snippets by Der Nino aus Wien and Sweet Sweet Moon, the voice of Vrillon (a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command), an American game show from the 50s, Monsterheart, a yodeling tape, classic ghost howling, an Omnichord on every song, K D Trenk, 30GB of lost cassettes from the 80s underground, one really ugly metal bassguitar, a soundcollage I made when I was 17, three different iPad instruments, a drum soundcheck, Augustus Pablo, a 12” record with zither melodies, some distorted toy keyboards, the out-of-tune piano from Cologne’s Club Scheiße, the buzzer UVB-76, a tractor, and other oddities.
During the production process, the rock and krautrock influences of the previous records completely faded into the background and stuff like late 80s Berlin techno, early electronic compositions, dub, old school hip-hop, Latin-jazz, and vaporwave became an important theme for the whole record. The final step was to make it sound like a Mile Me Deaf record and to make sure it was playable live. A couple of synth lines have been replaced by guitars, resulting in 3 out of 10 songs featuring real guitars and others featuring guitar samples, if that’s even relevant.
On the lyrics
Most of the lyrics were written sometime after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. This, the reactions to it, the rise of nationalism in the western world and people’s general hatred towards everything impacted the record. The record does not claim to be a political album, but the weird vibe of this time in history definitely co-wrote the songs. The journey begins with first world problems, goes on to the alienation of humanity, and ends up with the extinction of planet earth or to sum it up with the title track’s first line: “What happens to the human age, when everyone is bored of it?”