An Iglooghost experience, whether through Spotify, YouTube or live DJ set, is not something one forgets in a hurry. His hyperactive, maximalist sound marries perfectly with the fantastical world of Mamu that he has created. Each of his albums and EP’s so far have provided a narrative for this world, with the newest addition Neō Wax Bloom as the prequel to the epics that were Clear Tamei and Steel Mogu. Producer and fictional music empire progenitor Seamus Malliagh took time out of his busy touring schedule to answer some questions for us concerning the conception of his unique audio-visual universe and his hopes for the future, leaving us on tenterhooks for an Iglooghost art installation.
In a previous interview (with The Fader), you explain that as a kid you couldn’t play instruments because of dyspraxia, a disorder that, according to you, makes you “clumsy as fuck” and “undexterous”. That’s why you ended up with a computer – “I can do it in my own time”, you confessed. And you concluded that twenty years ago, you couldn’t have made it. Do you imagine now a life without music? What do you think you’d be doing? Do you have other interests you wouldn’t mind pursuing as a professional career?
I don’t even think it would be that different! I’d be drawing and painting and maybe making large sculptures. Music’s the catalyst for Iglooghost stuff, but if I wasn’t able to make all the extra stuff around it like artwork, I don’t even think I’d wanna make music in the first place.
I’m sure you get this all the time, but how would you describe your sound?
Loud baby music.
The surrealism of your music is well suited to visual art and animation, especially due to its narrative aspect. After seeing your latest music video for Clear Tamei, I’m excited to witness what the future holds for you and your insane, trippy world. What would you say this future has in store for you?
Next music video is all wrapped up! I’ve been trying to write a new album in a year that sneakily became my busiest touring schedule ever. It’s been super fucking exhausting and I try every second I can to make music in the few days I get that aren’t travelling. I’m starting to feel like this forced time away from music’s making the concept for the album stronger and stronger. I think this thing is going to be a huge monster when it’s finished. I’m also going to drop a surprise really soon.
You wrote in the description of Clear Tamei that you “imagine that the song is see-through with glowing guts”. Do these visualizations come to you before or after making the sound?
Yeah, it’s all really calculated (laughs). Figuring out how songs operate in the bigger picture is my favourite part of the process, really. I make stuff spontaneously super rarely, but even when I do, something external will get combined with the song super early on in the writing process.
Your recent EP’s Steel Mogu and Clear Tamei are a prequel to the events unfurled in Neō Wax Bloom. Can you see yourself continuing to expand the fictitious world of Mamu or do you have plans to develop a new project?
I want to maintain the Iglooghost project’s amount of detail to just expand exponentially until I die (laughs). I want to be eighty years old and running some weird tiny museum out of my shed that dudes from Singapore fly to my house to check out. There’s just parts of it that I don’t think I can ever abandon and start from square one. I really try and make sure my four-year-old self would be into Iglooghost.
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Some of your softly spoken lyrics in Clear Tamei are recognizably English, some sound Arabic and others Japanese. Did you construct your own Mamu language for the track?
Yeah, yeah. A lot of stuff needs to be reverse engineered in a way though. I might make a letter or character or plant or something that stems from just an aesthetic place – and then I’ll need to figure out how it actually exists in Mamu.
You’ve already collaborated with dreamy Japanese electro-pop artist Cuushe and mysterious underground rapper Mr Rote. Do you have any other collaborations in the pipeline? Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I hate that shit 99% of the time – I really feel like it stopped making sense a few years ago when I sort of found my voice with this project. I just try to keep my circle tight as hell for a bunch of reasons and never really work with anyone outside of like five people. I’ve got so many people I look up to in music, but I just don’t think it would realistically be that tight to collaborate with them. Making beats with musicians I love is fun as an activity though. It’s cool as a communicative device and a learning experience.
You’ve said that playing live bores you because you’re just ‘pressin’ buttons’. What would you like to do in order to make your performances more interesting? I can imagine a kind of ethereal, sci-fi set design like Björk’s, full of overgrown flowers and nymphs with flutes.
The Glootech A/V tour was for sure a step in the right direction. Logistically, that shit was a nightmare and it took up like half a year of preparation, so I need to find that balance of making something I love but also managing time way better. Me, Kai and Babii have been experimenting with this new club night called ‘Grid’ where you can interact with the DJ sets by inserting tokens into these machines. Babii made the machines and we programmed some visuals that go crazy when a token’s inserted. It’s a cool way to drop super-secret songs by locking them into the token system.
Would you say that you’re as restless as your music?
Yeah, when I’ve got all my shit together and I’m working on music every day (and not playing shows every other day), I turn into an annoying hyped-up chatterbox with tons and tons of floating ideas and temporary obsessions leaking out of my eyeballs. Babii is on that wave too – we wake up and immediately, we’re talking at each other about some new visual motif we’re obsessed with for thirty seconds like beyblades or a type of beetle or something. It’s really fucking confusing and annoying from an outside perspective (laughs).
An Iglooghost art exhibition would be very much anticipated, as your work is already very much an art installation. Is this something that you’d like to do? How do you relate to visual art from the music perspective?
Yes! The endgame is definitely a physical place that all of these ideas I’ve grown up with can exist.
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