Jack ‘Mumdance’ Adams is a careers advisor’s wet dream – he’s spent the last few years making opportunities for himself and knocking every one of them out the park. As soon as he passed his driving test he started ferrying Evil Nine to their gigs and now, less than a decade later, he’s a major player on the global electro scene, recording for Diplo’s legendary Mad Decent imprint, as well as Trouble & Bass and serious grime label No Hats No Hoods.
Despite many records coming out with his name over them ‘The Mum Decent EP’ is his first solo outing, and it’s a cracker. Lead track ‘Don’t Forget Me Now’ features Esser on gentle vocals, and is a perfect mix of rough skippy afro beats, electro synths and a great pop hook. You might think that the indie popster must have taken care of the song while Mumdance banged out the drums, but after years of collaborations Jack doesn’t work like that. “Esser came round my house and then we just sat there,” Jack recalls. “We were trying stuff for ages, and then we just went out the pub. Half the battle with working with someone in the studio is building a rapport together, as soon as you’re mates, it’s easy to work together. When we came back Esser played out the riff while he was chatting to me, I did the drums and came up with the chanting hook and the lyrics. Esser had to re-write them though because I’d just split up with someone and they were a bit emo. He made them a bit less cut-your-wrist-y.”
Making music without clear-cut roles and marked out boundaries is an indication of Jack’s lack of ego. He’s serious about what he does but excited by what other people can bring to the table. It’s a positive outlook that has paid dividends, with collaborations with Brodinski, AC Slater, High Rankin and, most pivotally, grime MC Jammer.
After a stint working on drum’n’bass nights for Don’t Panic’s Rob Gray and Digital boss Dave Stone (who still speaks highly of him), Jack did some university work experience for Vice magazine, who were impressed enough to keep him on to look after their events. This led to him organising the excellent Tales Of The Jackalope festival, featuring Klaxons, 2manyDJs and an early, frightening appearance by The Horrors. It was a massive achievement, especially as he was just 22 years old at the time. “Before I’d only had to deal with DJs turning up late,” he says. “I’d never had to deal with backlines and sound checks and massive egos. It was an eye-opener, but now I’m not phased by anything, ‘cos that’s the one time I thought, ‘I can’t do this’.”
So when Vice put out a Black Lips record and one of the photographers suggested a bootleg with Jammer, it wasn’t a massive surprise to find Jack stepping up to the plate. He popped round Jammer’s house, recorded some vocals and spent three quarters of an hour putting it together. He sent it to Diplo, Annie Mac and Sinden via MySpace and within a week all three had got back to him – the former blogging it and the other two playing on their Radio 1 and Kiss shows. Diplo then grabbed him to remix ‘Creator’ for Santogold’s ‘Top Ranking’ mixtape. To say it was a baptism of fire is severely understating things. From there the remix work flooded in. “I got bombarded with remix requests and I did, like, twelve or something like that,” he says. “But it took me quite a long time to do them ‘cos I was still learning how to make music. I was put in quite a really high-pressured situation and it took me a while to follow through. This has been the first time where I’m comfortable with releasing my own stuff.”
From grime, to techno, through electro and mixes of post-hardcore rock bands – Mumdance tracks cover a serious amount of ground. What does Jack think holds the work together? What makes a Mumdance record a Mumdance record?
“It’s more like the idea behind it,” he ponders. “I try and blend cultures together. Actually that’s a bit overly analytical, but I think it’s just the case that I like a lot of different types of music. I think its boring to listen to one type of music all night, and that’s how I felt when I was growing up going to drum’n’bass nights, hearing the same tunes five times in an evening. I thought it’d be nice to mix things up.”
Jack’s open attitude is perfectly summed up by his trip to Mexico City to collaborate with fellow Mad Decent artist Toy Selectah. They took the local triplet-based drums of the emerging tribal guarachero scene and mixed them with our own UK funky, switching rhythms every eight bars.
“It was blending two cultures together as well as blending the two sounds, and that’s always the idea,” he explains. “It’s nice to mix genres and music comes from culture anyway. That’s going deep into it, but it’s also what sounds good at the same time. There’s a whole global music scene now – labels like Mad Decent and Man Recordings – but I like to do it with a UK twist to it cause that’s where I’m from. It’s nice to represent.”
From the brutal tech-grime of ‘Sacrifice’ on ‘The Mum Decent EP’ the next place Jack is heading is right back to the heart of east London for a proper slice of grime with Trim and Jammer, before melting that sound into acid for a track that’s like a UK take on ‘Higher State Of Consciousness’. There really is nothing that he can’t take on and master. The boy’s really going global.
SINGLE: ‘The Mum Decent EP’ out now
ACE VIDEO: tinyurl.com/MumVideo
FREE MIXTAPE: tinyurl.com/DifferentCirclesMixtape
WORDS AND PHOTO BY JAMES KENDALL
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