On 25 September, Ludmilla is hosting a huge break based party on A38 in Budapest. One of the invited guests is the Estonian break producer and DJane, Miss Mants. We had a chat with her on this occasion where she told us about what it was like growing up in a music inspired family, how London and New York compares to Budapest, how she writes music and if it is harder for a woman in the music industry. You can also win tickets for the show and Anima Sound System show which starts at 20.00!
Heading from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, Maria (aka Miss Mants) has started her musical background at a quite early stage. Studying classical music at the Tallinn Music School, playing the piano for 12 years and her family’s music background both ensured her path in music in the future.Starting on the radio in her hometown also allowed her to try herself out behind the decks and it did not take too long until she started writing her own tunes in collaboration with the local breaks fanatics.She’s been heavily influenced by the sound of the early 2000s drum and bass and of course later on it led to the love of breaks music. Some of her main influences include Specimen A, Far Too Loud, Breakfastaz, Screwface, Ctrl Z, Backdraft, Dopamine, Beatman & Ludmilla or Vent. She lived in many cities around the world where she could expand her musical spectrum helped her to incorporate lots of different elements to her own style. From the hip-hop influenced New York or Florida and finally the core of breaks music, London. Moving to Budapest in 2012 finally gave her the opportunity to shift her main area of focus to music production in order to achieve a more profound sound. She is ready to bring back some of the nicest, fattest breaks to the anyway heavily house music influenced mid-tempo culture.
What was it like growing in family where your parents were musicians as well? Were expectations too high sometimes?
I wouldn’t say that. I was doing what I liked and I was enjoying it. My teacher and my parents were always around me, helping me to reach a higher level. I had to play according to the level of the class or program of the year but I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to play. My favourite has always been Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, op. 2, no.1. Strong and dramatic. I didn’t like Etudes, but sometimes it was necessary.
You spent time in New York and London before you moved to BP. How did you spend these years, what were you up to? Which is a more inspirational place to be?
I was too young for proper inspiration in the states, so I’d say London is my core place. One of my favourite tunes, “Urban Foundation” was born there and that’s exactly what it got its name from; It’s the place where the first time I felt free and figured what I’m capable of. For a couple of years I had different interests beyond the music, I’ve been exploring a lot, going to parties, meeting new people. Wasn’t producing much, but I’ve still been playing in Tallinn occasionally during my visits to see my family.
How does Budapest compare to these metropolises?
Well, I think London and The States are much more about freedom. You can be whoever you want, people will respect it and understand it. Budapest is a bit more conservative and people tend to live according to different social norms. If I can be honest, sometimes I still find this tricky because I just have different view of life and not everyone gets it.
Can you still benefit from your piano skills?
I still remember how to read the notes. It is just the matter of time. Planning to do live sets in the future anyway. That will be my highest level. The most important skill is hearing.
How much do you use real instruments, or is it just all ableton and other softwares?
I use my voice quite often, I also have an Access Virus B. I prefer Logic over Abeton but not necessarily because I think that it’s better, but it’s what I know. What really matters is not what you use but how you use it. You can make the whole track using just your voice like Dub FX or Michael Jackson.
Your originals are full of emotions. Actually very few producers release these kinds of nu-skool originating tracks nowadays. How do you usually write a song? What’s your usual method?
First of all: I don’t think that one should strictly follow trends in any kind of art, like music or fashion. To me art is a tool to share feelings or emotions with other people. My focus is to inspire people, to make their day easier and happier, to give them ideas. And yes, every single track of mine have a little story inside depending on my mood. I don’t have any method: I sit down, open my laptop and start doing it. Sometimes I start from drums, sometimes from the groove and I take it from there.
Your Sideshow Kuts guest mix is a very unique one where you were mixing your own tracks and remixes. What’s the story behind it?
TJ Soulboy contacted me in November and asked me to make a guest mix for him. By that time I had already enough tracks to make a one hour long mix of them exclusively. I’ve been planning a mix like that already, so I decided to make that one for Sideshow Kuts.
In another interview you cited Voodoo People as your primary inspiration. Was it the original or the Dust Brothers (Chemical Brothers) remix? What emotions do have when you hear the song after many years? Is it the same as it was back then?
Yes, the original one. I was young and I’ve been going to a summer camping where every day from 9pm till 11pm we had a little place to dance. I’ve been hearing most of the Prodigy tracks there, year by year. Prodigy, Daft Punk, etc. Later on I got a cassette from my cousin with Prodigy on it. Man, I was so happy. Emotions are still the same these days, I still love them. I don’t think I ever will get tired of that music.
Is it more difficult to be accepted as a woman in the music industry? And in Hungary?
I would say yes. Especially if you are pretty. And I totally understand it: More and more models and strippers are getting into the music industry. I didn’t see anything like that 10 years ago, maybe because back then everyone was playing vinyl. There was no trendy equipment with a sync button. You could play or you couldn’t. End of the story.
Ludmilla will not be accompanied only by Miss Mants, B’Andre and the Ninjabreakz residents will also play a special breaks and garage house set. The tickets will be 600 HUF, but you can win a bundled ticket with us to the Anima Sound System show as well just before this event where the guys will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking reggae-dub album, Shalom!
Which stage did Ludmilla play on the last Normafa Open Air event on 29 August?
Send your answers to [email protected] until 25 Sept 12 am. We have 2 tickets to give away, so hurry up. The winners will be displayed here and on our Facebook site and will be notified in e-mail as well, with information how they they enter the festival. If you liked the article, like our Facebook page as well.