MiMOSA on His New Album, “SiNNER // SAiNT,” Artistic Growth and His Musical Past [INTERVIEW]
MiMOSA is one of those legends that never stop releasing music; ever since he released his debut EP Hostilis back in 2009, he has put out more than ten albums and EP’s, each of them with a feel of it’s own. His unique approach to electronic music of all genres that is melodic and catchy, as well as hard hitting, has been captivating fans for the longest time.
After almost 2 years of silence, Mimosa finally released his newest album, titled “SiNNER // SAiNT” on Muti Music. As he said in a Facebook post on April 21st, when the album was released:
“Today is the day, 3 years of work and digging deep and pushing myself to create something that reflects my past evolution along with some new directions.”
I believe the album is exactly what Mimosa intended it to be. Spanning 11 tracks in length, it is thoughtful and elegant; in my opinion a true testament to Mimosa’s artistic progression over the last several years.
Mimosa takes a minimalistic yet heavy approach to creating many of the album’s tracks, like in “Road Trip,” “Night Crawler,” and “Bring It.” “Reflections” is an interplay between melodic piano sections and bass drops, while “Dejavu (feat. Hush)” is one of the standout tracks; a slow and filthy trap banger. Some of the more melodic cuts on the album are the title track "SiNNER // SAiNT" which offers an explosion of synths and vocal chops, as well as its follow-up, “Free Love.” Sticking true to his hip-hop roots, Tigran brings back the beats and bars on “Bout Mine” featuring rap duo The Rej3ctz and “Zonin feat. Pe$o.” And the pièce de résistance from MiMOSA is “Not a Love Song" feat. Pe$o & Animal, an R&B jam that closes off the track list.
We got the chance to talk with MiMOSA about the new album, his progression as an artist and his approach to making music:
EDM.com: So you just released your newest album titled SiNNER // SAiNT. Tell us about it, how did the album come about and what was the conceptual idea behind it?
MiMOSA: Well, with this album I was kinda nervous because it took me so long to make and I have so many different genres in it, so I didn’t know how a single fanbase would react to all these different types of music. It goes from all these chill, happy vibes to something a little more darker, to half time Drum & Bass, some Hip-Hop and then it goes into R&B. Things just kind of turned out that way, I sang on the title track for example and did all the sampling stuff, so it was just me having fun. I had several tracks in all those genres and I didn’t know how to put em all out, so I just grouped them all together, made a story and had it kind of ride in a way where it makes sense as an album, as opposed to releasing all the tracks as singles, something that I think wouldn’t make that much sense.
...as an artist, you grow and you wanna express yourself in many different ways. For me, it’s amazing to put all these different sides of myself into one piece of art and have people be receptive to it and to listen to it as one piece of music without having preconceived ideas of what it should sound like.
It is indeed pretty diverse, going through so many genres in such a short amount of time.
Yeah, I’m really happy that people are being receptive to listening to just music and not a genre. What really holds me back sometimes is when people are like: “I listened to you five years ago and fell in love with that album.” They want to hear more of that because that’s the experience they had with my music, but as an artist, you grow and you wanna express yourself in many different ways. For me, it’s amazing to put all these different sides of myself into one piece of art and have people be receptive to it and to listen to it as one piece of music without having preconceived ideas of what it should sound like. I never really want to be stuck making one kind of music, I’m always gonna grow and make something new, so it really makes me happy when people say: “you know what, that’s all different styles, but I like all the styles.”
And how did this all start? Can you talk to us about when you were first introduced to electronic music and how your journey went on from there?
So I was born in Armenia and moved to Los Angeles when I was about three years old, and growing up I was listening to strictly Hip-Hop. Then my mother got remarried, and we moved to San Francisco, where my stepsister took me to my first outdoor festival. That was back in 2001 when I was 13 years old. At that time it was all Psytrance music, Breakbeats, and Drum & Bass, there wasn’t really the type of bass music that we listen to now. I liked the Psytrance and that year I went to Burning Man, where my stepsister took me to see Tipper. I had no idea who he was, but a little later he released his “Surrounded” album, and that album and his performance just changed my whole perspective of electronic music. I was hearing the psychedelic sounds that I liked from psytrance and the beats that I loved about Hip-Hop, so I immediately thought: “this is the stuff that I want to be doing.” So I started diving more into that genre of music, and seeing DJ’s mix all those different genres together, naturally made me want to try and create my own sound, fusing the psychedelic sounds and the Hip-Hop beats my own way. It’s been a constant evolution ever since; it’s just that I didn’t have the skillset to make what I really wanted to make at the start.
Even if it’s just a hobby for someone, it’s important to have music act like some sort of release therapy; and I know it is a really big one for me.
So how did you acquire the skills to be making music like this? Did you think at that time that this was something you would do for a living?
At first, it started out of passion, just because I had a love for it, and then I actually had this really strong experience that felt like a calling for me, so that’s when I started taking it a bit more seriously. It was never really about money, but, you know, when it’s all you’re doing and you also have to eat, it’s nice to get paid for doing what you love. So I would never push for money or anything like that, but I think the music I was making and the fact that I was making it at such a young age, caused people to see something in me and it definitely opened up a lot of doors.
Ever since you started, music production technology has progressed immensely and is still changing. How has that rapid change impacted you as a producer?
Well, it has impacted me in a lot of ways. A few years ago, in my early 20s, I was wasting a lot of money doing $500-per-hour 12-hour studio sessions every day when I was living in New York for three years. With the last few albums I spent a lot of time doing live recordings in studios, with real instruments, with vocal artists, etc. however I approached SiNNER // SAiNT a little more directly. The title track, for example, I heard the vocal in my head sitting in my bedroom, and I just opened my laptop and sang it into the microphone. Then with all the technology I was able to EQ it and make it sound decent enough to build a whole track around it.
I don’t think you should be afraid of showing your true musical colors to the world; because if you decide not to, that means that from the beginning you were trying to please people and get their attention for the wrong reasons.
So basically your approach has kind of changed these days.
Yeah, these days my approach is a little different. I create everything at home and just hit the studio to perfect it and do things you can’t do in an untreated bedroom setting. But with electronic music especially, you can do pretty much everything from your bedroom, and that gives a lot more people the chance to express themselves. Even if it’s just a hobby for someone, it’s important to have music act like some sort of release therapy; and I know it is a really big one for me. So the more widely accessible to the people and easy to learn it is, the better, and if they’re good at it more power to them.
It’s in every artist’s nature to constantly progress and change their style. What would your advice be to other artists looking to diversify their sound?
You know, personally my approach these days is to simply not care, because if you care too much you are gonna lose sight of who you are and why you started doing everything. You can’t please everyone; if you try to please everyone then you don’t please anyone, I think that you should just make music and let it speak for itself. I have a lot of preconceived notions of my personality, of what people think of me and that causes them to not necessarily want to listen to my music, so my struggle is to try to break through that barrier of people having preconceived notions and just listen to the music as art. So, my advice would be to follow your heart and just do whatever feels right. I don’t think you should be afraid of showing your true musical colors to the world; because if you decide not to, that means that from the beginning you were trying to please people and get their attention for the wrong reasons. However, if you stay true to yourself and actually love the music that you make, it’s going to resonate with everybody else.
When you see people responding to something that is personal to you and you see them resonating with it, you feel the energy of it and that feeling is profound; it’s an indescribable high.
What are some of the artists that you look up to and have influenced your sound?
Anywhere from Marvin Gaye, to Dr. Dre, to Tipper. I like a lot of music, but at the same time, I try not to listen to too much electronic music to prevent myself being influenced by it. I want to have my own style and if I listen to something and I like it, when I get in the studio I’m subconsciously gonna try to recreate that. So basically I admire a lot of people but try not to listen to it too much for that reason.
Wow, that’s crazy discipline. So: Marvin Gaye, Dr. Dre, Tipper, three totally different people.
(Laughs) 2pac was also a huge influence for me growing up, and so was Two Short who I made a track with. His album “Life is… Too Short” was the first album I ever owned, my mother bought it for me without knowing what it was and to collaborating with him some years later was really a dream come true.
And outside of music, where else do you find inspiration and what is your intention when creating a new track?
When it comes down to making music, I think what I try to put down into auditory form is just whatever life experience I’m going through and how I reflect on it. So let’s say I’m going through something really crazy, I’ll sit down and make a heavy bassline, and if I wish I had some sort of resolution to that matter in my life but can’t find a way to come about it, maybe I’ll make a melody to go on top of that. And then, that in auditory form will make me feel a certain way, and if I could feel that resolution through music, even if I can’t achieve it in my life, that’s something really powerful to me, a form of therapy. So that is where my intentions of my music creating process come from.
So do you prefer being in the studio making music, or being on the road and playing shows?
That’s actually a really hard question. Obviously I love making music, that’s where the process comes from first. I love being in the studio, but I also love playing shows because when you play the music out, you get to see the reaction. When you see people responding to something that is personal to you and you see them resonating with it, you feel the energy of it and that feeling is profound; it’s an indescribable high. But at the same time as I get older, I would like to have the opportunity not to be playing 6 months out of the year being away from home. I wouldn’t want to retire from the road, just not be a slave to it, because that’s when it becomes a job, and when it does it takes the soul away, and that’s when you start getting lost.
And that’s when you make a track titled “Lost,” and it’s a banger.
(Laughs) Exactly! And, you know, this is actually the first time within the last two years where I haven’t been touring heavily, where I’ve settled down for a bit because it all felt like I was going a million miles per hour and time just flew by. Νow that I have the chance to sit down and think a little more long-term, I’m thinking more as an adult than just the kid that started off touring several years ago. It’s a process you go through as a DJ, when you’re young you just want to be on top, and then as you get older every few years you start questioning yourself: “why am I doing this?” Τhat’s something you should do, and it’s healthy too; and if the old answer doesn’t feel right, you just have to make a new one.