The Mixtape Vol. 92

A mix anticipating YOH’s Pool Party and a chat with headline act Mndsgn

'YOH Experiences' is a series of events at venues that aim to dazzle. Up next is a pool party hosted at a Southern Suburbs mansion and featuring headline act Mndsgn. His name's pronounced "mind design”, and Ringgo Ancheta is a New Jersey-raised musician whose early gospel and B-Boy culture led to his experimentation with beat-making. After befriending fellow producer Knxwledge, the two formed Klipmode along with Devonwho and Suzi Analogue.

Mndsgn's music flourished when he moved to Los Angeles, catching the attention of Stones Throw Records (the label responsible for albums by Madvillain and J Dilla, among others) and he released two albums, Yawn Zen (2014) and Body Wash (2016), soon after.

The guys at YOH have made a playlist for The Way of Us, featuring everyone who’ll be performing at their pool party, and put us in touch with their headline artist, Mndsgn, so that we could do a quick Q&A with him. Read it after the jump.

For those who don’t know, who is Mndsgn and why do we need to listen to you?

I'm no more special than the next person. As long as Mndsgn has been a thing, recording and composing music has quickly become an efficient means for me to conjure, explore, and study the different moods and emotions I've experienced. Growing up in a relatively mundane suburb of New Jersey has allowed me to dig inwards. In doing so it led me to beautiful places like Los Angeles, which is where I'm currently based. In 2014, Stones Throw Records provided me with a wider channel to release my music, aside from the self-released Bandcamp projects I had been doing since 2009. No one needs to listen to me. But sometimes you just need to take it easy and groove to something that touches your soul. Some say I'm that guy.

What music were you into growing up, and how has your taste changed over the years?

Growing up being heavily influenced by 90s hip hop/R&B culture would later evolve into a genuine curiosity about what came before it. Now that my understanding of music has matured, I feel like my attention to detail has magnified as well. Music with different movements and changes interests me much more these days.

What does it mean to you being signed to a label like Stones Throw Records?

It's a full circle blessing. It's a milestone that I could've only reached through diligence and honesty.

Which musicians do you consider your peers, and whose music do you love listening to?

There are far too many to mention, but I'm fortunate to say that most of them are also based in Los Angeles.

Why have you decided to come play here in South Africa?

Simply to share my work with a part of the world I've never been. I'm grateful to know that there's a community of people listening to me out there.

You’re playing a pool party. What are the ingredients for an epic pool party?

As long as there's interesting music, food and people, I think something good is bound to happen.

Tell us about the aesthetic that goes with your music. How do you like to visually represent your music via your videos, album art and posters?

I've always recorded music using relatively cheap and/or old equipment. VHS tape is a go-to for my partner Alima, who has directed videos for me. I've always felt that to be an appropriate representation of the lo-fi quality I like to preserve in my work.

As far as collaborations go, what have the highlights been so far and who are you looking forward to working with next?

I enjoy working with people who are relatively under the radar. Swarvy and I have a bunch of stuff we've started together. Not sure what we're going to to do with that, but I really enjoy our workflow. I'm looking forward to doing more songs with Joyce Wrice. She really complements my style of production and vice versa. I'm trying to work with more singers in general.

How would you like people to react to your music?

Hopefully in a positive way. I often make music with the intention of bringing more light into the listener’s life. It's pretty straightforward, but I hope it's effective.

Are you a spiritual person and what are the words you live by?

The word "spiritual" is pretty trendy now, so the context can get a bit lost in that question. But I do consider my consciousness to be rooted in spirit. As Ram Dass says, “Be Here Now. Being present is the best gift you can give yourself.”

Anything to add, please do so here…

Shoutout to everyone who's making this show happen. I appreciate everyone in SA for the love and support. Looking forward to U!

* image by the talented Tyla Mason