Murmur Tooth & Lars Moston are two artists with very different musical backgrounds, that have come together to collaborate and form an excellent result. With the first single “Antidote” coming from their upcoming LP, we caught up with them to find out how they came to work together, and what was the inspiration behind the record…

Hey Leah (Murmur Tooth) and Lars, It’s great to meet you! How’s your summer been so far?

We’re actually writing this poolside in Ibiza after Lars’s set at the Claptone Masquerade party on Saturday, so summer is about as good as it gets right now! However, the rest of the summer has been so busy with music we haven’t actually seen much of it – we’ve been stupid busy finishing our album and pulling together a live set. No complaints though, we’d rather be making music than anything else!

Congrats on your upcoming release “Antidote” on Motor Music. What was your inspiration behind this record?

Cheers! Antidote is the first single from our upcoming album “No Time to Explain”, so we’re really excited about it. The song is about finding your place, finding home, finding the beautiful things in life – the antidote to all the rest of it. We wrote it in the middle of winter during the first Berlin lockdown, but because the song is so hopeful and optimistic it really sounds more like summer. We’d just met and started making music together so we were having a great time and that joy really comes through, despite the searching nature of the lyrics. One really gets the feeling that the “antidote” is just moments away and that life is wonderful.

Leah, you have an interesting background. Hailing from New Zealand, and being a metal guitarist, classical pianist & singer/songwriter, how did you come to collaborate in electronic music?

Haha, yeah, the electronic thing was bound to happen after a few years in Berlin I guess. I play a bunch of instruments, but I’m more of a songwriter than anything – I just have to exist music. I started classical piano lessons when I was 5 and spent a decade regurgitating piano pieces written by a bunch of dead guys. So I taught myself guitar – I wanted to ignore all the music theory I had learned and have a purely creative instrument. This really helped with writing interesting and creative songs, but was still a bit limiting just due to the nature of a single instrument. Composing electronically has opened up a whole new world – on the computer I have access to every instrument that ever existed, and a whole bunch that don’t – it’s really exciting! And writing with such an amazing producer is a real privilege – we’re a great team – we have completely opposite musical tastes and backgrounds which gives us a really wide skill set to draw from. We fill each other’s gaps and push each other to explore all the places this weird musical combination can go. Antidote is a deep house track, but the other songs on the album sift around quite a range of genres.

Lars, you of course have a more traditional background who tours the world as a DJ across many worldwide festivals. How does this collaboration differ and fit so well with what you have been looking for?

Leah is an absolutely incredible musician. I’m constantly amazed with the stuff she comes up with. And with her also being so skilled at playing her instruments (and pretty much anything else she gets her hands on) that’s a huge bonus when it comes to implementing my own musical ideas. I’ve always been more interested in other aspects of making music than actually learning how to play an instrument properly, so having Leah there to do that for me is great. Her coming from such a different place musically has really changed my perspective on club music as well, so my solo productions are being influenced by this partnership too.

How does your setup look like ?

Our studio contains all the usual electronic tools, some synths, an electric guitar, a few different vocal mics, a bunch of children’s toy instruments, and various household utensils.

What studio gear and/or instruments do you believe define your sound?

Probably the children’s toys and kitchen utensils. One night we were having a laugh recording drum sounds using random household implements and they sounded so good that we ended up doing this on all our tracks. Personal favourites are Leah’s “spaghetti being scraped down a metal fan grill” hi-hat fill, and Lars’s “kick a paper bag” snare accent. We also use a lot of children’s toys – all those silly dinky instruments you find in primary school classrooms, and they’re all broken so they sound super wonky. One of the best hooks on the album is a broken kids’ ukelele thing that Leah is doing weird bends on in mimicry of a triggered electronic rhythmic hook. Another defining feature of our sound is Leah’s voice – she isn’t a singer and it’s not a normal “sings nicely in tune” voice – it’s sweet and endearing but also a bit dirty and broken – it’s unique and really genuinely conveys the feeling of each song.

Your previous release was a very highly acclaimed remix of the huge Claptone track “Beautiful” – how did that come about?

The first track we released together was a bootleg remix of Peter Gabriel’s “My Body is a Cage”. We saw a video of Claptone opening a set in Tulum with it, then he asked us to do the Beautiful remix a few weeks later, so maybe it had something to do with that track. It’s a bit of a fucking banger, just quietly! Lars has also been a regular guest DJ at the Claptone Masquerade parties over the last few years, so he’s been on the radar for a while, with some of his previous releases also being featured on the Clapcast radio show.

What has been your highlight gig this year?

Our first live show happened quite recently at Wilde Möhre Festival in Germany and it was definitely a highlight. It was a really big crowd and seeing such a great reaction to the songs that we’ve been pouring our hearts into was just awesome! Especially since a lot of our music is quite different from what you would usually hear at an electronic festival. We thought about transitioning between songs to make it a continuous mix, like electronic crowds are used to, but we’re happy that we didn’t because playing the show like a rock concert with gaps (and Leah yapping) between the songs got people really fired up – they loved having a voice and got really into yelling and whooping!

Any dream places to perform on the bucket list at the moment?

Glastonbury would be great, and we want to do a tour of New Zealand and Australia together next year.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer our questions, is there anything else you would like to mention before we go?

We want to give a shoutout to the great remixers we have on this single – Dompe and Intaktogene, both from Berlin. Dompe made an uncompromising French House style club banger and Intaktogene made a deep, stripped down version for the underground dancefloors that are her domain. You never know what you’re going to get when you send a song out for a remix and we’re really happy with these – we love them both!

Murmur Tooth & Lars Moston’s “Antidote” is out on 7th October on Motor Music
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