Bearded Villains interview: Finis Mundi x Melou
A couple of weeks ago, we touched down in Stockholm and had the opportunity to have a sit down and Fika (the Swedish to have a coffee) with the up and coming melodic and chill house duo, the Bearded Villains. They comprise of: talented pianist and producer Finis Mundi (Niño) and the young and talented Melou (Alex). Their sound is best described as a combination of inspiring melodies, crisp percussion and atmospheric bliss. You can feel the inspiration of nature and beautiful landscapes behind their sound and vision of the Bearded Villains.
These guys are two of the most focused individuals who are determined on creating new and original sounds to create the next wave. They are heavily inspired with sharing and creating lasting art. It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with these hilarious yet humble guys who now have the privilege to call our good friends. The Bearded Villains have just signed with one of the most prominent managers based in Stockholm so you can expect to hear and see more of their feel-good tunes in the coming months ahead. We talk to the BVs about: the creation and vision behind the newly founded promotional label Saint Selection, their journey to current success and of course we discuss: their worst habits, favourite food and dream festivals to play. We hope you guys enjoy the sound and this interview with the Bearded Villains.
First off tell us how you both first got into production? Were you musicians beforehand?
Alex (Melou): So from the beginning I was always the computer guy. I have always loved computers, programming and just messing about with new applications. I downloaded logic maybe four years ago. I was always listening to a lot of music but never really considered the production process behind it. I had played the violin for a number of years but I didn’t really stick with that. So I started off by just creating some simple beats in Logic. Moving on later to remixes and edits which we were really bad at the beginning, of course! Ha-ha. Although, in some way I knew I had a feeling for the music, I just had to keep practising and getting better day by day.
Then I met up with Niño… it was around 1 year ago, right?
Niño: (Finis Mundi): Yeah, it was exactly 1 year ago.
How did you guys meet?
Niño: It was at a mutual friend’s graduation reception.
Alex: Yeah this was time in which I was producing my first remix of the track ‘Just One Day’ by Mighty Oaks so this guy was actually one of the first people I showed the remix to. I showed him the project because I had heard from friends that he was a producer also and I checked out his Soundcloud and he was producing similar stuff to me.
So take us to when you guys first started making music together, albeit in the studio or just jamming, did you feel a musical connection between each other, did you feel like you had the same vibes?
Niño: Yeah when heard his draft for the Just One Day, I was like oh God … he’s producing almost the sound that I want to produce. At this time I had my Neapolitan Dreams and I was uploading this track. I listened to my remix and to Alex’s and I thought wow this is cool; it’s very similar to my sound. I was like ok… this guy seems pretty cool…
Niño: …well it wasn’t until August when Alex uploaded his ‘Just One Day’ remix that I realised, oh s*** this guy is about to get a lot of listeners as he really is talented.
Alex did you have an inkling before you released your ‘Just One Day’ remix that it was going to do so well?
Alex: No not really, I was really new to Soundcloud, I had been talking to Nino at lot and sending my tracks to him again and again asking for feedback many times so when I released it, I knew it was as good as it could be but I had never imagined that it could reach 200, 000 plays – that was just crazy so quickly as well. I had just two followers on Soundcloud before this release which was pretty cool. It was pretty funny because I wrote to the big promotional channel, electro Posee – when I only had 5 followers and the song had only been released 30 minutes ago. It was only 1 and a half month’s later when it had 150k plays – they were like oh sorry Alex it’s a great song, we missed your message.
With your new collaborative project together, the Bearded Villains, do you feel as producers you push each other?
Niño: Yeah for sure, you could say that because even before we started the Bearded Villains, we started together to devise a strategy of how we could build our fan base. This really helped us when we actually came to starting the Bearded Villains together. We have always wanted to make sure that everything we do is organised, that we maintain a specific schedule of releases and goals of what we have to do. The Bearded Villains track, ‘the Freedom’ blah blah resulted from both of us coming together and pushing each other to really do our best work.
Tell us a little bit more about the Bearded Villains – what is the mission behind this project? How did you come with the name and the vision for this new project?
Alex: I think it was Niño who came up with the new title the Bearded Villains
Niño: Well, Alex and I are always constantly talking all the time and I said like hey I think I have found a track we can make an edit of but it doesn’t match our individual style. We had talked about making it official and becoming a duo since we had always been making our tracks together. As I showed this track to Alex, he said to me ‘oh but Urban Contact is going to release a remix of this same track
Alex: Because I heard this actually from our friends at Samuraii who you are going to meet tomorrow who are our very close friends.
Niño: Yeah we are from the same place at these guys.
Alex: Yeah so I had heard from these guys that Urban Contact was going to make a remix of Shaky ground and I was like hey we have to do this fast fast.
So how long was it actually between the date you released the track and the Urban Contact release then?
Alex: Well the funny story is that they haven’t actually released it yet, even today, Erik from Samuraii said that the release is done because they just released their latest remix – Technicolour Beat so I am guessing they might release it after this one or just not at all.
What inspires you guys, where do you get inspiration from when making music?
Niño: I take any kind of inspiration from everything around me because I am a former pianist. So I love talking to people who are doing their own thing. Have you heard of EMBERZ? He is a great friend of mine, so we always discuss different styles and I am always asking him what are your reference tracks? I really take inspiration from talking and sharing music with other producers who are also pushing their boundaries of creativity and exploring new ideas.
Alex: Exactly, we are constantly just sending each other different tracks everyday. Saying yeah this is very nice and sometimes we agree it’s great or we disagree as one of us will just say it’s s***.
Finis Mundi (Niño) – 1/2 of the Bearded Villains
Would you say you are very honest with each other?
Niño: Yeah it’s the strength we have when working together because we are always honest and truthful with our opinions. He is always sending me like 20 tracks a day and they are always the same style ha-ha! Alex sent me the SAINT WKND track ‘Nightmare’, and it’s like oh God it’s always the same style but somehow we always find some place where we both agree on and that is between both our tastes which we can use as a reference track.
How would you both describe your individual sound compared to the sound of Bearded Villains, would you say it’s distinct from each other?
Alex: It is hard for me to say because I have only released two tracks and both of them you can say are within the tropical genre. I have also just released a new track which you could say has a country feel to it. I wouldn’t say this is my final, established sound as I am still developing that and really trying to establish something unique to Melou. The bearded Villains sound could be compared to the first tropical tracks which I produced under Melou.
Niño: I would describe the sound of Finis Mundi as a sound which is heavily atmospheric, inspired by nature, log cabins and trying to epitomize a cosy feel. I always want to represent the winter sound capturing forest valleys and the feel of inspiring landscapes. I think tropical house is getting a bad name because a lot of producers appear to be jumping on this wave of new music and essentially platforms such as Soundcloud have become saturated with a poor level of tropical production. People appear to be producing tropical for the attention and the views the track will receive. Our focus is not the views but the expression behind the art.
I heard that your dad Niño set you up with your first studio and instruments. The question is though; do you think that you will ever make a track with your dad?
Niño: I talked with my dad yesterday and he was saying to me, ‘Niño, I don’t know whether you would be in this position without me, banging on about doing your one hour’s piano practice every day. He has been an inspiration to me.’ From a few months’ ago my father started to realise the studying aint that important. Niño needs this time to really pursue what he loves. He is very supportive.
What is a track that you are really vibing?
Alex: I love SAINT WKND’s latest track, ‘My Type’ because I love the vocals. This is the track that I am loving right now.
Niño: I am a huge fan of the guy who is playing in Stockholm tonight, Cashmere Cat and his latest track ‘Adore’. It is so awesome.
Tell me about the vision and direction behind Saint Selection?
Niño: Alex and I were talking and we noticed that aren’t really any promotional channels out there that don’t promote tropical. We wanted to start a label that was more focused on the art of the music and we found this ‘Manila Picasso’ guy that we could share his sound and increase his exposure a bit. We are focusing on the experimental hip-hop.
Melou (Alex ) – the second 1/2 of Bearded Villains
Quick Fire Questions
Alex: Eating a lot of bad food.
Niño: Spending too much time in the studio.
A County you would both love to visit?
Niño: Berlin in Germany.
Alex: Paris in France.
Can you do any accents?
Alex: I speak Norwegian as my father is from Norway.
Niño: No I don’t think so.
What would you say your motto is?
Niño: Quality over quantity.
Alex: Produce what you like don’t follow trends.
The biggest dislike about the music industry today?
Niño: Tropical house … Haha!
Alex: Soundcloud and their increasing banns and regulations with taking tracks down due to copyright. If Soundcloud continues to keep prohibiting and impeding artist releases people will soon find an alternative.
What do you both love about Stockholm?
Alex: There are so making opportunities in Stockholm and we have the best university in Sweden here. We have nights that are also the best in Sweden. It is a mega town; you never have to move outside of Stockholm.
What do you dislike about Stockholm?
Niño: I really dislike the commercial aspect of the night clubs here in Sweden; they only play heavily commercial EDM which is a real shame.
Would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button on your life?
Niño: That is a hard one …I would rather have the rewind button because everything that is happening right now is so exciting.
The greatest gig that you have seen so far?
Alex: I haven’t really been to any gigs in my life. The only gig I have been to is Lady Gaga …haha! It was because I had to go to look after my younger sisters.
Niño: I am really excited for the Cashmere Cat gig tonight in Stockholm.
Who do you want to see live?
Alex: Of course … Finis Mundi … haha! Louis Futon would be great live; I know he is playing at Coachella this year.
Where would your dream festival to play as the Bearded Villains be?
Niño: Coachella is really awesome; it offers the newer artists the opportunity to really promote their music on a large stage.
Alex: I would quite like to play Ultra, make a lot of money and then just sit back and enjoy afterwards in the sun.
Niño: We are just amazed that Aux London is in Stockholm and you have given us this opportunity to have an interview with you.
Alex: This is my first ever interview so I have never been interviewed like this. Thank you that you came and for your time.