Dubstep guru Tigran Mimosa, better known simply as MiMOSA, recently played Burning Man and is set to perform at this weekend’s Electric Zoo festival in New York City. WEEKEND interviewed him via telephone before he hit the stage on Monday night.
Q. What was your first musical memory?
A. The first thing I was ever into was “Life Is…Too Short” [the 1989 album by rapper Too Short]. My mom bought it for me. I don’t think she had any idea what it actually was. I remember listening to that constantly and memorizing all the lyrics, being inspired by the melodies. From there, I started listening to hip hop. Dr. Dre was a huge influence on me.
Q. Since we’re on hip hop, what are your thoughts on “Watch the Throne” and “Carter IV”?
A. I just downloaded it, haven’t heard the whole thing yet. I love [Lil] Wayne; I don’t think he’s at his strongest point right now. I think hip hop right now is not at its strongest point. I’m a big fan of Wiz [Khalifa] and Wayne, Drake and a couple of other guys, but only things they do here and there. I’m a bigger fan of Drake because he has a softer side. It has more emotion to it; it’s not all about partying.
Q. Are you bored by hard dance music?
A. No. I feel like it has its place, and there’s so much of it being done in the same way that I don’t see a point in doing that, so I’d rather do it differently and have my own kind of voice. Not to say that I don’t appreciate everything for what it is. But I’m staying away from aggressive bass tones and [focusing] more on melodies.
Q. Do you get any sense that west coast crowds are different from east coast crowds?
A. It’s hard to say. There are all sorts of different kids all around, but the west coast is a little more open to hearing experimental music and melodic music. The east coast is more rhythm oriented.
Q. I have a twelve-year-old brother who listens to nothing but electronic music. I’ve been trying to get him to listen to some classic stuff and couldn’t quite hook him until I played him your Nina Simone remix [“I Put a Spell on You”].
A. That’s great to hear, man. Hope your house is OK [from the earthquake on August 23 that could be felt along much of the east coast]. I’ve been through a bunch of earthquakes … never DJed through one, though.