It’s rather safe to say that London through Berlin expatriate Mama has had her biggest few years to date. From performing at Glastonbury Festival, to collaborating with Beats by Dre for the World Cup, all the way through to a release on Bpitch Control with Argy as well as providing support on Bloc Party’s Kele‘s European tour and the Solomun remix of her Tiefschwarz collab Corporate Butcher hitting the top spot in the Beatport charts, Mama has been meticulously embellishing her lair with some shiny brag-worthy material.
Just before her new album Dreams Of Liberty drops on September 22nd, she will be opening up the new season at secretive Mitte bar Tausend on September 6th with her new live show. We caught up with her for a little chat about her past, present and future projects.
Hi Mama, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m a Berlin based South London girl at heart and I’m married to my music, always have been. My Mum showed me a letter I wrote when I was 7 declaring that I wanted to be a singer and make music, my ambition hasn’t changed much since then. Music has been what’s always motivated me. When I was about 12 I had a little RnB girl group I put together at school, putting on shows in the playground, creating a party for my school mates. I then joined Swedish Petter Wallenberg’s electro clash band Superstudio at University and was photographed by ID magazine and Dazed and Confused as the next generation of club kids in London channeled through the ‘Kashpoint’ and ‘Nag Nag Nag’ club scene. The scene was a good platform for creatives such as Patrick Wolf, Gareth Purgh, Bishi and Scottee.
My love for making music really developed when i put together an indie band called Mama Shamone. Flip X the guitarist and producer encouraged my songwriting skills, we wrote at least 200 songs together, sometimes 3 tracks a day when we were in the zone. We had mild success, toured and our album was produced by legendary Martin Rushent (Buzzcocks, The Human League).
My song writing hasn’t relented, I have my ‘MAMA’ solo project that I’ve written and produced, I’ve teamed up with Argy (Candenza) for the Argy & Mama album project which is out on Ellen Allien‘s Bpitch Control label this year. I’m also a vocalist/songwriter for the Munk band (Gomma Records), Mona Lazette and Hannah Holland‘s Batty Bass Soundsystem. After a year of hard work in the studio, I’m excited to showcase my different musical personalities.
Were you involved in the House scene back in London or did your current sound blossom out of your decision to move to Berlin?
I’m a London girl, so House and electronic music is part of my history. I was fortunate to have a DJ older brother who provided a really well curated library of records from house to Hip hop. Growing up in South London was a creative education with different ecosystems of underground electronic music such as Jungle, Garage, Drum n Bass, Grime, Funky house which all had my ear.
You’ve worked with some very established names of the Berlin house scene, like Catz n Dogz, Bloody Mary, Paul Kalkbrenner, fellow British expat Ed Davenport… what would your dream collaboration be?
Dre Dre and Tricky. I was recently in the Beats for Dre World cup German special video and I’ve met Tricky about 4 times, his label Brown Punk offered Mama Shamone a record deal back in 2006 but he never quite remembers me. I enjoy pretending to get to know him for the first time every time I’ve met him because I find him to be such a layered person.
What can we expect from your debut album Dreams of liberty?
It’s not a very coherent record, simply a blend of music I’ve soaked up over the years from Techno, House, RnB, Hip Hop, Indie, experimental Pop… You name it. The element that brings it all together is its hint of darkness and the openness of the lyrics. It’s been a very personal project, I wrote most of it in my bedroom in Berlin and it’ll be self released on September 22nd. Obviously I’d love it to be well received but my main impulse was being able to record something that I had no choice in making.
Local Suicide have 2×2 guestlist spots to give away for Mama’s show at the Tausend re-opening party, just drop us a comment to win the tickets.