August 19, 2022

Mall Grab: A Rough Start With Extra Turnstiles and Nia Archives

5 min read

MAll Grab’s debut album ‘What I Breathe’ is steeped in London’s DNA. Whether it’s the spirit of the woods and dirt that breathes through its tracks or the guest vocals from novelists, D Double E and Nia Archives, the sounds of the city sparkle throughout the record. It may come as a surprise to learn that the mole grab is actually the surname of Jordan Alexander, a native of Newcastle, Australia.

“I wanted to make the most of my flavor, which I’ve now adopted from my hometown,” Alexander tells WebMD. NME About the city where he first came from Newcastle seven years ago.

“Ever since I moved here, I’ve immersed myself in the sound, culture and history of this place. Even when I came back to Australia, all my music was from London or the UK. I’ve always Tried to get my voice out, but as time goes by, I’m more and more impressed with where I am.

It makes sense that Alexander, who spent his formative adult years in the thickets of the capital’s dance music community, would be enamored of the city’s rhythms and peculiarities. But it would also be unfair to limit the definition of mall grab to a single genre. Since the release of their initial EP in the mid-2010s, they have defied easy categorization: house, rave, techno, hardcore and synth-pop have all, at various points, been integral elements in the mall grab recipe.

The idea of ​​recording his first full-length album had been swirling in Sikandar’s mind for many years, but it was in those empty months of 2020 that finally made him realize that ambition. The momentum to undertake such a project was certainly not lost on them.

“My other releases are all very DIY, where I am in control of everything. But this time, because it is coming to a major label, there is a little more pressure,” he admits. “I was used to working according to my schedule, so I thought it was time to go for a bigger project. I wanted to try to take it to the next level in terms of audience and see how many other people I could reach. The pressure was a good thing.”

The result is a win. “What I Breathe” brings together the core elements that have made Mall Grab a performer over the years: from the compelling piano house of irresistible “Love Rains” to the messy, introspective mood of “Breathing” and the retro ’90s In ‘The Jungle of the Metaphysical’, the album finds Alexander to be the best-rounded and complete as a producer.

“A lot of DJs, if they do an album, will usually have eight normal dance tracks and then maybe some ambient tracks,” he says. “I didn’t really want to go down that path, because it’s so predictable. I have such a wide range of influences — I don’t especially listen to a lot of dance music outside of my friends stuff, so it really comes down to that music.” is more influenced by what I listen to outside the world of electronic music.”

Alexander single-handedly produced ‘What I Breathe’ over the course of 18 months, and from the enthusiastic way he speaks about the record, it’s clear that he knows all the pieces fell at exactly the right time.

“There’s an friction to my music, which I think comes from my working-class background, and there’s also a dark mood from where I live now,” he says. “I hope I’m at the point now where you can listen to one of my tracks and you know it was something I produced.”

mall grab
Mall Grab (Picture: Rob Jones / Press)

IT is far from the skating-obsessed teenager who listened to hardcore punk in New South Wales. “Skateboarding videos and games influenced my musical tastes in a big way when I was very young,” Alexander recalls. “I was trying to make garage music in my bedroom, but I was never a good enough guitarist to do it all.”

They also absorbed their parents’ record collection of Talking Heads, Devo and Roxy Music albums, which were used as the basis for their early live DJ sets. As his first solo release began to gain traction online, he was offered the opportunity to tour in the UK. “I dropped out of uni just before that to focus on music,” he remembers of that period. “I was working at Domino’s Pizza and playing a little bit in Australia, but there were only a few places where you could play [live], I did them and slept on my friends’ couch in Melbourne, and stuff like that.

The UK tour went well, and, four months later, he agreed for a second – this time, however, he never returned home. “I’ve been here ever since. My dad told me recently that when I first came for that tour, he was expecting me to come and rescue me, Got it-Style.”

However, far from in need of rescue, Alexander has now established himself as a London-based musician and has a deep contact list of artists. Brendan Yates, the frontman of the ever-growing Baltimore hardcore band Turnstile, is now one of his close friends following the 2020 “Share a View” EP on which Alexander remixed a handful of Turnstile tracks. Yates’ guest appearance on the ‘What I Breathe’ song ‘Understand’ is another standout, and it’s clear that Alexander holds the singer and his band in the highest regard.

“They’ve always had the sensibility to be more appealing to a wider audience than most hardcore bands,” he says. “It is a welcome scene, but it can also be quite a deadlock. Turnstile is now taking it to the next level. They’re such creative musicians: I think they’re doing what they’ve always wanted to do, and they’re developing something that’s for everyone now. ,

Returning to his solo work, Alexander admitted that he was not sure whether making an album would definitely be part of his musical future. But there’s no doubt that everything he’s created with ‘What I Breathe’ is just right.

“I’ve never had the mindset of just making money” [from music],” he says. “Even while doing this big project, I did it because all my heroes in the 90s have done it, like Laurent Garnier and Daft Punk.

“It’s almost a memento in time; it’s something to be proud of that I worked with with all my friends who now live in London. I treat every release like a step, and that’s it.”

Mall Grab’s debut album ‘What I Breathe’ is out on August 5 via Looking for Trouble

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