Established acts such as Mylo and Friendly Fires are lining up to mentor some of the UK’s hottest new talent. Scout meets the pop matches
“I’m getting just a couple of hours’ sleep at a time,” blinks DJ/producer Mylo as we sit in the basement dressing rooms of Shoreditch’s Village Underground.
It’s not the result of a heavy electronic music lifestyle that’s causing the 34-year-old tiredness, though – he’s just become a father.
It’s fitting that a new beginning in his family life coincides with the rebirth of his live career, as well as the advent of Bacardi Beginnings, a mentoring project which sees established artists paired with new talent.
The Scot, who now lives in Hackney, joins Friendly Fires and Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard as the mentors. They have each chosen an act to work with and each been given £10,000 by the rum brand to spend as they wish on their partnership. Well, within reason.
Mylo picked Ronika , a writer/producer/DJ from Nottingham who creates infectiously catchy electro-pop tunes in her bedroom.
The mentor explains how the partnership came to be: “Andy [Peyton, Mylo’s co-promoter] and I had booked Ronika earlier this year for one of the Ecstasy, Passion & Pain club nights we’ve been running. But I failed to see her because I was in the restaurant looking after some prima donnas we had booked,” he laughs.
Eventually he got to hear her, and when approached by Bacardi to be a mentor he knew exactly who he wanted to work with.
Ronika grins: “I got an email saying Mylo wanted to mentor me. He’s a big influence of mine, I’ve listened to his stuff and DJed his records for years so it felt amazing to be asked.”
The pair are still deciding how they’ll spend the bursary. “We’re going on holiday together,” laughs Ronika. The project marks something of a new beginning for Mylo, who vanished from the music scene after the release of 2004’s Destroy Rock & Roll – much to the confusion of his many fans. “There were a couple of problems on the industry side, which I’m not at liberty to discuss, that have kept me from putting out stuff for the last few years, so I’ve been operating a bit below the radar,” he explains.
“We loved [AlunaGeorge single] You Know You Like It,” says singer Ed Macfarlane, “but it wasn’t until I saw the video that I realised I knew Aluna from St Albans.”
Like Mylo and Ronika, the groups haven’t yet decided what to spend their cash on. “It’s like Christmas – you ask for something you wouldn’t normally spend your own money on,” laughs Friendly Fires guitarist Edd Gibson.
The results of the pairings – and the cash – will be unveiled throughout the year.