premiere: mnek x kiko bun - wash my sins

Studio Moross, Kiko Bun and MNEK team up for 24 hour creative challenge making music look good.

by i-D Staff
23 November 2015, 3:56pm

Last week, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter MNEK teamed up with West London singer Kiko Bun and Studio Moross at London's Red Bull Studios for a 24 hour collaboration challenge as part of Red Bull Studios 5th birthday celebrations. Starting at 12 noon, MNEK and Kiko had just 24 hours to create a track from start to finish - while Studio Moross was tasked with creating an accompanying visual. Wash My Sins travels a triumvirate of tempos - from early nineties D&B to mid nineties boom bap and evergreen reggae - as the two singers cleanse their souls, literally and lyrically. We caught up with MNEK, Kiko and Moross to find out how it all went down

Have you ever done anything like this before, with a very specific time constraint across all of the creative components?
MNEK: I think with a general session between artist and producer of any kind of creative [discipline], you might say let's do something in a day, but I guess this is like everything - you have to have the song, you have to have the visual, everything's happening in this one segment of time. I think we did a good job (laughs).
Studio Moross: Because we work in the music industry, which is the worst place to work for deadlines apart from the news industry, we're quite used to having to turn things out pretty quickly. We've done lyric videos before in 24 hours, but I don't think we've done it when the only [access to] audio we had was through a crack in the door! We only got an mp3 [with about 8 hours to go], so we were working getting all our assets together whilst the guys were working on the track next door. It was definitely a unique way of doing it.

What's Wash My Sins about?
MNEK: I would say it's about starting again; coming clean, not keeping things bottled up.

Kate and Linus [Studio Moross], I know you've worked with lots of musicians but I'm guessing you haven't done something like this where you're trying to create the visuals at the same time as the track is being made?
Moross: We have had the pleasure of working with artists simultaneously when they are building their albums and being exposed to early music, that's one of my favourite parts of my job. But this is the closest we've got to the conception of a song. It was fun because we would hear one of the stems from the track and we'd say, 'Ok we know it's got this break, so we can do something really fast here'. We were literally taking slices and working from it, so it was quite disorderly and chaotic! The main brief was that it needed to stay colour. In my head the song feels quite dark but we had to find a way of bringing some colour to it, which was a challenge.

This was the first time Kiko and MNEK not only worked together, but also the first time you'd even met. How did your first collaboration go?
MNEK: It was really great, so much fun. Kiko came in and literally as soon as we got in a room there were just ideas.
Kiko: We clicked right away.
MNEK: We weren't thinking about it, it was really free flowing, it was literally just; here's a D&B section, here's a reggae section, then there's a J Dilla hip hop thing that was really fun to work.
Kiko: When I was stepped into the studio, MNEK had this trumpet sample and it was sick, we sort of just worked from there. We just sort of caught a vibe. It's good to work with someone not in your circle, sometimes fusion can bring up something totally new that's really interesting.
MNEK: We broke out of our comfort zones, which was the most fun of all.

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