Amanda Lucille Warner, otherwise known as MNDR, is just one of the many female DJs who is conquering new territory in a male dominated EDM industry. Within the better half of the last decade MNDR’s singles, collaborations, and work have been coming to the forefront. “Bang Bang” with Mark Ronson and Q-Tip, “Feed Me Diamonds”, and now most recently “Kimono”, the song behind the new Keeping Up with the Kardashians commercial, are all fruits of her labor. Don’t get it wrong though MNDR has been working hard at a music career since the late 90s.
I talked to MNDR about her influences, her big break, and paving the way for female EDM artists.
Robert Frezza: What was your first big break in the music industry?
MNDR: Probably when I was in Minneapolis for a bit and I was in a band that did very well. They became the darling of the Minneapolis music scene. That kind of plugged me into the national indie-touring scene. I did a lot of support touring for the Shins as well. I would say those opportunities is what gave me my start.
RF: Who are you influences?
MNDR: Aphex Twin, Wave Runner. I have a pretty wide variety of stuff that I like.
I love Tokimonsta. She’s one of my favorites right now.
RF: Speaking of Tokimonsta, it seems like you and her are the only female DJs out right now. How do you plan on breaking that mold?
MNDR: It’s a totally male dominated industry. I think being on the music stage you have to be undeniably awesome. It seems like, as a woman, you have to work ten times harder to be taken seriously in the more male-dominated parts of the music industry. It’s unfair, but we have to kick that door open. I think this next generation, though you will see more females break into EDM. I do a lot of mentoring in the music industry for female talent too right now as well.
RF: You mentioned in an interview the making of the Feed Me Diamonds album was one of the more difficult experiences of your life. Why?
MNDR: It was really tough, but awesome to make an album. The past five years in the music industry alone was much more different than when I first started. When you’re pop music they want to fit you in a market space, so they can sell it. You can’t get mad at that, it’s just the way it is. At that time, there were only three brands you can fall into: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, or Kesha. They were the most successful pop artists at that time. I have no interest sounding like them. I felt like EDM came up on its own and people liked it because of what it was. Why would I change what I’m doing if it’s working? I wouldn’t play the music policy business game and therefore the album process became really difficult.
I do love that album. I’m really proud with the chances I made with making it a classic pop record rather than a trendy record.
RF: The “Feed Me Diamonds” RAC remix was amazing. How do you get to choose who remixes your material?
MNDR: That one came from RAC. He wanted me to write a hook for him on “Let It Go” and I wanted him to remix “Diamonds” for me. That remix truly drove my record sales and my audience. I have so much to thank to RAC. It was such a successful remix story since my album wasn’t really promoted.
RF: What is the inspiration behind “Kimono”? It is now the song behind the new Keeping Up With the Kardashians commercial. Did you meet them?
MNDR: No, never met them. I wrote “Kimono” over two years ago. A lot of artists have wanted it. I worked with Britney’s team, but I loved the song. I just didn’t hear anyone else sing this song. I was afraid no one was going to like it. I am so lucky that people want to hear a record from me with so many artists out nowadays.
RF: You are not a record label right now.
MNDR: No. I was at Ultra Records for a while with Feed Me Diamonds. I’m not against the record labels just don’t think it’s entirely necessary in an artist’s career.
RF: You really know how to express your artistry on stage and rally a crowd at your concerts.
MNDR: Yes, I take my artistry very seriously. There’s also a choreographed duo that help represent my artistry while on stage. They are called Fluct and they are amazing.
RF: When’s the new album coming out?
MNDR: A lot of new songs I am making for the album are being cut for other people to use. I do a lot of songwriting. So we are starting over here and there. I’m working on the album now. You will see it from me next year. I’m really excited about it.