It’s Time You Heard: The Great Mundane – Interview


I have only known about The Great Mundane (Jeffrey Acciaioli) for a few months. I recall first seeing his name on a remix he produced for Bluetech and Kilowatts’ collaborative release, Invisible Allies. After noticing that he was signed to Autonomous Music, I explored The Great Mundane Bandcamp and Facebook pages, and was excited by what I found. Nothing better than diving right into a creative Portland electronic producer’s music. His newest release “This is So You” is available free through his Bandcamp, along with a full album from earlier in 2010, “Humdrum.”  It just so happens that a Chicago radio station, Vocolo, has done a full interview with TGM. After hearing the compelling interview and listening to his music, I was hooked overnight.

At pretty much the same time I learned that TGM would be rolling through Allston, MA to headline Music Ecology at Wonder Bar. Destiny was calling me… no way would I miss a live set on the East Coast. As I walked up to the bar I spotted Jeffrey (TGM) chatting with a friend outside. I was hoping that I would be able to pick him out by his impressive beard- I was right. He has one of the most serious mustaches I have ever seen, one that wings out over and across his actual beard. With a members only jacket and a ski cap, TGM has got style.

He works off Ableton and his music is rhythmic, mature and moves both the mind and body. I notice his production has both a Tipper and Heyoka feel to it, but TGM can be easier for a new electronic listener to get into. His head moves to signal the music he is releasing, be it Glitch, Ambient, Psy or Bass. I am more than ready for another chance to see The Great Mundane- check out some of his upcoming tour dates featured below.

We spoke briefly at the show, but I was able to really pick his brain with the following interview. Check it out:

Ranchsauce: All of your releases have very eye catching artwork or photography. How do you go about choosing these images?

The Great Mundane (Jeffrey Acciaioli): It’s about first impressions. The way I see you is going to influence the way I interpret the words that come out of your mouth. When you pick out your clothing style, you are sending a message about who you are and what’s inside. To me, this is the same as choosing art for an album. Each release has a specific tone/mood/message and I can help communicate those emotions by using the art to represent the colors and space.

For a first time listener, how would you describe the sound/style of music you create?

Cloud headed hip hop… somewhere stuck between danceable and sleep-able.

Have you produced music prior to The Great Mundane?

Yea, I used to make beats and write rhymes in high school. I was really influenced by a lot of the artists on Anticon… This was way before I was introduced to “electronic” music like house and techno… minimal.

How long do you spend producing music? Why is that?

Hours? Days? Years? I’m always keeping myself busy with music or something related to it. Some days I can sit and work on tracks for 12 hours, sometimes I’ll work in spurts. If I’m not working on music it’s because I’m traveling, on the mountain, cooking food or going to a show…

What musicians from the past and musicians playing today influence your composition?

Tribe Called Quest, George Winston, James Blake, Kilowatts, Atmosphere, Kiln, Dabrye, Prefuse 73, Danger Mouse, Gorillaz, Phillip Glass, Lusine, Bueno Vista Social Club, Rob Childish, Gypsy Kings, Why?, Themselves, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of folk music… my pops listened to a lot of jazz but I never knew what artists.

What aspects of life and your world influence the music you write?


What was it like touring with Kilowatts and Aligning Minds last year?

American Mythology 101.

During a live show, what are you thinking?

How’s my hair?


I used to just feel really anxious and scared that I was going to mess up. Now I sorta space out try to feel whats happening around me. I actually enjoy making mistakes. It’s fun to figure out what to do with them and it opens more opportunity to communicate.

When I saw you play in Boston I could hear the work you put in to make the music live. How hard is it to have the crowd recognize that you are performing?

I bet I could get on a mic and tell everybody that I was performing and then people would know, but I don’t usually do that. I think the best way to communicate during a performance is to make sure that my actions line up with the sound. If I push a button or turn a knob I want the person watching to hear and feel that something changed. It’s hard because people have different opinions on what a performance is. I have seen people wave their hands in the air like a conductor and still put on a good show. Sometimes, if you don’t have a “real” instrument,  people get turned off before they even hear the music. It just comes down to enjoying yourself and what you’re doing on stage. People identify with passion.

Instrumentals vs. synthetic sounds. What are your thoughts on using both?

Use one, use the other, use both. I feel like you would be missing out on a lot of good sounds if you thought one was better than the other.

You have said that your composition structure isn’t DJ friendly. Why is that?

It lacks structure. I never limit myself to a formula so things are constantly evolving. When I felt anxious, I would change stuff pretty often. Almost every 4-8 bars, and within those bars the drums would rarely repeat, which doesn’t make for a smooth DJ mix. Lately I’ve been riding things out a little bit.

A quote on your Facebook profile reads “Reality is a bunch of lies that we all agreed on.” What does this quote mean to you?

As a society we have created a mythology that is based on common sense. Things exist because we believe in them… morals…religion… our god or gods… money… jobs…style… music… pretty much everything. When we collectively agree on something it becomes reality. A whole bunch of nothing that we brought to life… “lies” is just another way to say it.

Out of all the names of songs that you have come up with, which is your favorite?

“we are the magicians”, “hello cute face”, “the hug machine”, “cubicle porn stars”, “dairy products”

You have said that you cannot label electronic music sounds. Why is that?

It’s not that we cant label sounds, we just haven’t labeled them… which makes them harder to talk about and identify. For instance, we can talk about colors and images and pretend that we understand each other. Colors have specific frequencies just like sound. We have labeled those frequencies with words like red, blue, dark, light and so on. With sound, we don’t use many labels for them in our everyday language. We know what a guitar sounds like, or a piano, but when it comes to unmarked sounds, we don’t really have the vocabulary to describe the specifics. We usually end up saying, that buzzy sound or that warm tone, muddy, tinny, things of that nature… now thinking about it i guess we have letters that represent frequencies so the language would be music theory. Even in that sense, there are so many combinations of frequencies that we have not named… It would be like the jumbo crayon box, Purple Mountain Majesty, Razzle Dazzle Rose, Wild Watermelon. I think we are losing touch with hearing the world as well as we see it.

What can you tell us about the Jellyfish Brigade project?

Lucas Dix + The Great Mundane = happy music making. We are writing love letters to everybody. Lucas is a super soulful writer… everything hip hop/folk/R&B. I’m anxiously waiting for a release date for our first release “Gills and a Helmet.”

What is the music community in the Portland area like?

Over saturated in a good way. Sometimes you can go to four quality shows in one night all with in a mile of each other. It’s pretty incredible.

What are your thoughts on music festivals? Have you been involved at all?

I love going to festivals. I feel like hearing music at festivals is way different then in a venue. You don’t go to see a specific artist, you go to experience the event as a whole. It’s like a temporary community or something like that. One of my favorite festivals is Decibel Festival in Seattle. I also really like this small folk festival called Mountain Stomp. It’s nice to lay in a field and not be womped out all the time…

What is your power animal?

A deer… but it ran away.


2/19 Space – Seattle, WA

2/23 Hodi’s Half Note – Fort Collins, CO

2/24 Fox Theatre- Boulder, CO

2/25 Tree’s – Dallas, TX

2/26 Aces Lounge – Austin, TX

2/27 The Hookah – New Orleans, LA

3/31 Smoke – Tokyo, Japan

4/1 – Tokyo, Japan


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