Quirky And Animated Fun: An Interview With Tim & Puma Mimi

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Photo Credit: Moritz Bichler

Tim & Puma Mimi is the dynamic and quirky electronic pop duo of Tim and Puma Mimi from Switzerland and Japan (the cities of Zurich and Tokyo, respectively). Tim and Puma Mimi are set to release their second album, Der Die Das, via Mouthwatering Records on January 27th, 2017. Lead single “Dupi Dough” dropped December 2nd and while it features on the album, it is actually the result of a filmmaker’s request for Tim and Puma Mimi to provide a title song (as well as the whole soundtrack) for the animated short film Ivan’s Need.

Tim and Puma Mimi explain their sound and vision, their involvement with Ivan’s Need, and future musical (and more) plans in the following interview.

Stereo Embers Magazine: Hello Puma Mimi and Tim! How long have you been making music together?

T/P: A Santa Claus in the Netherlands brought us together at end of 2003, haha! It’s exactly 13 years now. It feels like a lifetime already. But as long as we can do different projects, it’s not getting boring at all. In recent years we composed music for contemporary dance pieces for different theaters, music for movies, and even an audio guide.

SEM: You’re known for your crazy shows (playing via Skype, using cucumbers as instruments, etc…). How do you come up with these wacky ideas? Sometimes it feels as if you’re cartoon characters on stage…

T/P: Haha, life is a cartoon. Not always an easy one, but the Skype concerts were just the solution to play live from 2007 to 2009. Mimi had a job in Japan and only 10 days of holidays. Tim wanted to do a 2 month tour in Europe, but Mimi said, “No way! I would have to quit”. So, she sang at 6 in the morning while drinking her first coffee from a kitchen table in Tokyo, beamed up to a screen at a live show, while Tim was on stage playing, even though it was midnight, Tim’s time.

And the cucumber is just Tim’s answer to the booming market of midi-controllers. What is the craziest instrument you can imagine?  A cucumber! And we play James Brown with it!

SEM: The song that we get to share here, “Dupi Dough”, is the official single from your new album. Is the whole record wildly colorful like this? 

T/P: “Dupi Dough” is the most colorful single for us, actually. We kept the album cover artwork strictly black and white, analogue, you know. There are even dark songs on the album. We bring colors to the darkness. This is our mission for 2017 and beyond.

SEM: This song was also featured in the award-winning animation film Ivan’s Need recently. Did the filmmakers license a track you already had or did you write it for them?

T/P: “Dupi Dough” was made for the animation film from the scratch. Mimi sings about a Swiss bread recipe and kneading that moist dough, which is the personal obsession of Ivan, the main character in the move.

SEM: What did you think when you received the background information for the film, and then when you saw the first cut?

T/P: The first animated storyboard was without any sounds and looked a bit boring. Actually, just in the last few days before the release was when everything came together; the sound design, the colors, the voices, and the music. We finally felt sure that this would be something cool. Mimi did the sexy voice for the female main character, Alva!

SEM: It must be great to see this movie getting so much love all over the world…

T/P: Every week we get another message from another film festival. Last week, it was from São Paulo!

SEM: Are you planning any other film-related work? It really suits you! 

T/P: Yes, in 2017 we will do music for an animation movie about Huldrych Zwingli, the leader of the Protestant reformation in Switzerland in the 16th century. A hard topic, haha. But Tim’s parents are semi-professionals in Baroque music. His mother plays the harpsichord and his father, the oboe. So the guest musicians are lined up. Tim is looking forward to working with his parents and making Tim & Puma Mimi-style classical music.

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Ivan’s Need at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ivansneed/