Without Mute records and the acts they have nurtured in the 30+ years since they were formed by Daniel Miller in 1978 as a way to release his own tracks, a whole swathe of influential electronic pop music may never have made it to mainstream attention. Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, Moby, Goldfrapp and many others have benefitted from their unique, artist-centric focus and been able to flourish and have long term relevance in an industry which is so often driven by the flavour of the month.
With a two-day celebration of all things Mute at the Short Circuit event at the Roundhouse, London on May 13th and 14th looming, we caught up with the founder of Mute - Daniel Miller and talked synths, software and the relevence of todays record company.
Short Circuit Mute Festival
The event features many big name Mute artists, producers and creative folks, tickets are available via the Roundhouse.org.uk site for Friday (6-12pm) and Saturday (12-12pm).
UPDATE - some parts of the venue will remain open until 3am
Current lineup is as follows:
Friday 13 May, Moby (DJ set) and Richie Hawtin (Minus, Berlin - with visuals by Ali Demirel) join a line up that features rare UK live performances from Recoil (Alan Wilder), Nitzer Ebb, Richard H. Kirk, CARTER TUTTI with Nik Void, NON (Boyd Rice), The Balanescu Quartet and Komputer plus live sets from key German electronic music figures Pole, T. Raumschmiere, Thomas Fehlmann and Thomas Brinkmann. Mute’s founder, Daniel Miller will perform a DJ set.
Saturday 14 May, Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore and Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher have confirmed DJ sets, whileJosh T. Pearson plays an exclusive set of his favourite songs by Mute artists. These announcements add to a bill that already boasts an exclusive performance by Erasure who will be joined on the night by very special guests. Also performing live will be The Residents, Laibach, Liars plus recent Mute signings Big Deal, S.C.U.M Beth Jeans Houghton and Poppy & The Jezebels. Maps and Polly Scattergood will perform a unique collaboration interpreting each other’s songs whilst Simon Fisher Turner will collaborate with Mira Calix. Also appearing are James Brooks and Peter Gregson plus a special guest performance from Alison Moyet. Other DJs on the night will be Danny Briottet (Renegade Soundwave) and Irmin Schmidt (Can) & Kumo (Jono Podmore) who will play The Sound Of Can – Can Archives Special.
Saturday 14 will also include a program of talks and films, alongside live performances throughout the afternoon. Talks confirmed so far include producer Flood - "The Art and Craft of Recording", Stefan Betke (aka Pole) with 'An Introduction into the science of Mastering' and veteran producer and long time Mute collaborator Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Erasure and Liars) will talk about his work with the label. Films include ON/OFF: MARK STEWART Pop Group to Maffia, 2009, directed by Tøni Schifer and an exclusive Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds film by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. More to be announced.
A series of installations will be running across the Short Circuit festival. Berlin based synth boutique Schneiders Buero will build a unique carousel where visitors can play with new modular and hardware synths. Flies, Guys and Choirs is an audio/visual installation by Irmin Schmidt & Kumo that will transform the sounds of people within the public space in to the bizarre and beautiful. Felix’s Machines (Felix Thorn) will be exhibiting one of his music making sculptures.
In collaboration with Mute, Dirty Electronics Workshop will design a special analogue electronic instrument for the festival. Young members of the Roundhouse studios will take part in the workshop, each building the instrument then performing it at the Roundhouse. A limited edition of the instrument will be on sale during the Short Circuit festival.