Interview: Daniel Miller - Head Of Mute Records

Synths, software and how to run a label      04/05/11

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32:0 mins

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 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. 




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5 Comments...  Post a comment    original story

Great interview! More of these paaaleaaase!

05-May-11 04:23 AM

Juicy Audio Productions    Said...

A living legend and not lauded enough imho.

05-May-11 10:53 AM

AkA    Said...

this is is very good interview, it gives an interesting insight into Mute : indeed it makes sense to "repatriate" DM, Goldfrapp & others after their contract termination with EMI, otherwise, Mute would be fragile without these heavy weights. It is also touching to see Daniel Miller humbleness vs. Ktaftwerk & Can. Last, I love the Short Circuit Ideas, I won't be able to go, but would really love to, it is going to be full of interesting experiments and creativity. That is what will save the music business. The rest is only a change in the distribution system. Imagine if that happened to the Tesco's of this world...

08-May-11 09:32 AM

Nick B    Said...

Yep, really looking forward to going next weekend, hope to snag a couple more interviews if we can

08-May-11 10:38 AM

Aiki @    Said...

Good Interview, I'll be there stalking Nitzer Ebb and Taking photos of it all for my blog :)

09-May-11 09:26 AM

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