Mu-Ziq interview (LONG)

From seofon
Sent Wed, Oct 11th 1995, 00:48

CL = Clublife Magazine
MP = Mike Paradinas

CL: You're definitely a hot topic on the Net at the moment.  I was just
reading 
a couple minutes ago about your show at the Kitchen.  How did it go for you?
MP: It went all right!  Not the best gig I've done, but it seemed to blow a
lot of 
people away here, apparently.  I just kept it hard, played a bit of
everything: a bit 
of old stuff and a bit of new stuff.  But I'm limited to what I can play
live--I have 
my equipment set up at one time; I can't change it too much between songs.  
It's restrictive: all the drum sounds have got to be the same for me--I can't

change them...well, perhaps I could, but that's the next step.
CL: Have you found good response in general in the US?  I know you've 
been out to San Francisco twice, but I missed you both times and I feel
terrible.
MP: I did two gigs the first time in San Francisco, and the second gig, which

was at 8th House, was really good--I really enjoyed it.  And the last time I
did a 
rave...was all right.
CL: Does that generally go well for you?  Do you get good response at clubs 
and such.
MP: Yeah...people dance!  But the best one I've done was at 8th House in 
San Francisco--I really enjoyed it.
CL: How are things going with Astralwerks?
MP: Salsa with Mesquite, the next e.p., is coming out in a week or so, and I 
think the album [In Pine Effect] is coming out soon too so everything's going
all 
right, yeah.
CL: Is In Pine Effect something of a departure for you, or do you see it as a

continuation of your earlier work?
MP: It's a bit more of a mixture than the others, time-wise: some of them are

really old and some of them are really new, whereas before I hadn't been 
making music for as long but it was still a mixture--but this one even more,
and 
it's got some new tracks on it.  But what it actually is is some of my
friends' 
favorite songs--they just chose the ones they wanted on there and I said
Yeah, 
alright, I'll put some of them on.  So it's like Here's my friends'
favorites, and a 
couple of mine....
CL: But are you happy with the whole package?
MP: It's alright, yeah!  It's good, but--I'm a bit too close to it, if you
know what I 
mean.  I haven't really gauged how good it is.  I got a couple of reviews in 
England and everyone says it's good.  I think it's as good as the first two,
Bluff 
Limbo and Tango 'N Vectif.
CL: Oh, we're looking forward to Bluff Limbo!
MP: Yeah, I hope it comes out on RePhlex soon.  It was done three years 
ago.  Hoping...hoping.... Anyway, November or something, or maybe next year, 
God knows.  It was meant to be out in August, according to them--they 
promised me.
CL: Is that going to be the last of your work with RePhlex, then?
MP: I did an album with Richard James (Aphex Twin) about a year ago--well, 
a year and a half ago now--last spring '94, and that's really good, that's
coming 
out on RePhlex.  And I've done a couple of remixes a long time ago before the

album came out, for an e.p. by [???], which still hasn't come out, and 
Kinesthesia.  That was a long time ago.  I'm just working with Astralwerks,
and 
Virgin in Britain now, for all the Mu-Ziq stuff.
CL: How is the scene doing in England nowadays?
MP: Well, more jungle and trip-hop now, really.  Techno is sort of...not so 
popular.  I mean, it's still popular, it's got a small scene around it, but
the trendy 
people who are into it for the image, who just go to the latest thing, sort
of reject 
it--whereas people who are actually into music buy bits of everything like
they 
always have...I've always been buying hardcore, jungle, jazzy stuff.
CL: Well do you see yourself as part of a scene over there?
MP: I get lumped in with it, yeah.  And I know a couple of the people because

I'm on the label.  But I'm so much musically related as a lot of the other
are in 
the sort of--what was it called?--intelligent techno, I suppose.  I mean, I
know 
Aphex Twin and I'm on his label--I'd say him, Wagon Christ, and Kinesthesia, 
and myself are the only people who are musically related--we're four of a
kind, 
and the rest...aren't musically related at all.  They're the only people I
can see in 
the same sort of musical area as me.
CL: Yeah, we usually see you as the RePhlex, the more out-there, 
interesting, harder stuff.
MP: Yeah, like Autechre...a lot of people say 'Oh you're like Autechre' and
all 
that, but I wouldn't say that sort of thing at all.
CL: What sort of feedback have you been getting from critics and fans now 
that you're more high-profile?
MP: It's always been pretty good, so far.  People have been saying about the 
new stuff that it would be easier to get into, now.  When Tango 'N Vectif
came 
out it sounded completely alien to them, completely out of the blue, but if
it 
came out now people would be more able to cope with it.  So in that way I was

ahead of my time, and now they're going to be able to get into Pine Effect 
easier, if you know what I mean.
CL: That and the Jake Slazenger...
MP: The Jake Slazenger was something different altogether.  I mean, I could 
have released it as Mu-Ziq, as the next album, but it was just a collection
of 
funkier beats and breaks, slightly jazzier, basically.  So I'm going to carry
on 
with that name--there's more stuff in the pipeline, there.  I've already done
a 
double-pack e.p. for Clear that might be coming out of some remixes off the 
album of "Megaphunk" and five other tracks which are really good.  And I've 
done a second Jake Slazenger album...it was done before the first one was 
released, actually.  
CL: It sounds like you have a lot of time to work on tracks!
MP: Well, it's all been done!  I haven't got time now, it's all hard work
now, but 
it's lucky I've done all the recording when I was young!
CL: Are you mostly touring now?
MP: Yeah, at the moment I'm touring in Europe, and touched in the US I think 
three times, but it takes from here about a week and a half each time, to
take 
the time out.  Like Belgium, Holland, Glasgow, Scotland, Norway, Austria, 
Germany...
CL: Have you had any bizarre foreign experiences?
MP: Well, every time it's bizarre; mainly all my time is spent trying to get
hold 
of hired equipment.  There's always some piece which is missing or broken, 
so most of my time before the gig is spent doing that, and after it is
like...trying 
to wake up and get the flight!
CL: Murphy's Law of Gigs, eh?
MP: Yeah, but here it was alright...everything worked!  I was really pleased.
 
But yeah we had dinner with some weird reps from Virgin--most of them were 
really outraged about what I'd done to the Auteurs...
CL: (howls with laughter)  That's great!
MP: ...their precious band.  Yeah, I quite like it myself.  Hated the
Auteurs, but 
this bloke in Belgium...wouldn't release it in Belgium because he thought I'd

ruined their music.  He didn't understand why they'd let it happen.  I tried
to 
explain, but I still don't think he understood.  But he bought us dinner;
that 
made up for it!
CL: Well, that's good!  You get to blow people's minds.  And as you were 
saying, it's amazing how much more open people's minds are to this sort of 
stuff than just a year ago...
MP: They are now, because they're into the jazzier beats, more hip-hop 
beats, jungle, and drum & bass.  There's a touch of that, not so much drum & 
bass, on the next album.  I've got a few remixes coming out which are drum & 
bass, of a band called Ruby who are on Creation Records.  Loads of stuff 
coming out, actually!  I'm doing an album for Reflective Records, which is
out 
on 25 September, or so they tell me...probably later since I haven't received
my 
while label yet, but it's called Spatula Freak by Kid Spatula.
CL: Is that older material as well?
MP: Yeah, that's really old stuff, from the same time as Bluff Limbo.  Maybe 
Bluff Limbo part two, whereas In Pine Effect is more of a mixture of what I
think 
of as different stuff which I haven't really released before but retains the
same 
Mu-Ziq feel, not like Jake Slazenger, although there it a jazzy track on it,
but...it's 
like each track is on it's own; it doesn't really flow so well as an
album--it's 
more of a collection of songs.  The Spatula Freak one flows better as an 
album, but maybe the songs aren't quite as good.  It's really hard to
explain!  
That's how I see it.  Maybe other people will see if differently--I'm sure
they will.  
As I said, I was just a bit close to these releases because I've spent ages 
compiling them and chosing the songs and stuff like that.
[...off-topic stuff -- we return with our hero discussing Richard James...]
MP: He came out of the hardcore scene in England, which is what turned into 
jungle, basically.  He wasn't part of the techno scene at all; there wasn't
really a 
techno scene in England until he came along.
CL: Yeah, but the Ambient Works 1 and Polygon Window duo just blew my 
mind.
MP: Well, the first thing he released was Analogue Bubblebath 1 and that 
had hardcore songs in it, breakbeats and stuff, and the really hard electro
stuff, 
and it was part of the hard breakbeat scene in England, completely different 
from his ambient stuff that came out.  That's, of course, what made him 
popular, but that's not where he came from.  That was really old stuff.
CL: Well, is that the kind of thing you were doing?  What did you come out
of?
MP: Oh, I've really no idea...I was doing songs on my 4-track at home, and 
then I got a computer and made this album Tango 'N Vectif.  But I was trying
to 
do sort of hard stuff with my melodies.
CL: So you were influenced more by hardcore?
MP: By hardcore, as it was called than, which has split up into rave and drum

& bass.  But then it was all one, and there was some really good stuff.  The 
people who are doing the best jungle now produced some of the best 
hardcore.  They just change their names every record release, so you have to 
find out who did what, but some of the main jungle DJ's now produced some of 
the best records back in '91/'92.  And listening to pirate [radio] a lot,
when I was 
in college then; it inspired me quite a lot, in those fast beats like Aphex.
 When 
that came out...there were only two records that came out by the time I made 
Tango 'N Vectif, and those were Digeridoo and Analogue Bubblebath 1.  So 
those two records are quite close to my heart.
CL: What sort of things are influencing you now?
MP: Well, I listen to a lot of jungle and lot of old 70's Moog stuff, when I
go 
around Richard's, comedy records, spoken word...
CL: Is that were some of the Jake Slazenger comes from?
MP: Before I was into techno and indie and stuff I used to listen to 70's
funk, 
when I was in high school, and acid jazz, and rare groove--funk, basically.
CL: That's really making a comeback in techno recently.  Giving it some soul.
MP: Yeah, people like Reload [Jedi Knights] were always into that
stuff...trying 
to put it back in.  We were always trying to put it back in.  Maybe we got
rid of it at 
first, but I think Bluff Limbo and Tango 'N Vectif have got soul, Bluff Limbo
quite 
a lot--I don't know if you've heard it?
CL: No, I haven't.
MP: It's definitely the album to hear.  It's influenced a lot of people.
 Like 
Jonah Sharpe, he says it's one of his favorite albums.  I've got other sort
of jazzy 
stuff coming out: an album called Gary [something] Shaped To Make Your Life 
Easier, which is all vibraphone stuff.
CL: And that's you?  What's that out on?
MP: It's not out yet; I hope it'll be out on Planet Mu, with Virgin.
CL: Oh, that's your new label?
MP: Yeah, it might not...because of samples.  We'll see....
CL: How has all the press attention been for you?  How do you think you're 
being treated by the music world?
MP: It's all right so far, but I'll see.  I mean, I'm not part of any scene
really, I 
don't know loads and loads of people in techno.  Just Richard, and he
never.... I 
mean, I just know Wagon Christ and Richard James, as they're friends.  That's

it; I don't really go out to fucking places to [...] try and get in on some
sort of 
scene.  Have you heard of the Electronic Lounge?  Because I went there the 
other day for the first time, and it was a horrible experience for me.  Just
loads 
of everyone there from the industry coming up to you to do business--it's all

basically business; no one was listening to the music which was being played.
 
The music was soft and the people were loud.
CL: Do you find that the people who are in the club scene really listen to
the 
music?
MP: Well, I heard a lot of...do you know the e.p. I did for R&S [Phi*1700
[u/v]]?  
That's being played out a lot.  I heard stuff off the Auteurs being played at
45, 
that first track, in jungle sets.  And Jake Slazenger played in jungle sets
at half-
speed--"Megaphunk" with jungle over it, double-speed.  It's 75 bpm or 
something.  So it works as breakbeat, but I've done a jungle sort of mix of
it on 
the remixes e.p.; it's weird-ish jungle--sort of stops and starts a bit, like
a hip-
hop beat at the beginning, and then goes into jungle halfway.
CL: Do you have any impressions of the American music or club scene?
MP: Not really.  At 8th House, for instance, in the front room they played
like 
Wagon Christ and Throbbing Gristle, which was really nice, and people just 
sitting around--it was quite a good vibe there--and in the back room they
were 
played just high-energy and disco and Harthouse hard acid-trance...that was 
alright, but I'm not too into that.  I haven't really been to any dance clubs
here.  
The rave was alright: it was mostly jungle and hard-trance.  A lot of what
I've 
seen is trance, which is OK but I'm not really into that so much, but then
that is 
the easiest thing for people to dance to so it's popular.
CL: What do you see yourself doing in the future?  Do you want to be doing 
something that you're not doing now?
MP: I'll see how it goes; I haven't really done any recording for a couple of

months.  But I've got a couple of records planned.  I'm not yet sure what's
going 
to be the next Mu-Ziq album, but I've got the new Jake Slazenger as I said, 
some remixes for Chris & Cosey and Ruby, and the Spatula Freak thing.  And 
do you know Brendan Gillen--he does International Frequencies Records?  I 
met him the other night; I might be doing a record for him or with him.  And 
there'll be a new Tusken Raiders record for Clear.  But other than that...I
might 
do something special for one of the new Mu-Ziq albums, but I haven't done it 
yet so I can't really say.  The thing that I'm most looking forward to is the
thing 
with Richard James being released.  It'll be like two years old by the time
it's 
released, but it turned out beautifully, sort of funky and hard.
CL: Wow, that'll be exciting!  We'll be keeping an eye out for it.  ...Are
you on 
the Internet at all?
MP: No, I'm not on it...haven't got the modem.  I know a couple of people who

are on it, but it's quite hard to get on it in Britain--it's really really
expensive.  And 
most of the stuff is in the US, so it takes a long time.
CL: Well, here in America the Net is like the only place to find information
on 
this sort of music because it's still so underground--whereas in Europe there

seems to be an established niche for it.  It's just such a struggle to get 
information.
MP: When I was in San Francisco I went on the Net with [someone] from 
Reflective, which was good--there was tons, all sorts of stuff.  And it was
really 
quick.  When I tried it in England it was so slow, and nothing loads up--not 
enough memory, whatever.
CL: Do you have any artistic goals?
MP: Yeah, I do...I'd like to make a really really good record, a Mu-Ziq
album--
one of them's going to be really good, and like blow people out of the water.
 
But I don't know that it's all going to stay the same sort of stuff.  I'd
like to branch 
out a bit.  But no firm plans, because you have firm plans and then they
don't 
work out.  I'll keep trying something...different.