Prima di una pausa vacanziera più che meritata, arriva un ennesimo appuntamento con la serie di profili di etichette discografiche approvate da Shaq in persona. Questa volta torniamo nel Regno Unito─dopo averci già fatto una puntatina per Hyperdub─per fare una chiaccherata con Mike Paradinas, fondatore dal 1995 della Planet Mu.
-In 1998 Planet Mu turned from Virgin subsidiary to independent label. Can you tell us something about the motivations that brought you to that decision and, did you ever regret it?
I don’t regret it. Virgin were not really into the idea of Planet Mu being a proper sub-label, they just wanted ‘planet mu’ stamped on my µ-Ziq releases. There were quite a few things I wanted to release, Jega, Horse Opera, Like A Tim, Boards Of Canada. I wanted Planet Mu to be an influential electronic label.
-You started your career as a producer in the early 90s and you went through many phases of electronic music and dj/dance culture. What do you think about the state of the scene in 2013 in general? In retrospect are there aspects of the business that you regret?
No regrets. I think the state of the scene in 2013 is very healthy. Lots of really interesting music being made, and not much concern as to whether it’s commercial or not.
-Planet Mu´s artists roster is very extensive and covers many electronica subgenres or styles. Which are the criteria you adopt when it comes to the A&R side of your work? Do demos play a big role for you or you go through other ways looking for new talents?
I listen to the music however it comes to me. Mainly by email or on the internet streaming now, just selecting whatever moves me.
-In our interview with Falty DL months ago, he talked about you in very complimentary terms. How did you discovered him and how was working together?
Drew sent me demos over Myspace, I think. Working together with Drew is productive, he is very eager to further his career. We still talk a lot and we are now working together on his future releases.
-The compilations “Bang & Works” Vol. 1 and 2 , and to some extent “Da Trak Genious” too, had a great impact when they were released in 2010-11. How did you get expose and discover the Footwork/Juke scene and its artists and how was working on that collections, considering that the you were bringing to light very underground musical material? What´s in your opinion the legacy those releases left behind?
I discovered it on Youtube and it was quite hard work finding all the people who made each track. But in the end we got there. The music was very exciting, so it had to be done. Footwork has inspired many writers and musicians. I think the post-Dubstep scene’s musical response to Footwork has the same relationship as Breakcore had to Jungle. They have ignored why it came into being and just taken a few sonic signifiers which aren’t the most important things about Footwork tracks.
-Talking about that Chicago music scene, you recently released the album “Legacy” by one of its pioneers, RP Boo. Can you tell us something about it?
RP Boo has been making tracks since the late ’90s and “Legacy” is a collection of his more syncopated ‘battle’ material from 2003 to 2012. Kavain likes to fuck with the listeners/dancers perception and that comes through in his choice of where to cut and place samples in the tracks, always a mixture of delicious panic and anticipation.
-Can you tell us something about your new album “Chewed Corners” and the EP “XTEP” ? I have the impression that, compared to the former µ-Ziq releases, your music is more directly emotional, blissful, even sunnier, than your older material. The beats aren´t that prominent and abrasive, the programming less intricate, the sounds are often familiar to my ears, the arrangements more linear and I guess you focused more on the melodies and harmonies, always a trademark of you productions, but this time giving to them a more timeless, almost “classic pop” feeling. What do you think about it? Can you tell us a something about the making of the two records?
I chose not to think about it but to simply enjoy the process of making them. I still enjoy listening to the material, but I have still not thought much about them since. I made them on a laptop with Logic Studio 9 software. Some of the material was made at the time when I was writing the Heterotic album with my wife, and I think the sound of that album rubbed off on the sound palette.
-Talking about Heterotic, you project with your wife and partner Lara Rix-Martin. You released recently the album “Love & Devotion”, Can you tell us something about the making of that record and expecially your collaboration with Gravenhurst?
Working with Gravaenhurst was cool. It was very slow though, which explains why it took two years to come out. “Blue Lights” was finished in February 2011. We do hope to collaborate again in the future, but he is often very busy with his own material.
-Your new productions are released almost in concomitance with the collection “Somerset Avenue Tracks”, a compilation of older and unreleased µ-Ziq productions. Can you tell us something about it?
Yes, it is just a collection of older tracks which never got released for some reason. We thought the time was right, it being twenty years since my first release. Maybe I will do a 95-98 release too!
-Can you reveal what´s in the Planet MuZs pipeline for the rest of 2013 and something about your forthcoming releases?
We have written a new Heterotic album with Vezelay and there are new releases from Interplanetary Prophets, John Wizards, Misty Conditions, Miracle, Ital Tek and Claude Speeed.
Foto: Andrew Antil