So, Klute. What can I say? He’s always been one of my favourite producers/DJs ever since I got in to drum&bass many, many, MANY moons ago. I remember hearing his track ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ and totally fell in love with it in a way I didn’t realise one could fall in love with a track… Klute has always delivered quality tracks, his label has never disappointed and seeing him play is an absolute treat so what is it not to love?
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to interview him, but now it’s finally time…
Hello Klute and thanks for answering my questions.
I have millions of questions and I won’t ask them all (that would take AGES) but I will start to talk about my personal favourite track of yours which I told you about many, many years ago in a dark corner on Commercial Street in East London. This track will also be played at my funeral: Hell Hath No Fury. What is the story behind this amazing track? It started one hot sweltering night in North London back in 2006. Sometimes you can sit down with a folder full of new samples and nothing happens, nothing fits together and you leave the room feeling deflated hours later, but then sometimes everything just seems to work, serendipitously. This one one of those tracks, where the base all slotted in and things jelled right away, it was all the layering and the melodies that took the time. Ive always felt though, the happiest place to be is inside a track that is working but you’re working to make it better. Its heaven to me.
The title, unfortunately is autobiographical so this track does really mark some hard times for me.
Is the title an important aspect of your music creation?
Yes, i like to think so. Sometimes however its hard to think of a good name for a good track. It generally comes up when you’re forced to save on the computer.
What’s your procedure for making a track? There is no real fixed procedure for making a track, whatever it takes to get something made i guess.
Do you have a studio and what kind of equipment do you use?
I have my own studio at home. Its full of lots of toys which i’ve collected over the years. I started recording at home using cassette players to do multitrack recording until i could finally afford a 4 track recorder. As a result i’ve always been inclined towards hardware equipment over software. Software is very convenient but somehow its not there for me. My fav toys i would have to say are the Teenage Engineering OP1, The Elektron Octatrack the Studio Electronics SE1X, Matrix 1000, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600, Alpha Juno 1, blah blah blah…..
Do you prefer to make music by yourself or to collab with other artists?
I love to collab, but i also love to work by myself. These days a lot of collabs happen online, so its almost like working alone anyway. But when the chemistry is right, nothing beats a collab.
Can you give us an example of people you’ve had that chemistry with? And who is your dream collab?
I love collabing with Dom & Roland & Calibre, Marcus was a pleasure too. Jonny Trunk is always a laugh, Im about to collab with Spirit which is actually one of the first people i collabed with back in the day. The tune never got released….it was quite a good tune tho. We sampled Thomas Heckmann. My dream collab i guess would be, i dunno….someone like Mark Pritchard, or Robin Gutherie, or Liz frazer, or maybe Vangelis………or james Pennington the Suburban Knight
Where does the name Klute come from?
Back in 1995, the legend that is Paul Arnold from Certificate 18 was incredibly encouraging and supportive and signed 2 tracks from me and he asked for a name to be exclusive to his label, so I decided upon Klute which is the title of a famous film starring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland from 1972. I wasn’t particularly a big fan of the film, its great, don’t get me wrong, but i just liked the sound of the name. Short and ominous. Its stuck. Im used to it now, but i’ve gone through periods where i hated it. Just staring at anything written down or listening to it will make you hate it :)
Tell us a little bit more about the journey you’ve made through music and how you ended up where you are right now..
My sisters were musicians, they played all kinds of instruments and then had ultra cool musician boyfriends that would rock up to the house with guitars or synths etc, so i was always in awe of whatever they were into. I was banging the pots and saucepans along to the Beatles until punk came along and then i realised you could participate with very little effort whatsoever………………. thats what i thought at least, so after nagging for a year i managed to persuade my Mum to buy me a guitar for Xmas and then a year later i finally got some drums which ended up being my main instrument, from there on i taught myself, with a little help from my friends, and thats always been the way, even up until now.
Was it an easy transition to go from releasing punk at 15 to be a dnb label boss a few years later?
Pretty easy i guess, it just took lots of time and the inability to grow up and get a normal job. Its a series of ebbs and flows and doing it for the music and the enjoyment.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Mostly its the thrill of getting some kind of reaction that drives me to want to make something and doing something i’ve never heard before myself. I get bored pretty quickly otherwise. It often seems like repetition can pay dividends to an artist but i’ve never really been too into that. I always feel that repeating oneself is a mistake.
You’ve been in punk/rock bands (and still are), released techno, house and drumnbass but which music genre means the most for you?
Yea, i’m still very much playing punk rock as well as making the beats but i’ll have to say that its all still very important to me, all for different reasons. Im quite a purist at heart when it comes to what i listen to and enjoy but my artistic output tends to be all over the place and mixed.
You seem to be a very creative person, was this very obvious when you were growing up? Like, some people you just KNOW will become a rock star even though they’re 5…
Being creative is my lifeblood but it is hard work, particularly in this age were going through where marketing and product seem to be the main focus of attention.
As a kid i always dreamed of performing, I used to leap around my living room with a tennis racket when my parents went out for the night. I used to tape pretend radio shows and compile my own compilations and make artwork for them, so in a way I guess i always knew this is what i wanted to do, but I was just doing it back then in whatever way i could, much the same way i do things now.
Is it ‘only’ music you make or are you creative in other ways too?
Its mostly music. The drums, the synths, Guitars, but i also love the design aspect too. Im very hands on with the designs for the label artwork. I like to do my own thing and also work alongside others and collaborate on ideas.
Tell us what’s going on with Klute right now.
I’m at the tail end of compiling a mini album to release shortly. I’ve been working on new music throughout the year, alongside a slew of remixes and collabs. Ive just completed work for BTK, Digital, BCee, a track for a charity compilation, i’ve half way through a mix i promised for Soul Intent, i’ve just started a collab with Spirit – tons of shit really, next month i’ll be getting together with Digital for some new gear. Im constantly busy and constantly working on stuff because thats what i enjoy. Not so much the social media self promo side of things. I wish someone else would do that for me :)
What do you enjoy the most; djing, producing, running a record label, being in a punk band…?
I really really love to DJ, I love to create a vibe in my own way and bring the energy to a room. Its a special thing for me and i never tire of it, thats not to say its not hard work because for me it is. but i love it.
I love the rest too, especially drumming in the band. If you ever get the chance come and check out me drumming. Its a whole other side to me.
Do you still have your allotment? haha, i do actually, but its covered in anti weed material, awaiting being dug up and planted…….left it a bit late this year……
Lets talk about your record label Commercial Suicide. Where did you get the mad idea to start your own label? It was in 2001 when i realised no one was that interested in releasing my own music. Id just finished a 2 album contract with Crtificate 18 and somehow it just didn’t make any sense to continue there so i teamed up with ST Holdings and set up Commercial Suicide, not knowing what would happen. The first release tripled what i had done previously and it spurred me on.
Was it a commercial suicide or/and has it been one for any of your artists?
I guess it depends on how you look at it. I’ve had a wonderful time doing it and i think it’s been wildly successful.
What’s the hardest part of running your own label?
Having to make all the decisions. I love to bounce ideas and riff off people and that can be really difficult to do all my yourself.
A question from a friend: will any of your previous releases that were ‘vinyl only’ ever be released in digital format?
I think everything available now, if its not then its likely that the master is lost…….
Any exciting releases we can look forward to? Yes, my next release will be my mini album, that’s very exciting.
Where can we catch you play next? Well, it just so happens that you can see me next at COMMERCIAL SUICIDE at Lightbox, on 17th June 2016, along side famous people like Dom & Roland, The Invaderz, Me, Nymfo, Spirit, MC FAVA and DJ HAndy.
Its going to be really good.
How did this big night come about? From time to time we like to celebrate Commercial Suicide and get together a like minded group of individuals will the sole purpose of playing our music to people, very well, with the idea that people appreciate that high quality and really fucking enjoy themselves and have a night they wont forget and all go home and fuck each other.
What can we expect from it? Everyone on the line up was carefully selected as an excellent DJ with great taste in Drum and bass. I know good djs and lord knows i know boring djs too so there’ll be none of that at this night. I guarantee it.
It’ll be a mixture of styles, just how you like it.
How did you choose the line up? It was difficult. The D&B gene pool is small!
When you’re at home and want to relax, what music do you listen to? All sorts of stuff, it depends on what zone i’m in. At the moment its lots of library music. Ive always been into weird music of different sorts and i’ve collected soundtracks and library for years, along with just about everything under the sun. Recently theres been a glut of library music re-issues so i’ve been enjoy picking up a lot of that and thats whats relaxing me at the moment.
What 3 things would you bring to a desert island?
My laptop, a T3 connection, ice cream.
What’s next for Klute and Commercial Suicide?
My mini album, a single from Dauntless, something from Flava, other stuff too.
Any famous last words?
The one who waits for something good, never waits too long…
Get tickets and more information about Friday, HERE