Planet Mu label maestro Mike Paradinas fields probing questions about his long-lost μ-ziq cuts
Hello Mike, hope you’re well…
I’m actually not very well. I’ve had severe tonsilitis. I’m on antibiotics and recovering now, but thanks for your concern.
So, a lost album from 1998-99. Guess if you knew where you lost it, it wouldn’t have been lost right?
How else do you present an album of material that wasn’t released? Almost lost, archive?
Are you one of those people who loses a lot of things? Car keys, wallet…
Actually no, I am very fastidious in where I keep things, and I rarely lose my phone and never my keys. Also who has a wallet in 2018?
So ‘Challenge Me Foolish’ is out-takes from ‘Royal Astronomy’ sessions?
That’s correct. While I was going through the DATs for the Mike & Rich reissue in 2016 I found all these tracks and decided to burn them to a CD for the car. I sort of refined my favourites down into this album, which I’m really happy with.
‘Royal Astronomy’ was a real genre-defining moment… which genre is open to debate. Your thoughts?
Well, it got some good reviews at the time, but was rather rejected by the cognoscenti as being too poppy and badly produced. But people do keep telling me they loved it. It stands up well today I think.
How was listening back to all this when you re-discovered it?
Nostalgic and surprising. Some tracks I remembered easily, but several I had no memory of.
How on earth did tracks like ‘Inclement’ and ‘Peek Freans’ and the glorious string-soaked ‘Robin Hood Gate’ not make the cut first time?
I think because of the wealth of material. I may not even have sent them to Dave Boyd, Hut recording’s A&R, at the time. I didn’t really stop to think about it to be honest. It’s always “on to the next thing”.
Working on your own is interesting. Who did you turn to second opinions?
Dave Boyd was a great font of advice. Also friends gave their opinions.
Ever got it wrong? Ever had a track you thought was a killer only to find others though it was a bit iffy?
All the time actually, especially with releases on Planet Mu. It’s usually the reverse though, a track that the artist thinks is throwaway, but everyone else really loves! But yeah, there’s the track ‘Wannabe’ on ‘Lunatic Harness’, which I love but many think is filler.
Is ‘Challenge Me Foolish’ better than ‘Royal Astronomy’?
It’s not for me to say, but I’ll hazard a “yes”, I mean this is a promotional interview right? Er…
Your people describe the music you were producing around the turn of the century as “baroque, melodic and whimsical”. Whimsical?
I’m full of whimsy. Gentle humour, although not essential to music, doesn’t necessarily devalue it, and can be quite beneficial in certain circumstances. I don’t mean ‘The Laughing Gnome’.
Jean-Jacques Perrey’s name pops to mind. Is his spirit alive in your work?
I reckon his rhythms were definitely an inspiration to my ‘Urmur Bile’ EP, and that whimsical sense of melody he had.