Location: Sheffield, UK Est: 2012
Potted History: Born and bred in the Steel City, CPU’s Chris Smith was, he says, brought up listening to the synthesisers of The Human League, Gary Numan and Ultravox. Heavily influenced by synthwave and 1980s computer games, his obsession with techno began with a mixtape doing the rounds at his school (circa 1990) containing tracks Sheffield techno pioneers Sweet Exorcist and the like. A trip to the old Warp record shop on Division Street to buy said records and he was hooked, soon finding himself DJing in and around Sheffield’s club and pirate radio scene
“I’d dreamt about starting a record label for a long time,” says Chris, “and I had a clear vision about what I wanted it to stand for, I just needed some help with the visual identity.”
A chance meeting with the folk at Sheffield’s renowned creative agency Human Studio led to a rather distinctive identity and Central Processing Unit was born.
“I wanted a minimal design that had collectability, like the old purple Warp record sleeves,” says Chris of the striking sleeves that contain the catalogue number of the release, in binary. “Fast forward to 2017 and a barrage of amazing artists, both established and new, are patiently awaiting their binary catalogue numbers.”
Mission Statement: “Quality electronic music,” he says without blinking. Plain and simple.
Key artists & releases: CPU does a desirable line in warm, rich techno and has attracted well established artists such as DMX Krew, Microlith and Mrs Jynx and has seen releases from Annie Hall, Cygnus, Jensen Interceptor and Mikron.
Future Plans: “We’ve just returned from a CPU Showcase at Tresor in Berlin,” says Chris, “which was a great success. More showcases are on the agenda and we are always looking for promoters who will have us. Our five-year anniversary is approaching in October and we have a special double vinyl gatefold of CPU remixes in the making. Our ultimate goal though is to reach 256 releases, which is our 8-bit binary catalogue system maximum.”
Any other business? Asked for his advice about setting up a label, Chris says “be patient, be nice to your artists and customers, and don’t use MS Paint to make your logo”. He also offers a tip: “A lot of our releases sell out quickly so we encourage joining the CPU mailing list to be the first to hear”.
For more about CPU, visit cpurecords.net