Mike Paradinas

Planet Mµ big cheese Mike Paradinas takes one for the team from our quick-fire question machine

Where are you right now and what can you see?
“I am in my office and from my window I can see lots of trees, a 13th Century church, some school playing fields and the offices of an electricity company.”

Planet Mµ is 25! How did that happen, right?
“I know! I guess we didn’t die or go bust.”

Did you imagine you’d be marking this milestone when you set the label up?
“No, I didn’t think further than the next year or two at any point.”

What do you put your longevity down to?
“To be honest, I think it’s tenacity. If someone else was in charge, they might have given up by now.”

What was the big plan for the label back in 1995?
“When we started, it was a sub-label of Hut Recordings, which was part of Virgin/EMI, and it was set up to solely release my µ-Ziq material. I did have plans to release other artists in time, which is what eventually happened with the ‘Mealtime’ compilation. The original roster was meant to be Jega, Like A Tim and Boards Of Canada, who eventually signed to Warp. I wanted to build it up into a large independent label to compete with Warp, XL or 4AD.”

How did that plan work out for you?
“I think we’ve managed to get some of the way towards getting the recognition factor of a large indie label and we’ve had some success in developing certain artists such as Jlin and Venetian Snares.”

Any advice you’d offer to yourself if you could travel back to 1995?
“Invest in Apple? Bitcoin?”

What’s the most notable difference in running a label then and now?
“The biggest difference is the advent of streaming, and subscription models in all areas of life. I think we are moving away from owning things in the old way, which opens up opportunities and presents pitfalls.”

Do you think there’s a Mµ house sound?
“I think we’ve always worked with a variety of material. We try to release new and exciting music that is a reflection of the artist’s development.”

A collection of tracks from the last 25 years would been the obvious route, but that’s not the Mµ way is it?
“Well, the reason we didn’t do the legacy thing is because it’s all available on streaming platforms. We might as well have just released a playlist, which we’re going to do, and there’ll be a campaign of 25 per cent off 25 classic Mµ releases in December too.”

The album you have released is 15 tracks by the current crop of artists…
“It should have been 25 tracks, but that wouldn’t fit on the CD.”

The label remains essential listening after 25 years. We’ll see you back here in 25 years for the 50th anniversary shall we?
“Thank you. I probably won’t be alive in 25 years, but if I am I’m sure someone will force me to celebrate somehow. All this just makes me think about not having a pension.”

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