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Bleep Interviews Chris Carter / Cosey Fanni Tutti / Nik Void

Carter Tutti Void

Bleep: Could you give us a bit of background as to how the collaboration came together?

COSEY: Mute invited Chris and myself to play as part of Mute Short Circuit at the Roundhouse in May 2011. They mentioned that it would be good for fellow Mute artists to collaborate, which appealed to us. Then we started thinking of who we’d like to work with that would be different for us and we thought of Nik. We’d seen her play previous to Factory Floor and then with them so we knew and really liked her work.

NIK: I first met Chris & Cosey briefly at the ICA at Cosey Complex with Factory Floor, then later my manager at the time Paul Smith, who is also Chris & Cosey’s, invited me to what he called a biggish do at the Tate where Cosey was performing. Her performance was an eye opener and blew me away just like Throbbing Gristle did when I first took home 2nd Annual Report from Mute’s basement. So when I received the email from Cosey asking me to perform with them at the Roundhouse in May I was thrilled to say the least.

B: Did the three of you discuss a direction / vision for the set, or did the outcome purely take shape through improvisation?

C: We proposed a very loose approach to allow for as much freedom for us all as possible… just for Nik to come to our studio and jam to some rhythms together and see what happened. Then take that into a live situation as soon as possible to keep it fresh and energised. So the outcome was solely down to the improvisational approach we decided on from the get go.

B: Although the musical output from your respective camps takes different directions, do you think there are links that bind you together in terms of approach to sound and attitude? If so, how did these similarities – or differences – affect the creative process of working together?

C: I think the similarities of our approaches to sound making were crucial to the creative and working process. We’re all pretty much very open minded to allowing for anything to take its place within what we create. It’s a pretty physical process rather than theoretical. We feel our way through the sound working with the audio and its affects, drive and power. That’s what’s the most exciting thing for me personally, that we’re all conduits and facilitators for the manifestation of a collective work. Chris and myself have always worked like that and we knew Nik had a very similar approach.

N: I think individually we have our own staple sounds and investigative approach to our tools/ instruments. As I was not sure where we would begin, I began playing in a way which was familiar, sounds I’m used to working with in Factory Floor – after a few moments of playing together though, these sounds started to bend and take on a shape that fitted nicely into Chris and Cosey’s own language. It’s a joy playing with two people who are so obviously in tune with each other and to be able to fit in is a real honour. I think one major factor that unifies us is the ‘no fear’ to instinctively push ourselves into territories that may nudge us out of our comfort zones, but it only really works well if you have trust in your peers. It was like they led me down a dark ally blindfolded, but I had total faith in were we were going.

B: I liked that the crowd responses were left unedited, I felt it gave a strange physicality, a human angle to the recording – Was there a conscious decision to invite the listener to that live environment rather than present the pieces as a traditional album experience?

C: We wanted to make the gig available as soon as possible because a release would complete the project. I guess the album stands as a documentation of intent, execution and conclusion. That makes it sound a bit cold which it most certainly wasn’t. It was such a positively charged atmosphere at the gig and that energy from the audience was definitely instrumental in, and a contributing factor to the sounds we played live. The release also enabled the many people who couldn’t get into the gig itself to hear it as it was – unedited, a direct recording. So I suppose it’s not a ‘normal’ album – which hadn’t even occurred to me to be honest. It just was what it was for us all.

B: Can we expect to see future collaborations between the three of you?

C: As we all have separate projects it’s difficult to find time but we’re hoping to get together again for sure.