At a time when too few artists are willing to use their work to comment on anything outside of itself, Essex-based producer Sim Hutchins is making vital electronic music which takes aim at the fucked state of UK politics, broken discourse and instruments of public control.
His most recent project, Vantablank Stare, is out now on Lee Gamble's UIQ imprint. Oscillating between glitchy ambient, ferocious noise and dubbed-out techno, it's perhaps best experienced in the form of this infinite-loop web installation, courtesy of Sam Keating, where vacant news studios provide a backdrop for endlessly scrolling, satirical headlines.
For his Monday mix, Sim has put together this amazing live set for us, warping tracks from both his UIQ and No Pain In Pop releases alongside some unreleased material, and tying it together with fake news recordings and radio ambience. Listen below, and then read our Q&A session:
Sim Hutchins - She Say She 'Luv' Me, Whatever That Is (No Pain In Pop)
Sim Hutchins - Hollywood10 VIP (No Pain In Pop)
Sim Hutchins - Nescience Is Not Ignorance VIP (UIQ)
Sim Hutchins - Some Men (me) Just Want to Let the World Burn (UIQ)
Sim Hutchins – Losing U & I Kno It (Unreleased)
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you, what are you?
I'm Sim Hutchins, I'm based out of NW Essex, and I'm a guy who makes music and fucks with video.
Tell us about the Monday mix you’ve put together for us.
This is a live set of UIQ/No Pain In Pop tracks, VIP remixes and unreleased stuff, along with a peppering of fake news readings, radio wave samples and general crud & fuzz. The basis of my live sets revolves around augmenting tracks, rather than re-playing them. Each time sounds uniquely different this way.
Where was it recorded?
In my studio, deep in rural Essex, and where the peacocks roam freely.
Can you draw what you think it sounds like?
If it were a food what would it be?
An auto freshener that says 'Capricorn' and... something with coconut on it.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Listen alone (and if you are me that would be 99.9% of the time).
What should we be wearing?
An XXL US-imported black tee with the text “REALISE EVERYONE AIN'T LOYAL” spelt out in rhinestones on the front.
Are you on the same wavelength as the Boomtown Rats or do you actually like Mondays?
Start of the week for me is usually vowing not to do whatever it was you did last week, so I see Mondays as a fresh chance, and so what's not to like?
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
Both parents, but in different ways. Mum was very much into her music, would play albums and dance around the kitchen to a lot of synth pop kinda stuff, whilst Dad was driving me around London with pirate radio on in the background. The beauty of the '80s stuff fused with the coldness of grime & drum'n'bass and lead me to a lifetime of searching out music that fits somewhere between these two poles.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
Until then it'd just been singles, & radio really, but The Orb's 'Live 93' was what really did it for me. I still get goosebumps thinking about some of the passages on that record, and how they recreated the songs in unique ways in a live setting.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First was something so probably shite, I have no idea now (GOOD). Last was Zurkas Tepla's 'Bank Robber/In The Same Car' (on cassette).
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you ate them?
I would choose Homer Simpson in the episode where his head becomes a donut because he'd not only keep me entertained, but he's also “so sweet and tasty!” I can't keep sacchariferous things around for too long without eating them, so don't bring yer girl round me.
How does your brain work when you're making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
Been learning a lot about left-brain/right-brain thinking recently, and I'm definitely right-brain when I'm creating, but unfortunately there's a load of left-brain stuff needed to finish music. When I'm not making music my brain is usually thinking about how to be ambient-dronetronica's premier fuckboy.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Patrice O'Neal's radio appearances (RIP).
What's your answer to everything?
Do more of it, and don't run out.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Let's talk more about the media's grip on society/democracy, and when we do that let's try not to strengthen it at the same time. Inflammatory articles are written to shift papers, and by reacting to and reposting that stuff, you're perpetuating their message. Leave them to it. That's the difference between watching the world burn and letting it burn. It will still smoulder without you no matter how much you try to piss on their fire, but if enough people stop stoking the flames it won't glow so bright. Block their ads, block their websites, block them in your news feed, throw away their papers, don't watch their videos. Our greatest tools of protest in the west are boycotts and pulling our money out of places. Please support independent media outlets like the good people at The Ransom Note if you can, and keep it 100 ;)
Vantablank Stare is out now on UIQ.