You know that Police song 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic'? Well that was written about Mike Silver (aka CFCF). Even though Sting changed 'CFCF' to 'She' and travelled back in time to the 80's, just so he didn't seem to like too much of a fanboy, the song's still pretty much spot on.
Mike was in UK on the tail end of a month long semi-holiday playing shows around Europe (including Copenhagen's Distortion Festival) and seeing the sights where he could. This is a bit of a long one.
-TLL: You're djing tonight, what are you playing?
I think it depends on the crowd I guess, if it's a busy night, hopefully it will be, I'll play a lot of dance music like I tend to go in the direction of disco and house stuff, sort of like 90's house and disco and some oddities here and there.
-Will you be playing any of your own stuff at all?
Yeah I'm gonna try and work some in, it tends to not dominate sets usually but I try to work in a couple of songs.
-I guess if you did that you'd feel a bit self-conscious.
Yeah I think so, it doesn’t really make that much sense and besides you know there's so much more music, why would I limit myself?
-It's the same with Viva Radio (American Apparel Radio Station on which Mike has his own channel)
-How did get approached with that anyway?
My girlfriend, Andrea, really helped me with that actually because she travelled to LA and sort of met some of the people who were involved with Viva Radio. I work at an American Apparel and on Viva Radio some of the contributors had put on a remix of mine, so she had to get in contact with some of the people involved like this girl Iris and they moved me along to this guy Matt who runs Viva Radio and asked if they were looking a new contributor and they were into it.
-In terms of the music you make yourself, how do you go about it - what do you use is it?
It's pretty much with my laptop I use Logic Pro, occasionally I’ll play some guitar and I have a key controller - but otherwise it's all through that and soft synths and samples and stuff like that.
-Yeah big time, its always kind of interesting to ask about the processes of these things especially cause it's not like...
It’s not like live music or something that comes organically, well it comes out organically but it's a different working process.
-So are there a lot of sleepless nights, just like fiddling around...
No no, well it's sort of if I get going on something, then I’ll probably just work on it. It's like composing you know? You’re working on it. You have the chance to listen to it over and over again and if something's not right you can kinda twiddle with it and you get things to where they're satisfactory. It's lot like editing a film or something like that, you can have the same control with things that you can add in and take out.
-What first influenced you to create music electronically rather than say joining a guitar band with your friends?
Yeah I started using the computer to play around with music when I was pretty young, probably like 12 or something like that. It was probably more something to do with that I started to get into music like that, nothing big but it was around the time of Big Beat and so like Chemical Brothers and stuff like that and I was also into DJ Shadow. So I was just playing around and also I didn’t know anybody who could play any instruments and I at the time couldn’t play any instruments so it was playing around on the computer - it was sort of a hobby and gradually I abandoned it for a while and started to actually play guitar and learn that, but went back to it in my spare time. This was all during high school and then gradually it became more and more something I was working on and kina trying to improve and confident in showing to other people.
-How long ago was that?
I guess the first time that I started to show other people was like three ago.
-And then its all just gone on from there.
Yeah, I’ve been pretty lucky with it, like obviously had some luck with it.
-Good pushes in the right directions
Yeah exactly - like the Crystal Castles remix - I think that was good.
-And the Health one as well?
I thought the Health one was good, that kinda came out of the Crystal Castles remix 'cause I think they're friends.
-I kinda prefer your original material really - would you ever play live?
I dunno, I mean when I'm composing I don't play live that much, I play guitar and I'll play the keyboard parts live, but like the actual composition of a song doesn’t really occur in real time. It would be almost like working backwards you know from the creation of the song so it'd be kind tough. I think I'd need somebody to help me out, it's not something that I’m really working towards.
I kinda like the idea - but I’ve always thought of the songs as the finished product and I don’t find its like necessary to bring it to that next level of being live - I can see it being interesting but if I don't do it right it would kinda just take away from it in the end.
-So it's a lot more thought out than just 'playing live'.
If I did wanna play live it would have to be an entirely different project and that would be an idea from the get go.
-I’ve noticed recently in the past year, with your songs, the beats have become a bit more slower and a lot more mellower - rather than something to hop around and dance to its something to sit back/down and nod your head to.?
I just don’t wanna limit what I’m trying to make as being dance floor music or whatever - some of the stuff that I listen to is kinda slower - especially around at a home. Like, 90% of the time I’m listening to music is at home or on my headphones, it doesn’t necessarily need to be like dance floor music. I’m not that interested in making...
Yeah exactly, but at the same time there is a lot of music that I like, that's like that - it's all in its proper place I guess. If I wanna make like a good dance song
I'd try it with that in mind - but most of the time I’m trying work on things that sound good or things that I think sound good.
-One of your recent singles, You Hear Colours, tommy boy from
My manager Patrik (North, of Acephale Records) asked him basically and said that, he sent him the song and he was into it. We had seen some of his videos like he had done this remix of Telepathe by Diamond Vampires that was the one that was really good and made us think that it would be good, a good pairing.
-Arawa's a really good blog as well - it's a similar vibe to what you've going on.
It’s got a nice visual aspect to it.
-Another video is Crystal Mines, featuring that Red Guy in a mask, its pretty much like your mascot or your avatar.
Yeah it was the image that I wanted associated with the music at that point. I still like it, it’s not something that I’m trying to push anymore necessarily but at the same time it is a good image and I like the association.
-What I thought was different for You Hear Colours was that the cover didn’t really seem to fit with the whole sleek image as it's just a sandy grass isn’t it? It's not really like the dark dance floor image that I usually associate with you.
I liked the cover of that one, I think it fits really well with the a-side of that single, it's like certain sounds always evoke images and I thought the wind going through the grass on that one I thought was, that was the part that I liked.
-What music have you been enjoying recently?
Saint Etienne, a British band from 90's, I think a lot of that like Balearic style music takes them as an influence and Air France have said they're really influenced by them. Bands like Field Mice and Sarah Records bands, I’ve been enjoying that lately. There’s a German band called Popol Vuh, a Krautrock band sort of, they did soundtracks for Werner Herzog movies like Aguirre, that soundtrack is really good. And then Arthur Russell, a lot of that. All the time.
-He’s been quite a big influence recently, its weird how the resurgence has started with quite a lot of people that I know.
Well the bulk of his stuff has only been released in the last ten years, like you can see why people like it now as opposed to maybe ten years ago because it's sort of had a chance to sink in I guess as being something’s that really stands on its own, more than anything else.
-What I find really odd with CFCF that it's not as popular as it should be. Does that frustrate you at all, do you worry about how many people are listening to your songs or whether you should be getting your music out there more.
Not to a huge extent, only really to the extent that it would mean I would have more freedom to work on more stuff, you know? Because, obviously, I have a job and certain time constraints as far as working and stuff and that’s the main thing, otherwise I tend to sort of just be working on whatever I’m enjoying at the moment or whatever I feel like making. Like it's nice when people are saying they're into it buts it's not a prerequisite as far as my reasons for wanting to make music and its not a prerequisite for continuing to want to make music. If it did, then it'd be kind of silly, it would sort of defeat the purpose. The main thing is, I want to work on music as much as the music I’m listening to is inspiring me. If I’m listening to a lot of stuff that's getting me into that creative mood then that'd be the main thing that drives me.
-Do you think you'll always be at least tinkering about?
Yeah definitely, even if no one was listening or you know nothing had happened I’d still be working on stuff.
-With Montreal and Canada, in the UK it's more famous for something like The Arcade Fire - what’s it like for electronic music, is it quite receptive, are there good club nights and venues?
I’m not sure, I don’t actually put myself out there as far as playing in public in Montreal, I kinda like living there and enjoying my life there. I would never want to be at the point where I’m like 'the dude from The Arcade Fire' and the notoriety that comes from that, that's kinda the opposite of what I want. But luckily there's just not a big market, there’s not a big scene for that kinda music there anyways. There are people who are into it and those are the people I know anyway, so it doesn’t become a problem usually. The majority of people there are really into the Indie-Rock thing and there are always people who are into other stuff.
-Like any city
CFCF can be found online at http://www.myspace.com/cfcf
Also if you wanted to listen to some of CFCF's more recent material (which you do) Discodust put up some mp3s earlier in the year - check it out