TF Archives

Klute - Total Mass Urban Revolution

Author: Chloe Burke
Monday, September 1, 2003
Klute (born Tom Withers) knows no compromise when it comes to drum'n'bass, in fact he challenges the very essence of what drum'n'bass should sound like. Fusing brooding techno with obscure beats and poignant arrangements, Klute's sound is as accessible to the dance floor as it is your lounge room.

Klute's induction into music came in the form of eighties skate punk band 'The Stupids' who did enjoy a moderate level of success and looking back Klute still has mixed feelings about no longer being in a band.

"I do and I don't miss it. One of the main reasons I gave up bands is because of the logistical nightmare of finding like minded people and then bringing them all together in one place, these days I don't have to worry about those kinds of things. However I do miss the interaction and the random ideas that come together when other people are involved. Also it's a hell of a lot more fun travelling as a band."

After extensive travel through the US Klute discovered 808 State's 'Cubik', Detroit and electronica in general, leaving his guitar to gather remnants of what used to be.

"Every once in a while something comes along that does blow me away and 'Cubik' was one of those landmark tunes. For me music is all about blowing you away and taking you to another place……this still happens."

Klute's early works surfaced on 'Deep Red' but it was under 'Certificate 18' that his defining sound gained recognition. Choosing not to think too heavily about concepts and instead concentrating on plummeting basslines, and subtle synths, Klute shot to the attention of music lovers and critics alike.

Four years into his time at 'Certificate 18' and Klute released the seminal long player 'Casual Bodies' - titled as a reference to the "mass of people out there without referring to them as individuals." Part Detroit techno, part abstract soundscape and part complex circuit board extraction 'Casual Bodies' was the album Klute used to free and expand his mind for future creations.

"For me and my musical background I feel that the first album is often the burning one, tearing it out of the garage and getting that fury out of you."

Following closely behind was the album 'Fear of People' a title given not only as a two fingers up to the pretentiousness that lurks with the dance scene, but also as a reflection upon those who are to afraid to defy the rules rather than taking their sound wherever they choose - a fear that Klute is most certainly without.

"I'm still me and I'm still making Klute music - taking my sounds beyond what people think, music that I find interesting and challenging."

Continuing to go out of his way to stretch the expectations of music Klute created his own imprint 'Commercial Suicide' in 2001. Aptly titled the 'Commercial Suicide' network includes producers Calibre, Digital, Total Science, Concord Dawn, and Austrian prodigy D-Kay.

Incorporating a traditional song-type structure to the making of his latest album 'Lie, Cheat & Steal', Klute once again brings expansive atmospheric sounds together with quirky noise and inventive arrangements. To accompany the album is a second disc 'You Should Be Ashamed' which pays homage to the state of mind that is Detroit techno.

"Detroit was a musical revolution to me…I consider it to be the heart and soul of what this culture is all about. I feel a definite affinity with the stinking place."

The conversation turns to the benefits of music on the internet, a medium Klute strongly supports.

"The internet has had a major impact on d'n'b. These days' news spreads a lot quicker, more records are being sold online and now the majority of tunes exchanged by producers are done online with the use of chat programs like AIM. This is a great thing but the one downside is that because of the advent of 'dubplate pages' it has taken away some of the mystique of going to see a DJ, as more people are likely to have heard what a travelling DJ is going to play.