SPOTLIGHT: Until Silence
Aficionados of Autonomic, the futuristic and minimal offshoot of drum & bass pioneered by dBridge and Instra:mental, will recognise the name Mode from his inclusion in the seminal Mosaic Volume One LP. His track Stepping Stones was one of the stand-outs on the compilation, exhibiting an extraordinary individuality and production value that intrigued and entranced us. We’ve been keenly following his output ever since – which is how we heard word of a new project the Mancunian producer is developing. Under the alias Until Silence, Jonathan Mitchell is taking his music in an entirely new yet equally exciting direction, delving into the sounds of tough techno and acid house.
Having already had one of his unreleased tracks – The Affair – included by Scuba on his recent DJ Kicks mix and a debut release on Warm Communications’ sister label, Pushing Red, back in January, Until Silence is already making significant movements in the UK house & techno scene, as well as internationally.
His latest release, also on Pushing Red, displays a mesmerising array of styles and influences, from the analogue, Detroit-esque swing and acidic, discordant melodies of That Shine, to the euphoric looped vocals, trance stabs and stomping 4×4 groove of Hands Tied.
Until Silence is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future, so we thought we’d catch up with him for a chat, though we hope it’s not true what he says about the Autonomic scene coming to a halt!
For those who don’t know, please introduce yourself…
Hey my name is Jonathan Mitchell and at the moment I’m producing electronic music as Until Silence. This Monday my second release came out on Pushing Red showcasing the diversity of my sound.
We’ve been following your autonomic output as Mode for a while now. How long have you been making music as Until Silence?
Since I started making music I’ve always written non-dnb tempo’s. I think as the autonomic movement came to its conclusion I wanted to do something new musically, I’d been writing as Mode for quite a while but felt as if a seismic shift was required in order to continue to enjoy making music. The way I see it is quite philosophical, the Mode output had its time and place and made sense to me then and presumably made sense to other people as well. It was my first foray into the world of music and underground electronica.
“Until Silence is perhaps a more mature musical project in a way, it represents a wider scope of my musical interests and influences.”
We first caught sight of you when The Affair featured on Scuba’s DJ Kicks mix. It must be pretty special to have such a luminary like Scuba use your track at such an early point in your career. How did that come about?
I’d been sending bits about to various people, I think I had Scuba’s aim from the Autonomic links and he had been playing a few of the bits but caught onto to that one in particular. It gave me the push I needed to think that Until Silence was definitely the way to go. Obviously K7 are a huge label and it was a real privilege to be involved in something that I knew would grace so many people’s ears.
Your music is undeniably influenced by the sounds of acid house that had such a fruitful life over here in the UK, yet you’re still only in your mid 20’s. How did you come to discover such an affinity for it?
Acid sounds are just one part of a rich tapestry of electronic styles that influence me when I make music. Those kind of 303 lines and programmed arp’s just have something unique to them that grabs you. However I wouldn’t describe Until Silence as strictly ‘acid house’ and my influences in terms of that sound owe more to the twisted synth work of Boards of Canada and Autechre than anything else, just maybe with a little more resonance!
What are your preferred tools for production? Do you use any of the classically acid Roland synthesizers?
At the moment I posses a 101 and a DX7. The 101 is certainly my go to synth for bass work and the kind of acid sounds I sometimes go for. However I also use a lot of software bits n pieces. The kind of cash that would be required to get a hardware synth that could produce amazing pads is a little out of price range at the moment so it’s a bit of a patchwork process at the moment. I’d love to expand my collection at some point but at the same time I don’t want to amass lots of kit, I’d rather have one or two bits that I really understand and can get good results from.
You’ve already had a couple of releases on Pushing Red, including the latest single That Shine/Hands Tied. How did that relationship begin?
I’d been sending music to [label manager of Pushing Red] Heath for the last 12 months and we’d been trying to decide what the best way to get some of this music out there was. We toyed with a possible CD or mini album of more experimental stuff and then also EP’s and various other ideas. In the end we decided we’d be more selective and pick some choice tracks for a series of 12″s. I’m really happy with the way its turned out and his label is providing a really good platform for getting the Until Silence moniker out there.
Hands Tied takes a slightly new approach for you as Until Silence, with a more euphoric take on the 4×4 deep house of artists like Maya Jane Coles, Scuba etc. How much attention do you pay to the global house scene and its in-vogue sounds?
Yeah it’s certainly a sound that I want to explore more and more. As much as I love the aggression and power of That Shine and more acid based explorations there is something about the basic deep groove of tracks like Hands Tied that for me is just unbeatable. Its something I felt I was never really able to capture at 170bpm, it always seemed too fast or too slow somehow. I don’t really have the time to pay that much attention to the global house scene, I certainly love what MJC and Scuba are up to but i’m never too sure what’s in or not!
You’re part of an ever-growing, hugely expressive cluster of artists hailing from Manchester. What has it been like growing up there, and have you witnessed a growth of the scene’s stature?
It’s a real pleasure to be working alongside people like Liam Indigo, Joe Synkro and Stickman. Moreover Dan and Omid over at PYC are doing amazing work in terms of really raising the profile of Manchester artists.
“I still think people in London are so London focused that they at times refuse to see the rest of the world, however I think the change in Manchester is that there is a really big group of artists and fans who are fully behind Manchester’s electronic music scene and support it wholeheartedly.”
For me its all about Mindset Records, Liam’s imprint is the guiding light for what Manchester is upto and hopefully we will see some Until Silence stuff coming out there at some point.
From what I can gather, it seems like a really supportive area for cultural expression, people coming together to change the musical landscape of the UK. Is that a fair observation?
Yeah I think that’s fairly spot on really. There is still a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be, for the artists involved to be fully recognised and respected for the music they are making but the foot is in the door and I think soon enough people won’t be able to turn a blind eye to the quality of music.