Talking with Mick Chillage of the Chillage Idiots Pt. 1
Irish artist Mick Chillage, one half of the Chillage Idiots, may not be a name rolling off of everyone's tongues but for me I find his music to be inspirational in terms of not only what I'm doing now but also in terms of the grand arc of aesthetics - the glue that keeps underground music together despite the dross, egos, and bad attitudes that plague all facets of it - from indie rock to gabber techno. His 2009 debut album, Tales From The Igloo, on Keith Downey's equally great PsychoNavigation imprint is the kind of album I've been searching for for some time now. It's chillout music without any of the Thievery Corp. pseudolounge trappings, no glitchiness or clickings, and most of all no shitty John Tesh influenced New Age music passing it self off as chill music ala the Ultra Lounge comps. What we have is a guy who's spent his life studying techno and other forms of electronic music and let's all of those influences spill out in a cohesive way that is neither chillout nor techno but an interesting melange of the two that makes the downtempo genre exciting again. The guy should get an honorary medal just for that, but he's also a chatty, supportive, and friendly dude so I've decided to let him do the talking over a series of posts and really introduce him to y'all, so without further ado - I give you Mick Chillage....
Tell me about the Chillage Idiots
During the 80's Myself and Paul (Chillage) both went to the same school and during these years we occasionally hung out together, eventually we left school and kinda lost communication, but it wasn't until a few years later in 1990 we met again in one of Dublin's first underground dance music clubs Called Sides D.C it was there that we discovered that we both had a passion for electronic music and liked acts such as 808 state, LFO, Orbital, Depeche Mode etc, and the friendship was reborn.
During this period we both started to work in the trendy DV8 shoe store in Dublin. The Management liked our music selections and let us control the music of both stores. around the same time I started to record ambient/electronica mix tapes using a cheap DJ mixer and two portable CD players, due to the diversity of some of the mixes I wrote "Mixed by the Chillage Idiot" on the tapes.
By 1995 Paul was in college studying media he produced an electronica radio program called "Future Music" I ended up giving Paul a hand on some studio duties and music selections during the programming, shortly after this we attempted to create some electronic music in a friends local recording studio, through these sessions we met a DJ called Hugh O'Brien who had a spot on Dublin's infamous indie/alternative pirate station XFM, he secured us a test slot in Jan 96, at the time the station manager was concerned that we were just regular dance music DJ's but they liked our selections and the Chillage idiots were born..
As far as we know it The Chillage Idiots are the longest running electronic music show on Irish radio, also making Irish broadcasting history by being the first radio show to broadcast live on the web in the late 90's. Initially our shows went out every Sunday night live on air, but with the onset of ever increasing raids, advances in technology and the way audiences listen to and consume music we decided to just do a regular monthly podcast.
We play a wide mix of genres under the electronic banner - techno, house, idm, electronica, ambient, braindance, electro or just weird shit - suffice to say; if we think it's good and it's electronic then we play it.
Over the years we have had quite a diverse range of guests, both live in the studio and by live phone interviews, Our past guests have included Jimi Tenor, Pete Namlook, Cim, Tim Koch, Clair Defocus, Miles Tillmann, Lackluster, Skkatter, Mad Vvm Dog, Front End Synthetics and Rod Morris.
How do you hook up with Keith Downey and PsychoNavigation?
From what I can remember Keith use to listen to the Chillage Idiots from time to time and occasionally rang into to chat with us about the music we played etc. In 2000, Keith had started the Psychonavigation label and also got a spot on one of the other radio stations here in Ireland and played my "Various Projects" CD-R which I released myself on his show, so I guess I was on his radar from that time onwards.
As Psychonavigation went from strength to strength Keith would sometimes send us promos which he felt suited our show. One night back in 2008, I attended a rather small gig in Dublin for Manchester acid techno and drum and bass legend A Guy Called Gerald, I bumped into Keith and he suggested that I send him some demos for a possible album, which I did and of course Keith's selections became my debut album Tales From The Igloo in 2009.
The Igloo is what I named my studio by the way.