Chances are if you live in Australia and ever turn on your radio, you’ve heard the tantalising beats of electronic artist MUTO.
Yet another talent emerging from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, MUTO has been hot on the heels of his beaches peers (think the likes of Flume, Ocean Alley and Lime Cordiale).
Last year saw the electronic producer, who also goes by the name Miles Davidson, embark on a 26-date nationwide tour, as well as head overseas to tour with Hayden James as support for Odesza’s massive European circuit. It’s an impressive resume.
July saw MUTO release his latest EP, Arcane, which climbed to top spot on Australia’s electronic download charts.
“I guess it’s just a collection of music that I have been holding onto quite closely for probably the better part of two years,” Miles relayed.
Working in a genre that can often be quite stilted in its emotive power, Miles’ EP certainly supports the recent shift in electronic music towards experimenting with a new wave of sounds, working with international and local powerhouses like Novaa, HVNCOQ and Emerson Leif.
Collaboration is the flavour of the month for electronic music, and MUTO has certainly ensured his EP of the highest calibre.
“I feel like all music is inspired by other music,” he explained. “I felt like I had to really try and prove myself to get this thing off the grounds so I could do it as a career. So there was a lot of prep stuff, and a lot of struggle times. I guess it was a bit of a challenge but the songs that were in this record have been lingering over me.”
In a culture of fluid, rapid, instant gratification, is there still merit in taking the time to deliver your best?
“I wanted to make sure that they were 100% right,” Miles said, justifying his perfection and evolving mastery of the genre. “It was definitely worth it for me to get those songs out there… it’s been sitting in my library for so long, so it was really kind of cool just to finally have it out in the world.”
Experimentation seems to be how Miles finds the perfect balance, as he explains – “I made sure that they got to the point where I was happy with them. I did try a lot of different vocalists for a lot of those different tracks on there, so there was a lot of back and forth for a long time.”
And a lot of this trial and error was for Miles himself; he grappled with the many facets of the music industry that remain hidden behind closed doors. “I didn’t realise there were so many steps involved getting a song out into the world.
“It was definitely tough, probably going to be the roughest record that I’ve released because it was just so new to me,” he explained.
It was really nice to hear the honesty of his experience. “The main overtone of the record was quite melancholic, I guess to some degree,” he added – and it is this kind of emotional consciousness that differentiates EDM artists from others in the same genre; it’s a banger, but it’s not just for the club.
If a fresh EP wasn’t enough for one month, MUTO also jumped on the lineup at (arguably) Australia’s favourite festival, Splendour In the Grass.
“It was pretty crazy to be honest, the whole week leading up to it I was overwhelming nervous, I think to endure three days of the festival before actually playing was also a challenge,” Miles said.
But if it was a challenge, it certainly didn’t show. “It went really well and the crowd was awesome. I definitely didn’t expect that kind of reaction so it was pretty cool to kind of like see the new show in its final form.”
Transitioning into live shows is an interesting challenge for electronic artists. “Everyone’s music is different, they have to figure out ways to put their music together and it’s always going to turn out completely different to anyone else’s set, especially when you’re dealing with like fairly diverse kind of music which I consider my music to be,” Miles relayed.
“The smaller shows are just the smaller version of the festival shows… I guess we wanted to go pretty big for Splendour so we pulled out all the cards for that.” If you we were blessed to be at Splendour, you would have witnessed exactly what Miles meant. “It’s kind of hard to compare ’cause they’re just so different,” he added.
But Splendour was just a warm-up, as MUTO is now embarking on a national tour throughout August and September. I’d get your hands on some tix asap.
17 Aug, Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
18 Aug, The Tah, Hobart
24 Aug, Rad Bar, Wollongong
25 Aug, Yah Yah’s, Melbourne
31 Aug, Rocket Bar, Adelaide
1 Sep, The Red Rattler, Sydney
14 Sep, Mr Wolf, Canberra
15 Sep, Proud Mary’s, Erina
21 Sep, TBC Club, Brisbane