Focusing on DeFocus :: Nostalgic Electronic Music

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Clair Poulton.. Manager and Label Head of the Artificial Intelligence infused electronic outfit Defocus Records took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions direct from the Igloo. Having worked with Rephlex Records, running the Clear record label that featured such artists as Clatterbox, Plaid, Metamatics et cetera –DeFocus has recently (since early 2000) been running a persistent release schedule giving artists like Esem, Lackluster, CiM, John Tejada, Tim Koch and many others a chance to flex their musical talents for the world to absorb.

Focusing on Defocus .. .. .. .. ..


Igloo: Where do you see electronic music headed, and
how would you define where DeFocus is at currently?

Clair: Tough one. I personally think that electronic music is currently in a hole and it’s waiting for something to happen. i.e. one label will come up with the next thing and then off they all go again. deFocus will continue to
release good quality AI style electronic music.

Igloo: With every release on Defocus it seems that they all contain a certain amount of emotion just as much as soul. Is this the intention of each release?

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Clair: DeFocus is all about old style, nostalgic electronic music. reminiscent of those early B12, ART days. We are not trying to be clever, just release good old fashioned beautiful music.

Igloo: When you say “good old fashioned beautiful music”, i am amazed at this statement because it seems to wrap up DeFocus’ mission.

What style of music are you into? Who’s influenced your ambition to start up DeFocus?

Clair: As you know I ran Clear and after that ended I wanted to release music more close to my heart. The AI thing was something I had gotten into when I first started to buy records. Warp were one of the only decent labels around then.
I am a Detroit junkie, Mixmaster Morris calls me Transmat Girl which is a huge compliment. I like loads of music, not just electronic but that is truly where my heart is. Other stuff like hip hop, house, garage, downtempo, I even had a hardcore stage

Igloo: The Artificial Intelligence era style electronic music is definitely something present with (almost) all DeFocus releases, the top-notch production and smooth rhythms are only a part of the overall package.

What have you lined up for this year? Or is this too in advance to tell?

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Clair: This year there is releases form Tim Koch, Esem (both new signings) and more from Lackluster and John Tejada.

Igloo: Esem had a nice tune on the original Sampler comp, what can we expect from him (George?), and how might you explain your most recent DeFocus artists?

Clair: They are all part of the DeFocus sound that we have become much loved for releasing.

Igloo: This is probably a difficult question, but in what direction would you like to see DeFocus head? Perhaps you’ve already established the direction –do you feel you’ve accomplished yet what you’ve set out to do?

Clair: Not by half. The music is perfect and the artists are perfect, I just need to get more records out tot more people. The distribution network has changed so much in the past few years.

We still have a long way to go.

Igloo: Has distribution ever been an issue? I find that the reason why many folks have not heard of the slash of excellent labels popping up from the corners is due to mediocre distribution

Clair: It’s not really that. Most labels don’t really now how to market their music, especially if it’s the artist running the label. It can’t be done on blind faith that the music is good so it will sell. There is too much music out in the world for that.
Also because of the masses of music it is even harder for distributors to calculate what is good and what is not. I am one of the lucky ones where I have a reputation so people know with me that they are getting quality.

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Igloo: Do you feel the need to incorporate the Detroit influences into DeFocus as a passion you have for this style of intensity? CiM and John Tejada seem to have a direct link with this “sound”.

Clair: I think most of the artists do. I choose the music to be released. Detroit is where it started for me and so it effects my decision.


Therapy Session with Simon Walley (CiM)


Igloo: Could you give us a brief intro about the CiM “landscape”, and what your aim is in creating it. What influences would you call upon?

CiM: There’s no aim as such. Not that I am aimless but the music just kind of evolved from me tinkering around with computers and realizing I could write music without needing any real equipment.

I normally turn the kit on and see what happens; there’s nothing really definite or planned about it.

Influences include early/current electronica (each in different ways), Detroit techno, computer games, reading old science-fiction, anything.

Igloo: When did you begin your musical portfolio? What caused you to create CiM? And why the name CiM?

CiM: Started tinkering in 1991..first release was in 1996 I think.

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CiM? Its just a name. I thought of using Sim but there was that Pentatonik guy called Sim. So I just tweaked it a bit.

Igloo: At what point in the process of recording music and then releasing it do you gain the most satisfaction ? (eg. making sounds / hearing that someone bought it for their mother’s birthday / reading reviews etc.)

CiM: I just enjoy making it. I like playing with samples and sounds and making nice loops. That’s it really. You can spend hours doing it without noticing. I’ve been working on a track before and being so into it, I’ve not realised my bladder is full and I’m sitting there in pain..just not aware I need to
go to the bathroom!

Releasing tracks is nice because of the possibilities it presents but the tracks would be written and be there anyway, whether they get released or not.

Igloo: Do you think that the practice of MP3 bootlegging in the electronica genre has an impact on smaller labels? Have you experienced this with any of your releases?

CiM: Yeah some people have said they liked my tracks after getting them on Napster. I think it can be a good promotion in most areas but having a full album for download kind of cancels out the point of the promotion.

There’s still a healthy market for CD’s and vinyl so there’s not as much impact at the moment. But when there is no physical media and everyone gets their stuff off the net, it’ll be a different situation perhaps.

I don’t know..its a big grey area. I think if you’re a fan of an artists or label or genre, its good to support that.

Igloo: Do you think that Melody is slowly becoming a more prominent and acceptable ingredient in electronic music today?

CiM: I think electronica/IDM/whatever has fractured a lot over the last six or so years. Its really fragmented now. So you have people who dig melodies not listening to say more noisy breaks stuff. Whereas previously these variances were more due to slight artistic differences rather than completely separate genres.

There will always be labels and artists into melodies. But I think its become more clearly defined from artists doing more abstract/noise material.

Igloo: If CiM’s music was used as the score to a Hollywood movie, what would the plot be?

CiM: I’d like to think one of Iain Banks’ Culture novels but in reality probably something twee and nice..that goes straight to video.

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Igloo: Is there anything that you dislike or like about “intelligent electronic music” that you can clarify in relation to your own project?

CiM: I like bits. I dunno..I think electronica can be so sterile and unstylish sometimes. I’d like to hear more booty in IDM.


DeFocus news ::

The next DeFocus release is the debut 12″ release from Esem, the alias of George Marinov from Sofia, Bulgaria. Like Lackluster, Esem started releasing music through various MP3 net-labels.


Links ::

  • Defocus Site
  • Defocus eGroup
  • CiM Site


    Featured Picture Links ::

  • John Tejada (Bio –not official site)
  • Esa Ruoho / Lackluster
  • Tim Koch / Thug
  • Simon Walley / CiM


  • 1 Comment

    1. Joe says:

      CiM, he released some amazing music. some really sublime stuff. wonder what ever happened to him?

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