Having started off last decade as a grime producer and fixture on the East Anglian free party scene, Sim Hutchins has since gravitated towards a more experimental and introverted way of making music.
His debut album I Enjoy To Sweep a Room was released last year on London label No Pain In Pop, and around that time he also turned in a killer Hyp mix for us. Recorded with budget equipment, and skirting the edges of techno, ambient and IDM, his debut LP was a resolutely individual piece of work. Nominated in the Hyponik Awards 2015 for Best Live Act, the way Sim transforms his strange constructions onstage is something to behold.
Sim is playing a No Pain In Pop label showcase presented by Dummy at Ace Hotel this Thursday alongside Throwing Shade, Jire and Oleka, so we got in touch to chat about his live setup, Essex pirate radio and facilitating the collapse of society. You can also get a taste of what to expect at Ace Hotel by checking out his live set from No Pain In Pop’s Radar Radio takeover below.
Hi Sim! I’ll let you introduce yourself.
I’m Sim Hutchins. I’m a musician and video artist from NW Essex.
Describe your music in six words?
Unpolished Esoteric Electronica Purple Monkey Dishwasher.
Let’s chat about your live setup. What gear do you use on stage?
The fact that I can’t (and won’t) buy a MacBook to cart on stage has brought me to the point where I use an old digital multi-track recorder with all my loops loaded up on it. This gives you the access to all the separate parts (8 channels) which are then sent via desk to either a boutique looper pedal that messes with all the audio in strange and confusing ways, a reverb/delay pedal setup or a distortion pedal. When all of these are fed back into each other, sonic chaos ensues. I also use a circuit-bent Roland TR-626 that’s triggered off the midi out channel.
What does your “fetish for bad gear” mean for your live performance?
Me playing with sound in a super hands-on way / when you rub your eyes and it hurts but it feels so good.
How do you go about preparing your tracks to perform live? What’s lost, what’s gained?
Structural improvisation is lost to a degree, but the way you present these forms is malleable as fuck. Using the looper pedal I have changes what you sample into it drastically, so you end up with these in-the-moment type collages of sound that add to the original. It’s nice to play unfinished stuff too and see where you can take it.
Plans to debut any new material at the No Pain In Pop showcase?
Yeah, been dying to play the new stuff I’ve been working on, some of it’s really bleak, though ‘Ecstacy Honeymoon Period 2’ (the last track on the Radar Radio set) might act as a good counterpoint. I might play the Future edit I nearly got kicked off Soundcloud for too.
What would your show look like if you had an unlimited budget?
An all-nighter at the original location of Plastic People with the original sound system setup and all the lights off would be hard/impossible to create with any budget. Spike the punch there too.
Are there any live performers that you particularly admire?
Though he never threatens to disappoint live, I’m looking forward to Actress’ Barbican show in the sense that I’m really fucking looking forward to it. I like the no-fucks-given attitude of the noise scene, it would be cool if EDM DJs took some of that onboard instead of donning horse heads and throwing cakes at people (though I’m convinced they probably stole that from the noise scene guys).
Have you ever played any disastrous shows/DJ sets?
Essex pirate radio will feature without a doubt some of my most disastrous times in front of two turntables. My radio voice is on point though.
What’s your favourite episode of The Simpsons?
I’m in a Bart Of Darkness mood right now; I’m becoming isolated and weird. Also I just watched Rear Window and I finally see where they plagiarised the idea from.
Finally, what have you got in the pipeline?
Friend and collaborator O.D. Davey and I are releasing the second (now monthly) instalment of our Headcase project; 10 minutes of mindful meditation designed as a handy self un-help experience. Encourage the facilitation of the collapse of society by downloading, sharing and listening for free on the 13th of each month.
Sim Hutchins plays Dummy Presents: No Pain In Pop @ Miranda Bar Ace Hotel, 11th Feb. RSVP here.