Record Label Spotlight: Mute Records

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Mute Records
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Over the last 20 years, HIP Video Promo has had the greatest pleasure of working with some of the most outstanding and iconic record companies within the music industry. Every Tuesday, we’ll go down memory lane and talk about some of our favorite record labels we’ve worked with in the past. On this Record Label Tuesday, we’re continuing with Mute Records.

Mute Records is a British independent record label founded in 1978 by Daniel Miller in Hammersmith, London. They specialize in rock, electronica, alternative rock, and experimental music. In 1978, Miller started releasing and recording his own music as The Normal. The first tracks he ever recorded were “T.V.O.D” and “Warm Leatherette,” and they were released under Mute. The idea was to only release one out of the two singles, but both became instant hits, and the label’s future was secure. Through the ’80s, Mute continued to work and support other experimental artists like Boyd Rice, Fad Gadget, and their big commercial break, the band Yazoo.

By 1999 they had already had an impressive roster of artists, including Mark Stewart and Goldfrapp. At the time, they were also one of the first labels in Britain to have an internet presence. In 2002, Mute Records was bought by EMI for 23 million pounds, and Miller stayed on board to manage global activities. Eventually, EMI and Daniel reached an agreement where EMI supported the start of a second record label under Mute. In 2012 Mute got hit with another whammy when BMG Rights Management acquired the back catalog of Mute from Universal, which caused Mute to leave Carolina just two years later to create a new deal with the Alternative Distribution Alliance. They sure have had a wild ride, but the people of Mute Records know what’s right and won’t settle for anything else.

Throughout the years, Mute has had its share of amazingly talented artists, and we’ve had the pleasure of being able to work with some of them here at HIP Video Promo. One artist we’ve had the pleasure of working with is the fantastic Paul Van Dyk, who we worked with for the first time in September 2007. We promoted his video for “White Lies (feat. Jessica Sutta)” from his In Between album. The video starts with a capitulating clip of Jessica’s silhouette being illuminated by a bright white light. Once the music kicks in, the video takes off. We see Jessica rocking a gorgeous all-white corset, and we’re taken to some futuristic burlesque where Paul is the DJ. It’s the perfect balance of pop and electronic music that we just can’t get enough of.

We also worked with Richard Hawley in November of 2007 when we promoted his video for “Serious”. In this video, we’re taken to suburban England. The video shows Richard as a typical domestic, suburban husband with green grass and a cute little house. It’s just like any other day with Richard washing his car, cooking dinner, and relaxing all with his female mannequin partner. It’s a retro feeling video for this upbeat, whimsical song.

Another Mute artist we’ve gotten to work with is Jose González. In June 2008, HIP worked with Jose on his “Teardrop” music video, one of the standout songs off his Mezzanine album. The animated video starts with two cities with a protective border takes center stage in a desert. A pair of mysterious eyes start to form above the two cities, and tears start to drip down into intricate lines. Then, we’re sucked into a multicolored vortex, and the eyes remain a consistent focal point of the video— fire rains down and water floods, which ultimately destroys both cities. Just when you think all the mayhem is over, another storm is just beyond the horizon.

Next up on our list of Mute artists we’ve gotten to work with is I’m From Barcelona. In October 2008, we promoted their video for “Paper Planes”. In this video, we’re on a never-ending elevator ride with the lead singer. Here is where he brushes his teeth, eats dinner, and even sleeps. One by one, the annoying neighbors hop onto the elevator and act out what the singer is talking about. The elevator is a metaphor for cramped city living – which doesn’t look all that enjoyable.

The next Mute artist we had the chance to work with was M83. M83, or Anthony Gonzalez, has been featured on countless movie soundtracks, and there’s something about his sound that’s just so magical. In May 2009, HIP Video Promo promoted his video for “We Own The Sky” off the Digital Shades Vol. 1 album. This video is as perfect as they come. The video starts with a group of friends running through the French countryside and looking like they’re ready for a picnic. They all sit around under the bright blue sky, relaxing and even flying some kites. But things take an ominous turn when floating shapes start to appear from nowhere. It’s nothing to fear, though; it’s just boxes of white confetti that enhance this already perfect day.

In February 2010, HIP Video Promo worked with Moby, and we promoted his “One Time We Lived” video. In this video, we see gorgeous stills of Southern California and some shots of the city of angels. The stills fade effortlessly in and out of each other, with Moby making an appearance every other frame. Director Mark Pellington makes a beautiful and warm video that’s perfect for this song.

We also worked with Liars, another successful artist from Mute Records. In June 2010, we promoted their video for “The Overachievers”. If you like eerie videos, you’ll definitely like this one. It follows a man as he seems to get ready for his day. He’s changing clothes and mixing up a drink in the blender but with a permanent guilty look on his face. Then, the video flashes a clip of a bag with blood dripping down and going into the eggs. The man starts to run on his treadmill, and he picks up his pace as the music intensifies. It’s a bone-chilling video that will suck you in.

The last but certainly not least Mute artist we’ve had the pleasure of working with is Goldfrapp. In June 2010, HIP Video Promo promoted her video for “Alive”. In this video, we see Alison Goldfrapp as a beacon of light as she stands in a room with black-cloaked men. These men seem to be under her spell because as soon as the music picks up, everyone breaks out into dancing. Alison’s vampire theme is in full effect with this video, just minus all the blood and gore. It’s the world’s most bizarre jazzercise class, and we can’t get enough of it.

Looking at all of Mute’s accomplishments, their name holds such irony. Mute Records has released some of the most groundbreaking and genre-crossing albums. Many different sounds have come out of their doors, which makes them such a unique label. Mute Records still functions today and have even expanded their offices to New York City. They’re one of a kind and definitely one of the most incredible labels in the music industry.

Written by HIP Marketing Assistant Rebecca Karaman.