Miles Mortensen - Tales Collective

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We recently caught up with Miles Mortensen, a techno artist that also has a knack for making a mean cup of coffee (that’s actually how we found him – working at C.R.E.A.M. in Shoreditch, our Online Manager’s go-to brunch spot). Originally from Sydney, Miles moved to London in 2013 before starting ​Ossa di Mare​, an experimental duo renowned for creating dark and ethereal sounds. He’s also part of ​Tales Collective​, a group that collaborates across both techno music and art. The collective started out by throwing parties across East London, combining music with art installations to give audiences an interactive, audio-visual experience. Recently, they’ve been focussing their energy on their record label, with the first release set for the end​ ​of​ ​November.

Miles Mortensen - Tales Collective

 

So, when did you move to London?

I​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​in​ ​Sydney​ ​and​ ​ ​moved​​ ​in​ ​March​ ​2013​ ​to​ ​study​ ​music​ ​–​ ​the​ ​courses​ ​here​ ​were more​ ​in​ ​line​ ​with​ ​what​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​and​ ​I’d​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​move​ ​to​ ​London​ ​for​ ​a​ ​while.​ ​I​ ​met​ ​​Frank​​ ​and​ ​we starting​ ​writing​ ​music​ ​together,​ ​then​ ​later​ ​met​ ​Ricky​ ​and​ ​Alessandro.​ ​Ricky​ ​was​ ​actually​ ​working​ ​at Point​ ​Blank​ ​after​ ​I​ ​left,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​ended​ ​up​ ​starting​ ​a​ ​label​ ​together.

What was studying in London like?

It​ ​was​ ​great!​ ​I​ ​got​ ​a​ ​totally​ ​different​ ​experience​ ​to​ ​what​ ​I​ ​would​ ​have​ ​in​ ​Oz.​ ​When​ ​I​ ​was​ ​studying​ ​in Australia​ ​it​ ​pretty​ ​much​ ​focused​ ​on​ training in ​a​ ​very​ ​classical ​way.​ ​A​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​music​ ​theory,​ ​ear​ ​training, recording​ ​instruments,​ ​which​ ​was​ ​helpful,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​was​ ​more​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​sound​ ​design​ ​and programming.

Right – what you do is all digital.

Not​ ​entirely,​ ​I​ ​use​ ​a​ ​combination​ ​of​ ​hardware​ ​synthesizers​ ​and​ ​software​. What​ ​I​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​know was​ ​how​ ​to​ ​use​ ​these​ ​properly,​ ​so​ ​when​ ​a​ ​friend​ ​told​ ​me​ ​about​ ​Point​ ​Blank​ ​in​ ​London​ ​I​ ​just​ ​thought screw​ ​it,​ ​I’ll​ ​move​ ​there.​ ​Bye!​ ​Saved​ ​for​ ​six​ ​months​ ​and​ ​then​ ​crashed​ ​with​ ​my​ ​best​ ​friend​ ​who​ ​was already​ ​living​ ​here.

And here we are!

Yeah!

So was that the first time you properly started making music, when you moved to London?

No​ ​I​ ​started​ ​DJing​ ​after​ ​I​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​friend​ ​pick​ ​it​ ​up​ be​cause​ ​his​ ​brother​ ​was​ ​a​ ​DJ​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​about sixteen/seventeen​ ​and​ ​was​ ​super​ ​into​ ​it.​ ​I’d​ ​always​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​make​ ​music,​ ​but​ ​there​ ​was​ ​never​ ​really an​ ​instrument​ ​that​ ​really​ ​made​ ​me​ ​think,​ ​“Yeah,​ ​I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​play​ ​that.”​ ​So​ ​I​ ​started​ ​playing​ ​around​ ​with Ableton​ ​[a​ ​digital​ ​music​ ​software]​ ​and​ ​basically​ ​got​ ​sucked​ ​down​ ​the​ ​rabbit​ ​hole. I’m​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​going​ ​in​ ​the​ ​reverse​ ​direction​ ​now​ ​with​ ​production​,​ ​taking​ ​away​ ​the computer​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​I​ ​can​ ​and​ ​playing​ ​with​ ​more​ ​hardware​ ​gear.​ ​Making​ ​music​ ​with​ ​machines​ ​or the​ ​computer​​ ​is​ ​great​ ​because​ ​you​ ​can​ ​do​ ​everything​ ​–​ ​you​ ​can​ ​do​ ​it​ ​by​ ​yourself​ ​or​ ​you​ ​can do​ ​it​ ​with​ ​ten​ ​other​ ​people.

Caitlin Pak-Poy

Tell me about the others that you make music with.

Well​ ​there’s​ ​Frank,​ ​we​ ​write​ ​music​ ​together​ ​as a​ ​project​ ​is​ ​called​ ​Ossa​ ​di​ ​Mare.​ ​Then​ ​there’s another​ ​artist​ ​from​ ​our​ ​collective​ ​and​ ​label, Tapefeed​,​ ​we’ll​ ​just​ ​meet​ ​up​ ​and​ ​have​ ​jams.​ ​I have​ ​various​ ​friends,​ ​and​ ​this​ ​doesn’t​ ​really happen​ ​as​ ​often​ ​as​ ​we​ ​like,​ ​but​ ​when​ ​we​ ​can we​ ​meet​ ​up​ ​at​ ​someone’s​ ​house,​ ​all​ ​bring​ ​a piece​ ​of​ ​gear​ ​and​ ​just​ ​jam​ ​for​ ​six​ ​hours​ ​and zone​ ​out.

And how did you meet Kit, from working at C.R.E.A.M.?

Kit​ ​and​ ​I​ ​actually​ ​met​ ​when​ ​I​ ​used​ ​to​ ​work​ ​at Brick​ ​Lane​ ​Coffee. She​ ​had​ ​just​ ​moved​ ​over and​ ​started​ ​working​ ​there.​ ​Brick​ ​lane​ ​Coffee then​ ​shut​ ​down​ ​and​ ​I​ ​moved​ ​to​ ​C.R.E.A.M.​ ​and​ ​she started​ ​working​ ​at​ ​a​ ​cafe​ ​called​ ​Slate,​ ​which was​ ​around​ ​the​ ​corner,​ ​before she​ ​began​ ​work at​ ​C.R.E.A.M. She then​ ​moved​ ​into​ ​our​ ​house​ ​and​ ​we brought​ ​her​ ​into​ ​the​ ​collective.​ ​She​ ​was doing​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​the​ ​branding,​ ​presenting​ ​her​ ​art at​ ​the​ ​parties,​ ​and​ ​now​ ​she​ ​does​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​the​ ​artwork​ ​for​ ​the​ ​label.​ ​Her​ ​stuff​ ​is​ ​amazing​,​ ​have never​ ​seen​ ​anyone​ ​really​ ​create​ ​stuff​ ​like​ ​it.

So what about the label – what are you releasing? When are you releasing?

We have the first release coming out on the 24th of November. Ossa di Mare has one track on the release, and then Tapefeed has a track, plus remixes by Reggy Van Oers and another duo called I/Y. It’s the first release for our label and it’s been a long time coming! We’re planning another release for January/February 2018.

Wow that’s quite soon, are you going to drop a new release every two months?

That’s​ ​the​ ​aim​. What ​we​ ​eventually​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do​ ​is​ ​go​ ​vinyl-only,​ ​but​ ​it’s​ ​pretty​ ​expensive​ ​to​ ​do​ ​and​ ​a​ ​lot of​ ​time!​ ​There’s​ ​not​ ​really​ ​money​ ​in​ ​a​ ​record​ ​label​ ​anymore​ ​unless​ ​you’re​ ​doing​ ​the​ ​pop​ ​charts,​ ​and even​ ​then​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​make​ ​that​ ​much.​ ​I​ ​remember​ ​reading​ ​when​ ​Pharrell​ ​released​ ​‘Happy’​ ​his income​ ​from​ ​that​ ​record​ ​was​ ​only​ ​about​ ​$3,000​ ​or​ ​something​ ​in​ ​royalties​ ​–​ ​all​ ​the​ ​money​ ​comes from​ ​live​ ​shows​ ​and​ ​merchandise.​ ​No​ ​one​ ​pays​ ​for​ ​music​ ​anymore,​ ​they​ ​just​ ​illegally​ ​download​ ​it​ ​or stream​ ​it.​ ​Thing​ ​is,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​vinyl​ ​record​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​you’re​ ​getting​ ​something​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​tangible, and​ ​new​ ​records​ ​come​ ​with​ ​digital​ ​download​ ​codes​ ​anyway.

How often do you play shows?

At​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​about​ ​once​ ​or​ ​twice​ ​a​ ​month,​ ​both​ ​live​ ​performances​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​DJing;​ ​it​ ​just depends​ ​what​ ​we​ ​get​ ​booked​ ​for.​ ​To​ ​make​ ​it​ ​a​ ​full-time​ ​job​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​gigging​ ​a​ ​​lot ​ ​–​ ​even​ ​DJs that​ ​are​ ​pretty​ ​big​ ​still​ ​have​ ​a​ ​day​ ​job​ ​as​ ​a​ ​chef​ ​or​ ​an​ ​architect​ ​or​ ​whatever.​ ​I​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​I​ ​only​ ​work four​ ​days​ ​a​ ​week​ ​so​ ​I​ ​still​ ​have​ ​time​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​the​ ​music.

What about producing other artists?

I​ ​tried​ ​for​ ​a​ ​while​ ​but​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​write​ ​music​ ​for​ ​other​ ​people​ ​really!​ ​Also​ ​in​ ​saying​ ​that​ ​haven’t​ ​really worked​ ​with​ ​too​ ​many​ ​people​ be​cause I’ve​ ​always​ ​been​ ​in​ ​a​ ​more​ ​club​ ​style​ ​focus​ ​format.​ ​I​ ​can​ ​mix​ ​other artist’s​ ​tracks​ ​but​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​producing​ ​a​ ​singer,​ ​for​ ​example,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​often​ ​have​ ​different visions.​ ​Although,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​been​ ​working​ ​with​ ​a​ ​singer​ ​recently​ ​who​ ​is​ ​amazing​ ​–​ ​she’s​ ​a classically​ ​trained​ ​opera​ ​singer​ ​and​ ​we​ ​improvise​ ​with​ ​a​ ​broken​ ​beat,​ ​electronic​ ​music,​ ​and​ ​she​ ​sings over​ ​the​ ​top.

So what’s ahead…

The​ ​idea​ ​is​ ​to​ ​gig​ ​more​ ​and​ ​build​ ​this​ ​label​ ​really​ ​strong.​ ​We’re​ ​playing​ ​a​ ​gig​ ​on​ ​the​ ​8th​ ​of​ ​December with​ ​Apparat​ ​and​ ​Pantha​ ​du​ ​Prince​ ​at​ ​Studio​ ​Spaces,​ ​which​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​different​ ​for​ ​us. We​ ​will be​ ​presenting​ ​the​ ​experimental​ ​side​ ​to​ ​our​ ​project​ ​with​ ​the​ ​singer.​ ​Then​ ​we have​ ​another​ ​gig​ ​for​ ​New Years​ ​but​ ​can’t​ ​say​ ​much​ ​about​ ​that​ ​at​ ​the​ ​moment!​ ​Think​ ​my​ ​Mum’s​ ​going​ ​to​ ​come​ ​for​ ​the​ ​first time​ ​which​ ​will​ ​be​ ​amazing!

CREAM Shoreditch

 

Tales Collective drops their first release on Friday 24th November at https://www.talescollective.co.uk/.

Miles wears the Anton in Matte Black and Kit wears the Aries in Silver, shot on location at C.R.E.A.M.

IG: @talescollective

Photography: @photographybymiles

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