Chris & Cosey Talk Short Circuit Nik Void Collaboration

Duo set to perform with Factory Floor's Nik Void at Mute Festival

Here at the Quietus we’re always interested when sound magic somehow reaches across the generations and creates something entirely new. We don’t mean this in hoary pastiche, contemporary artists slavishly aping their heroes, or even worse, sitting down to jam with them. Instead, we’re concerned with originators who are still firing at their peak, and their descendants who are taking up the artistic and sonic challenge.

So it is with a forthcoming collaboration between Chris & Cosey and Nik Void, vocalist and noisemaker with Factory Floor, set to take place as part of Mute’s Short Circuit Festival at the Roundhouse, London this May. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Chris & Cosey in their Norfolk HQ for an interview feature (to appear on this site and in the new issue of the Stool Pigeon, out this week) where one of the subjects discussed was their approach to collaboration, and specifically what they might have planned with Nik Void at the Roundhouse event. How are Chris & Cosey planning to approach this rather unique event?

Chris Carter: Nik is going to come and stay with us for a week and we’re going to bring it all together here, come up with something, and then go and do it. Charlie [Throbbing Gristle and Factory Floor’s live sound engineer/wizard] will be doing the sound. We want to do more like that, more collaborations.

What do you look for in potential collaborators?

Cosey Fanni Tutti: I think something that excites us but also that we have some empathy with. Because if you can’t connect with someone you can’t create together. In terms of the Short Circuit collaboration, it was a factor that we wanted to have two women with Chris. In TG with me and Factory Floor with Nik, we’re the only women.

CC: The music at the Roundhouse is quite male-orientated, so we thought that would be nice.

Were there other reasons why you decided to work with Nik?

CFT: We were thinking of who we could collaborate with, but Factory Floor and Nik were the only people we could think we’d like to do it with.

CC: I liked the idea of two duelling female guitarists.

Both of you do have very distinct ways of playing

CFT: So we’ll probably both play drums then! I’ve never played with a woman before, well I have played with a woman, but not in the same way as that, musically, you know. It’s quite exciting when it’s unusual and away from what you’ve normally done. I don’t see the point otherwise. I think that’s what got us about Factory Floor, the approach is very similar to ours. The motivation is central to what they do, it’s not about presentation or reception.

CC: They have a take it or leave it attitude, which I really like.

CFT: I think people underestimate the determination you have with your work, or the integrity, just because you have a looseness about your approach to it, or you have a sense of humour. But that is secondary to the motivation and the reason why you’re doing it, which is a solid foundation. And I think that’s what comes through with them. It has to be people like that who I want to work with. Some people you make a connection with, and it’s there from the beginning, and some people I never want to see again.

This one-off collaboration between Chris & Cosey and Nik Void will take place at the Mute Short Circuit Festival, which takes place at the London Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, between May 13th and 14th 2011. For more information, line-up details and tickets, please visit the Roundhouse website

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