The free outdoor concert headlined by Senor Coconut and his Orchestra was the first one put on by Mutek. Several hundred concertgoers and I were there, and as you can tell from the videos, it was a huge success…
What always impresses me about the musicians and fans that attend Mutek is the incredible commitment with which they approach their corner of the musical world. Their audience travels the world to see the favorite musicians and the musicians themselves put everything they have into their wide range of takes on electronic music. Senor Coconut, otherwise known as Uwe Schmidt, is just this type of person. Just hours before the Saturday night show, I sat down with him to ask a couple questions…
Brendan Murphy: How did this Senor Coconut persona come about?
Senor Coconut: “In short, I was tired of playing alone on the stage in a techno club environment. To me, Senor Coconut was an opportunity to do something different. When we started, the musicians didn’t really know much about what I did. They’d never played to a machine before, but they’re professional musicians so they could figure it out. But the music itself convinced them and at some point for them, and for the audience, what’s coming from a machine and what’s coming from an instrument stops mattering.”
BM: You’ve done covers of songs by everyone from Kraftwerk to Michael Jackson- how do you decide?
SC: “Some of the songs just stick with me- I call it musical Darwinism because some of the songs don’t want to die and they fight it out in my head to stick around. But they all have to be a bit of a challenge, something to figure out.”
BM: Having played Mutek and Montreal several times over the years- any general impressions of the fest and the city that hosts it?
SC: “The first time I came here, 10 years ago, I was really surprised by the warmth of the people. Often with festivals it can be a very cold machinery- they check out your music and then invite you and you don’t even talk to anyone. You check in, get your pamphlet, you play, and good-bye, that’s it. With Mutek it was different, people were excited to see you, I met all kinds of people I knew from around the world. And the show we played back then, there were lots of improvised moments- I did a show with Ricardo Villalobos and we played from 12 to 5:30 in the morning and it was a very magical moment and those don’t often happen at festivals. People were very musically educated. And of course, Montreal is a special city worldwide. It’s very nice to be here right now.”