In just one year CPU Records have firmly established themselves within the techno scene, building up an impressive repertoire starting with their first release in September last year, Newmark Phase by Cygnus. The label pride themselves on their authentic format and limited edition releases, with only 250 vinyl copies of each album produced. Their innovative sci-fi approach, including binary track numbering, is another real crowd pleaser, setting them aside from the rest, not only in sound but in aesthetic.

With the release of DMX Krew’s Cities in Flight last month, CPU have once again caught heads turning in their direction, and the album is set to be another sell out. As they celebrate their year milestone, label head Chris had plenty to tell us about what’s on the horizon in the near future.

How did CPU come about?

After DJing in and around the Sheffield club and pirate radio scene for over 20 years and having built some great relationships with artists from around the world, I felt in a position to launch an outlet for my favourite corner of electronic music. Setting up a label had been an ambition of mine for a long time and a chance meeting with Human Studio in 2012 led to the idea of Central Processing Unit.

I had some great artists ready to go who were already sold on my vision and once I managed to convince Kudos to distribute the label, things just fell into place. I met Dean Honer (Add N To (X), All Seeing I) via a Twitter recommendation, who agreed to do the mastering which has given the releases a superb finish.

What’s the ethos of the label?

Quality electronic music, never compromising, free of hype.

Tell us a bit about the track numbers and the aesthetics. Why binary?

The binary catalogue system and track numbers appeal to the geek inside the electronic music fan and the collector who appreciates small vinyl runs. I wanted a really minimal design that had some kind of collectability, like the classic purple Warp Records sleeves. I was really excited when I saw the design concepts for the label as it absolutely nailed the look I was after.

Damon Fairclough [the writer for Psygnosis Ltd, who created the Wipeout series of video games] pitched me an idea where he writes a narrative behind the label, and then we put snatches of the text with downloadable fold-it-yourself CD covers for each release, slowly building this bigger picture. At first I thought it was crazy, but I loved the concept. Basically there’s a signal being transmitted that stops people dreaming, and CPU is a group of clandestine operatives who are out to stop the signal and get people dreaming again. Greg Lawhun, a great illustrator from the States, interpreted the dystopian narrative by Damon. These prints are included with CPU vinyl purchases.

Tell us about some of your upcoming releases.

Up next is Mrs Jynx – Diving Loop, a 7-track mini album and 4-track 12” vinyl coming next month. I’ve been fortunate enough to cherry pick some of my personal favourite artists but I’m in talks with some relatively unknown and more challenging artists too. CPU will also be involved with a brand new electronic music night called Computer Club at the newly refurbished Fusion, Foundry and Studio at the University of Sheffield.

What else does the future hold for the label?

A compilation album is in the making, where CPU tracks will be remixed on a very special double vinyl gatefold LP. Also a CPU DJ mixtape – actual cassette release, no digital – is currently being put together. Supporting new artists, keeping the momentum going and keeping the quality high are what I’m concentrating on.

central-processing-unit.co.uk

Artwork by Human Studio

Interview by Tasha Franek.