Published on February 26th, 1998 | by Gerry Galipault0
Mulu stands tall in trip-hop crowd
Alan Edmunds didn’t know quite what to think of Laura Campbell when they first met, but that didn’t stop him from enlisting her to be the lead singer of his British trip-hop group Mulu.
“When my friend pulled up in his car, there was Laura hopping out and skipping across the road,” Edmunds said, laughing. “I thought she was mad before she even got into my house.”
By the end of the night, Campbell was singing her lungs out in Edmunds’ closet. That was all he needed to hear.
“I was mainly looking for a singer, because I had been doing instrumentals and I got kind of fed up with that,” Edmunds said. “I wanted a singer, male or female, but everyone I auditioned was terrible and strange and very weird. But, later on, Laura came in and did these spontaneous vocals on a four-track and I sampled them all at a later date. It worked perfectly. We jelled instantly.”
Campbell’s sultry voice and evocative lyrics and Edmunds’ programming wizardry go hand in hand on Mulu’s debut Dedicated album, “Smiles Like a Shark.” Like those before it – Everything But the Girl, Portishead, Olive – Mulu has an entrancing sound, best evidenced in the leadoff single “Pussycat.” Slowly but surely, radio stations – particularly in California – are catching wind of it.
Much like back home.
“We’re not mega-stars here,” Campbell said, “but it’s done pretty well. It’s building steadily, selling more and more as the months go by. A lot of it is word of mouth, as well. A lot of bands in this sort of niche have had that happen to them. You have to be patient.”
To have come this far is a major accomplishment. Campbell had a drama degree from Liverpool John Moores University and was looking for an outlet for her ideas when she hooked up with Edmunds, a reputable remixer for such acts as Bjork, OMD and Utah Saints.
“I’ve worked with a lot of shitheads before, so it was quite nice to meet someone new who wasn’t an egomaniac and just wanted to do his stuff without going ‘I want my drums laid in,’ ‘I want the big guitar here.’ The only problem is he has to put up with my ego,” Campbell said, giggling.
“We had written these songs and it was completely by chance that we got our manager (Pete Byrne). We had recorded the album in almost a year, and all we wanted to do was: I love going out live, we wanted to do really well at it and make a living writing this kind of music.”
Edmunds, for one, is having the time of his life.
“You can’t classify this as a job, because you enjoy it so much,” he said. “It’s more of a hobby, and you get paid for it. There’s a lot more worse things to be doing.”
BWF (before we forget): Snuggle up to Mulu on the Web @ www.dedicated.co.uk .