Interview: etcetc Head Aden Mullens on FUT.UR.ISM 3.0

FUT.UR.ISM has well and truly established itself as one of the biggest tastemaker compilations that Australia has to offer. Providing tracks from some of the forward thinking artists in the world, FUT.UR.ISM has played host to the likes of Flume, Disclosure, Chet Faker, Flosstradamus, Frank Ocean, The XX and Gesaffelstein to name a few. Although it has helped establish some of these artists in the world of electronic music, it is not a simple task to pick out the tracks that are going to feature on the annual compilation. This is where former MoS A&R and now head honcho at etcetc comes in.

With over 10 years experience in the music industry, Aden Mullens has seen through the days of vinyl and the dawn and rise of digital music. Currently the Head honcho at etcetc: the indie label home to Kilter, Luke Million, Paces and PNAU, Aden has laid his focus on the development of career-minded electronic artists from Australia. On the international front, Aden has represented recordings from the likes of Duke Dumont, Ben Pearce, TCTS and the Dirtybird label in Australia & New Zealand.

Having been behind the scenes of the biggest MoS compilations to date, we sat down with Aden to find out what goes into the making of a FUT.UR.ISM compilation.

What role do you play in compiling the FUT.UR.ISM compilation?

For the sake of a title, I would be the Product Manager for FUT.UR.ISM.

How are the tracks compiled? Is there a certain process that the tracks have to go through? Roughly how many tracks are initially considered for the compilation?

3 months from release I'm creating a list of 90-odd tracks for consideration. From that list I pick the best 40 which I feel are the best representation of what the compilation should be about. Making sure the compilation sounds fresh is super important, so I pay attention to what the artist has been doing and what they have planned so I can have the best informed decision when mixing 5 weeks out from release.

What are your thoughts on the underground vs mainstream debate?

The only force which separates the underground and the mainstream is time. It's the evolution of art and you can't preserve it. Any artist who stays true to their art and successfully transition into the mainstream gets my kudos.

And where do you think the FUT.UR.ISM series stands?

The compilation represents a broad spectrum of artists from the electronic underground, from the hero artist of the past 12 months, to the artists who are winning right now, and names who'll be winning in 2015.

Are there any particular countries where you are seeing electronic music artists' blossom?

It's no secret Australia's indie electronic scene is on fire right now and worldly competitive. The culture here is super positive and we give our local talent a lot of love, which is great because being an artist takes a lot of hard work.

Where do you see the future of electronic music going in the next 5 years?

Tell me where it'll be in 12 months and you can have my job.

If you could predict one genre to blow up in the next few years, what would it be?


Are there any artists on you radar who you think could be the future?

A lot are on this compilation to be honest. They're usually artists who are doing something original and owning it.

How do you see live performances evolving in the future?

Artists will be performing more on stage whether it be instruments, technology, lighting. 'Laptop live' has got to go…fans want to feel a performance and that can't happen if an artist isn't looking at them.

What is your standout track on the FUT.UR.ISM compilation?

There's lots of great moments on this compilation so I hope people find a few new artists to get excited about – they're all pretty amazing and worth your attention.

FUT.UR.ISM is out now on iTunes