Filed under: Interview
Phil Mison or perhaps better known by his recording name, Cantoma, is one of the UK’s premier Chill out DJ’s. One of the leaders of this small but eclectic group of DJ’s he got his first break warming up for Darren Emmerson in 1991. His next big opportunity came a couple of years later when Jose Padilla, DJ and owner of the legendary Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza heard Phil play and invited him to go and be resident at the world’s most famous sunset bar. 2 years of Balearic bliss, providing the soundtrack to hundreds of sunsets before it was time to come back to the UK and concentrate more on recording and traveling. These days Phil has a regular DJ schedule that takes him all over the world as well as time spent producing and composing under one of his various guises.
Phil has visited Japan twice, once to play at Cay club in Aoyama, the other to bring the Balearic vibes to a summer session @ Ageha. Higher-Frequency catches up with Phil in Sunny London.
Interview by Matt Cheetham (HigherFreuqency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : How’s 2004 going for you so far?
Phil Mison : It’s been very good so far; I’ve been traveling around the world. I went to the Philippines in April, DJ’ed there, that was really good. I went on a tour of Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark and I went to Ibiza for a couple of days so yeah, I’ve been traveling around a lot, its all been very positive.
HRFQ : At what point did you decide you wanted to be a DJ?
Phil : I never really decided, I just kind of fell into it. There was never any grand plan; I just always bought records and just kind of fell into it. I went to art college and after I had a job temping for News International for about 2 or 3 years and after that I just kind of got into this.
HRFQ : Why do you think Chill out music and chill out events have always had a much lower profile than harder electronic music?
Phil : There are events now like The Big Chill, which is one of the most successful, not the biggest but one of the best festivals going compared to other electronic dance festivals. People don’t seem to want to go to those so much anymore. Regular club events will always have that kind of music because people want to go out and dance, not just sit around all but the Big Chill has kind of disproved that theory a little bit. People just get older as well, they don’t want to go and hear banging techno. There’s also the Balearic scene which is quite healthy as well and its not chill out but its not techno, its kind of something else.
HRFQ : You were resident at Cafe Del Mar for 2 years, why did you decide to stop doing summers in Ibiza?
Phil : I’d just had enough really, I’d done it for 2 years and I think the music on the island changed, I could feel it becoming a bit more English club orientated and that really wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve never been into full on music really
HRFQ : What was the highlight of your time spent there?
Phil : The whole experience really, some days would be better than others but everything really. Some of the best times would be in the evenings when it used to get really busy at about 11 and I can remember DJ’ing and looking at this heaving bar and that was really nice. Obviously people always think of the daytime there and the sunsets but playing records at night was good too.
HRFQ : Out of all the countries you’ve played in which has the best leftfield/ambient music scene?
Phil : It’s difficult to say really because when I go abroad I don’t really play that kind of music. I suppose England really because it has the Big Chill and nowhere else really does a festival that’s dedicated to playing that kind of music.
HRFQ : What was the best event you’ve played at or attended?
Phil : The Big Chill is good, playing in the Philippines earlier this year was nice, playing on a beach as the sun went down. Anywhere with a beach and hot weather kind of makes a bit more sense than cold and raining in some crappy bar somewhere, the music really doesn’t sound the same.
HRFQ : Which promoters do you think are putting on good chill out parties at the moment?
Phil : There’s a club in Manchester called Aficionado’s, and they do a Balearic event every Sunday, that’s good, and Sunday Best, (Founded by Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank), do really good parties.
HRFQ : What are the ingredients for a successful chill out party?
Phil : The decor makes a really big difference, I don’t really go to Chill out parties but Sunday Best is a little bit of everything really, you can’t just play ambient music because people just get bored in the end, you have to have a variety of music. But decor is important, people with the right attitude make a big difference as well.
HRFQ : Which artists do you think are pushing your scene in the right direction?
Phil : Ravin from the Buddha Bar in Paris, I went there last week just to see him DJ and he’s very good. There’s a guy called Frances who plays at Hakkasan in Soho, he’s good and there also Rob Da Bank and my friend Moonboots in Manchester. As for Japanese artists I’ve always liked Calm, I first bought a Clam album years ago and Bayaka who makes down tempo, chill out, worldy kind of music but with a quirky Japanese sound.
HRFQ : We couldn’t find a homepage or much content online about you or your production name Cantoma, why have you not developed your online presence so much?
Phil : I should do! People always say to me ‘We looked on the web and there’s nothing there’ (Laughs), no I going to have to invest a few pennies and get something up. Nothing special just a bit of info, a biog so if people want to have a look its there.
HRFQ : Do you think the Internet is having a positive or negative on the music industry?
Phil : I think it’s having a bad effect because people can just download CD’s so easily now and not have to bother about going out to buy the real thing so I don’t think it’s that good really. I think they should build some kind of protection into the CD’s so if it’s a copied CD it won’t play on CD players. I really like going out to buy CD’s because I like the whole package, the artwork, the packaging instead of just having loads of blank discs with scribbly writing on.
HRFQ : So you still buy music?
Phil : Yes of course, you get to a stage with records where you just get bored of them so you have to go and buy some more. I spend about 150 GBP a month on new music
HRFQ : What are your plans for the next few years?
Phil : I don’t know! I’ll carry on making music, see how that goes, give it a couple more years and have a re-think but for the moment I’m happy traveling, playing records and making music, doing remixes and stuff. I’m going to do a project called Reverso 68, which is something I do as well as Cantoma with a friend called Pete Herbert. We’ve had a 12″ out and we’ve remixed Bentz and I think we’re going to do a Lazy Boy mix pretty soon.
HRFQ : Do you think you’ll keep going back to Ibiza?
Phil: Someone once said to me Ibiza’s like an itch you have to go back and scratch. I don’t know if I’d like to live there but it’s always a nice place to go back and visit.
End of the interview
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