Real name: Matthew "Watkins" ThomasMainframe was a short-lived solo project I was doing around 2001/2002, a way for me to make some proggier stuff rather than the dark dubby house we were doing with KU at the time. Mainframe lasted for two singles (both on Junior/Futureshock off-shoot label Fuju) & a couple of remixes before King Unique really took off and that was that. KU killed Mainframe ;)
The "mainframe" vocal came from a cassette audiobook of 'Moby Dick' I'd nicked from my sister. The bloke who read it had a fantastic voice but as Herman Melville had unfortunately omitted to include the word "mainframe" anywhere in a book about 19th century whaling I had to chop the "mainframe" together from various syllables. It's stupid stuff like that meant all the records took so bloody long to make...
Off the back of the first Mainframe single I was asked by Junior London to remix Pete Heller's Stylus Trouble "Sputnik", already a colossal record so it was a touch on the intimidating side if I'm honest. Don't remember much about doing it except it was the first time I used my top secret plug-in on a track. I'd been thinking it would be groovy to have an effect that chopped up sound in the same way that a spun coin sounds as it starts to slow down and falls on the table - a sudden rush of shorter and shorter repeats that get incredibly fast then stop. I took a bit of a blaggers chance and mentioned this to one of the coders at Cycling '74 and he quickly wrote me a very simple dirty plug-in that did just that job. It was hammered on a lot of KU afterwards but it got its first outing in the drop of the "Sputnik (Mainframe Dub)". I also remember Matthew going to see Sasha at Cream and coming back to tell me that a) Sasha had played the dub and b) the place had gone fucking nuts. Exciting stuff :)
"Blue" got a mixed reception. Matthew, our manager Paul, and Omid 16B weren't fans; as Omid was the guest singles reviewer in DJ Magazine that month it didn't help sales :) In fairness I'd taken my eye off the dance-floor dynamics a bit & had too much fun with all the trippy synth parts. Still didn't stop it selling more copies than the typical Beatport top ten track does currently. Aaah, lovely pre-piracy days...
I got offered a bunch of remixes as Mainframe, including Chris Rea and a banging techno track called 'Monkey Lover' about a chap who liked spanking his monkey. Tempting as these were the only remix I took on in the end was Tomy Or Zox's "The Music Makes Me Happy". I pulled out all the techno tricks for this one and the track landed the Essential New Tune on Pete Tong's show, entered the Cool Cuts at No.1 & got played by everybody and his dog.
And that was the end of Mainframe - nice to go out on a high.
As you'll have noticed I've taken great care to emphasize that these were solo records and that I was that solo genius - but truth is almost nothing left the studio those days without me getting tons of feedback from Matthew; and of course the tunes wouldn't have come out without Phil & Alex from Futureshock, and Paul & Steve at Junior London so a final cheery rose-tinted 'hoorah!' for them all.
Mainframe (aka Matt Thomas of King Unique) August 2010