From the Beatles to UK punk, US hardcore, through to techno and drum and bass, Klute, aka Tom Withers, has always thrown himself headfirst into his favourite music. The DJ, producer and boss of the respected Commercial Suicide label, is a known crowd puller with an international fan base and a back catalogue of quality releases longer than a day at the dentist.
Klute is known and loved for his driving drum and bass, backed by a power wall of techno influences. However, unlike other artists within the scene who choose cut their craft with the harder edge of the sound, a Klute set always manages to retain a degree of musicality. His track lists feature a wide variety of different elements from other styles and genres, wrapped up into one big dance-floor friendly package.
Never one to limit his artistic outlets, Withers has been in bands from the age of 13. His love for punk has never been far from the surface and he considers the latest album from his band The Stupids to be some of their best work to date. “When punk came around it really caught my attention and it inspired me to pick up the guitar and drums,” says the man himself. “At first it was the Stranglers and the Sex Pistols but after awhile it was the UK Subs that really turned me into a full time punk rocker! I think at first it was the outrageousness of the music that caught my attention. I wanted to hear the swearing but then of course there was the extreme energy.”
First turning to dance music production in 1992, Withers took his experience of writing and performing live music and fed them into a range of electronic equipment and software, “I bought an Ensoniq EPS16+ and began messing around with sampling and putting tunes together. After a few years I eventually progressed onto using Cubase on the Atari for sequencing. These days I still use Cubase but on a Mac. Usually I like to start working with fresh samples and mess around with those in the sampler to see what crazy shit I can come up with. Once I catch a vibe, I start to layer things on top.”
Having delivered the goods time after time on previous Australian tours, a mutual appreciation has developed between the DJ and his Aussie fan base, “Australia just keeps on getting better and better for me. The first couple of times I toured there people didn’t seem that interested, save for maybe Adelaide and Melbourne, but now the scene seems a lot more healthy and its always great fun.” Anyone lucky enough to be catching him this time around can be assured of the same dedication that has guided Klute’s career over the years, including an awareness of complacency within his own scene, “Drum and bass at times can seem quite insular and I think it’s important at times to forget about it and look to other things, just to gain some perspective.”