The Normal

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The Normal
GenresIndustrial, electronic, minimal synth
InstrumentsKorg 700s
Years active1978 (1978)–1979 (1979)
LabelsMute, Rough Trade, Sire/Warner Bros.
Associated actsRobert Rental
Past membersDaniel Miller

The Normal is the recording artist name used by English music producer Daniel Miller, a film editor at the time, who is best known as the founder of the record label Mute Records.


In 1977, Miller had split up with his girlfriend. A friend suggested that he read a book the friend himself had just finished. The book was Crash (1973) by J.G. Ballard.[1] He felt that Ballard's writing took him five minutes into the future; the novel was to be a major influence in the music he would produce as The Normal.[1] Miller was disillusioned by the fact you needed to learn three chords to be in a punk band, so he decided to purchase a synthesiser. His thinking was that you only needed to learn to press one key on a synthesiser.[1] After buying a Korg 700s synthesiser from Macari's music shop in London,[1] Miller recorded and released a single under the name The Normal. This was "T.V.O.D."/"Warm Leatherette".[2] Both tracks were minimalist electronic songs influenced by the Crash novel.[1] He wanted the sound of the recordings to be visual, like driving along a highway between large buildings then going through a tunnel.[1] The single was recorded in Daniel Miller's house[3] using a TEAC four track tape recorder and the Korg mini700s synthesiser.

"Live at West Runton Pavilion", The Normal's second release, done with another Mute Records act, Robert Rental, wasn't well received. A strange release, it was a one-sided album (side two was left blank) of improvised electronic noises, in a plain purple dust jacket. Marat Records released the record in Germany as Daniel Miller Robert Rental Live, with a black and white picture sleeve, catalogue No. Marat Rough 017.

Influence on other artists[edit]

Songs by The Normal have been covered and performed by many notable artists such as Grace Jones, Sleep Chamber, Chicks on Speed/Hell on a split-7", Giddle and Boyd Rice and in 2006 by Trent Reznor with Jeordie White and Peter Murphy. A recent cover of "Warm Leatherette" was performed live by Duran Duran in November 2007, and as part of an electro medley during their 2008 tour,[4] in support of their album Red Carpet Massacre.




  1. ^ a b c d e f Synth Britannia - Documentary (BBC4 2 August 2010)
  2. ^ Vicki Aubin (10 November 1997). "Short Circuits". CMJ New Music Report. CMJ Network, Inc.: 32–. ISSN 0890-0795.
  3. ^ Mute Records (29 November 2010). "History". Archived from the original on 2006-11-13.
  4. ^ "Set List: WaMu Theater - Seattle, WA". 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-05-07.

External links[edit]