Im'a!... Youz'a!....Everybody!.....

The Hipdrop was lucky enough to score a nice write up on Mark Pritchard From the man who's always got the Inside Scoop, Mr Martyn Pepperell. Here goes,

Mark Pritchard aka Harmonic313

The quintessential cardigan wearing English gentleman living in Australia, the first time I call Mark Pritchard on his cell-phone, the geezer is busy enjoying a bite to eat at a restaurant somewhere near his studio in Sydney; and probably enjoying a nice cup of tea as well. When I call back half an hour later, Pritchard is walking to his windowless basement studio. As opposed to asking me to ring back again though, he starts offering up a few random thoughts about his day. “I’ve been on the late shift lately,” he laughs. “I’m trying to get back on the normal working hours, but for the last three or four weeks, no matter what I do, I seem to work till seven or eight in the morning.

Quintessential in more ways then one, Pritchard, a self-described lover of “heavy, aggressive, no-messing-about UK-style club music,” seems to either spend his nights working away in the studio, or DJing in nightclubs across the globe. Situation or context regardless, the end result seems to always be synthetic, low-end underpinned, stuttering electronic soundworlds which over the course a career spanning twenty so years (and multiple continents) has run the full gamut of electronic sounds. Techno, electro, ambient, wonky, drum and bass, dubstep, you name it, Pritchard has been there; done that. And with affiliations like Warp Records, Good Looking, Hyperdub and Far Out Records on his resume, you know what time it is. Then their is his long-term association with fellow musical Jedi Tom Middleton and remix work for the likes of The Orb, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-1 and Stereopeople - impressive credentials for a countryside boy from Yeovil, UK, who for the past five years has made Sydney in Australia his home.

Throughout this all, night time, and the environment it provides has been key. “There is just something about working through the night,” he muses. “Nobody calls you, there is nothing going on, it’s quiet; and I can just go off and do my thing. The only problem is its a bit weird to do it, because you sort of end up going into another world; and the real world starts feeling a bit weird.”
While admitting to some reservations about this, and conceding that at times he switches his schedule to daylight hours, Pritchard has a functional rational for working under the cover of darkness; within a space of quiet and calm.

In his words, “The way I look at making music is the same reasons why people meditate. There are different parts of the process where it’s different. There is mixing and arranging, which are the hard work parts, which are more like going to work and doing a job. The actual creation though, the process of the creation of music, the reason why I like doing it is because I pretty much disappear. Like I said before, I can basically just shut my mind off.” Throughout our twenty minute phone conversation, this theme of shutting off, going blank during the act of creation if you will is central to Pritchard’s thoughts on music and its actualisation.

Through music, I can shut all that shit that’s going on [in my life] out,” he states. “All that stress, all that stuff that I’m worried about, all the general noise that is going on; and I can just get into the studio. It takes time to get to that point and some days it doesn’t happen. Sometimes it just takes hours... It really is an amazing place to be at that point. It doesn’t really get better then th
at; for me anyway.”

And while Pritchard’s loping, electronically focused, computeresque song arrangements and wonky sci-fi referencing grooves are born of an isolated, meditative state, he increasingly finds himself in a world where the focus is on anything but singularity. Sometimes this worries him, other times not so much. “It is hard to focus now days with the way things are,” he despairs. “The way we’re living, the way technology is. You know? Internet, email, myspace, twitter, facebook.”

These things are the opposite of getting to that place! All that stuff is really addictive, you know? Some of it is actually even necessary! It’s amazing, and there are amazing sorts of things happening through all these things. But yeah, you can also really get caught up in all of that. If you’re doing that, you’re not focusing. I’ve worked with a lot of people that are from a different generation to me. And you know, that is how they work. They’re on I-chat, myspace, twitter and making beats, and emailing all at the same time; and on the phone! They’re making a beat and doing all that stuff, all at the same time. That is how they do it. They need all this stimulation. I can’t do it. I really can’t do it. It doesn’t really work for me.”

At the same time he’s no technophobe or future fearer, and definitely doesn’t see the music of the today through shit-tinted lenses, admitting that he believes a lot of amazing material is being written, it’s just the new generation of processes that trouble him. Which is understandable, as the hectic flicking constant stream of input that we associate with modern life is definitely antithesis to Pritchard’s fundamental core reason for sculpting out new expansive realities in electronic music.

The more I’ve thought about it over the years... it’s just getting in touch with yourself,” he offers. “Shutting down all your stress, ego. Shutting everything off and letting whatever comes out come out. Then I think at that point; then whatever comes out is going to be quite true. At that point, things do happen, out of nowhere. I’ll do something; then all of a sudden I’ll be like, where did that come from?”

This April, Mark Pritchard touches down in New Zealand for a series of four DJ performances around the country under the Harmonic313 moniker. Don’t miss out on the sound of now.

By Martyn Pepperell

14 Apr Sammys, Dunedin
15 Apr Concrete Club, Christchurch
16 Apr Sandwiches, Wellington
17 Apr KFM HQ, Auckland

Harmonic313 – When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence

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