In the MusicFeeds offices Mark Pritchard is known as Fingerpie – the man with his hands in a thousand pies. It would be impossible to list his many releases, or even the labels on which they were released. So prolific is this man that talking to him about his own music is a bewildering exercise: names of labels and albums and singles are thrown about with the abandon of a child in a pit full of lollies.
Mark’s last release was When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence, an album with an old school, arcade feel. The sound harks back to the early days of Detroit techno, using minimally engineered sounds on basic loops which contribute an overall analog vibe. The sound could be from almost any era of electronic music.
“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff over the last three to four years. Getting a lot of stuff done but not completely done. I have periods where I’m focused on finishing things, so things tend to come out whenever they do. It’s all starting to surface now with a steady stream of music. We’ve got a really jampacked year ahead of us.”
Though Mark is a busy beaver he lacks the architectural focus to put the pieces of the dam up in order. “I don’t think about just one thing when I’m working. What comes out, comes out, I never try to force anything. You know, I could think “maybe I should do another single” or “maybe I should do some new material” but I find things just happen randomly. You go and do what you want to do, within reason, and things tend to happen naturally. When I’m writing I try to make what I want to make and not think about when and where and what for.”
Mark’s next release will be Africa Hi-Tech, a collaborative project with Steve Spaceks. Mark says the sound will have elements of grime and dancehall, probably sounding more textured than his previous release. “We started writing a certain sound which is very different to what we’ve done before, hopefully moving things forward quite a bit. We’ve been getting good reactions from crowds so we’re happy with it. The single is coming out on Hyperdub, the album should be out on the 12th”
Since dubstep entered the greater dance public’s mind circa 2005-2007 there have been many interesting innovations and many more uninteresting imitations. At times it seems as if the genre may be going the way of punk and house – that is, mainstream and boring.
“The scene has solidified a bit, it’s definitely in danger of having that problem. The press really got onto it and it started getting much more hype and when that happens people start getting into it for the wrong reasons. People hear DJs playing dubstep then start making stuff that sounds like what they hear, whereas the producers who made that music originally would have been into a variety of stuff. So originals evolve but often new players will imitate. When you’re making music that sounds like another person’s music sometimes it’s ok but usually it’s not.
“Also when the sound blew up DJs started playing at larger venues and they’d start to feel they have to play the more pop, mainstream, more obvious stuff. When that starts happening it becomes about the big tunes and not about forward movement. DJs want to smash the dancefloor you know, and people hear that and think that’s what the scene’s all about when it’s probably a bit more subtle than that.
DJs. They’re all just dizzy from staring at the decks. “Luckily there’s a lot of people who aren’t like that and who are sticking to their guns, making innovative and interesting stuff. Inevitably the scene is going to go mainstream and standard but even then there should be innovators around. You’ll just have to look harder to find them.
“Nights like FWD>> (Soho, London) have been in the scene for a long time. It was on Friday night but they moved it to Sunday to get rid of people. Too many people were coming and it was turning into a huge night. The real crowd wanted actual dubstep not just a big party night so they moved it to Sunday and lost money, but they did it for the longevity of the scene, for dubstep itself, not just for the money and the dancefloor smash.
“There are people who are trying to push it forward, that’s why when the hype dies off and people get bored of it the music will stick around. I like banging dubstep but you have to ration it or it loses the impact. Move the set around with different vibes you know. One smash after the other makes the crowd go wild but it’s a bit cheap. You play too much of that and it gets boring. Some DJs want that, to look good and rock the crowd but it’s not about that, it’s about the music.”
Mark talks the talk, but does he walk the walk? Yes. He’s still laying down the tracks on which we step, and providing a showcase for our local talent: CDR. “CDR is definitely still happening, we should be back on course in a few months or so. We should have some great local tunes coming your way: the guys from Elephant Traks should be coming in and the DNBBQ crew will be supplying the BBQ.” A good night will be had by all.
CDR should be returning to our club schedule in the next few months with guest DJs too secret to be announced here. We’ll keep you posted.