Features

Mark Pritchard: Reloading The Future

Mark Pritchard has released music under a multitude of aliases. From Reload to Global Communication, Jedi Knights and more recently Harmonic 313, his monikers chart the history of electronic dance music. His most recent project is Africa Hitech: a collaboration with Steve Spacek that has output the 2010 EP HiTecherous, and now the breakout success of their debut LP, 93 Million Miles. With 2010/11 also finding growing awareness for his solo work as Mark Pritchard and Harmonic 313, we spoke at length on his recent work with Radiohead, Wiley, Trim and Bonobo; and discovers, exclusively, the exciting releases that he has planned for 2012 and beyond.

How were your shows in Sydney and Melbourne last weekend? It went really well, it was really nice to see Sydney come out in force with 800-1000 people jumping around to that kind of line-up. Last year I did a similar gig in Melbourne with Flying Lotus, but it was Dam Funk and Gaslamp Killer and that was amazing, so I expected Sydney to be good and Melbourne to be amazing, but Sydney was almost the better of the two.

The crowd at The Metro went mad for Out in The Streets. What are you reflections on the success of what some are calling the most DJ’d tune of 2011? Like a lot of these things, the track came out of nowhere and it was quite unexpected. I did it for a documentary on footwork that Warp were producing last year, called Wild 100s, and they wanted a track for a [footwork dance] battle scene. I stayed up all night and made it (that was July 2010) and sent it to them, they really liked it.

I played it out and gave it to a few people and straight away they were saying ‘yeah this tune goes off’ and more and more people were getting their head around the footwork thing; around the time of Phillip D. Kick’s jungle kind of thing [the now-defunct pseudonym of UK tunesmith Om Unit].

It worked with that and I’d been playing jungle together with footwork because its 160 bpm and I found if I played 80 bpm alongside footwork and jungle, i could play more of it in sets. So it is kind of a combination of everyone getting into that sound and obviously is a big sample that everyone knew, David Rodigan [MBE] was playing it and bigging us up so that was cool, it really really helped the album (Africa Hitech’s 93 million miles).

I was a little bit worried that leading with that as a single would give out a signal to people and then when the album came out it would be different. But it kind of worked in our favour as a big club tune that drew people in to the album and when people heard it, it made people get on board a little bit more because it was unexpected.

So what was your first exposure to footwork, what got you into it? I was really in to Chicago house from the 80’s and 90’s but ghetto-tech wasn’t quite my thing, even though it was really good fun club music. Then around the time Footcrab [Addison Groove] was first getting played out somebody showed me some videos of some [footwork dance] battling and I was like ‘this is mad’. At a similar time, Mike Paradinas [the Planet Mu records boss – read the footwork feature with Paradias here] started excitedly sending me stuff and thought it was amazing. I just did a track with Addison Groove for his album which is out in March.

I met DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn in Madrid last year at the Red Bull Music Academy where they were doing an interview which explained they’re journey and why it [footwork] happened. Rashad was telling me that there was stuff, like the stuff i would call footwork now, that had been done ten years ago but nobody liked it. But more recently there was a slight shift on the rhythm (from the classic electro in ghetto-tech and juke feel towards footwork) and for me, that was when i was in.

Moving on to your recent spate of remixes, the Radiohead one’s sounded a lot like your early Music for TV and Film work… Yeah it’s all done on old synths, no plugins, but the mix is more Harmonic 313 sounding, but a different tempo and vibe. Neither of them were clubby: I actually wanted to do something clubby and I started loads, six or more ideas and just thought I’d see how it goes as I didn’t have much time. It takes me ages, for example, the Gonjasufi remix took me a month. Theres a good chance that might of been the reason I got the Radiohead remix; because I was doing something completely different.

I was a bit worried because I didn’t know what people would make of it. The initial reactions from the Radiohead fans were quite harsh. When you think about it, Radiohead fans are a certain kind of music fan, they feel ownership over the band, so having me do some weird psychedelic version; people were moaning that I didn’t use the vocal, saying they didn’t get it. Then luckily, later on a few people made a few comments saying the right kind of things, referring to kraut rock, etc, and then I thought ‘Okay, some people understand’.

What was the weapon of choice for the remixes? It was EMS, a very old synth that looks like computer battleships (an old 80’s kids game), it’s got pins you have to plug in. It’s just a weird synth, you never know what the hell your gonna get out of it; it’s just really random and most of the sounds are from that. For the drums, I’ve got this old weird drum machine with a speaker built in and I mic’d it up. They’re quite heavy listening both those mixes, not just something you flick on; they’re quite moody and dark and maybe not everyones cup of tea. Hopefully people go back and listen to it again though.

You’ve also got a Bonobo remix coming out with some retro sounding beats [listen to it here on Ninjatune]: how did you go about making it? That’s the same drum machine I used for the Radiohead remixes. I picked up this Ace Tone drum machine and used that for the drums and played the guitar with a mellotron [an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s] and a plugin to do the bass. Then when I was in England touring I went to my friends studio in the UK and we put the guitar through his Fender twin amplifier.

You worked with Wiley on his latest LP Evolve Or Be Extinct, how did it come about? What was the experience like? He’s probably my favourite MC from the UK. It’s a close call but his flows and timing are amazing and he has so much energy and charisma it was amazing to work with him and I actually really wanted him on the Harmonic 313 album, but at the time I didn’t have the connection. Then he was in Australia [in 2009] and I played before him at The Metro and I gave him the album promo. I said ‘I really wanted you on this album, have a listen, if you ever want to, I’d love to do something’. I think my name rung a bell, he was vaguely familiar with me and I said ‘I’ve got a studio here, come in for a few days if you want’ and he said ‘I’ll come in tomorrow’. He came to the studio and then stayed for a week. I was just playing him loads of beats, trying some faster things and we ended up recording those two tracks on the album. I got on really well with him, he’s kind of similar to me; he just has to do music all of the time and that’s it.

I was surprised he chose those beats as they’re quite old but I’m really glad they made it on to the album and I’d love to work more with him. There’s a few grime people I really wanna work with… in the last couple of years I found grime more exciting than dubstep a lot of the time. I think Terror Danjah, Royal T, and a few other people like Trim and P-Money drop new albums this year so hopefully we’ll see grime break out a bit more.

Following you last 12 inch together, will we see you on Trim’s next album as well? He’s done three tracks recently and I’m always sending him bits or bobs so theres a good chance that will happen; there was one late last year and there’s another two which he’s said he wants to do.

Let’s get back to back to your own solo productions: a lot of your cover artwork and sounds are clearly influenced by science fiction, whats next in this area for you? Yeah I’m into sci-fi films, but I also like disco, house and boogie, uplifting things. When I went to clubs I’d like the moody and heavy stuff, that’s why I like grime music, some dubstep and also avant garde classical stuff like Karlheinz Stockhausen; I like the powerful emotion that can come through.

The next album I’m gonna do on Warp is all electronic avant garde classical music; I’ve been working on it for over seven years now in the background. I’m in a bit of a tricky situation where I’ve built up these projects and need to keep them flowing but I really need to make the switch this year where the club stuff takes a back seat to this album, or at least get really stuck into it. It’s taking too long for me to get this done so I’ve gotta make it my main focus. I’m not sure yet but i think it will be under the name Reload or Music for TV and Film, thats what Warp want me to do … and they have signed me to do it this year.

I did an album in ‘93 under the name Reload, its kinds of like Aphex Twin era – industrial electronic stuff – but this [new album] is not about clubs, or trends. It’s kind of avant garde, not using any plugins, all old school gear, really dark, sad and emotional, not particularly noisy, but quite full on stuff. So I’ll be balancing it out with the other club stuff too, or ill go mad.

Does that mean more Harmonic 313 releases in 2012? I definitely want to get a couple of Harmonic 313 EP’s out this year thats for certain. Lion is a priority for me to put out as an EP with a couple of new tracks too, then an all new EP quickly after it. I definitely will do another Harmonic 313 album but its not going happen this year – its physically impossible – but I can say I’ve got quite a lot of Harmonic 313 stuff backed up, and it will be different from the last album for certain. The rough plan is for more regular digital releases; hopefully every month there will be two tracks coming out. I went through it the other day and theres about 30 tracks, that’s just me, which I really want to get out this year.

Manuel Sepulveda, the guy that does all the Hyperdub records artwork will be back for the cover art along with Andy Gilmore for Africa Hitech. There is also a remix of one of the Wiley tracks I’ve gotta finish off for next week, then theres a remix for Far Out records and new Africa Hitech coming too. Once those are done I’ll switch my focus to the Reload album.

Is it a burden or a boon to have so many monikers? Originally it was a necessity, for example genre purists just wouldn’t be interested in anything out of the bracket, so in the 90’s we used to make new music with different names and not tell people. But even now some people can be closed minded about genres: when I did the Harmonic 313 stuff, people made comments like “finally your doing some dope shit”, writing everything else off. They might say “you used to do all that house stuff , now you’ve done some proper raw thing”. So basically, the moniker’s help with that, but it’s a terrible business plan and now is the worst time in music to have heaps of pseudonyms as people are generally a lot more open minded now.

As an artist, how do you find living in Sydney? I like living here: scene wise it kind of goes up and down. When I first moved here I found it really hard to get gigs and play the kind of music I wanted to play. Over time I found like minded people and eventually they were everywhere around me and as those scenes grew and got stronger across australia.

In the last year its changed a little bit, maybe the hype of dubstep has killed things a bit, but also access to the right kind of venues. We need different sized sound systems between 200 and 400 to cater for the middle ground a bit more. The Phoenix bar is one of my favourite places to play; when they did the Void nights there, it was a nice sound system, no fashion, just people listening to music.

– Mark Pritchard



Rustie’s Top Five Oz Tour Tracks

Glasgow’s wonder kid Rustie has his sights set on Australia. In March the producer – who had a rather stellar 2011 due to his celebrated album Glass Swords – will be heading down under to destroy crowds and melt minds with his own unique take on the all-encompassing future bass sound.

If you want a preview on just what kind of an effect Rustie’s music experienced live can have on the average festival punter, read my anecdote on Lunice dropping Rustie at the Musica festival in Sydney last year. Little did I know back in December that the album would win The Guardian’s ‘First Album’ award; where the judges felt Glass Swords encapsulated the state of music in 2011.

So to get us in the mood for what will no doubt be a sold out tour, we asked Rustie to share five tracks with FFF Radio that will be in his bag when he arrives in Sydney. Featuring Rick Ross, Vado, Sibian & Faun, Nathan Fake remixing Neon Jung’s ‘Delirium Tremens’, and JME; Rustie’s selections are in live with his penchants for the 8 bit infected RnB, power ambient indie and Grime that have appeared before in his relatively rare mixtapes.

Listen to Rustie’s Top Five tracks below and catch him along with Hudson Mohawke at their Sydney side show courtesy of Niche Productions.

Rick Ross – MMG The World Is Ours

Vado – Louis V Bag

Sibian & Faun – I’m Sorry

Neon Jung – >Delirium Tremens (Nathan Fake Remix)

Listen to a preview of the orginal track here.

Jme – 96 Fuckries

ZZK: How to Make it in South America

Our guide to the nightlife of Buenos Aires – by BlackBook editor and Dengue Dancing DJ Whitney Weiss – reveals one of South America’s most unique record labels, ZZK. Read on to find out how to make it as an indy label in South America and grab the free download of the Frikstailers Remix of Fauna’s classic track Para Mi.

ZZK Records has had a very busy past few years. As a club night, the Buenos Aires mainstay recently celebrated its fifth birthday. As a label, this legit-DIY enterprise has netted a stunning amount of achievements in even less time. They’ve imported Diplo to Argentina (and sent him home him raving about their sounds). They’ve assembled a roster of more than a dozen artists, and seen those artists play shows everywhere from Europe to South and North America. These days, touring the world is now as regular an occurrence for ZZK as spotting international magazines, radio stations, and TV channels abuzz over the label’s distinctive new-school cumbia.

One thing discerning music fans should know: the hype is deserved. After all, not many small labels, let alone ones based out of South America, can boast sets at Roskilde Festival, South by Southwest, and Coachella in just three years, without major label muscle. And with each new full-length and mixtape, the buzz just keeps growing.

El Remolon’s Cumbia Bichera, which should be your starting point if you’re new to this whole new-school cumbia thing.

Looking at the trajectory of Zizek: the night and ZZK: the label, one thing becomes clear: building a DIY enterprise with international attention is some serious hard work. It’s about putting in a lot of hours, making moves when moves are possible, and not throwing in the towel when the cosmic forces that govern things like plane schedules, government papers, and day-to-day logistics get out of hand.

Episode 1 of ZZK TV: Life on the road in NYC and beyond.

What originally started out as a club night in a kinda-shady San Telmo locale has grown slowly but surely, trading up to the side room and then the big room at BA’s biggest club, Niceto, and watching its roster of talent expand just as quick. The addition to ZZK comes in the form of Super Gauchin, a Nintendo-loving duo of brothers whose 8-bit take on new-school cumbia has been long overdue.

The pair just finished up their first European tour, where they wowed audiences with their homemade video game consoles-turned-musical instruments from Edinburgh to Berlin. Look for their just-released ZZK debut, and expect to hear much from them in the future.

Super Gauchin, the latest addition to the ZZK roster.

Of course, mischievous and talented duos are nothing new at Zizek. Though the Frikstaliers may have up and moved to Mexico, they are still a major force at the label and are probably best known for the video for their remix of Major Lazer’s Hold the Line, produced by Argentine creative powerhouse Flamboyant Paradise, who are also the brains behind Fauna’s Para Mi video.

Flamboyant Paradise’s distinctive visual style, very much a part of the trendsetting ZZK landscape, was recently tapped by Bonde do Role and Diplo for a video of their own.

The official video for the Frikstailers remix of Hold the Line

The Frikstailers may be one of the best-known artists on ZZK, but the label’s major success story is Pedro Canale (a.k.a.)Chancha Via Circuito, who started his ZZK career behind the merch table. At this point, Chancha’s toured three continents and released a record that NPR and The Fader both love. Not bad for someone whose first record was made with Fruity Loops on a shared family PC.

Chancha has forged a path from his town outside the urban sprawl of Buenos Aires in the east of Argentina up across the border with Bolivia and into the Northern hemisphere where he’s bringing new fans to native drum traditions. In his first release, Rodante, Chancha took cumbia into uncharted territory retrofitting the Latin rhythm for a worldly audience. With Rio Arriba, South American folklore takes the reins and, under Chancha’s steady hand, obscure backwoods rhythms take on a top shelf lifestyle as folklore hits the club.

Chancha bringing it onstage.

On par with Chancha are Fauna, a duo whose second album, Manshines, has just been released. Known for their onstage swagger and ability to keep a crowd firmly in the palm of their hands, they are one of ZZK’s greatest assets, and despite some very real tragedy, continue to share their unique sounds with the world with an incredible new record, which features plenty of other members of Camp ZZK.

FAUNA @ TRANSMUSICALES DE RENNES 2009 from ZZK Records on Vimeo

Making something out of what’s available is a major theme in Argentina, and whether you’re a legit porteño or an expat fresh off the boat from New Jersey, there’s no denying how life in Buenos Aires requires taking the notion of working with what you’ve got to get what you want to a whole new level. If anyone embodies that spirit of getting shit taken care of no matter the circumstance, it’s Grant Dull, a Texan-turned-world-traveler-turned-BA-resident. As the head of ZZK, it’s his multitasking prowess and ability to handle logistics without ending up completely ruined that’s helped ZZK artists land on continents all over the world (and get home in one piece, too).

Whether putting in 20-hour days, spinning in Moscow, or crowd surfing in Germany, Dull is always thinking about how to help ZZK get to that next level, which recently has meant partnering with some helpful States-side management and bringing on some new acts. So cool kids and new-school cumbia heads all over the globe, prepare yourselves: there’s a whole lot more to come from this Buenos Aires label.

– By Whitney Weiss

Download the Frikstailers Remix of Fauna’s, Para Mi and watch their psychedelic video below.

Chancha Via Circuito – Rio Arriba 2010 by zzkrecords



King Midas Sound: The Art of Intensity

As part of the Sonar 2010 festival in Barcelona, FFF caught up with King Midas Sound; made up of the ever-inspiring Kevin Martin (aka the Bug), Japanese vocalist Kiki Hitomi and dub poet Roger Robinson.

In this episode, the three talk about their dedication to making albums in the days of ‘no-albums’, how to keep music intense and immediate, and their own dedication to the cause of good, innovative music.

Recorded in the aftermath of their debut release, ‘Waiting For You’, this is an exclusive snapshot into the uncompromising world of a band unafraid to shake up their audience, and crush every expectation beneath their vision of apocalyptic lover’s rock.

Oneman: The DJ’s DJ

DJ Oneman is a DJs DJ. On a balmy summer night in Brisbane, i was lucky enough to catch a secret show with Oneman thanks to the DubThugs crew. Following a set featuring everything from The Police to Prince and Township Funk to Garage; we found out about his new record label, producing his own tunes, DJ’ing at Rinse FM, and that London Garage ‘ting.

Along with his contemporaries in the DMZ sound system crew, Oneman found the nexus uniting golden era Garage and Dubstep, connecting it with Bassline, Future Beats and House; setting the trend for fine tasting crossover fans to pen the term ‘Bass Music’. Watching Oneman mix within arms reach, i was able to see how Martin Clark observed that Oneman can mix two tunes very quickly by riding the pitch in the mix. Oneman, doesnt push the record plate, he corrects the mix via pitch once they’re already public – he knows he can correct the mix as it happens.

When Loefah put him forward for Mary Anne Hobbs’ pinnacle Generation Bass showcase in 2008, his talent as a DJ was undeniable, yet mixing early DMZ releases into old UK garage records will only take you so far. Instead he spent the next two years walking a new path, eventually ushering in a new generation of producers and sounds distinct from the grime, funky, dubstep, and garage scenes that inspired them.

By summer 2010, armed with peerless mixing skills and new Serato tricks, Oneman broke one of the records of the year, Girl Unit’s “Wut” and Sbtrkt’s collab with Jessie Ware, as well as launching his 502 label with two fresh new artists, Fis-T and Jay Weed.



As we near the end of the hyper arc of Dubstep, Oneman reminds us how right from the start he placed the true musical lineage of Dubstep – UK Garage and Grime – at the centre of the mix. More importantly, he has stayed true to this over time whilst embracing the newer Garage sounds and so had long ago arrived at the place that uninformed media are now calling ‘post-Dubstep’.

FFF goes Electropical on ABC Radio National

This Sunday, Forcefed Fistfuls joins forces with The Night Air on Radio National to take you on a sonic adventure through one of Europe’s biggest electronic music and art festivals, Sonar. You’ll meet musical robot designers, dance with the queen of dub-step Mary Anne Hobbs and play on a giant game boy in the streets of Barcelona as Sonar’s Catalonian Electropical fever starts to bite. Mas fuego, mas fuerte!

Tune in Sunday 8.30pm AEDT – Australian Eastern Daylight Time Live Web Stream Online at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/ or with your radio in Australia !!! Adelaide 729AM Brisbane 792AM Canberra 846AM Darwin 657AM Gold Coast 90.1FM Hobart 585AM Melbourne 621AM Newcastle 1512AM Perth 810AM Sydney 576AMPart 1 repeated 9.30pm Friday Part 2 repeated midnight Saturday.

Find out more over at the ABC Radio National website here. If you missed the Radio National broadcast you can stream it in three parts below.

A discussion with Mary Anne Hobbs Part 2

This two part series of up close and personal interviews with BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is a unique insight into the leading lady of electronic music. In Part 2 we speak with Mary-Anne about her role in the international push of Dubstep and its splinter genres, and how quickly the hype grew, spread and mutated into something new.

We also speak with her on a deeper level about what makes good music good, and what lives in the DNA of a brutal / beautiful track. Standing at the helm of the pioneering experimental show on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning 2.00-4.00am (formerly known as the Breezeblock), this passionate and authoritative DJ talks to us about her 3rd annual Sonar showcase, the radio show that exploded Dubstep across the world and working in an egg packing factory.

This discussion is an absolute treat for anyone interested in the history and future of new and emerging music. Listen to the interview here and find MAH at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/maryannehobbs/.

Part 1
Part 2

A discussion with Mary Anne Hobbs Part 1

This two part series of up close and personal interviews with BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs is a unique insight into the leading lady of electronic music. In Part 1 we speak with Mary-Anne about her turbulent history working as a journalistic hopeful in the cutthroat British music industry and how she found herself at the helm of BBC’s radio 1.

We also speak to her about her mission with her annual ‘BBC Radio 1 Breezeblock presents’ stage at the Sonar festival in Barcelona. Standing at the helm of the pioneering experimental show on Tuesday night / Wednesday morning 2.00-4.00am (formerly known as the Breezeblock), this passionate and authoritative DJ talks to us about her 3rd annual Sonar showcase, the radio show that exploded Dubstep across the world, working in an egg packing factory, and much more.

A favourite of Prince Nod and Suckafish P Jones, this discussion is an absolute treat for anyone interested in the history and future of new and emerging music.

Part 1
Part 2

Find out more about Mary Anne Hobbs at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/maryannehobbs/.

Rights Dub: a Sonic Documentary by Prince Nod on ABC Radio National

In September 2007 Prince Nod completed a feature radio program as a guest producer for The Night Air, on ABC Radio National. RIGHTS DUB, broadcast on ABC Radio National’s The Night Air on Sunday September 7th 2008 at 8.35pm.

Prince Nod has created a documentary meets collage meets dj mix that delves into the news and histories of black civil rights in America and examines the parallel cultural influence of black rights music and the dawn of digital sampling on the global music industry. The program captures the fragmented sound and music of an America coming to terms with the challenges of protecting and reviewing its civil and cultural rights.

‘Get up, Stand up’, the 1973 reggae song made famous by The Wailers is a nagging provocation to continue struggling for personal or group rights in an unjust world. But just what are ‘rights’ – who holds them, who’s being denied them and who benefits from getting rights? Using everything from dubstep, hiphop and baile funk to speeches by the Black Panthers, Lawrence Lessig and George W Bush, Prince Nod dubs through the music and voices of the civil rights and music rights movements to find the two are connected today more than ever before. Black rights, copyright, recycling and the right to listen — tonight in The Night Air.

The Night Air is a listening experience animated by dub versions of ABC Radio National’s distinctive programming. Obliquely connected material is re-assembled with sonic glue – letting the listener’s imagination build a new story. It’s a space to find the music in speech and the poetry in ideas, a show that invites you to take time to unravel the usual media tangle.

Read the program synopsis online at ABC Radio National:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/nightair/stories/2008/2338858.htm