Wednesday, 10 February 2010
INTERVIEW: Pariah [R&S]
Since falling into Pariah’s music after a myspace six-degrees-of-separation type delve, we’ve kept up a constant barrage of instant messages. With his debut single on R&S due shortly and his remix work for people like Ellie Goulding (yeah... you probably would) and The XX getting him attention from promoters and listeners alike ,we thought it was prime time for Pariah time round here.
See him below in the answers and the mix…
Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Pariah: Hey there. My name's Arthur and I'm 21. I was born and grew up in Scotland but I moved down to London about four years ago now and I've been producing music for just over a year now.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
Most days I'm at uni where I study English Literature. This year I've got a lot more work so I haven't had as much time as I would like to write music, but the course is interesting so I'm not complaining too much. I also write for a music blog called Inverted Audio but, again due to workload, I haven't written for a while.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do produce?
Well, I play guitar and piano so I've been in quite a few bands over the years and when I was about 16 I used to mess about on Logic with a friend because we had it on a computer at school. Nothing really came of it and I didn't learn shit about production. But ever since then I've always wanted to produce but I just never had the software. It wasn't until I got my Macbook Pro that I was finally able to make a start.
What’s your production set up like?
I run Logic 8 Express on a Macbook Pro and I use Genelec 8020a monitors. I also have a second hand Alesis Micron but I still haven't gotten round to getting all the cables to connect it to my soundcard and so I haven't really made good use of it yet which is probably very silly of me.
Where do you take inspiration from while making music? How did you get into dubstep?
I guess I got in to dubstep a lot later than most people. Towards the end of 2007. It was ‘Untrue’ by Burial that really made me take notice. Truthfully, I don't think there has ever been a record that has such an enormous emotional impact on me as that album has. So yeah, a lot of my inspiration comes from Burial.
I'm a massive fan of Brian Eno, Global Communication, Boards of Canada and ‘Selected Ambient Works’ era Aphex Twin. It was the first electronic music that I got into and, to this day, it remains my favourite. I go completely nuts for how texturally rich the music is.
My list of influences is stupidly long and it would be silly for me to try and name them all. Everyone from J.Dilla through to Arvo Part via bands like Cursed, Pavement, My Bloody Valentine and Sun 0))).
How would you describe your sound?
To be honest, I don't think I've been making music long enough or have enough tunes to really have a 'sound' yet. I'm still in the early stages of production knowledge so I'm still experimenting with techniques and ideas. I guess all of my tunes are pretty 'nice' and most use vocals in them but I don't know if that quiet merits having a 'sound' just yet. That being said, listenability is an important aspect that I take into account when I make tunes. I want my tunes to stand out on their own as tracks that you can listen to rather than simply incorporate into a mix.
There is a lot of soul in your music. What draws you to the soul/R&B/garage sounds?
For me, vocals are an essential part of the music I make. Pretty much all of my favourite dance tunes use vocals in them. It’s not a particularly profound thing to say but, for me, the use of vocals really adds to the emotional weight of a tune. It gives the tune a hook, something memorable, something human.
Can you also tell us a little about your relationship with garage, your tracks have that sort of bouncy vibe to them. Did you grow up with it around you on pirates and all that or is it just in your blood to make beats like that?
I would be the biggest liar in the world if I said that I grew up listening to dance music on the pirates. When garage was at its peak, I was quite young and I hadn't really found my musical feet yet. I really didn't appreciate it fully. I thought it was all a little bit too cheesy for me and it’s only as I've grown up that I've looked back and realised how amazing some of those tunes were. I'm completely obsessed by the rhythm of garage. It has such natural 'danceability' to it which is something that I think a lot of the more straight up dubstep lacks. Since getting into it, it’s been a real pleasure searching for tunes on ebay and discogs. It amazes me that so much of this stuff is worth next to nothing nowadays. It’s a shame really because it’s great music. Stuff like Dem 2 'Baby Your So Sexy' and Nu Klass A – ‘The Rhythm (Steve Gurley Remix)’ get me every single time I hear them. Beautiful stuff!
You’ve got some releases coming on R&S, tell us a little about those and what it’s like to be on a label with such a history in dance music that stretches back all the way to the early 90’s.
It’s such an honour to be putting out music on R&S. I mean, it was the label that pretty much got me into dance music. Listening to their back catalogue, some of those early 90's rave tunes still sound so fresh and innovative today. The first thing coming out is ‘Orpheus’/ ‘Detroit Falls’ on a 10" and that, hopefully, will be out in the next few months or so.
The next release is going to be a 6 track EP coming out on a 2x12". Two of the tracks that should find their way onto that release are in the mix I've done. If everything goes according to plan, it should come out pretty soon after ‘Detroit Falls’/’Orpheus.’ I'm really excited to be working with them and, this year, they are definitely one of the labels to look out for. Some of the releases that they have coming up are completely next level.
You did a fantastic remix for The xx how did that come about?
Thank you very much! I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I think that The XX are the most promising band around at the moment... Every single track by them is amazing and they do such great covers. That Kyla 'Do You Mind' cover was incredible. Very sexy. It’s so rare for bands who are massively hyped to live up to the hype but they truly deserve all the praise that they have received.
I was asked by Caius who runs Young Turks to do it and it was actually the easiest remix that I've done and that's probably because of the strength of the original song. I made the basis of it in about an hour and a half and then just spent time on and off for a couple of weeks tweaking it. The vocals were such a pleasure to work with and I really enjoyed doing it.
Who are you feeling musically inside and outside of the scene right now?
Inside of the scene, James Blake, Mount Kimbie and the Hessle/Hemlock lot are doing truly amazing things right now. Recently, I've heard so much good new music but there's one producer, Bad Autopsy, that has really made me sit up and listen. He's already being played out by Braiden and Oneman on Rinse and my mix opens with one of his tunes; definitely worth checking out.
I wiped the dust off the Bok Bok and Manara Niche Mix as well the other day. It had just been sitting on my hard-drive and I'd completely forgotten how amazing it is. I have a real soft spot for bassline/niche but I don't know much about it. Although, in general, it’s a bit ridiculous, I find that the some of the melodies and vocals used have a real sense of heartbreak around them. It’s hard to describe what I'm trying to get at but there is real emotion in some of those tunes.
Outside of the scene, I've been listening a lot to Heather Broderick who's the little sister of composer Peter Broderick. She released her debut album at the end of last year and it’s stunning; William Basinski, the new Four Tet record and Jay Electronica have all been on repeat too.
Tell us about the mix you’ve made for us, what tracks where screaming out for you to include?
I did this mix using Serato and vinyl. I tried to incorporate all the styles of music that I like to play out so there's a bit of house, techno, garage and 'what do you call it.' When it goes into the garage section it was completely spontaneous and unplanned so I'm glad that it turned out nicely. The tune that I had to include above everything else was ‘The Bells Sketch’ by James Blake [forthcoming on Hessle Audio]. I've been obsessed with it ever since I first heard it sometime last year. Also, the Hanuman tune.... deeeeeep as fuck!
What other releases have you got in the pipeline?
After my first two releases for R&S, I'm doing a single on Black Acre and then something on Young Turks. I should have another single out on R&S in between these two which will consist of a Detroit influenced house track that I've done with someone doing a remix on the flip. There are a couple of other things planned but nothing's set in stone so I don't want to jinx it.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers, any words of wisdom?
I wish that Stephen Fry was my uncle and that David Attenborough was my grandad haha.
DOWNLOAD: Pariah – Sonic Router Mix
1. Bad Autopsy – Psionic Terror [unreleased]
2. Hanuman – Bola (Atki2 Remix) [Idle Hands]
3. L-Vis 1990 – Zahonda (Greena Remix) [Sound Pellegrino]
3. Martyn – Hear Me (Zomby Remix) 3024
4. Shed – 10001b [WAX]
5. Cristian Vogel – In [Tresor]
6. Pariah – Crossed Out [forthcoming R&S]
7. J-Treole – The Loot (Sully Remix) [Keysound]
8. K.M.A – Cape Fear [Groove Chronicles]
9. Nu Birth – Anytime [Locked On]
10. Red or Dred – How I Feel (Bad Ass Disco Mix) [Locked On]
11. Agent X – Turbulence [Heatseeker Records]
12. Sentinels – Love Rhythm [unreleased]
13. James Blake – The Bells Sketch [forthcoming Hessle Audio]
14. Pariah – Safehouses [forthcoming R&S]