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Pitch Black - All Black

Author: Darryn King
Thursday, 13 September 2007
New Zealand electronic duo Pitch Black (aka Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free) have just released their fourth album Rude Mechanicals so 3D’s Darryn King decided it was time for a chat.

Would it be fair to say that the two of you come from different musical backgrounds-
M: Yes, I am more into sound as music so tend to head more towards the intense ambient side of contemporary music.
P: I’ve always been a fan of a good hook-y song, something that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t let you go. I have this saying: “I want to be fucked by experts” whether it’s listening to a good song, or watching a great horror movie, or even listening to good comedy, where the makers know exactly what they’re doing to you, and why.

How, then, did you meet – and how did you know you’d be able to hit it off musically-
M: We were introduced at a party in 1996, I was disillusioned with the music industry and had moved more into VJing for NZ bands and club nights. Paddy was interested in how I came to make music the way I did, and visa versa. I had a long dub jam that I was working on and asked him if he would like to cut it up and add music to it. He was keen and after a day in the studio we both realised that we could both offer each other a new way to look at playing live electronic music. It just grew from there.

Do you both still work as individual artists-
M: Yes, I have a solo project called Misled Convoy, which is very ambient, dub infused, soundscape-stuff and work on large scale live video shows.
P: I’m currently just putting the finishing touches to an album combining Taonga Puoro (Maori traditional instruments) with electronics. It’ll be out in February 2008. I also write music for contemporary dance productions and art installations. I also work as a producer for other bands, such as Salmonella Dub.

How would you describe your own sound as Pitch Black- Do you have any particular role models-
M: Dub-infused technosonicrootsoundtrackambientbeat music. Basically we are happy to be influenced by any genre which then gets mashed through our process and comes out the other side sounding like us. I was heavily influenced by the more experimental side of On U Sound and industrial music – currently I just love people who let loose making music as vibrant as possible.
P: One band that really influenced me back in the day was Yello. I loved how they had this really unique soundset, but still were really accessible and poppy.

A lot has been made of the multimedia element of your concerts. How do you go about creating that visual experience- And where’d the idea come from in the first place-
M: I think that the idea of watching people twiddle knobs is a bit boring for the audience so I have always dropped visuals with my shows since the mid ’80s. I feel that if I can provide a synaesthetic experience, then seeing us is a more of a complete experience. Our video show is created as we construct the composition of the tracks in real time. We have video and sound patterns that we can play in any order for each song. Visually I like the nature/mechanical crossover so the images in our live show reflect that.

WHO: Pitch Black
WHAT: Rude Mechanicals / Play the Factory Theatre
WHEN: Out now through Remote/Vitamin / Saturday 22 September