Two decades of
By: Peter Marks
Project Pitchfork are one of the more enigmatic electronic acts prowling the Earth, with over twelve (yes, twelve) albums released and a couple handfuls of singles also to their credit. Their unconventional lyrical content and at times playful yet somber songs have garnered them much acclaim both in their native Germany and, surprisingly, here in these newly liberated United States.
Project Pitchfork's longevity has been the subject of both conjecture and wonderment given the long lapse between albums as of late. Formed in 1986, the band released their first album "Dhyani" in 1991 and ever since then it's been a very peculiar yet somehow uncompromising journey through the highs of their nascent early days to the somewhat discouraging explosion onto the major label WEA and back to the spectral wraith-like existence [sic] on the fringes of the mainstream of electronic music. We have profiled Project Pitchfork before but now, approaching 20 years of recording, we were offered a new interview.
In connection to the release of their new album "Dream, Tiresias!”, Release had a little chat with the front man and guiding force of the band, Mr. Peter Spilles. A very intriguing interview commenced, emoticons notwithstanding, and we are more than pleased to bring this rather enlightening discussion to you, our readers.
Speaking as a long-standing fan of the band and their very uncommon music, I found myself quite at a loss when this opportunity arose but soon enough, my curiosity got the best of me and the man was more than succinct in his answers.
Project Pitchfork have now been around for nearly two decades, did it ever cross your mind that you'd still be around all these many years later?
– As we released our first record in 1991, we like to think that we will have our 20th year anniversary in 2011. We are very happy about being still active in the music scene, and not only because creating music is an essential part of our lives, but much more because we have so many fans worldwide who supported us through all these years and keep on doing it. Thank you all!
Can you please tell me about the theme of the album this time around?
– The new album is called "Dream, Tiresias!". In Greek mythology, Tiresias was the blind prophet of the Gods. This makes him to a perfect metaphor for all the rebels in our society who do not rely on a superficial view of the world, but search the answers in the depth and are able to "see" the real, hidden truth.
As if this was not enough detail, and just to set the fans alight he then states:
– It is a 100% electronic album, such as "IO", "Alpha Omega" and "Daimonion". The new album definitely transports the typical musical spirit and atmospheres that our fans love, but in a darker, more powerful and brand new way.
You will tour Europe but a US tour has not happened in some time, will there be one for the new album?
– I hope so. You know, it is not so easy to enter the US as a foreign citizen. We are doing our best to make it finally happen, though. Also, this year - on May 14 - we are playing at the Kinetik Festival in Montreal, Canada, which for some is "just around the corner"... well, at least it's on the same continent.
The Jansen/Spilles album showcased a more thematic approach and a somewhat medieval sound, are there any plans for the two of you to make another of these?
– Yes, there are plans in this direction, but we are not in a hurry.
“One Million Faces” and “Wonderland”, what was the impetus for these two long form tracks. Were they just to christen your download shop or is this an area of sound you intend to look further into?
– In 2006 we released this work also as a CD. The six songs on this album were entirely composed without caring about the duration norms which are common in club compatible releases. It was a successful experiment which perhaps will be repeated, but not in the near future.
I have always wanted to know what the song "A Tale of a Walk on the Ice" was about. It's one of your signature songs, I feel, and I'd love to know the story behind it.
– It's one of my very early works and deals with the emotion of loss by the death of a loved person.
What's the back-story on the Santa Hates You project? Who is Jinxy and where oh where did you get the idea to create this album? It's not the dour sounding work we are used to from you.
– I think it's simply that I am kind of a creative person and I've got a lot to share with the listeners of electronic music. Besides, there are many styles I love in electronic music and I really enjoy embracing them all.
It's the "hard and loud" stylistic aspect, a more rhythm-oriented musical landscape, which I am exploring with Santa Hates You. Jinxy is the crazy and sexy female part of Santa Hates You and she is a very good friend of mine who shares the same kind of humor and taste in music.
Peter Spilles then illuminates a bit further into the thinking behind this rather odd spin off:
– Fulfilling the needs of my two musical alter-egos Santa Hates You and Imatem, has the great side effect of generating a sort of creative "free space", providing me with clarity about where I really want Project Pitchfork's musical future to be, without trying to make it sound like something else. In other words: my two side projects allow Project Pitchfork to go back being Project Pitchfork, and to stay Project Pitchfork.
About that new album, it's been the longest wait yet between records from Project Pitchfork. We know you've been busy with Imatem and Santa Hates You but what have the rest of the band been up to?
– They have been up to a lot of things. Jürgen is very busy as a sound technician touring the world with several artists and he is much in demand. Dirk was working on his different side projects. They were both very glad when I presented to them the new album "Dream, Tiresias!".
And for clarity:
– Because of my side projects, it was easy to write this album all by myself. And, as it is not first time that this happens and they know I am the creator of Project Pitchfork, it is totally OK with the other guys.
So there you have it, Project Pitchfork alive and making big plans for 2009. Spilles and company are poised for lift off as never before. Patience has indeed paid off.