Head-to-head: Mike Hodgson of Pitch Black
Our first live show this year saw New Zealand electronic and AV duo Pitch Black playing live at the Attic, in Bristol.
Before the show, we spoke to one half of Pitch Black – award-winning multimedia artist Mike Hodgson – who told us about their current tour, their sound and what the future has in store for this dynamic duo.
For anyone reading this that hasn’t heard your music, how would you describe Pitch Black’s sound?
We are currently being described as dub techno, but we are probably more dub infused dance music combining elements from all areas of the sonic cannon.
It's been a while since you guys have played on UK soil. Was it intentional to leave it so long?
Basically, it became difficult to tour regularly due to our two personal lives. I now live in the UK and Paddy’s in New Zealand, so we took some time out to work on our own projects. When we decided to make a new album, we also worked on having time to tour it, so this year is all about the live show.
Bristol and London are your only UK dates. Is there any particular reason for that?
Paddy is only on this side of the planet for a short time in March, assisting with a dance performance in the Netherlands, so we decided to do two shows while he was here. We have more coming up in July and August, including Boomtown Fair which we are very excited to play.
What is your favourite thing about Brits compared to New Zealanders?
You make amazing music! All the key tunes I listened to as a teenager came from the UK. Now I live here I just love how this country is pushing beats and bass music, especially the development of dubstep and its progressions. I am not sure why, but for years the best music on the planet has come from this country – it’s a very exciting place to be.
How has the tour gone so far? What have been the highlights?
It’s been awesome to play live after a bit of a break. The great thing about playing in New Zealand is we get fantastic slots at festivals where we can really play the full AV show.
The biggest highlight is the realisation that all ages continue to go out to the right show, so we have had a range of audiences, but there is nothing better than playing to your tribe who totally understand your music.
What were your expectations for the tour and have you exceeded them?
When we were developing the show we discussed that we wanted to reference the last 20 years of songs and sounds. What has been awesome is the comments from the audiences who have noticed the sounds we added to the set and the special remix of Lost in Translation we made just for this tour. We also put a huge amount of time into the video show, which again is getting a good response.
The only negative is the one or two of the shows we have done to an audience who really don’t get our music. I don’t think I have ever thought about this before, but as a couple of older fellas making complex dub, its not surprising that some audiences just want easy to digest D&B or whatever they are into. Luckily, that was only one of these shows on this tour!
Recently, you released the fourth single from Filtered Senses: ‘It’s The Future Knocking’. Could you tell us a bit more about the single?
Every album we've released has had a range of remixes created as part of it. Our main idea for this is that we do not really compose DJ friendly mixes on the albums, so the remixes give a more genre specific mix of a track. That means we can have a house version, a drum and bass version etc that is easier for a DJ to drop into a set than our album versions.
For the It’s the Future Knocking single we choose to head off into a more dub space so we choose artists we thought could bring that vibe to the track, we have also made a video for each of the tracks off the album.
How would you say Pitch Black’s sound has evolved since the beginning of your journey?
People say they can tell a Pitch Black track, so we definitely have a sound. I guess its evolved as we have grown older but generally I think its the same, which is the junction of who Paddy and I are when we work together.
Where do you see Pitch Black going next?
A pile of shows over the next few months then we will begin the long slow process of developing a new record. We are not that prolific at the moment, so it might take a few years till that sees the light of the day.