Petrichor – 10 Questions 2 – Techno interview

10 Questions 2 – Petrichor


01. Hi Simon/ Petrichor & thanks for taking the time out to chat with us via email. Can you tell us about your music history, do you have formal training, maybe something many people don’t know about you?

Thanks for having me. I don’t have the usual story of my parent’s being deep music obsessives at all – my folks are largely into Chris de Burgh and panpipe moods. I’m unsure why at an early age all I wanted to do was take apart electronics and fiddle with things, and make trance music. Must’ve puzzled them too. I think the whole techno scene confused them a bit too until they finally came to an amazing gig in Glasgow’s spectacular Fruitmarket venue and saw me play live to over 1000 people, then they understood what it was all about.

With regards to formal training, I went through the grades on piano, clarinet and then saxophone so do have some, but basically, with the piano, I just wanted to get to the point where I could compose music and jam on it rather than read other people’s music. So that’s really what I took from it.

02. How did you get into the techno scene and what are your first memories of Techno?

I moved to Glasgow from Edinburgh in 2002 and my first real taste of techno was at The Arches in Glasgow, which was an amazing 2500 capacity venue where Soma Records ran Pressure (now at SWG3 since The Arches got shut down, a painful thing for any Glasgow techno fan).

We’d go there and see the likes of Umek, Hawtin and the minimal techno crew, Derrick Carter, Adam Beyer, Dave Clarke, Green Velvet and it was mind-blowing at the time.

Then I went to T in the Park in for a weekend of camping and with some new friends in Glasgow and saw loads of acts, but specifically, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos back to back and it pretty much changed my life. I already liked Hawtin and had heard some Plastikman stuff but minimal techno really grabbed me at the time.

It became a lifelong obsession very quickly and before long I was DJing and playing live in clubs, has been producing music for many years before this.

03. Where do you see the techno scene in 10 years? And how do you see yourself in 10 years within the scene?

10 years? Kind of impossible to say – I have no desire to be at the forefront of the techno scene which is currently eating itself through commercialism. I’d like to be playing some spectacular gigs to small crowds of true music lovers and hedonists who know the history and get where it all comes from.

04. Where do you most enjoying playing? Crowded festivals or the more intimate clubs?

Small venues all the way for me – can’t beat playing live in Glasgow’s Sub Club for a good vibe every single time.

05. Do you prefer to play live/DJ or is it all about music production?

I go through phases with everything in life. Right now I’m just out of an intense music production phase making the new album and I have no desire to make any more music at the moment. I’m also deep in a ‘being a Dad’ phase which means I’d rather be at home than playing gigs.

So just now I’m focussing on my music school subSine | Academy of Electronic Music and teaching the next wave of electronic music artists coming out of Glasgow how to make techno. It’ll change again at some point though and I’ll get back in about the clubs and festivals a bit more.

06. Tell us the proudest moment of your career to date?

Two artists taught me pretty much everything I know about electronic music through many hours lost on Glasgow dance floors. So I’ve gotta give a shout out to Domenic Capello (Harri & Domenic) and Slam (Soma Records) for their knowledge which taught me so much.

So I guess the proudest moments in my career were when these artists came to me independently to work with them in the studio because they loved my stuff. With Slam, I worked with them for months in my studio on their amazing album Reverse Proceed, and I made a string of singles with Domenic as well which got picked up by the biggest in the business, so I’m pretty happy with that.


07. What music genres do you listen to when you’re at home?

I listen to a lot of ambient and house music while I work, some classical music but I tend to avoid just straight-up techno during the days. Happy to save that for the dancefloor.

08. What parties and festivals should we not miss this year (2019)?

Riverside Festival in Glasgow is always worth travelling for. But for me, you can’t beat a day spent inside Berghain / Panorama Bar for setting your passion for electronic music on fire every single time.

09. Do you have any does or don’ts regarding tips for upcoming talents?

At my music school, I am always trying to influence people away from thinking of themselves as a brand from early on – I worry when a beginner turns up with a brand for themselves. This music should not be about commercialism but about expression and experimentation.

So my best advice would be not to imitate styles but to try and find your own and perfect it.

10. Lastly, Can you tell us about the process in recording your album Narrishu, also what plans does Petrichor have for 2020?

My process for this album revolved primarily around making textures first as the basis of all the tracks, rather than starting with beats. To do this, I would often use the Fender Rhodes running through my Eurorack modular setup and into Ableton Live to be further processed.

I have to feel an emotional connection to each track to be happy with it and specifically, with this album, there was a strong feeling right in the middle of my chest of what I was looking for. A feeling of love, nostalgia and connection to the past. Having a bit of distance from the album since making it I’m now able to fully appreciate that again, as with all pieces of work you get too close to it while you’re making it to fully enjoy it.

In 2020 I’m going to keep building up my music school and will probably get back to making some music again once I’ve built my new studio – plenty to keep me busy anyway.

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