The name Pitchshifter hasn’t been heard around these parts for a good few years now so there was much excitement when the band announced some long-awaited reunion shows to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their genre-destroying album www.pitchshifter.com. Ahead of the shows we spoke to Mark Clayden from the band about the past, the reunion shows and the future.
It’s been ten years since we last heard the name Pitchshifter. How long has this reunion been in the planning?
Mark: We’ve had many requests over the years to play but the time didn’t seem right for the band so we gracefully declined. This tour, the timing of it, the people involved, the places to play, it all seemed right and so we bit the bullet. We’ve been working on it for a year. Preparation has been good but tough going. As (alleged) grown ups now with families and jobs, it’s tough to juggle old and new worlds without either suffering.
What have you all been up to in the meantime?
Mark: Skullduggery, nefarious ends, miscreantism, and ne’erdowellary.
Twenty year anniversary of the www. album, what are your recollections of that album cycle?
Mark: That record was a breakthrough for us and still sounds pretty good today (in my humble opinion). Love it or hate it, it’s unique and cannot be confused with anything else or accused of being a derivative of any other band. It’s a glorious sore thumb still defying genre.
How does it feel celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of your albums?
Mark: It makes me feel old! Correction: it makes the vessel that transports my mind (my true self) around feel old. The awesome part is that, even after all this time, that record connects with people and they want to engage with it, and the band. That’s the magic of music. You start with a few guys and 12 notes and from nothing you have something that resonates with thousands.
Check out some classic Pitchshifter in the form of W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G.:
Do you think that, given what is going on across the UK, now would seem like quite the ideal time for Pitchshifter to make their return? On that note, has what is going on around the UK and the world, given you inspiration to make a full comeback?
Mark: Well, it ‘aint just the UK. Fans have been telling us to return more fully; but that’s not really on the cards. We are drinking in every second of this glorious reformatory sojourn and then returning to our hovels.
What are your plans following these shows going into 2019?
Mark: Ibuprofen. Vocal Zone tablets. Sleep.
You’re bringing out Earthtone 9 with you, what other bands from that period of your career would you like to bring out with you?
Mark: The Blueprint are reforming for the Notts show, which is a great treat. Earthtone9 are killing it (better than Pitchshifter – making us look bad!). We played with so many bands that it’s hard to pick any; but we’ve had Mikee from Sikth and Colin from Hundred Reasons join us. Class of 2000 reunion!
The music industry has changed a lot in the time you’ve been away, what do you think about the state it is in in 2018?
Mark: I’m 100% out of it. To quote Hunter S. Thompson: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
Thanks for your time and good luck with the shows. For the younger music fan who may not be aware of Pitchshifter, what does Pitchshifter offer the music scene in 2018?
Mark: Appreciate the opportunity. Pitchshifter is a bunch of five working-class kids from rough areas of the UK who grew up under Thatcher’s Britain and wanted to make their own Stentorian voice heard so that they didn’t have to follow the prescribed narrative. We didn’t follow the rules of music (we don’t fit into a nice genre definition), we didn’t follow the rules of engagement (we talk about our politics and beliefs, and we question the status quo), and we didn’t follow the rules of rock and roll (we don’t take ourselves very seriously). I don’t know if that still makes us relevant to you in 2018; but get out there and bend the rules your own way. There are enough insipid, vacuous popular acts out there singing about money and fame. Try to do something that’s real. Try to shake things up. It’s not all about money or fame. Einstein is more famous than all of us combined and he focused on equations.
How ahead of their time were Pitchshifter? Decide with a blast of Un-United Kingdom: