Our mate Leo from ‘Chakra: Red’ has been at it again, and this time he has given us an interview with the one and only Project Pitchfork. Speaking to vocalist Peter Spilles we found out about his plans for the future and what he felt about his past and the music industry in its present state.
L] Hi Peter, thanks that we have the opportunity today to ask you a few questions. How are you? Did you have a good New Year?
PS] Well, yes. Counting to the fact, that I have been busy with production, cover artwork and so on, I spent it quite relaxed.
L] Ok, so then let us jump right into it. The history of Project Pitchfork has been quite impressing. You decided to form a band at a Girls under Glass Concert in 1989. What happened there?
PS] Dirk simply came up to me and asked me, if I want to do some music with him, as I had some tiny bit of reputation in Hamburg. The real date of birth is 1991, however, when we released our first album ‘Dhyani’.
L] Have you always been friends or just love on the first glimpse?
PS] The scene was so small in those days that you inevitably met at some point. It had been like family and everybody knew each other. We have seen each other on many parties before.
L] And then you needed a band name, too…
PS] Yeah, we just gave the coincidence a chance and there was suddenly the word “Pitchfork”. We liked the meaning, also the old English one and decided to put a “Project” before it. And we were done.
L] How was you live before PP? Did you always want to become musician or did you have other ideas in mind?
PS] In the very moment when I bought my first synthesizer, I realized that I never wanted to do something else. I was 14 years old.
L] You recorded ‘Dhyani’ within three days. That is tremendous. Did you have any idea that you could realize them that fast?
PS] You have to know that we had no computers back then. We have recorded our songs on tape. We have saved the rhythms and melodies in our heads. In the studio we had to reproduce all songs on 16 tape tracks, but we had been very fast due to the memories in our heads.
L] In 1998 you changed to a major label. Why did you go there at the end?
PS] We wanted to bring our music videos on TV. We had achieved everything an independent band could achieve already back then. But the fact that bands from our scene would never appear on MTV / VIVA was something we wanted to change. It was demanding for us.
L] After 18 years in the music business Project Pitchfork has changed back to a scene label. Is this a step ahead or backwards?
PS] It’s just a logical reaction on the times we live in now. Major labels do not have the flexibility and reactivity to act on the CD sales crisis. Shortly before the expiry of our deal with Warner we had the offer to extend and to stay there for our lifetime. But we already saw the changes on the market and the breakdown on sales, which would lead to changes in staffing and the band pool. This was the reason to drop that offer. A few months later many people got fired and bands dumped. We have avoided much trouble by having left first.
L] When did Jürgen Jansen join the band and what did change by him?
PS] He had been our live-FoH-Engineer. He has been actively involved in production first time on ‘Dhyani’.
L] Do you have any musical heroes that have influenced the sound of Project Pitchfork?
PS] We always had tried to go our own way, but we got surely influenced by bands of the late 80s and early 90s. If you reckon that even subconscious inputs get absorbed into you, even sounds and style of the 70s have been influential to us.
L] With the release of ‘EON:EON’ fans accused you to do something like a commercial sell-out. How did you deal with it?
PS] We did not react at all. We just continued to write music we all liked. The same accusations came up with ‘Daimonion’ again, but they existed already with our first album ‘Dhyani’. Sometimes I believe it’s not the fact WHAT you, but THAT you do something that triggers such gossip.
L] Is there a special moment in your band history you like to think of or remember?
PS] There are too many. But in general all time we spend with our fans on stage and thereafter, is something we like to remember.
L] Let’s speak about your new album – Tiresias is a blind seer in Greek mythology. He lived partly as man and woman to answer Zeus, which sex perceives more lust. Is this something like a Leitmotiv for your album?
PS] In Greek mythology Tiresias is the blind seer of the Gods. And living as man and woman, according to the legend, makes him the perfect metaphor for all the rebels in our society that long to leave that shallow point of view to seek and find truth in the depth. In that respect, everybody ought to carry a Tiresias in ourselves. And we should dream! There are many versions about how Tiresias became blind. One of them is, that he had betrayed the secrets of the Gods to man… this is without doubt something that can be transformed into today’s society: The mighty leaders that start wars nowadays do not want to inform the people about their true and cruel motivations to do it. Everybody who tried to pull the truth into the light, risks very much, if not his life.
L] How did you find the figure of Tiresias, who has admittedly been not the super-hero of Greek mythology, but often played small key-roles in famous poetry like Oedipus, Antigone or Odysseus?
PS] You do not have to be a super-hero nowadays neither, to change something. The title of the album was some kind of inevitable due to its meaning and content of lyrics.
L] Greek mythology has been used by you in many forms also on previous releases. What nature is your interest in that and who is your favourite person / legend?
PS] I’m fascinated by human history in all its facets. Greek mythology is just an important, but small brick of history of mankind.
L] ‘Dream, Tiresias!’ is a very thrilling album title that opens up wide spaces for speculations. Do you reckon the album to be some sort of revelation of the blind seer to the world?
PS] Retrospectively, lyrics of Project Pitchfork have some prophetic content. At least this is something which is said about us – but we would never claim to attempt that on purpose.
L] ‘Dream, Tiresias’ I feel more in line with releases like ‘Alpha: Omega’. Did this development happen on purpose? Did you already know where to go with the new production in the beginning?
PS] This is always a very individual sensation and varies in the perception of the individual person. When starting a production I never know where the journey will take me. To me it is important to have an open and free mind to pay attention on the feelings that I put into the music. Then is just let myself float… “panta rhei”
L] ‘Your God’ is in my opinion provoking controversy on the contemporary religious conflict. I am interested in how you perceive religion for yourself?
PS] Generally we have a very critical point of view onto it. For the sake of religion too many cruel and wrong things happened in history.
L] If I could is a very destructive and angry song – does it have a real content of pure fiction?
PS] Let me say it that way: Emotions are real. The projection screen to put them on is free to change.
L] In ‘Nasty Habit’ what does the blind seer think about the today’s medicine?
PS] What the seer thinks is often different from what he sees. But in ‘Nasty Habit‘ all is about the treatment of problems of modern civilization by the sale of pharmaceutical drugs. The pill “against the annoying kid” is the main topic besides the pill “against all sorrow”.
L] What is “emotion” for you? A central point on the song ‘Feel’! is pain. Who did you address that chorus to in that?
PS] Another reason for Project Pitchfork’s songs to be long-lasting – they are not addressed to a person, but they are like fairy-tales. They transport feelings and pictures on a metaphoric level. The song is about the tendency to see real suffering of others but not to react. This is some sort the essence of the dramatic thread of the lyrics.
L] What would be the biggest nightmare for you in the band?
PS] That the band would have never existed due to false decisions.
L] Why did you release a single prior to the album after you have neglected to do this during the past years?
PS] The time had come. We love risky decisions and we wanted to bring out the album to the people out there with a massive beat of a drum.
L] Let’s talk about your live-shows. You have played in many different countries. How does the feedback from the people differ from country to country? Where did you have your most exciting event?
PS] I personally love the common things in the international scene. There are small differences, of course. But the feeling of being home is everywhere the same, no matter if north or South America, Europe, or elsewhere. People who keep out scene alive are the very fascinating personalities that live on the entire planet.
L] You plan a longer tour throughout Germany and some European cities. Which town or city do you look forward to visiting the most?
PS] We cannot say that for a specific town. For us, the moment with the fans and audience, when we become a unity during the show, is the highest reward. That’s why we are looking forward to every single show.
L] Are you nervous about it, or do you have some sort of a routine in playing live?
PS] We are always nervous! Project Pitchfork is a very intense project also on stage, that we cannot perform a concert as routine. The energy emerging out of such an event cannot come from routine – we are too human and emotional!
L] What are your plans beyond ‘Dream, Tiresias’? Can we look forward to something like a limited edition, a second single?
PS] You will not be disappointed. There will be a special edition of the album in Germany. It will contain an additional mini-CD with three exclusive songs.
L] The medium of video has been used by Project Pitchfork from the very beginning. Will there be a new video again?
PS] We are still planning to produce a video but if you have the equipment and idea for your own music video with Project Pitchfork, feel free to contact us at MySpace or via www.pitchfork.de
L] What are the plans for your future?
PS] Next is Santa Hates You – I will start with Jinxy after Pitchfork. Thereafter I will deal with the third Imatem release.
L] Many thanks for the nice and interesting interview. Maybe you have a final sentence to conclude our talk and to send out a message to our readers?
PS] We thank you all for the many wonderful years and we promise to enrich the scene with music of Project Pitchfork! Stay dark! Panta rhei!
[Ed’s note: the definition of “Panta Rhei” is “all things are in constant flux”]
For more information visit the band’s Myspace and website.
Watch the video for ‘Existence’ below: