Always Changing _ Interview with Orphx
Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey have been fusing techno, industrial and electro since the 90’s. Their unreserved approach allows them to combine modular and analog synths with field recordings to create music which is often experimental, but always rooted in rhythmic noise. They admit to embracing the darker aspects of dub and techno and this is always evident in the atmospheres and textures that they create. Their partnership is not limited to the vast output of music of music that they have produced and they are also known for their audio visual work.
They are on their way over to Europe right now, which comprises of dates in Berlin and Boden in Germany and London and Manchester in the UK.
Orphx “Boundary Conditions” tour
April 26: Berlin – Suicide Circus w/ Adam X and Lasse Buhl
April 27: Bonen, Germany – Forms of Hands 2013 festival
May 3: London – Plex Basement Session #2 w/ Paul Prudence and special guests
May 4: Manchester – Ritual (Q Cavern) w/ Casual Violence, Systemic, CWS and Leon Mitternacht
Rachael Kissane; representing subsekt, will be attending the Manchester date on 4th May, which is the first night of Ritual. Can’t wait!
We excitedly caught up with them to find out about the function and revolution of music, EDM and the rise of industrial techno. After getting an insight into some of their favourite music, we discuss the concept of synaesthesia, live performance and Rich and Christie chat a little about their upcoming tour.
Rachael: According to Thomas Beecham, ‘The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.’ Would you agree and are there any other functions that spring to mind?
Rich: I think music is used for a lot of different purposes but this is along the lines of how I think about our music. The intention is to create music that is hypnotic, that can potentially break someone out of everyday, routine thought and bring them into an altered or heightened sense of the present moment.
It’s an intention that works well in practice, especially after hearing your new ‘Boundary Conditions promo mix’ for the forthcoming Sonic Groove release. In a previous interview you mentioned that politics and philosophy inspire your approach to music, one track title that comes to mind is ‘Shatter Self’ title from the Hands 2010 compilation.. Does music become its own entity in a way; adopt different meaning when it’s a finished product as opposed to when you began with a certain concept in mind?
Rich: I often take inspiration from current events and from my work teaching politics and philosophy. An idea or event might inspire a piece of music but, like you said, the end result usually takes on a life of its own.
Do you think electronic music still has the potential to be revolutionary?
Rich: Revolutionary in an aesthetic and cultural sense, I’m not sure. I think that kind of change is driven by new technology that inspires or opens up new ways of working with sound and sometimes new cultural movements. I think it’s hard to predict what shape that will take. I’ve always been interested in the cultural and political aspects of music – how different artists have understood their music as a way of imagining new worlds (Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, Drexciya) or as a way of drawing attention to overlooked aspects of the present. That’s part of what excited me about the first wave of industrial music, with its explicit critique of consumer culture. And the mix of utopian and dystopian visions of the future in techno, electro and other types of electronic music.
Great answer! How would you explain the concept of the underground and how do you feel about ‘EDM’?
Rich: I think of underground music as artists, labels, etc. that are operating outside of the corporate model of the major labels. The distribution and promotional possibilities of the internet have changed this idea, making it much easier for people to operate outside of major label networks but also changing the experience of underground music as something you have to literally dig for to uncover. It’s lost a bit of its mystery in that sense. You can make amazing musical discoveries online but it’s not quite the same as finding something rare and beautiful buried in the back of a record store. As for EDM, I think it is a label and a trend that has largely been driven by business interests and artists who want to market electronic music to a mainstream North American audience, especially kids in their early teens. In the effort to sell Deadmaus, Skrillex and the like as an entirely new genre of music, the advertising hype around EDM has tended to erase the previous history of electronic music in North America (especially the birth of house music within Chicago’s gay scene) and I find this really offensive. Music doesn’t have to be “underground” to be good, but I’ve yet to hear anything under the EDM label that’s worth listening to.