Project Pitchfork – Twenty years in the making

By on 16 August 2011

WORDS: Sean Palfrey
IMAGES: Jens Howorka
Ingo Römling (Treatment)

For fans of modern gothic-industrial music Project Pitchfork is a name synonymous with the genre. Twenty years down the line from there debut album ‘Dhyani‘ the band’s legacy as a groundbreaking and genre defining force speaks for itself. Now with a new album in the form of ‘Quantum Mechanics‘ as well as the first in a new anthology series charting their thirteen albums, the band are celebrating their anniversary in style.
Dominion Magazine caught up with Peter Spilles [Vocalist/Composer] to talk about the band’s new album, their legacy and plans for the future.



Twenty years in the music business is impressive for any band, let alone one that operates in a genre as niche as gothic/industrial where most bands can disappear quicker than they emerged. Spilles is modest about Project Pitchfork‘s longevity as well as whether or not he had ever envisaged the band going into it’s third decade.

“Frankly, no.” He explains. “We hoped for it, but you never know. All we could do was stay with our ideas and always be true to our musical style.” Even the idea of being considered a veteran of the scene with so many bands citing Project Pitchfork as a big inspiration is taken in its stride. “The thought is great, but it doesn’t feel any different than some years ago.”

Having made waves in the underground on labels such as Hypnobeat and then powered by their own record label Candyland, the band’s albums in the mid-‘90s came to flood the club scene. Project Pitchfork then broke new ground by signing to EastWest (an imprint of the major label Warner Music) which opened new doors as well as creating new challenges for the band.



“The biggest challenge was to be played on German music TV, because therefore we had to make a deal with Warner Music. We achieved it as the first gothic industrial band ever to be played on music TV in Germany.”
The band’s videos have been as important to the band as any other aspect of their work, though without major label backing, keeping up with this practice has become more taxing.
“We also can not afford making videos like in the times when we had a big budget for it,” confesses Spilles, “but it is very important to us, and so we do our best to make it happen. For example ‘Beholder’ was made in a no-budget way and the result is by far better than any mid-budget video made at our Warner times. I am lucky to have found true artists which are able to create beauty out of nothing. (The Silent View)”
With the new album ‘Quantum Mechanics‘ now available Spilles goes on to confirm that this too has an accompanying video.
“Yes. The song ‘Lament’ is going to be visualized. The result is going to be fantastic.”
(See for yourself below)



These days it isn’t just Project Pitchfork that keeps Spilles and his cohorts busy. Side projects and real life occasionally crop up. Yet despite this, the band’s output has actually increased over the past few years, seeing a new release every year for the past three. In a world where bands can sometimes take up to half a decade between albums how do Project Pitchfork keep it up?
“For the world of music I am a true workaholic. As I am in the lucky position to be a full time musician, I have plenty of time to dedicate to my passion. Thus [it] makes it seem like a fast output, but I have 365 days to be creative. From that perspective I am kind of lazy.
“I always start fresh and I don’t write songs to be on a waiting list. Already while composing I only finish songs which are in my opinion worth to live already as an instrumental.”
Taking into account the band’s thirteen album legacy and the thought of writing a new album with the Project Pitchfork moniker emblazoned on it must become tougher each time around. But Spilles reveals that he has his own solution to that problem.
“By not thinking at all about any ‘legacy’. I let myself be taken away by the music and I drift in other spheres until I am totally satisfied with the instrumental result. After that, I embrace the instrumental and translate what is in there into a lyric that fits the landscape of the song.
“I would like to compare it with a painter: There are always new motifs, new techniques and a different set of colours. Also the framing varies from album to album.” But with the associated side projects that have occupied members of the band over the years has it helped or hindered the sound of Project Pitchfork? “It became clearer.” Spilles explains. “Because of my other projects I was able to define more accurately what I want Project Pitchfork to sound like.”



The band have also recently completed a European tour in support of the new anthology album and ‘Quantum Mechanics’, and after twenty years the band have evidently not lost their passion for entertaining their loyal fans.

“Every single concert is a highlight for us. No matter if we play in front of 20.000 people at a huge festival, or in front of 120 enthusiastic people in Phoenix/Arizona… we love it.”

Having visited the UK back in January, could Dominion readers yet catch the band at our favourite venues again? “I really hope so. But there are no plans yet.” We can live in hope, but there is still plenty to look forward too as Spilles concludes. “We will play at the Mera Luna festival and on a Christmas festival in Chemnitz. But I will be busy for the rest of the year with my other projects and with a plan for Project Pitchfork I can not tell yet.”

Project Pitchfork’s new album ‘Quantum Mechanics‘ as well as ‘First Anthology‘ are currently available through Trisol records HERE. The band’s official website can be found HERE.

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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