Pitchshifter Interview

Sergio interviews the innovative hard rock / metal giants, Pitchshifter

There are few bands who can boast that they’ve shared the stage with Metallica, Pantera, Ministry, Fugazi, Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop, and also become a major influence for most digitally-obsessed metal bands today. Sergio had the privilege of chatting to legendary bassist, Mark Clayden, from Pitchshifter about the band’s impending reunion, longevity in the music industry, defying grunge and overcoming creative hurdles.

Having been in the music industry for over 2 decades now, you’ve obviously seen many bands come and go, what do you think has been the key to the longevity and success of those still around today?

Keeping your eye on the prize and never giving up seems to work! You have to cut through all the hard times, bad reviews, bullshit, and forge ahead. We all gave up a lot of stuff to make the band work through the first 10 years, but it was totally worth it!

Pitchshifter’s ‘Everything Sucks (Again)’ was featured on The Crow: Salvation OST – the film itself was pretty horrible but the soundtrack was exceptional. When you hear that one of your songs is going to be featured in an OST or compilation, do you still get the ‘hey, let me call my friends and tell them the news’ feeling?

Yes! We still get really excited about our music and songs making it out there to new ears – be it films, video games, radio or TV. If you read the original graphic novel of The Crow, Pitchshifter gets a shout in the introduction!

Recently, JS Clayden stated that Pitchshifter have gotten back together and is working on a new album. Do you feel that the band’s hiatus has helped you overcome creative blocks and in turn rejuvenate a hunger for more success?

We’re happy with the success we have already achieved; it’s all about the music and creative side of the band now. Lots of hard work has been going on behind closed doors across the UK and USA, and we will be posting information on our plans for 2010 at www.pitchshifter.com as soon as we are ready!

JS and you have been the only constant in the band. Isn’t it hard to say goodbye to the guys who’ve toured and undoubtedly become friends with you over time?

We are now in our twentieth year, so it was inevitable that we would lose guys on the way. Some of the old members needed to move on but we still keep in touch with the old bastards! I’m seeing Jim Davies this month, in fact, myself and Matt Grundy have recently been working on a new project ‘Gunslinger Black’.

Pitchshifter started out as a metal band in 1989, wasn’t it hard to establish yourselves in what was becoming known as the grunge era? How did you cope or adapt?

We have always made the music we wanted to and done things in our own way. We made the first album for £500 in a week in a shithole studio in Leeds. The UK metal press picked up on it and it all went off from there. Many critics cited the ‘Pitchshifter‘ record as years before it’s time, which made us feel like heavy metal time travellers!

Which current bands do you believe have the potential of making it big?

There are some awesome UK bands right now…Cars On Fire, They Fell From The Sky, Freeze The Atlantic and Hounds.

Final question, are there any albums that you’ve heard recently which have made you think “Wow! I wish I had written that”?

Seminal albums for me are KILLING JOKE’s Killing Joke, REFUSED’s The Shape of Punk To Come, BAUHAUS’s In The Flat Field, AC/DC’s Back In Black, DEAD KENNEDYS’s Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, FUGAZI’s 13 Songs.

Visit Pitchshifter’s official website
Listen to Pitchshifter on their official MySpace page

Photographs by Nigel Crane & Craig Young

- Sergio Pereira
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Written by Sergio Pereira