Pure Phase Ensemble 4 is amazing. This project oozes with enough jangle and harmony to keep every listener within the fringes of Shoegaze and Dreampop happy, and there’s enough credit to make it a draw to those who enjoy that style of music, even without ever hearing a sample of the project. Mark Gardener from Ride, Ray Dickaty, an ex member of Spiritualized, and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who manages Poland’s Nasiono Records front this version of the ever evolving Pure Phase Ensemble project, that pulls acts from various stellar indie bands with each new incarnation.
I was lucky enough to have my contact from Shameless Promotion PR share this project with me and also gave me the opportunity to ask Mark a few questions before this weekend’s performance with RIDE at Poland’s OFF Festival. Being a die hard Shoegazer and devout fan; I put off all other obligations and jumped at the chance.
Mark, you have recently been involved in other side projects similar to this group, Pure Phase Ensemble 4. How do you feel about working on various different projects and what aspects draw into collaborating with a person or group of people, such as this amazing lineup?
I love working on different projects and different collaborations. It’s where different worlds, cultures and ideas collide and that can make for some really interesting and spontaneous music. I’d played a solo concert at an earlier Space Festival in Gdansk so I was aware of how that all worked and really liked the concept behind this so I was happy to get involved last year.
What were the main sources of inspiration for this project? Is there an overall theme that we as the listener should keep in mind when experiencing it?
There was nothing pre planned or pre rehearsed so this is the pure sound of musicians coming together with nothing for the 1st time knowing that in five days we would face the public expecting a good show. That really inspired and focused the minds and ideas quickly. Gdansk is very cold and dark at this time of the year and we were based quite far from the centre of Gdansk in a remote suburb so there were no distractions. The music came together as we got to know each other. We spent the days playing music and then we would go out most of the nights into Gdansk and continue the inspiration over a few drinks in some late Gdansk bars.
You are pretty well known for being a supporter of newer acts across the genre of Shoegaze and Dreampop and have shown a lot support for smaller labels and up and coming artists. Why do you feel it’s so important to be active and supportive during this time of resurgence for the genre?
Interesting quality music is my passion and life force. There is so much awful, uninteresting, safe, mainstream, mindless cult of celebrity music and people polluting people’s ears and minds these days. I’m not surprised that so many people are looking far away from all of this for more interesting music and creative expression.
I’m a supporter of any new and older acts that I find interesting and that actually touch, move and speak to me. Great music doesn’t go away and stands the test of time and transcends boundaries and genres.
That could be completely different to what other people consider great music to be but I’ll always support music and artists I’ve been involved in because I love how that music has moved me in the hope that others can experience and feel this great feeling in the same way as I have making it.
You have produced and mixed for several other artists. Brian Jonestown Massacre, Swervedriver, Robin Guthrie, and one of my favorite newer artists, Dead Horse One. Can you tell us a little about how the creative process in different in this role versus how you work on your own projects?
I collaborated as an artist with Anton and Brian Jonestown Massacre and Robin Guthrie, but didn’t mix or produce these records. I did mix for Swervedriver and Dead Horse One and many other groups and artists. I have more distance and perspective when I’m working with other groups than I do on my own projects as I feel more on the inside of my own projects so it’s not always as easy to have that same distance and perspective. A little distance and hearing a song fresh is good for mixing. Production varies as every artist is different and has different needs. In the end you are always working towards the same goal which is just to make fantastic sounding records that will move people and hopefully blow the odd mind along the way !
Like everyone else, I lost my mind in December of 2014 when RIDE’s reformation was announced. How has it been working with and collaborating once again with the other members of Ride? How does touring compare/contrast with projects like Pure Phase Ensemble 4 and outings like the gig at SpaceFest?
Ride is like coming home to me. I’m on a plane to a festival we will play tonight in Sweden after playing an amazing festival (Flow) in Helsinki, Finland last night. Playing with Ride is the ultimate for me so I’m loving all of it and loving playing with Ride again playing our tunes to lots of new audiences around the world. There are always similarities to playing live with the likes of Pure Phase Ensemble, solo and other bands and musicians, but there is a special chemistry and voodoo that happens when I get back in a room with the Ride boys.
It also makes me lose my mind in a great way so here’s to more of that!!
Finally; Thank you so much for answering my questions! I love this project and cannot wait to see you with RIDE in Detroit in October!!
Looking forward to coming back to Detroit also !