Jedi Knights - Fully Sith
Monday, 30 June 2008
The Smirnoff Experience touches down in July and whilst The Gruen Transfer may have all kinds of things to say about a branding experience it’ll be us clubbers reaping the benefits when local DJs and live acts are joined by two bosses of creative clubland: Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton.
Reuniting as Jedi Knights (as opposed to the ethereal and often beatless duo Global Communication) and also playing separate solo sets, it seems the good people at Smirnoff have tapped the limitless resources of a duo steeped in love for music, both as fans and creators.
The name Mark Pritchard has been attached to many recording guises, all synonymous with quality. Be it his collaborations with Middleton as Global Communication or Jedi Knights, or his own Troubleman, Reload, Harmonic 33 or 313 phases or simply his birth name, consistency is what Pritchard has brought to the table since the early ’90s, with the latter efforts having a tougher Detroit edge.
Tom Middleton is mostly known as Cosmos and his body of work is particularly impressive when you stack up remixes for the likes of Amp Fiddler, Crazy Penis, Incognito, Mika, Lamb, Jamiroquai and many, many more. His album Lifetracks. which he describes as “keeping in with the Global Communication ethos of deep, soundtrack and instrumental”, will be released locally in July on One World.
“I’m really looking forward to coming down to Australia for the Smirnoff Experience,’ Middleton says. “I just did a show in Shanghai at the beginning of the year, and Moscow, and am off to Paris soon with Mark Ronson and Duran Duran, of all people! I am kind of the Smirnoff resident DJ.”
Of the duo’s Jedi Knights sets, Pritchard breaks it down as thus: “We will pick a classic era and do a set in that style, like classic electro or maybe an old school techno and acid house set, and do that together and then we’re both playing separately, too, so I can play a varied set in a different room, I might play dubstep one night, another gig I might play boogie and disco, which will be fun.”
What may seem a risk for a big brand looking for mass exposure is definitely not the case, when putting their audience in the hands of such formidable talent.
“We do a set like this for Fabric once a year with classics and maybe a bit of new stuff,” Pritchard explains. “It works quite well ’cause Tom and I are quite different. I play more classic stuff and although he plays less commercial stuff (in the club sense), he’s a really good club entertainer and can entertain big, big crowds of two or three thousand people. We play in different ways so it works.”
Punters who enjoyed Tom Middleton’s set at Playground Weekender can attest to the mad wickedness of an acid rave throwback set, with some ex-pat Brits reaching for the tissues in both a nostalgic and fanboy sense. On the line from Italy – where he divides most of his time – Middleton seems to be able to be a little more philosophical about the DJing experience, however not disagreeing with the entertainment factor.
“I like to be eclectic and adaptable to any environment, working in any country. It’s a lovely opportunity to explore a field of personal research of mine, it’s almost scientific,” he says, admitting it may sound daft, “but it’s a human experience in terms of what moves people around the planet. It’s fascinating and a never-ending enjoyment for me, finding out what it is that is universal in music that makes people move; the emotions and sounds that I have been harking on about since Global Communication.” Therein the name takes on a whole new meaning.
Pritchard, who lives in Sydney, is spreading himself across a number of musical projects at the moment after a rapturous response to the Harmonic 313 EP released on Warp earlier this year, with an album just around the corner.
'I am back (in Sydney) in June and have a month and half to finish it. It's all written, it's just mixing and arranging. The plan is, it's got a few tracks with MCs on it, Steve Spacek on a track, the rest will be instrumental and quite varied with some electronica, some hip hop and some four-four acid tunes, but slowed so it doesn't seem like a house tune.'
Admitting that he’s not juggling his commitments all that well, it comes down to being prolific. “When I finish this – I am working on a lot of them together – it’s the Reload and the Africa High Tech (with Steve Spacek) stuff and then some dubstep too – but the Reload stuff will take the next priority,” he says, seemingly making a list in his head. “Me and Steve have three tracks done to start the ball rolling,” he says. The name itself conjures all kinds of different genres, which is exactly what we can expect. “It’s all a bit faster, like140BPM, with some grime and techno and some dubsteppy things, some dancehall things… there’s one that’s more of a broken beat tune – we want it to be a futuristic dancehall style. I’m really happy with the sound we have been getting with it.”
Middleton admits he is such a fan of music that he sometimes has trouble getting any of his massive body of work in to his sets. “I do try to play a few of these things as much I can, because I think it’s important to give people a taste of one’s own repertoire in context but I am such a music fan, invariably I miss out on some tracks people expect me to play. It reminds me I have a role as a producer and as a DJ I have a role, when the two things meet it’s a whole new experience, people sometimes want to hear the DJ and the producer in the same set.”
Throw DJ Yoda and Infusion in to this mix and you have a one helluva surprise factor. Heads will get blown, experiences will be had… and if you haven’t found a way in yet, you had better get a wriggle on!
WHO: Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton as Jedi Knights
WHAT: Play Smirnoff Experience secret party, Sydney / Lifetracks through One World
WHEN: Thursday 10 July / Out now