Pivot in the Park


Written by Seun Mustapha
09 Friday 09th May 2008

Pivot, consisting of brothers Laurence and Richard Pike on drums and guitar respectively and Dave Miller on laptop/electronics, are now based in the UK but have spent the past months e-mailing, sampling and re-recording the results of a single studio session into their fully-fledged new album In Ihe Blood from opposite sides of the world. They are a band that (re) formed onstage at the Sydney Opera House after the last incarnation of Pivot broke up due to ‘creative differences’. Pivot was originally a five-piece improv act, their J Award nominated 2005 debut, Make Me Love You cast them into the musical landscape and the trio are now bringing their IDM-meets-traditional-band show to the UK and the northern hemisphere for the first time for a series of live gigs showcasing the new record.

We meet the boys on one of the sunniest days of the year so far. We decided to conduct the interview in a park, tucked away behind the ITN building where the band had been busy recording stuff for the telly-box. We asked them a barrage of probing and irreverent questions before allowing them to leave for their sound-checking for their gig that day.



Hey guys what's up?

Richard: Not a lot, we're just sitting here enjoying the local wildlife...

(an extremely fat man with a Staff walks by informing his son that he's going to "fahkin' kill er")

Yeah, there are all kinds of animals around here. How's London anyways?

R: It's great, this is our first tour of the UK or anywhere in Europe...

Flowers and sunshine...

Wait, this is England. We don't consider ourselves European or a part of Europe.
Laurence: Even though you are...
Even though we are.
Dave: Okay
Seriously what's with Warp signing all these guitar bands, what do you think Squarepusher and Autechre are thinking about all this?
D: We have always considered Autechre an influence. We use live instrumentation but what we do is still electronic music.
You still consider yourselves part of the IDM scene... wait, what do you think of that term 'IDM'? People either seem to love it or hate it. In fact pretty much everybody I've ever asked hates it.
L: Yes, I hate it also.
D: Seconded.
R: Third!
Who do you think came up with it in the first place? Do you think he hates it now, like when you name something and it seems like such a good name at the time and then sounds progressively worse and worse everytime you hear it.
D: Wow, I don't know to be honest. Do you know him?
No, I thought maybe you did as you work at Warp now.
D: Well sorry we don't.
From left to right - Laurence, Dave and Richard
That's cool, so how did the Warp signing come about anyways?
L: Well a friend dropped our CD off to their offices and they liked it I guess. It's the standard way of getting your CD into the right person's hands. Also, they heard that John Mcintyre produced the album and that increased interest.
The old boy network, eh...
L: Well not really but maybe a little bit. The music speaks for itself anyway.
What were you just doing for ITN?
L: Some sort of music program. They're interviewing lots of new bands.
But you're not new, what if they find out about Make Me Love You?
L: If you don't tell them we won't.
Okay, but you have to cross my palm with silver. Whats the IDM scene like out in Aus?
D: The guys that held up that scene sort of fell out of it I guess. It's amazing how it only really takes a couple of guys to hold up a whole scene like that, you only realise how close-knit it is when the scene leaders start to fall off.
Yeah, you get a few originators and loads of hangers on and passers by.
D: I used to do a night up in Perth for about three years.
I guess that makes you one of those 'scene leaders'.
D: I guess, you just need those few hardworkers to hold it together. Nowadays there really isn't much of an IDM scene in Australia.
That sucks.
L: Well to my mind the whole genre thing is coming apart anyway. Everyone is mashing everything together nowadays. There's no respect for genre anymore and it's a good thing. People are just making what they want and are less bothered where it fits.
There's been a big deal made about how you made this album from opposite sides of the atlantic. How do you think that worked out?
R: It worked out pretty well. We did have one studio session to begin with where we just recodred masses of material. Then we basically cut it all up and chopped everything together into new arrangements. Being on opposite sides of the world leads to differing influences within the band while you're writing. Dave would Skype us saying about how he wanted this massive reverb "like on that Skream track" and we're like who's Skream, what track are you talking about? We're all working from totally different influences.
You were using Skype to send messages/ideas back and forth?
L: Messages, ideas and emoticons, don't forget the emoticons. We got REALLY good at using emoticons.
Do you ever find yourself making an emoticon face in real life, like the face the emoticon would have if you weren't talking in real life and were posting on the internets?
R: No, not really, although sometimes almost.
What emoticon would you use to sum up today?
R: What this interview?
The day in general.
R: Probably the smiley one but not the REALLY smiley one.
What about the one with sunglasses, it's really sunny out today?
R: I don't like that one's attitude, seems a little too smarmy.
What about the old members of the band, are they pissed now you're signed to Warp and they're still... whatever. They must feel like the red-faced one, or that girl that left the Spice Girls early.
L: One of the Spice girls left?
Back before they got big one of them left to pursue a 'proper career', literally days before they got signed, blew up, married footballers and actors and became richer than god.
L: Wow, that sucks. I don't think our old members are that bothered though. The band split up mainly due to creative differences. We were a lot more experimental and freestyle back then and they wanted to go in a more 'controlled' direction. Plus the others were just getting bored of everything and didn't have that drive we had.
Excess baggage is rarely a good thing.
R: It can really slow you down, but there's no hard feelings or anything - it's just the way things worked out. Two of the guys just lost interest in the music we were doing and the other guy just lost interest in music full stop.
I heard that using laptops is cheating and secretly everything a band that uses a laptop does comes pre-recorded off said laptop.
D: Well thats BS. Only the bass and the synth sounds come off the laptop, we use Ableton and run the bass through a guitar stage amp for that bass guitar sort of sound.
So I was reading your press release before the interview and noticed that RICH was stand-in forEwan McGregor in episode V. What was that like?
R: It was pretty good, I got to spend a lot of time on set and...
Did you get to use a lightsabre?
R: Yes I got to 'use' a lightsabre - swinging it around and stuff dressed as a Jedi, it was pretty cool.

Check Pivot's last fm page here and their Myspace for their upcoming gigs

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