Primorph / Primorph + Interview With Primorph and Artist Dai Owen
In what has to be one of my most overdue interviews, I am finally making good on one that I promised Primorph MONTHS ago. It just so happened that as I was supposed to be airing this interview Echosynthetic was downed by a DDoS attack. Well, that's all in the past now and I couldn't let this amazing interview go into cold storage! Not only is this an interview with Primorph, it also includes the man behind all of his brilliant artwork, Dai Owen. If you've been following Primorph then you know why I would be including him in the interview. Very few artists are interwoven with the artwork of their music like Primorph. From the start, the music and the art have been fused as one, and as such, I think they both deserve some time in the limelight.
Before we get to the interview, let's take a look at the album. In what has to be one of the most anticipated full-length debuts of the year, Primorph's self-titled debut doesn't disappoint. Not only does is grow and expand the Primorph sound that you already know and love, he managed to push himself into an even bigger space. What I love about his sound is that it honestly never sounds like anything else that you hear on the scene. It's synthwave without the heavy handed nostalgia, bright without being overly poppy, and retro-futuristic without sounding like it was ripped from an 80's sci-fi film. Somehow Primorph has managed to find a niche of his own, and that's no small feat in a pond this crowded!
Check out the music video above! Now do you understand why I've included the amazing Dai Owen in this article?!?
Now, let's find out a little more about what went into the record in my interview with Primorph! Keep reading once I'm done with Gareth to hear from Mr. Owen!
Welcome, and thanks for being back on Echosynthetic!
The pleasure is all mine…
Your debut full length has released! How do you feel about it being out in the world?
I feel really relieved. It’s been a lot of fun but also very challenging. I’m currently producing out of a tiny box room whilst I renovate my shed into a studio so trying to balance work, family, and renovation work with writing and producing (in the worst listening environment imaginable) has been extremely hard. I’m really proud of what I’ve come out with though.
How do you feel your music has evolved since you started?
Since I started releasing I have spent a lot of time learning music theory (since I’m almost totally self taught, by ear, and predominantly a drummer). So I hope that it’s more musically coherent these days. I’ve also, through learning more about production and sound design, started to actually carve out my own little sound and for the first time I feel like I’m directing the music, rather than the music directing me. In summary: I think the music is more confident and self aware now, with higher production values….. There’s still a long way to go though.
What are the roots of the Primorph sound?
Well. The long answer to that goes all the way back to the roots of me…. The shorter one is this: I came from a rock/stoner rock/grunge background with the bands I played in as a teen. The synth stuff I make now is a hybrid of that rock background with the TV themes, game soundtracks and film scores that I grew up with. Primorph is pure catharsis for me. I write music for games as a living and Primorph is my chance to write what I want and not to have to “serve the brief”…
What have you been listening to a lot lately?
Synth wise I can’t get enough Volkor X, He is beyond talented. Dan Terminus is also all over my sound system, always. Very recently : 24:7 Naeon, since I had the honour of being a test audience for it and heard it all before release… I try to stay abreast of all the indie synth wave releases, since there is some serious talent in the scene and usually made by extremely nice people, I won’t try to list them because I’ll miss someone important but that takes up a good deal of my listening time. Non-synth wise: I had my world rocked recently when I discovered Jacob Collier. Also, my son is just developing his own musical inquisitiveness he has turned out to be quite the little rocker/ metal head! So we’ve been listening to a lot of the grunge and metal bands I was listening to in my teens and it’s a great pleasure sharing that with him.
Whilst writing this album my playlist was predominantly classic game scores particularly Golden Axe (As you can see I’ve name checked Death Adder) and Megaman X. I have also been listening to; Demdike Stare, Maere, Amon Tobin, Emika, Faith No More, The Cardiacs…. There’s a lot more but that’s already a lot……
Favorite John Hughes film?
This is going to be a controversial one, because I know I’m “supposed” to say “The Breakfast Club”…. Which is a great film….. But, I didn’t see it till I was in my early twenties. So I’m left with probably the least cool answer: “Home Alone”, that John Williams score is a thing of beauty and the music they licensed for the film is full of great choices (I’m kind of a sucker for Christmas songs). Honourable mentions also go to “Weird Science” and “Uncle Buck”.
I’d like to quickly take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me out whilst making the album and everyone who has shown support or bought my stuff. Thanks.
Now let's talk to the man behind the Primorph visuals, artist Dai Owen!
Your artwork is an integral part of the Primorph image. How did this partnership begin?
Gareth and I have been friends for a very long time, somewhere between 15 and 20 years. I seem to remember we kicked it off famously when he crashed an after party at my house. We’ve always been fans of each others’ respective wares but it was only recently we started directly working together with the inception of Primorph. He’s the brains of the outfit, I just riff off that and make it look (hopefully) nice!
The music video for 'On the Ropes' chronicles you creating a piece of Primorph art. How long did it take to create?
A long time. It’s difficult to gauge though, because I did it in shifts between my day job, and was quite the undertaking. It’s one of the biggest digital canvasses I’ve worked on in terms of dimensional scale. If you keep your eye on the top right of the video, you’ll get a bit of of an idea of the timeframe - My estimate clocks in at somewhere roughly between 25 and 40 hours total.
What got you started in the world of art and how long have you been at it?
My entire life, and there’s still room for improvement! I’ve been arting since I could hold a pencil. I was drawn to it (no pun intended) in such a way that I could never consider my life without art. It’s everywhere, whether intentional, accidental or a product of nature itself. I’ve never considered myself good at anything else. Music, sport, people… Art’s the only thing I’ve felt any calling for and it’s my sanctuary. I’d better stop at this point unless you want a dissertation: “Why art is life, by David Owen”…
Where can our readers find more of your amazing work?
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION TIME! Probably first off is my website drawnbydai.com - or you can search Drawn by Dai on Twitter or Facebook - I’m lousy at social media, but I’m trying to turn that around. I’m a freelance artist and graphic designer by trade, and readers can drop me a line whenever they like. I’m always happy to explore projects.
What is your favorite John Hughes film?
Not even a question. The Breakfast Club. It’s actually one of my all-time 3 favourite films, along with John Carpenter’s The Thing and the manga Akira. There are very many more honourable mentions, too many to list, but these 3 stand apart for me due to exploring the human consciousness and identity in ways that to my mind hadn’t been done before.