GLITCH CODE
Gifted_Damaged
(Basilica Music)

 

There’s been a range of superbly produced techno pop-rock coming from the U.K. in 2016 and you can add the name Glitch Code to the mix. Pairing the sound and vision of multi-instrumentalist Paul Kirkpatrick and singer Rachel Harvey, the 2016 Glitch Code album Gifted_Damaged will clearly be of interest among fans of electro pop legends such as The Eurhythmics, Bowie and Kate Bush (for example) and, after hearing the Gifted_Damaged album, the comparison makes sense. With Ms. Harvey handling all the vocals and Paul Kirkpatrick taking on the keyboards, drum programming and sound creation, the pair are joined by a number of musicians and string players including Gordon Foley (guitars), Julian Todd (bass), David Williamson Smith (drums) and other players. Informing us about the Glitch Code story, Paul tells mwe3.com, "The core of Glitch Code is myself and Rachel Harvey. I met Rachel when we were both playing on the same bill in different bands and I really liked her voice and thought it would suit an idea I had for a new project which became Glitch Code. As Rachel is also a TV actress, it took us a few years to get the project really off the ground and then just when we got up and running Rachel had some health problems which put us on hold for 18 months or so. However, I used that time to rewrite some of the original tracks we had recorded for the project and add some new material to form more of a cohesive sound. Gifted_Damaged explores the fine line between genius and madness that so often affects those who are creatively successful. I’m sure everyone reading can relate to someone they know, famous or not, who they would recognize as both gifted and damaged." Extra mention must go to the excellent packaging in which the CD and inserts are packaged in a book like case filled with song lyrics and unusual sick room setting pics of Ms. Harvey (see story below). Dedicated to all those who are gifted and damaged, the twelve track CD offers a potent mix of techno pop-rock, electronic dance grooves and hard rock sounds. With the release of Gifted_Damaged, Glitch Code establishes itself as a name that music fans will watch and take further notice of. www.Glitch-Code.com





mwe3.com presents an interview with

PAUL KIRKPATRICK OF
GLITCH CODE


mwe3
: Can you tell us where you’re from originally in the U.K. and where you live now, and what you like best about it? What are some of your favorite cities and countries to visit?

Paul Kirkpatrick: I’m originally from a town called Corby, which is in the county of Northamptonshire and I still live near there today in a small village called Weldon. I like living in a village as it’s good to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities and have time to think and create. Rachel is from a nearby village called Orlingbury, but currently lives in London.

I have traveled extensively around the UK and the World and spent several years in the US and Germany and I think that traveling and visiting other cultures feeds some of my creativity. I’ve spent time in the Middle East and love the vibrant culture and sounds you could experience there in more peaceful times.

I spend a lot of time in London which is one of my favorite cities but I also love being near the sea so often visit coastal towns around the UK for a bit of rest and relaxation. Around Europe I like to visit Freiburg in Germany where I have some great friends and I always enjoy the Nordic countries. In the US I’ve been lucky enough to visit most of the major cities and spent a lot of time in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Orlando, West Palm Beach and San Francisco.

mwe3: What’s your background in music who were your big musical influences? What do you think about the state of music today? What instruments do you play on the Glitch Code album? Are you kind of a gear head of sorts?

Paul Kirkpatrick: There was always a piano in my parents’ house when I was growing up and my older sister was having lessons but I would often hijack it and teach myself to play, only eventually having lessons in my teens when I wanted to play a bit more seriously and understand what I was actually playing musically.

My musical influences are many and varied. David Bowie, Kate Bush, Gary Numan, David Sylvian, Brian Eno, Bill Nelson as well as bands such as Kraftwerk, Can, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Talk Talk, Pink Floyd etc. to name but a few. I also listen to a lot of classical music and buy a lot of movie soundtracks. I have quite an extensive vinyl and CD collection that has a great variety of artists and genres. I will listen to most music and love discovering something new and of course I’m listening from the production side as well to hone my producing skills. Production wise I listen a lot to the techniques of Tony Visconti, Flood, Eno, Nigel Godrich, Hugh Padgham, Chris Lord Alge, George Martin, Phil Spector, Eddie Kramer and Steve Lillywhite

On the Glitch Code album, I play piano, synths/keys and on a couple of the tracks drum programming/sound design. I am a complete gear head but have noticed in recent years a lot of my physical gear has given way to soft synth and plug-ins. I still have a few of my original synths and use them quite extensively but with soft synths like Omnisphere 2 out there the possibilities for sound creation are limitless!

mwe3: How did you form Glitch Code and what were some of the events musical or otherwise that brought the group together? What’s the inside story behind the Glitch Code album Gifted_Damaged and when and where was the music written and recorded and where was the album recorded, mixed and mastered and how did you arrive with the name of the band?

Paul Kirkpatrick: The core of Glitch Code is myself and Rachel Harvey. I met Rachel when we were both playing on the same bill in different bands and I really liked her voice and thought it would suit an idea I had for a new project which became Glitch Code. As Rachel is also a TV actress, it took us a few years to get the project really off the ground and then just when we got up and running Rachel had some health problems which put us on hold for 18 months or so. However, I used that time to rewrite some of the original tracks we had recorded for the project and add some new material to form more of a cohesive sound.

Gifted_Damaged explores the fine line between genius and madness that so often affects those who are creatively successful. I’m sure everyone reading can relate to someone they know, famous or not, who they would recognize as both gifted and damaged. I’ve taken the premise a little further on tracks such as “Little Pleasures” which is actually a vampire story! Live for eternity but never see the light of day! I try and write most of my lyrics so the listener can interpret them in a way that relates to them, and it’s often very interesting when someone says “Oh I love that song about xxxxx” and I have no clue which one they mean as I wrote it about something completely different.

The album was written in my home studio and recorded in a variety of London studios. Most of the strings were recorded at Dean Street Studio’s in London (formally Good Earth Studios) which of course used to belong to Tony Visconti and David Bowie, amongst many others, have recorded there. I was lucky enough to meet Tony while we were there as he was over working on the Kaiser Chiefs album. The vocals were recorded at Tile Yard studios in London and we mixed it there as well with my mix engineer Russell Focus. Mastering was done at Alchemy Mastering in London by Barry Grint who has mastered everyone from Elvis to Radiohead and is a great guy to know and learn from. He also cut the vinyl and the experience of watching it being cut on the lathe at Alchemy was one of the highlights of the whole experience for a tech head like myself

The name of the band came from my background in computing and is a reference to a lot of the glitchy electronica we bury in the tracks. In computing it’s something in the code that is causing a blip in a game or program.

mwe3: How did you assemble the band for the Glitch Code album? There’s some great guitar work by Gordon Foley. Who else was key to the album production and studio sound?

Paul Kirkpatrick: Well Gordon and I have been playing in bands together since we were teenagers so we just have a great understanding of how the other one is thinking about sounds and parts. I will give him some ideas like “what about an ebow here, or a power riff there” and he interprets it perfectly sending me loads of ideas that we work through then finalize. We also have a little trick we use with tone and stereo imaging when we record which gives the guitar sound that nice fullness.

Bass is put down by another friend of mine, Julian Todd, who I have known since we were small children and his playing style is influenced by the music we both grew up with. On the album there is a mixture if fretless, six string, five string and normal bass and Julian is such a prolific player we get everything down in one or two takes.

Drums are played by another old friend of mine, David Williamson-Smith who I have known since I was a teenager and who has played in a few bands we were both connected with. David is also a big fan of Steve Jansen and Mel Gaynor so it was easy for me to say how I wanted things to sound as he gets my references very easily. We recorded all the drums in my studio using a Roland TD30 kit through Superior Drummer 2.0 and then in the mix studio we recorded other snares etc. to overlay on some of the bigger drum parts using drum triggers.

I’ve used a string quartet on a lot of the tracks but also there is Cello on most tracks played by the wonderful Rachel Dawson who I met in Dean Street at the original sessions and who just got what I was trying to do. We layer cello parts on most of the album and Rachel is a prolific player so very quick and easy to work with.

On backing vocals, we have Felicity Hunter. I met her through Russell Focus and her voice has a fragile edge to it that I thought perfectly compromised Rachel’s. I think you really hear it in tracks like “Mask” and “White Room”. There’s also a gospel choir on “Bleed Out” provided by LJ Voices.

mwe3: Tell us about the amazing CD packaging for Gifted_Damaged. Who put it all together and how did you decide on such an impressive package design? Just the packaging alone should win some kind of award. Is the album available in other formats too?

Paul Kirkpatrick: Thanks for the recognition of the packaging. I wanted to produce something special as I think nowadays music can be quite throwaway in its digital format. Growing up I loved buying a physical product and reading the sleeve notes and seeing where it was recorded, what kit was used etc. etc. and that has kind of disappeared in recent times. So I came up with the idea of a book format and worked with a very well-known British designer, Laurence Stevens, to design the product and imagery, logo etc. Laurence designed the iconic Eurhythmics album covers and has worked with some amazing acts. He got the music and the concept really quickly and we worked with a manufacturer called Something Else to bring the product to life. I’m very happy with the final product and it really has a quality feel to it.

The other format I really wanted to release the album on was vinyl and we have teamed up with Plane Groovy to produce a 10 track version. Again we have worked hard on the packaging to include lyrics etc. and it’s great having the album in these formats to physically hold and play. The sound quality is so much better than the overly compressed digital format that I can see why vinyl is now popular again,

Digitally there is an iTunes version which features 11 tracks, as we wanted to keep something different about each version and of course a streaming version for Spotify etc.,

mwe3: “Glimmer” is a great way to start the album. Is the song about relationships or trying to salvage a relationship? Are many of the songs on Gifted _Damaged about relationships? Why did you start the album with “Glimmer”?

Paul Kirkpatrick: I put Glimmer first because I think it encompasses the whole Glitch Code sound. It has everything from the softness of the cello and opening baritone guitar to the manic sequencers and big guitars and drums with a great vocal from Rachel. It will also be the first single from the album and we’ve just finished editing a video for it which really lifts the energy of the track.

It’s not necessarily just about relationships, it’s a song about staying positive in everything you do as there is always a chance to turn things round. I was lucky enough to work for a mental health charity in the UK and see people with severe mental health issues recover and go on to lead fulfilling lives also helping others, so the song is about hope and letting go of the past.

mwe3: Track 2 on Gifted_Damaged is “The White Room”. The song has excellent dynamics. How did you come up with the title and what is the symbolism behind the title and lyrics?

Paul Kirkpatrick: “The White Room” is a song that could be about several things but was actually inspired by a documentary I saw about “locked in syndrome”, where a person can be totally aware of their surroundings but unable to communicate, except maybe with an eye movement for example. Similar to a comatose scenario where no one is really sure what the victim can see, hear or recognize. The “white room” represents a purgatory between life and death and physically would be a sterile hospital room with machines keeping someone alive in the ether. I think the lyric “Can't breathe, I can't breathe, I’m dreaming deeper” aptly describes the situation. Of course it can also be seen as a metaphor for not being able to express yourself in a given situation so again I leave it to the listener to decide.

mwe3: Tell us about “Little Pleasures” which is track 3 on Gifted_Damaged. Is “Little Pleasures” a good example of writing from personal experiences?

Paul Kirkpatrick: I think I gave this one away earlier in the interview as my vampire song. I guess I write from both a personal and third person perspective as I have to make sure the lyric can be delivered by Rachel and that she can put some meaning to it to really get it across. The song is really about the little things in life that we do or take for granted but that can hold us back and if we really want to change we need to let them go and that can be hard to do. It’s told through the vampire analogy as making the transition from darkness to light.

mwe3: I like the way you juxtapose breathing in and bleeding out on “Bleed Out”. Is that another classic relationship song? Another great vocal from Rachel too. She sounds like she was made for that song.

Paul Kirkpatrick: Yes, it’s one of my personal favorites and was one of the first we recorded for the album. I think the intro melody and the mournful cello work well together and there are several dynamic shifts throughout the track which lift it with the message of the song. It’s a song about trying to undo the damage of previous relationships by holding on to that someone or something that is special and working at it to be able to let go of the past. There is a real 80’s vibe towards the end which is one of the dynamics we were trying to deliver but in an up to date format.

mwe3: Is “Guide Me Home” the more spiritual side of Glitch Code’s music? Another amazing vocal from Rachel and the lead guitar work is amazing as well. How did you work out the arrangement on that track? Do you like writing more hopeful songs or songs with more cutting edge lyrics?

Paul Kirkpatrick: This song was written in the studio at about 3 am one morning and really came together very quickly. It was originally going to be called Ad Patres, but as the lyrics developed it became "Guide Me Home". It is another song of hope and talks about the relationship between a father and daughter from the daughter’s perspective. It has a very personal meaning for Rachel and I think that cuts through in her performance.

Arrangement wise I tried something a bit different with the triple chorus towards the end being the only chorus sequence as such and I like to try and vary arrangements to make the songs more multidimensional. There is a vocal sample that works through the whole track panning from ear to ear, coming to the fore towards the end which gave a reference point for the whole arrangement

Lyrically I work in a strange way in that the title usually comes first and I write around it. Usually I’m looping a passage of music I have written and the melody and lyrics flow from there. It can be a very quick process and usually a draft lyric will only take minutes. I obviously subconsciously channel it from somewhere deep inside but I have no idea what I’m going to write until I write it and then sometimes I have to work out exactly what I’m on about!

mwe3: Is “Black Tears” another autobiographical track or did you write it for someone? Seems like broken relationships still haunt the best of us. Can broken relationships drive someone to suicide or is writing songs about them a better idea?

Paul Kirkpatrick: Yes, "Black Tears" is the darkest song on the album and was written to reflect the seedy underbelly of society and the internet. The lyric and vocal delivery have an edgy feel and each line is also whispered which adds a little sinister touch particularly when you listen on headphones. The song was actually inspired by the story of Mary Magdalene and the theory she could have been the wife/lover of Jesus in what would be the ultimate forbidden love.

I think broken relationships could potentially result in suicide particularly if there is betrayal involved but I also think there always has to be hope and a lot of this album is about seeing that hope and using the different gifts we all have to conquer the hurt and move on with our lives.

mwe3: The title track “Gifted_Damaged” is track seven on the CD. How did you come up with the title Gifted_Damaged and why did you put the underscore between the two words? Did you write the title track for someone or is it autobiographical?

Paul Kirkpatrick: “Gifted_Damaged” is actually about an autistic teenager I once met who couldn’t communicate with many people but was an absolute genius when it came to computing, or more precisely, hacking! He was being held securely because of his extreme behaviors and it demonstrated to me the fine line between genius and madness. To his parents he would always be their special son no matter how damaged he was as they could see through all of that and a parents’ love is unconditional. I put the underscore in to reflect the coding element both in this lyric and of Glitch Code and it also works nicely as a hashtag.

If you look back in history particularly in music and creative crafts such as acting and art, there are many who we regard as geniuses who were damaged either by their upbringing or the effects of their success. This genius defines their craft but ultimately is their downfall.

mwe3: Tell us about track 8 “Monochromatic”. I love that word. How does it apply to the song lyrics? The song almost borders on heavy metal rock. Very impressive.

Paul Kirkpatrick: “I see everything, in black and white” is the opening line and the song has a pseudo religious take on the surveillance society we live in today. Everything we do, say or type is monitored or tracked in some way and I related that back to the so called omnipresence of whatever God you follow.

The song is heavier than the others on the album to really lift the message of the chorus with a contempt for those who seek to monitor us.

mwe3
: “Mask” sounds like another painful relationship song. Are we all walking around with masks that prevent us from fully feeling life and even knowing who we could be? The lines “An empty feeling, this mirror’s bleeding” is classic.

Paul Kirkpatrick: I think "Mask" is currently both mine and Rachel’s favorite track on the album and it is about what we choose to reveal about ourselves to different people and how the mask we wear can define who we are in the eyes of others but is not the real person we are inside.

Lots of people hide their true feelings and emotions and never truly realize their potential because they feel they have to be a certain way to conform to “normal” society.

It also talks about our hopes and fears and no matter how many friends you have either virtually or in real life no one really knows what you are thinking except yourself. I wrote a track around 2005 called “We Sleep Alone” and this is probably the continuation of the theme I was working with on that track in that only you can hear your own thoughts and know who you truly are. Everything else is a mask you choose to wear. An actor wears multiple masks for a living but again this often has a toll on their own happiness and who they really are that they struggle to deal with and often turn to drugs to help them cope somehow.

It follows the theme of the album about the mask that genius can wear when actually behind the genius is a tortured soul.

mwe3: How did you decide on the song title “Kiss The Dark”? I guess we’ve all had a relationship like that. “The future’s unpredictable” is an understatement but it’s a great line. Love is hopeful till the end?

Paul Kirkpatrick:” Kiss The Dark” is about the unknown and being brave enough to take a step that has risks but could potentially be very rewarding, be it in a relationship, or in life in general. It’s very much a song about hope and embracing the future positively. Musically it’s quite epic and I thought it would make a good Bond theme tune!

It’s about staying strong and doing what you believe is right even if others criticize or try and sway you from your chosen path.

mwe3: Is “Blame” a hopeful song”? “Do you think I’ve come this far to fail again?” Another song with some great electric guitar work.

Paul Kirkpatrick: “Blame” is the oldest track on the album and I rewrote and rearranged it several times over the last 4 years until I was happy with it. I wanted it to progress from the lush guitars and strings in to the heavy midsection before finishing with the chorus refrain stripped out. It started off completely with the glitchy electronica you hear at the beginning and several iterations of guitars and strings until we got the balance just right. It was really when Julian added the underlying bass groove that we knew how the track should progress through another unusual arrangement.

It is about being the bigger person in a relationship or in life and saying you were wrong but hoping the outcome can change and not wanting to repeat past mistakes. By taking the blame and laying yourself open the line “Do you think I’ve come this far to fail again?” resonates with the message of hope that is prevalent throughout the album.

mwe3: Why did you close the CD with “Intent”? It’s another pretty dark song. Is the song about romantic betrayal and shattered love? Is that one of the more harrowing songs on Gifted_Damaged?

Paul Kirkpatrick: “Intent” was always down as the final track on the album from day one as I wanted to end the album on a single piano note as a counterbalance to the big wall of sound on the rest of the tracks and also this track as it reaches its peak and the drums bring it all back down to earth. I write music in a way an artist would paint with many layers and sonic colors which when you start to peel them back reveal different sounds you never noticed on first listen. I find this gives the work a longevity and keeps the listener engaged. There is so much throw away formulaic music about nowadays that I wanted to do something with a bit more substance that is not so instant and that people have to discover. That’s how I grew up listening to music and how I wanted to present my own songs. I also always write and end to each song as I don’t like the “fade out” route a lot of songs take and had actually wrote this “end” for album before I’d even written “Intent” fully.

“Intent” is harrowing and the chord structure chosen to be more dramatic in a Neoclassical way. It’s about betrayal and shattered love, as you say in your question, and it’s also about questioning yourself and trying to get your confidence and self-belief back after someone has betrayed you.

The single note at the end of the final piano run is the perfect summing up of the whole Gifted_Damaged theme as it delays to silence. If you loop it back to Glimmer the piano fades and the words “Hope springs eternal” resonate once more.

mwe3: I hear you have a solo instrumental album, called
Omertà coming later in 2016. What other musical projects and other work are you and Rachel involved in and how do you balance all your activities, both musical and otherwise? What other work do you have outside of music or is it music 24/7?

Paul Kirkpatrick: Yes, I have been working on Omertà for about a year in between the final production of Gifted_Damaged and working on the next Glitch Code album. I write constantly and had a concept for a piece of music based on a film yet to be made. I said earlier I buy a lot of soundtrack music and it’s something that has always interested me. The challenge is trying to convey the emotion of a lyric but just through instruments and their melody/timbre. It’s a lot sparser than the Glitch Code music and features much more piano and strings in with the electronica with a few surprises here and there for good measure!

Outside of music Rachel is also an actress but is currently at university studying for a degree in Psychology. I work as an IT consultant outside of music and that obviously feeds my love of tech and gadgets!

We are looking at how to bring the Glitch Code sound to a live audience and hope to play some gigs sometime this year.

mwe3: With the success of the Glitch Code Gifted_Damaged album what other plans for the band are you considering for the future? Are you always writing songs and what kind of album would you like to make next with Glitch Code?

Paul Kirkpatrick: The next Glitch Code album is already underway at the writing stage and, as I’m always writing, I have about 30 song ideas ready to expand or delete as we hone the sound of the next album.

We have just filmed the video for "Glimmer" and hope to do something visual for "Mask" in the coming months. We would obviously like to evolve the sound on the next album and for it to be as well received as Gifted_Damaged and probably a bit more anthemic, but who knows, it could be we find 10 stripped down electronica grooves and run with that. I think that’s what makes making an album so exciting as the journey takes you in many directions until your finally hone in on your target and end up with something you can be proud of.



 

 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com
Send to
: MWE3.com Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein
2351 West Atlantic Blvd. #667754
Pompano Beach, Florida 33066

E-mail: mwe3nyc@gmail.com
New York address (for legal matters only)
P.O. Box 222151, Great Neck, N.Y. 11022-2151

 
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 1999-2016
MWE3.com - All Rights Reserved