Phil Hartnoll: Still Orbiting

source: Phil Hartnoll

Interview Sofea Shah

When Mixmag listed your group above Moby, Justice, Above & Beyond and many other dance legends on their Greatest Dance Acts of All Time list, you know you’ve more than made it. Even back in the early ’90s, when EDM was not as big as it is today, Orbital was one of the legendary acts to breakthrough this scene with their punkish electro beats. Despite the duos breakup in 2004, Orbital still remained in the minds of the fans when they played together again at The Big Chill Festival in 2009. They’ve been together again ever since. This Saturday, one half of the group, Phil Hartnoll, is coming down to Vertigo Club.  Catch the master as his best as he explores the DJ side of his persona. A fitting act for a night called The Master Class. Get educated, EDM n00bs.

You have literally lived through an entire generation of EDM industry and throughout the times must have seen a lot of talented DJ-producers called it a day. What motivated you to keep pushing throughout the insular, hard times of the EDM movement of yore?
I’ve not really noticed EDM going through any hard times, in fact it’s the biggest thing in the USA at the moment and is rinsing out the flavour all around the world and I can’t wait to DJ in KL for the first time. My motivation comes from the love of electronic music and playing to people that enjoys listening and dancing to EDM as much as I do.

You were also known for your live improvisation during shows. Do you think that this particular element contributed to your success since it was a rarity among techno acts in the scene at that time?
Yes. I think it helped contribute to our success and I also think it helped prove and show people that you can perform electronic music live as a band. We set up a studio on stage and arrange, mix and manipulate the sounds on our synthesisers using them like more traditional instruments. We improvise the arrangements of our songs, feeding off of the energy we feel from the audience. As a result of this each and every one of our gigs proved to be unique.

After years of hiatus for the Hartnoll brothers and finally coming back together in 2009, did things fall back in place easily like how it used to be?
Orbital for me is better now than it’s ever been!

In the modern EDM world, computers define everything, which was not the case when you first started. How did computers change the whole concept of your music making?
The introduction of a computer into our studio helped us compose more quickly and also gave us more advanced recording facilities.

What is the hardest part of being a producer?
Knowing when a song is finished.

So what’s in store for Phil Hartnoll in 2013?
I’m really enjoying the DJ side of Phil Hartnoll, I’m on a mini DJ tour to Asia at the moment, which is fantastic and I’m very excited to be coming and playing at Vertigo!

Phil Hartnoll is set to play at Vertigo this Saturday 26 January ’13.