Anarchosophist on creative processes and making concept albums
Padraig Parkhurst aka Anarchosophist makes music informed by themes and ideas. Anarchosophist spoke with 2SER’s Wide Open Air Exchange about his concept albums and latest approach to his new single ‘Happy As a Baby’.
Anarchosophist: Each time I do an album, I want it to have something that kind of marks it out as an album. One of the things that I really miss with a lot of music that’s been produced in recent years is this sense of rewarding people for extended listening.
One of the things with Spotify and other streaming services is that musicians nowadays are fighting a wave of anonymity. You’re encouraged to listen to music in such a way that you don’t remember the song names, who wrote it, what album it’s from.
Playlists can be amazing—and I have a few of my own out there to try and push the sort of music that I want the world to be hearing—but at the same time there’s something to be said about stepping into an artist’s world and kind of living in there for a little while.
I’ve always been a big fan of progressive rock and with those ones often you’ll have a whole concept from start to finish, like a story that’s being told. Or, it will link in with certain concepts whether it’s music theory concepts or something that links in with the album cover.
Each time I’ve made an album, I’ve wanted it to have something which you can sink your teeth into —
The first album was designed to be like the soundtrack to literally ‘A Tense Walk Down a Dirty Street’, which was the name of the album. It was kind of following someone through this evening as they walked through a rough part of town and visited a bar and all these sorts of things.
The next album was a world in which all of the literary dystopias of the past have come true and looking at nuclear dystopias, pollution dystopias, totalitarian dystopias, et cetera.
For the third album, I went in a completely different direction and instead wrote the soundtrack to a B-Grade 90s horror film that never existed.
One of the things that I’ve worked in, from the start, is a combination of tracks that play around with my personal take on sampling and getting into fairly obscure territory with things like cutting literal tape loops and so on. There’s a track called ‘The Dull Hum of Downtown Pripyat’ where I only sampled Soviet free jazz or Stalinist era orchestration.
On the last album, a few of the tracks were pushing more and more towards a kind of funk, soul, neo soul type and I wanted to do something which didn’t just flirt with it but kind of cut straight to the chase.
Recently I’ve been loving some Yacht Rock and so I wanted to do something which was paying tribute to some of those acts like DeBarge or Steely Dan or that sort of thing where you’ve got that beautiful smooth production but with some tasty jazz chords.
Anarchosophist’s funk-infused new single ‘Happy As A Baby’ with tasty jazz chords is currently on rotation on 2SER.
You can listen to the full conversation with Anarchosophist using the audio player on this page or via the Wide Open Air Exchange podcast.