With a career spanning multiple decades, genres, labels, and an almost incalculable number of collaborations, Mark Pritchard has built up an extensive list of monikers over the years. Though many producers now subscribe to the idea of having alter-egos, Pritchard has recently come full circle on the idea, and will be henceforth be producing under only one name—his own—and uniting his many styles and interests under a single umbrella. (He’s already released the Ghosts EP this summer; it’s the first of three EPs he’s doing for Warp. The second, Lock Off, will drop in September.) Having cut his teeth in the early ’90s—a time when many electronic music fans were especially purist about their genre of choice—Pritchard once chose his artist names with the idea of being faceless, or at least obfuscating the connections between projects; it was an opportunity to make the music he wanted to make without fear of explicitly jilting fans. “If you did a techno release and then a house release,” he explains, “the house people wouldn’t check you because they thought you were a techno guy.” Given those realities, he came up with one moniker after another; now, 20 years later, Pritchard has an immense back catalog, albeit one that’s almost impossible to properly navigate. In the interest of untangling the web, we asked Pritchard to run through his various projects and tell us a little bit about each one.
I’m constantly aware of what might be a good move in the industry, and one reason for sticking to a name is the way the industry’s changed. Back in the early ’90s, you could release a white label from an unknown artist and sell 2000 copies, whereas now it’s completely different. I did actually think, “maybe I should stick to Harmonic 313 and roll with that as a name,” but something still didn’t feel quite right about it because I started seeing comments where people were asking “will the next album be like the last one?,” and I was thinking, “not really.” I always wanted to do music that was interesting to me, and while there might be a few tracks with a similar vibe, I wanted to move things forward into different areas.
I felt like I had so many names that I needed to limit myself a bit, and Harmonic 313 seemed to connect to Harmonic 33, but was more focused on electronics than samples. I’ve always been a big fan of Detroit music, but I was a little bit wary of the name at first because I didn’t want it to seem like I was saying I was from there, just that it was an influential place for me.