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Published: 2001/11/19
by Dewey Hammond

Particle: A Space Porn Soundtrack

Keyboardist Steve Molitz describes Particle’s instrumental sound as “an organic mix between high-energy funk and some of the more electronic dance styles like house, trance and drum-n-bass.” The band also likes to call it space porn a rather enigmatic and nondescript delineation to say the least. Regardless, Particle serves up a solid live experience and makes a conscious effort to involve media beyond guitar, bass, drums and keys to create its art. Scott MacKinnon, the band’s projectionist, provides improvisational visuals during most shows and could be considered its fifth member.

“We’re the kind of band that thrives off the live experience,” says Molitz. With no full-length studio efforts to date, Particle’s strongest presence remains the live performance. At times, the music can sound a bit homogeneous and the band seems to have difficulty knowing when or how to end a jam, but they possess both passion and potential a welcome combination for any foursome. Bassist Eric Gould says, “We always make a set list, but 90 percent of the time we don’t stick to it. We go on with a guideline, but in the end, it’s an anything goes’ kind of vibe.”

“The more [the crowd] gives us, the more we give them,” says drummer Darren Pujalet. Particle, like almost any band that leans heavily on improvisational jams, feeds off the crowd. Gould adds, “Without the people out there sharing the energy and they are sharing the energy, we’re not just feeding it out to them it just couldn’t happen. We play better when the crowd is in tune with us. And that’s just how it goes.”

Gould describes the Particle’s goal on stage as one of embracing the visual experience and successfully creating “multi-art.” “Visuals enhance the music as it goes,” he says. “Ever since Scott [MacKinnon] came on board and gave us a visual show behind the music and worked with the music on an improvisational level, the music has been heightened.”

With regard to musical inspiration for the band’s music, Molitz credits jazz, eletronica, rock and roll, funk, groove, soul, and even classical music. “Right now, we’re just so eager to explore the various different kinds of music that we are attracted to,” he says.

Particle is fresh off of a recent tour that included its 100th show and a Halloween date with Giant People in Crested Butte, Colorado. Unfortunately, Particle’s 3rd Bay Area boat cruise party scheduled for Halloween weekend was cancelled but it plans on continuing its boat cruise trend in Vancouver, British Columbia, in early December. Regardless, the band’s proudest moments in recent times occurred on dry land. Particle performed a benefit concert with members of Soulive at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco a few days after September 11 and raised over $5,000 for the American Red Cross. “It was such a release for us to be able to provide such a good vibration for people,” says Pujalet. “Everyone released that night. The house went down and it was amazing.”

Just before the show, a representative of the American Red Cross addressed the crowd. The speech was followed by a moment of silence, which band members describe as “one of the most amazing things it has ever experienced” onstage or off. Gould describes the scene: “After the silence, everyone started cheering and shouting USA, USA, USA. We kicked in the opening notes as people were chanting and it was awesome.”

The band is slated to head to the studio in January to record an album but its immediate focus remains on touring. Upcoming, Particle will visit the Pacific Northwest, partake in the aforementioned Canadian boat cruise, and close out the tour in Las Vegas before heading east to perform single dates at the Knitting Factory in New York City and the North Star in Philadelphia. Additionally, the band is spending New Year’s Eve in San Diego “and that’s gonna go off,” predicts Gould.

While Pujalet admits being on the road is a “really stinky job,” he says the band understands its importance. “Being on the road constantly pushes us to new levels because we’re always under the gun to try new things,” says Pujalet. “It definitely brings out the best and the worst of us, and it really helps us to get to know each other.”

Getting to know each other remains a priority; fans might be shocked to learn the band has been together for just over one year. In fact, since guitarist Charlie Hitchcock joined only nine months ago following the tragic death of original guitarist Dave Simmons on December 8, 2000 it is clear the band is still evolving. While Simmons’ death was both tragic and shocking, the band decided to express its sorrow by continuing to play. The remaining trio harnessed its energy and took advantage of a previously scheduled gig to perform a memorial tribute to Simmons a few days after his passing, donating the proceeds to Maya Simmons, Dave’s three year-old daughter. The band then hustled to the airport to catch an eastbound plane to attend Simmons’ funeral before taking the rest of the year off.

Particle returned in 2001 with Hitchcock on guitar and it remains passionate about the music and its fans. Particle constantly seems to be pushing the envelope. Whether it is planning another boat cruise, augmenting the live visual experience or continuing to explore its musical capabilities, Particle remains ambitious in every aspect of its existence. The band also does not rule out the possibility of expansion. Currently, the lack of vocals is attributed to the need to first develop a greater level of musical familiarity. “Vocals is sort of this fifth entity outside of the four musicians and we’re just letting it take its natural progression,” says Molitz. “When the music asks us to put some words to it, there will be vocals for sure.”

Keep an eye out for Particle when they come to your town. For more information on the band or tour dates, check out www.particlepeople.com.

Particle is:
Eric Gould bass
Charlie Hitchcock guitar
Steve Molitz keyboards
Darren Pujalet drums

Comments

There is 1 comment associated with this post

Jyoti August 11, 2012, 21:49:14

I just picked up proenssicg again this week,.. finally found the blend method on images, so now I can make some of the stuff I’ve been meaning to try out :)In other news : Lazy Sunday Radio seems to have gone on ice at the moment, but it’ll pop back up again :)

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