September 18, 2014

Photek: Hollywood Swingin’

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By Lily Moayeri

It seems that Photek is all about putting himself in uncomfortable positions.

Early in his career, the British DJ/producer enjoyed critical and commercial success with his original drum-n-bass tracks and saw packed DJ appearances in his home country. But that wasn’t enough, apparently, as Photek (aka Rupert Parke) left all that to put himself at the mercy of temperamental directors in Hollywood.

It was working in film that spurred Photek’s move to Los Angeles 10 years ago. As the story goes, Paramount Studios was speaking to Virgin Records, his label at the time, about some of their artists doing music for the 2001 television film Invincible. Coincidentally, Photek was in town on tour and got the job.

“I learned a lot from working in film and TV,” he says. Indeed, he’s still buzzing from his recent Grammy Award nomination in the “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” category for his mix of Daft Punk’s “End Of Line” from Tron: Legacy Reconfigured, a remix album of the film’s soundtrack.

“Working with deadlines, to other people’s writing, I make music with a lot broader influences and much tighter timeframe,” says Photek, who has gone onto contribute soundtracks or compositions to more than a dozen films, including “Blade,” “The Italian Job” and “The Animatrix,” among others. “You find yourself being more creative because you push yourself in different directions. You’ve got to dig deeper. You can’t be as lazy as when you’re making your own music. When you’re making music for someone else’s project, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone.”

What Photek has taken away from this experience, besides new dimensions in creativity, is confidence in being able to create sounds that he may not necessarily be known for. This is illustrated in latest mix for the respected DJ Kicks series. A collection of tracks that looks back as far as 1994 with Baby Ford + Eon’s “Dead Eye” and to the future with Photek’s own original compositions made exclusively for the mix, a diehard Photek fan would be hard-pressed to identify either the mix or the tracks as Photek material.

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