Pythia Bassist Mark Harrington Comments On Joining The Band
Pythia's new bass player Mark Harrington has issued the following blog post about joining the band:
"I can't really lay claim to ever having been the most rampant party animal at any point in my life, but even by my own modest standards, an 18th century church in the suburban surrounds of Hackney, North London, seemed far from the most appropriate of locations for an indulgent Saturday night. And yet indulgence and, one might argue, worship of a kind, were the two reasons I found myself at this unlikely venue on a cool, late summer evening. Vain self-indulgence of the kind one can only experience when posing and 'throwing-shapes' for a video camera and worship at the Altar of Heavy Metal for, notwithstanding a couple of prior rehearsals and informal meetings, this was to be my true induction into the ranks of the mighty Pythian army: a video shoot for the first single from Pythia's second album.
"My limited prior experience of music video shoots had led me to believe that this would be a baptism by fire (no pun intended). To say that these things can drag on is something of a gross understatement. Hours can drag into days. I had quietly conceded that the agreed 6pm start was nothing if incredibly optimistic and had visions of returning home and collapsing onto my bed with mid-morning sun streaming through the curtains, at least 12 hours of shooting later. Happily, my apprehensions proved unfounded. Despite an initial delay as we waited for the sun to finally set, leaving us with just artificial lighting to illuminate our setting, things moved along more smoothly and efficiently than anyone could have hoped for and a mere 4 hours later, our work here was done.
"This experience goes to highlight that which has impressed me most in my short time with the band – they get on and get things done. Anyone with experience of either working with or playing in a band will know that there is invariably (and unavoidably) a not-inconsiderable amount of, shall we say, dicking-around. The unpredictable and in many cases purposefully disorganized nature of the business demand it, in many cases. And yet, my Pythian co-conspirators set a fantastic example of how easy it is to get the job done professionally and efficiently and yet, still maintain a delightful illusion of the intoxicating chaos that lies at the core of that which keeps us all enthralled by the idea of rock music and heavy metal bands in particular. I left the church tired but content in the knowledge that I had made the right decision in accepting the bands offer to join them in their quest for musical glory.
"I became aware of Pythia a few years ago when I shared a bill with them at a female-fronted metal festival in Birmingham. While I have to confess that I had never been a faithful follower of the band, I had been immediately impressed by their no-nonsense approach to creating accessible and exciting metal and performing it life with both spirit and conviction. Their wares were metal of the purest form and they peddled it with gusto. It was with a quiet envy that I observed from afar as they orchestrated a steady rise through the ranks of the UK metal scene, raising eyebrows and making an impact wherever they or their name travelled. In metal scene as over-saturated as the one in the UK, Pythia appeared to be a talented group who clearly understood the need for the 'full-package' to push them above the parapet and be noticed among the waves of generic pretenders: they were undoubtedly receiving the notice they truly deserved.
"3 years later and an unexpected request from Mr Ross White arrives in my inbox, inquiring as to my interested in trying out for the band. Considering the reasons above, I was, of course, immediately interested. The focus on live shows and touring (with a new album on the verge of release and in need of live promotion) made it an easy sell, since it since those aspects of life playing music that I feel most drawn to.
"After being sent some tracks to learn (Army of the Damned, Sweet Cantation, No Compromise and Sarah, for those taking notes) I met the male contingent for an informal meet-up. (Ms Ovenden was quite literally at that moment, in the act of delivering her son Saxon and so, understandably, otherwise engaged). After just a couple of hours with the guys, I was pleasantly impressed, not just by their professional and pragmatic work ethic, but how much I had in common with each of them. We shared similar views and philosophies on the music industry, many common 'likes' when it came to other bands and, not least, similar experiences in the music industry. On top of that, as was illustrated further by my following 'formal' audition, I found an almost alarming number of shared interests both within and outside the music world. Kung Fu films with Tim, Transformers with Marc and of course an interest in interest in general fantasy concepts, a necessary staple of the power metal genre. When I finally got the chance to meet Emily and Are I was entertained to discover a shared love of authors M.R. James and J.R. Tolkien, amongst others.
"Aside from displaying a rather unflattering view of my somewhat nerdy and obsessive nature, these common interests further added to a broad sense that joining this band felt 'right'. It seemed that I would fit in comfortably from the start and gel both musically and socially, the latter being something that should not be taken lightly, particularly when faced with the possibility of days, if not weeks in each other's company on the road.
"As I write this, I've literally just finished the first brief run of live shows with the band, a mini mini-tour, if you will, covering 3 dates in the South and the Midlands. While I won't go into detail here, suffice to say, my overriding feeling is still one of great positivity and optimism to my future with the band. The shows were successful and most importantly incredibly enjoyable. The real test would be how I fitted in on-stage and this, more importantly than anything else, was passed with flying colours. Once again, things just felt 'right.'"
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