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Alex Patterson - We Are Screen (NOT the Orb) (Interview)

“If you don't like our style, fine, just fuck off & leave us alone. We are screen.”

Communicating with Skrufff this week about his new project Screen (via email), Alex Patterson responded in typically blunt and idiosyncratic fashion so to avoid misinterpreting his answers, we’ve published them without edits (apart from tidying up a few typos).

Plus this short intro from his publicist:

''Electronic pioneer Dr. Alex Paterson (The Orb) teams up with fellow legends Guadi and Chester for his latest project Screen,” he explains.

“The trio are set to release their new album 'We Are Screen' on April 2nd and will be headlining the Inspiral Stage at this years Glade Festival ('

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): What's the vision behind Screen; musically? And aesthetically?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “Creating original music with no boundaries, we are not interested in ‘music genres’ but in ‘music style’.”

Skrufff: Why are you using this Screen identify instead of continuing with a fresh Orb project? (or making this an Orb project?)

Screen (Alex Patterson): This has a fresh feel, based on three people's influence on each other and projected into the ears of the listener, to give a totally original sound . Very pan European. Do you know what a ARE is?”

Skrufff: All three of you are clearly strong characters; how do you resolve disagreements? How easy is it for you to not be in total charge?

Screen (Alex Patterson): We resolve all our disagreements (not so many fortunately) with music. Everything we experience goes unavoidably into our music, making it richer and more interesting.”

Skrufff: You've also been working with Mike Spirit in Russia; how did that connection come about? What are you doing for him?

Screen (Alex Patterson): Gigs and music projects with Ketama.”

Skrufff: How much does Russia figure in your activities these days; how does it compare to Western Europe in terms of the people, vibe and parties?

Screen (Alex Patterson): Russia is huge . . . Far too big to tour! But I'll love to try. Moscow is amazing, always had a fun time there. The clubs are as good as New York or Tokyo. Also lx loves Russia as hesachelsea fan; )"

Skrufff: The Orb were one of the first crossover bands of dance culture: headlining Glastonbury, having a number 1 album in 1992: what effect did becoming famous have on you; how easy was it to stay grounded and keep perspective?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “A motto: be good to people on the way up, as you're sure to meet them again on the way down. Always had a ear in the clubs and being a roadie helped me stay grounded when all the want to be's started to hang out with the orb.”

Skrufff: How much did you enjoy being famous? What was the best side?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “You make me sound like I'm dead already. My best side? A lucky saddle.”

Skrufff: You emerged from a very underground, very alternative outsider subculture; how much did your success provoke envy? And hostility? How did you handle it?

Screen (Alex Patterson): More of the same, I'm handling it all well thanks. Nothing to see here, only listen and if you don't like our style, fine, just fuck off & leave us alone. We are screen. “

Skrufff: I read about Big Life trying to direct the Orb's sound, then Island 'hating' pomme fritz: how difficult was it to hold faith in your own vision? (did you have any moments of doubt, or thinking critics might have a point?)

Skrufff: Big life were brilliant for the orb. Island records vision: Release 6 albums. 1 track per album, remixed 6 or 7 times to make an album. Pomme fritz was the 1st of these ideas & the last when island got wind of what we were up too. Vision is still there & it's all opera & reggae next for orb.”

Skrufff: You famously played chess on top of the pops and were well known for breaking the rules, in retrospect how much did that attitude provoke people to try and teach you a lesson? How much did it lose you opportunities or make active enemies?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “Would never have done it any other way. Once a punk, always a punk and never trust a hippy. Reaction is always the best action. " The orb is dead, long live the orb.”

Skrufff: On the online biog for the new album, it says; "After a generation of duos, the power trio is back," I checked numerology for '3' and found this: "Many writers, poets, actors and musicians are born under the 3 Life Path:  You are witty, possess a gift for gab and savor the limelight": how much do you relate?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “You see above? Don't believe everything you think . You see below? 3 is the magic number. Or  ARE we a power trio. Nicely nicely.  This is from the SCrEEn website, many others are born with a silver spoon up their arses, or number 2. Interesting . . . Numbers , have you heard of the "Nineveh number" ? It's a huge 15 digit number found in central America. It is amazing. Google it.”

Skrufff: The numerology site also says: "Thanks to your gift of self-expression, you can be the life of a party and the center of attention. However, you could easily squander your talent by becoming a social butterfly," does that strike any chords?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “Chester . . . Does it? Mr far I?”

Skrufff: Are you still in contact with Jimmy Cauty: what did you make of the KLF: and their decision to burn the million?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “No, but yes. But why? Because KLF could, that's why.”

Skrufff: You were a contemporary of Paul Oakenfold way back in the day (from Heaven parties etc); what was it about him that made him so much more successful than everyone else? And for so long?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “South Londoner. A proper DJ  a gentleman and a  follower of the same mighty football team as my bad self. (the blues)” (Chelsea- Skrufff).

Skrufff: What's your take on December 21st: any idea yet of where you'll be?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “Trying . . . A festival with my friends in orb world, HFB world & Screen orbit.”

Skrufff: And what's your take on the world today generally: how much have you been inspired (if at all) by OWS?

Screen (Alex Patterson): “OWS? I know nothing, I'm just a poor boy from a poor family, Mama mia.”

For more on Screen- click here (soundcloud):  For more on his Russian projects, click here:  and here:  (Grey Fluffy Clouds) (Danny Tenaglia’s Little Fluffy Clouds)

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