An Interview With John Fryer of Black Needle Noise

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Photo Credit: John Fryer

As extensive and impressive as John Fryer’s career has been, it’s hard not to say he’s simply one of the best, a true cornerstone in the music business. His latest project Black Needle Noise is nothing less than brilliant, redolent with beauty and decay, each soundscape standing alone, taking you on a journey that is unique in and of itself.

Black Needle Noise is a 50/50 collaboration between Fryer and many different talented singer/songwriters, such as; Attasalina, Mimi Page, ZiaLand, Omniflux, Jarboe, Betsy Martin, Andrea Kerr, Ledfoot, Spectra Paris, Jennie Vee, Ana Breton, Kendra Frost, Elena Alice Fossi, Antic Clay, Andreas Elvenes, and Bill Leeb.

But before we dive into John’s latest project one must revisit his past for a moment.

John is a multi-platinum selling record producer and musician. Starting in 1980 at London’s Blackwing Studios, he worked for some of the most prestigious indie labels at the time like 4AD, Mute, and Rough Trade. He has produced and worked with many influential artists, the list is both extensive and impressive including; Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Depeche Mode, Wire, NIN and Love and Rockets. Also his bands DarkDriveClinic, Muricidae, Silver Ghost Shimmer and now Black Needle Noise. When asked what their influences are, many musicians include a list of bands that John has worked with. “It’s very flattering and I’m very honored for them to say that,” he says. “I hope people will be saying that about Black Needle Noise, too.”

Black Needle Noise came about when John wanted to continue creating music after the dissolution of his last project Silver Ghost Shimmer. “I’m always writing music,” he says, “and I had written some of these songs when I had my other bands (Darkdriveclinic, Muricidae and Silver Ghost Shimmer) but they didn’t fit into the sound of those bands. So after Silver Ghost Shimmer was laid to rest, I wanted to carry on but not in the traditional way. I wanted to get all music I had laying around out there as it was to good to waste, so here you have Black Needle Noise.”

Each and every song is sung and lyrically composed by a different talented artist, so it’s quite literally a 50/50 collaboration and one that John feels has been an overall very positive experience: “The singers are people I admire and am honoured to work with. Then it’s just about getting the right music for them to sing on…It’s been amazing, I couldn’t be happier. Every song is wonderful. The journey so far couldn’t have gone any better and I’m really looking forward to where it’s going to go next.”

Fryer says the creative process with Black Needle Noise is completely different than your traditional band. “I can do whatever I want, what ever comes out of me,” he says. “If you are doing a band, you have to write in a certain way so it fits the sound of the band. Black Needle Noise doesn’t work like that, the only constant with the sound is me. All tracks have my DNA in them.”

As far as challenges go, he says, “There are no challenges, as I can do what ever I like. As long as the singer and I’m happy with how the song sounds then we are all good.”

When I tell Fryer each song Black Needle Noise does is very different and has the ability to draw out deep emotions good and bad from its listeners, he’s pleased to hear it. “I’m glad you say they bring out different emotions, as that’s what I try to achieve in every song. Every song should be like its own movie, you should close your eyes and get taken to a different place.”

As far as the future is concerned, Fryer says, “Black Needle Noise will continue as long as I can continue doing it. I’m hoping in the near future there will be some vinyl, maybe CDs and if I can work out a way of doing it some live shows.”

Black Needle Noise can easily be found online with instant downloads of each song and are listed as they are created. (blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com)