Paddy Free

Paddy Free is one of New Zealand’s most respected composers. Recording and performing internationally with multimedia electronic duo Pitch Black and as a solo artist, he has written music for film, theatre, dance, television and visual arts, as well as acting as producer and engineer for many world renowned New Zealand artists. Paddy was the co-producer and co-engineer of Salmonella Dub’s Killervision, One Drop East and Freak Controller albums, and producer of Inside the Dub Plates which has sold over four times platinum. He has been twice-nominated for Best Producer at the Tuis – the New Zealand Music Awards – and in 2002 was awarded Best Engineer.

As a producer/engineer, keyboard player and general studio boffin, Paddy has worked with a diverse range of New Zealand and International acts such as Crowded House, Killing Joke, Oceania, Kora, The Adults, and the New Zealand Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras, to name just a few. As a composer for arts and contemporary dance projects, Paddy has worked with Atamira Dance Company, Mau and Black Grace. He has composed several soundtracks for installation works by multimedia artist Rachael Rakena. Rachael’s work, Aniwaniwa was shown at the Sydney and Venice Biennales in 2007. However it is Pitch Black, with Michael Hodgson, for which Paddy is best known.

Since forming in 1996, Pitch Black have been at the forefront of New Zealand electronica, renowned for their mind-blowing multimedia live performances and four sonically cutting-edge albums. Since 1996 Pitch Black have played all over New Zealand and Australia, and toured to the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Croatia, Japan and the USA. Paddy has been performing a live set of Pacific-influenced electronica at festivals such as WOMAD and The Gathering since 1999, and his debut solo album, entitled Karekare: Te Reo O Te Whenua, was released in July 2008. A collaboration with renowned taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments) expert Dr Richard Nunns, it weaves electronica with taonga puoro and vocals in te reo Māori from Tiki Taane, Waimihi Hotere and Te Wharetatao. Karekare represents a uniquely New Zealand sound, truly The Language of the Land.

Paddy is currently a member of groups Reo, with Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal, James Webster, Horomona Horo, Erina Daniels and Alistair Fraser, and Nga Tae with Richard Nunns, Horomona Horo, and Waimihi Hotere. Through his involvement with these artists he is furthering the exploration of taonga puoro with electronica and dub production. Paddy also recently joined Moana and the Tribe with Moana Maniapoto, for whom he is also the musical director. Paddy co-wrote and produced Moana’s fifth studio album, RIMA, which was released to great critical acclaim in 2014. As well a being a world class musician and live performer, Paddy is recognised as an international-level expert in the Ableton Live performance software, and has given lectures and clinics on live performance with technology in New Zealand and Australia, the USA, UK and Europe.

(Photo by John McDermott; taken from Brouhaha as part of Lumina)