Richard Norris (musician)
|Birth name||Richard Norris|
|Website||Richard NorrisOfficial website|
Richard Norris (born 23 June 1965) is a London-based record producer, song writer, sound engineer, musician, DJ and author. Best known as a member of electronic dance band The Grid., he has also worked as a producer and engineer since the 80s with artists such as Bryan Ferry, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Marc Almond, Joe Strummer and Pet Shop Boys.
Norris began making music as a teenage member of St. Albans punk band Innocent Vicars, recording two singles in 1980 - ‘Antimatter‘ and ‘Funky Town‘ for the independent No Brain Records. He started working in the music industry as the label manager for the British psychedelic record label, Bam Caruso, before becoming a writer for NME in 1987.
In 1988, Norris and David Ball again collaborated when they formed the electronic dance group The Grid, who signed to Warner Bros Records/East West Records in 1988. The Grid had six Top 40 UK Singles Chart hits between 1990 and 1995, including "Floatation", "Crystal Clear", "Texas Cowboys", "Rollercoaster" and the million-selling Swamp Thing that reached no.3 in the UK charts and was Top Ten in nine other countries. It was eventually certified a Silver Disc.
The Grid have been in existence from their formation in 1988 until the present day (as of 2018) with a 5-year hiatus between 1998-2003. During the break, Norris formed the band The Droyds and under that name mixed tracks for Armand Van Helden and Siobhan Fahey.
The Grid have released five albums (as of 2018).
Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve
Norris, along with British DJ Erol Alkan, formed the remix/DJ duo under the name Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve. Under this name, Norris and Alkan initially released four remix/re-edit Eps titled ‘Birth, ‘Spring’, ‘George’ and ‘West’, followed by several singles and, in 2016, they released their debut album ‘The Soft Bounce’, which was rated album of the week by The Guardian's music critic Alex Petridis
Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve have also have remixed The Chemical Brothers, Tracey Thorn, Badly Drawn Boy, Midlake and Goldfrapp. Their own compilation of other band remixes, ‘Reanimations Volume One’, was released in 2009. Norris has also compiled the techno compilation album Flux Trax.
The Time & Space Machine
Norris' formed a new project in 2009 called The Time and Space Machine, signed to Tirk Records in 2009 and released a 7" single, ‘Children Of The Sun’, an EP, ‘You Are The One’, followed by an album, 'Set Phazer To Stun'. A second Time and Space Machine album, 'Taste The Lazer' was released in 2012.
Norris was also a friend of Joe Strummer and the two worked together on the soundtrack for Grosse Pointe Blank. Norris would later appear on The Mescaleros debut album, Rock Art and the X-Ray Style, co-writing and producing the tracks ‘Sandpaper Blues’ and ‘Yalla Yalla’.
In 1988, Norris and Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV collaborated to release two fake compilations of acid house songs, attributing each to a variety of aliases, such as DJ Doktor Megatrip and Mista Luv. The two albums are titled Jack the Tab and Tekno Acid Beat. Their intention was to fool people into believing that the genre had already taken off in Britain, thereby encouraging its popularization and acceptance.
Jack the Tab also features Soft Cell’s David Ball, and was notable for sampling dialogue from the film The Wild Angels - ‘We Want to be free! We want to do what we want to do!’ - two years before it was used by Primal Scream to greater commercial success in their Top 20 song Loaded.
In 2015, Moog Music, contemporary makers of the famous Moog synthesisers, constructed a bespoke sound lab for the creation of live synthesised music as an open access, experimental music resource to celebrate the life and Work of electronics inventor Dr Robert Moog. In 2018, the UK based Sound Lab at The Institute Of Sound Recording (Surrey University), Richard Norris and Dave Ball's electronic band, The Grid were the first to be invited to play and record in the new studio The resulting work was a 6-track album called 'One Way Traffic'. (The other albums, making up a series of three, were: Hieroglyphic Being's 'The Replicant Dream Sequence' and the late Mika Vainio's 'Lydspor One & Two'). The Guardian music critic described the event as 'The synth revival: why the Moog is back in vogue', commenting: 'Both Grid members are bona fide synth pioneers: Dave Ball is best known as the music-making half of Soft Cell, while Richard Norris, among many other things, made the early UK acid house LP Jack The Tab.'
Norris's band, The Grid, collaborated with the ex-King Crimson and former David Bowie guitarist Robert Fripp on the Grid album '456'. The Grid also remixed David Sylvian and Robert Fripp's track 'Darshan (1993)'  and in 2014 released the previously unheard Grid/Fripp collaboration 'A Cabala Sky'
In 2018, Norris collaborated on a musical project with classically trained Icelandic opera singer, Finnur Bjarnasson, called 'Restoration' under the band name The Long Now and released on Curved Space Records.
Norris has been remixing music since the eighties and has worked with artists including Soft Cell, Psychic TV, Black Grape, Space, Yello, Shakespears Sister, Armand Van Helden, Lambchop, Joe Strummer, Cornershop, Saint Etienne, Marc Almond and Momus
In 2009, the Lewes Psychedelic Festival in Lewes, south England, was founded by Norris and Chris Tomsett, and the ongoing festival is still curated by Tomsett (as of 2108), hosting in the past bands such as The Notorious Hi-Fi Killers, Voice Of The Seven Thunders, The Sound Carriers and Norris's own The Time & Space Machine.
Norris's bands and songs have appeared in several feature films, television shows and documentaries:
- Grosse Point Blank (song ‘War Cry’)
- Pecker (song ‘Swamp Thing’)
- Let's Rock Again! (song ‘Yalla Yalla’)
- My Mad Fat Diary (‘England’s Irie’)
- Everybody Street
- Viva Joe Strummer (personal appearance)
- Gray, Marcus (1 November 2004). The Clash: Return Of The Last Gang In Town. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 471–. ISBN 978-0-634-08240-5. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- All Music: Richard Norris: Discography
- Innocent Vicars discography
- Cherry red Records: Bam Caruso
- Bam Caruso Records biography
- Official Charts: The Grid
- Official Charts: The Grid: Swamp Thing
- Bpi: Certification
- Armand Van Helden: ‘Play it Again Sam’ Discogs: credits
- Amazon Music: Siobhan Fahey: credits
- Corner, Lena (8 March 2009). "How We Met: Richard Norris & Erol Alkan". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
- The Guardian: The Soft Bounce review:
- Beyond The Wizard‘s Sleeve: the Soft Bounce: credits
- Flux Trax: Discogs: credits
- M Magazine: Circle Sky interview
- Yello: Limbo remix
- The Quietus: Reviews: Taste The Lazer
- Clash Music: Reviews: ‘Taste The Lazer’
- Soundcloud: The Way Out Sound From In
- The Time & Space Machine: discography: The Way Out Sound From In
- Stussy fashion official website: Time & Space Machine collaboration t-shirt design
- The Guardian: Richard Norris/Jow Strummer
- The Guardian review: Richard Norris
- All Music: Rock Art & The X-ray Style: credits
- Sandpaper Blues: credits
- Jack The Tab: credits
- Jack The Tab: All Music: credits
- Wire: Moog Recordings: Moog Sound Lab: The Grid
- Cargo Records: The Grid: 'One Way Traffic'
- Moog Music: recordings 2018
- The Guardian music: Reviews electronic music
- David Sylvian official site: Darshan with The Grid
- Clash Music: The Grid/Robert Fripp collabortaion
- Curved Space Records: 'Restoration'
- CMU: The Long Now: Richard Norris and Finnur Bjarnasson
- The Ambient Zone: Richard Norris and Finnur Bjarnasson
- Spotify: Ricard Ashcroft 'Out Of My Body'
- The Quietus: Flamingods 'Mixed Blessings'
- The Quietus: Mary Epworth/Richard Norris 'Me Swimming'
- The Quietus: ‘An Invitation to the Dance: Lewes Psychedelic Festival
- Get Into This: Richard Norris interview
- The Argus: Lewes Psychedelci festival: Richard Norris interview
- The Guardian: Glastonbury line up
- Festivals: Glastonbury line up
- festvals: Green Man: Line up
- IMDB: Richard Norris: credits
- Amazon Books: Paul Oakenfold biography: credits