Paddy Free began fooling around with a Roland SH-101 in 1985, three months after leaving school and starting his first real job. The purchase of a delay pedal followed soon after and he discovered the joys of repeating a three-note sequence while moving the knobs in time to the music. However this was New Zealand, not Detroit and so the underground sound of North Shore techno never quite made it into the public consciousness. Having had lessons in the use of all ten fingers some years earlier, it wasn't too long before he was playing keyboards in pub bands all over the North Shore area and as far a field as Newmarket.
Packing in his day job in 1989 he was let loose for three years on children's live-to-air television which would later lead to a lucrative career in taking the piss, writing musical satire for several NZ comedy series - some of them quite funny.
This lighthearted buffoonery was to end in 1994 when Paddy was employed as programmer on an album Killing Joke were recording in NZ - Pandemonium produced by Youth. Six weeks of impossibly loud guitars and an unwitting introduction to the lysergic universe changed everything. Paddy began to get serious about music and work as a programmer/engineer/producer with artists such as Crowded House, Neil Finn, Stellar*, Supergroove, Oceania, and Salmonella Dub. Paddy was nominated for Best Producer at the NZ Music Awards for the latter’s Inside the Dub Plates and won Best Engineer.
In 1996 Paddy was a founding member of Mesh, a "live organic techno" band combining dancefloor technology with traditional Pacific instruments. Firm favourites in Auckland's emerging dance scene, Mesh impressed punters with their high energy live gigs and innovative sound. The band was to break up after two intense years but Paddy's love of the energy and rhythms of Pacific music continues in his solo project.
In 1997 Paddy met Mike Hodgson at a party, and Pitch Black were born: four albums later, they have toured the world six times, with a mammoth 7 week tour of the States and Europe scheduled for the summer of 2009.