Category Archives: Interview

Under the Covers With…Mihail Doman

We asked neo-classical genius, Mihail Doman, to imagine a very straight forward scenario: we’ve zipped forward in time to the eve of his fourth album, and his record company insist he makes an album of cover versions. We asked him what he’d choose and why…

Time – Hans Zimmer
This is THE song which inspired my album – epic and dramatic, yet sensitive.

Chevaliers de Sangreal – Hans Zimmer
Part of The Davinci Code Soundtrack – and part of the Soundtrack for my trip to Florence in October ‘16, where so many things changed for me.

Only the Winds – Olafur Arnalds
A song which inspired Part VI (the track with the video) – great production and theme.

Chronologie I – Jean Michel Jarre
A song I’ve listened to a thousand times – it’s like the beginning of spring – joyful and big.

Rendez-vous II – Jean Michel Jarre
One of the most epic and huge songs ever made, period.

See Mihail’s own work here:

https://mihaildoman.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLqDaz4DiSXVd6TTInSG7XQ

https://soundcloud.com/mihaildoman

 

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Interview with Detroit Techno-Noir Artist, Nej!Las

What attracted you to the techno/electro/house scene?

The ability (and even the requirement) to make, not only harmonic melodies and bass-lines, but to additionally have percussion and drums that could, by themselves, carry a song.  Techno/electro/house pushes the envelope by requiring and allowing for creativity in all areas of a song. It requires one to constantly innovate and come up with new, original, creations and techniques applied to the production.

What is your local music scene like? How do you think you fit in?

The Detroit Techno scene is so prominent; it created its own genre. The Detroit Techno Militia shows the attitude of techno producers that reside in Detroit – independent, proud and original. Detroit allows for producers to have creativity, to not necessarily fit inside the box of what “techno” is supposed to be, but to continuously push the boundaries of the genre. Detroit Techno is innovative. The innovative and original style shines through my music.

You’ve got a huge gig lined up – what would be your dream venue?

An intimate venue where I could feed off of the audiences’ energy and they could be up close and personal to my live production. A symbiotic relationship between me and the crowd.

Tell us about how you go about creating your music, from initial idea to completion

I create two different live sets.

The first live set – the “progressive, melodic set” focuses on the harmonic elements. This set, by itself, would be categorized as “progressive” music. I spend days creating and manipulating analogs, wavetables, and filters in order to find a unique synth sound. I tend to favour an almost guitar-like synth – overdriven and raw. I then, likewise, formulate an “opposite” synth that is sweet and melodic – as if it could lead a progressive/chill-out song. This synth tends to be a string or rubber instrument. I then spend additional days writing, re-writing, and rearranging midi data and appreciations. With all the variations of synths and midi, I usually have enough sounds and tracks to form an entire arrangement. This is the next step, to formulate all the melodies into an arrangement of a harmonic song from an intro to an outro.

The second set – the “techno” set focuses solely on drums and percussion. I likewise arrange a very heavy techno arrangement from an intro to an outro. Hardware, like the Alesis SamplePad 4, is very useful to continue to create original midi data, or even audio samples, for percussion.  I want this second set to be able to stand alone as a song without bass or melodies.

In the end, I combine the two sets, which could, by themselves, be sufficient for a song, into one set that has movement and free flowing segments. I arrange the set to make it play as if I were playing it live. I even record all the modulations and envelopes from a MIDI controller (the AKAI MPC40) as if I were performing it live. This “live performance” of the song becomes the final track.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To continue to innovate and bring original music into the traditional “techno” genre. I want to create a niche of original, harmonic, progressive, techno songs that play, and sound, like a live set.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Songs like “Fini” play like a live set, except it allows one to listen to it anywhere. That is the style of my production – to have harmonic synths that could stand by themselves as a progressive song, but on top of the harmonies, to have percussion and drums that could also be sufficient for a song. The music is “alive”, always changing and morphing into something new and creative.

 

 

GET TO KNOW: Kid Cupid

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  1.  How did you get your initial start in music?

Laura: For me, I started playing instruments/songwriting in primary school (I actually played the cornet for a while! As well as guitar and singing lessons) I would perform at any opportunity and that slowly progressed into regular gigs and being noticed.

John: I started songwriting, and then I got into recording in a big way when I went to uni.  I actually found a love for piano a few years ago, I think it was prompted by getting into production.

Ian: I grew up always wanting to play saxophone. My Grandad was a big collector of jazz records. I actually didn’t start playing guitar until I was 18 and I got an electric for my birthday. I started playing bass when all my friends’ bands had plenty of guitar options but no one wanted to play bass, hence I now keep tabs on the low end!

James: I started on pots and pans from my parent’s kitchen, and drove them insane enough to buy me a real kit. I tried a couple of lessons but never did the homework, so in the end I just learned by playing along to CD’s.

 

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To be able to call music our ‘job’ would be very cool and I think we would all love to perform on a big stage at Glastonbury. Honestly, to know that people genuinely like and want to buy/download/stream our music is such a buzz!

 

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

Laura: I have been writing since I was about 5/6 years old. I have stacks of notebooks full of lyrics and song ideas.

Ian: I started writing my own stuff about 4/5 years ago and even had a brief foray into solo acoustic shows. I just didn’t like the pressure of performing by myself and I like bouncing ideas off people when you’re in a band and the sense of seeing things through to the best outcome via committee.

James: I’ve always been into creative writing from an early age, but didn’t turn my attention to lyrics until I was a teenager.

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

Hard question! As band it helps us out a lot that we all have such different influences, it helps us be more experimental when writing!

Laura: For me personally I would say Stevie Nicks for her uniqueness and my many nights belting out ‘Edge of Seventeen’, Portishead for their experimental trip-hop vibe and Little Dragon who can do no wrong, just amazing!

Ian: Mine would have to be Ryan Adams, Josh Homme is an absolute hero and Thom Yorke

 

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

We had such a great time recording and producing this track (we do all production ourselves in John’s studio).  It took a long time and we kept returning to it, we really wanted to create something cinematic. It came alive when our friend Amy Squirrel added her beautiful cello part.

 

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

We’re based in London and as you can imagine the music scene is buzzing. At times it feels a little daunting as there are SO many bands, but it actually makes us more determined to stand out. We played The Water Rats which was great fun and we had a blast at Zigfried Von Underbelly recently

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

‘Brontë’ https://www.facebook.com/bronteofficialuk are definitely a duo to check out and we recently shared a bill with a band called ‘Posters’ who were really great!

  1. Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Hey readers! The best place to find our music is www.soundcloud.com/kidcupidmusic (we have 3 singles out so far and a couple of great remixes)

For reviews, articles and to see what we’re up to gig wise www.facebook.com/kidcupidmusic

For pictures and randomness go to www.instagram.com/wearekidcupid and www.twitter.com/kidcupidmusic

Get to Know: Neil C Young

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  1. How did you get your initial start in music?

I first got into music when i was around 4 years of age, there was a piano in the house and so i messed around on that and then sang and played any/every instrument available at school. My Dad was the person who enabled me and still inspires me to create and play.

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To be able continue and develop the way I create and play music and to be able to play in as many different countires and learn as many different types of music from around the world and let them influence my music.

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

Since as long as I can remember, I either start writing something that then turns into a huge practice or, I start practicing something unrelated and then end up writing something new from that! This can also take place on a gig, in the middle of something a line or a little chord sequence spring out of nowhere and thats a new thing to work on later that night or the next day, (cliche alert***) it just keeps on giving!?!?

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

My dad – always made and performed music, always enthused and encouraging about music and its big picture values and its ability to bring people together along with its individual theraputic powers.

My Mum – see above

Gary Boyle – Old guitar teacher who unknowingly is a mentor. Relentless in the quest to get better at expressing himself and getting better musically and instrumentally.

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Its a trio album (guitar, bass and drums) in contrast to the last one which was for 2 kits, 4 horns, bass and guitar. I using some established forms such as Gospel and Latin music but it also is a development of the serial techniques that I have been working on over the past few years and a conscious move away from the harmonic and melodic writing that i had been using before. Bit by bit I’m finding something new.

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in the north of England but get around a fair bit. Favourite venues that I’ve played at recently would be Strays in Newark, The Stonewell Tavern in Lancaster and The Blue PIano, Birmngham.

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

The local scene could be split between Colne, Lancashire on one side of the hill and the North/West Yorkshire side of same large hill. In terms of Jazz, in Colne there’s a cracking trio of Dan Arnold (guitar), Jonathan Towers (Bass) and Ben Gonzalez (drum kit -who incidentally features on the new album). On the Yorkshire side, there’s the vocalist Rebecca Joy, and whole load of guitarist led by Adrian Ingram, Darren Dutson-Bromley, Steve Hemsworth, Sam Dunn..I could go on but the best place to find out is the Huddersfield Jazz Guitar Society. You’ll find em on Facebook…

  1. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

    The music is available via the usual on line sites, spotify etc. and you can find me at www.neilcyoungtrio.com or on twitter @neilcyoung or there is a facebook page – neilcyoungtrio come by and say something to us!

Get To Know – Karmilla

  1. How did you get your initial start in music?

I had some guitar lessons when I was 11 and learnt a few of my favourite songs and was hooked from that point onwards!

 

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

Playing your own music is cool. To play live in as many places possible in front of anyone possible is great. If I can manage that in countries across the world that could be cool.

 

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

When I was s kid I wrote songs, they were terrible!!! but they helped me express whatever it was I was thinking about at the time, which was cool. After co-writing  in bands through collage and stuff I began to seriously write my own tunes. Some of them even made it on the album, I’m always writing.

 

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

This is hard!! When I really started to find my singing voice I listened to a lot of Paul Rodgers. Also Janus Joplin, she was an incredible woman as well as having an awesome voice. As far as song writers go I have listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen over the last few years. He’s a man who can tell a story or two! And the music is so well crafted and ‘full’ it’s great.

 

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

‘Leave Me To Me’ is the first  single off the debut album ‘Early Workings Of An Open Mind’

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

Karmilla is based in Reading UK. There is a cool music scene there, and with the Festival taking over once a year, the town gets really busy. There are a few cool ‘music’ venues. All the pubs play live music too which is cool.

 

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

‘Third Lung’ are a rock band who can pack a punch! Defiantly a credible band to look out for.

 

  1. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Everything you need is on the website

www.karmillamusic.co.uk

Get to Know- Carina Round

  1. How did you get your initial start in music?

Music was always a part of my life from as long as i can remember. I grew up in Wolverhampton with a single mother and listening to music and dancing was a big part of our household. Then at around 6 I moved in with my grandparents and it was a huge part of that household too. My grandfather had a terrific voice. He would be singing more often than not singing and I just adored him for it. It became a big part of my physical expression as a child to go about my day singing my face off. Both pre-existing songs and stuff i made up in them moment. I began writing poetry before I was a  teenager. I picked up a guitar and began crafting songs around the age of 15.

At 17 or 18 I began playing out in the live scene in Birmingham. Through other musicians I heard about a guy in Wolverhampton that had a studio in his back yard called ‘Magic Garden Studios’ where we recorded my first record ‘First Blood Mystery’. After releasing this through a friends label based in London one of the employees there took it to Dave Stewart who, after a curious meeting and a speedy writing session signed me to a label he was starting in the UK. That label folded but I used my advance to record ‘The Disconnection’ also at Magic Garden but in a different location on an industrial site. I released it myself and toured it in the UK, then Dave played it for Jimmy Iovine at Universal who then signed me to Interscope and released it in the US and put me on my fist US tour. That’s what inspired my move to the states. There are a lot more details before, in between and after but you get the picture.

 

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

TO BE LOVED BY EVERYONE SO MAYBE ONE DAY I CAN LEARN TO LOVE MYSELF!!!!!!!!!

 

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

With a view to it going out into the world, almost 20 years. As a child I would write all the time too. Simple expressions of my feelings about some event in my home with abstract beats and sounds from a Bontempi organ that I didn’t know how to play. I started crafting songs with conscious direction around the age of 16.

 

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

Musically, As a child Led Zeppelin, Roxy Music and David Bowie played a big part in inspiring me to express myself through music. Japan and the voice of David Sylvian. I discovered Can very young. Bob Dylan, Neil young, Nick Cave are a constant. Kate Bush of course. The honesty and warmth with which Patti Smith writes poetry and the rawness with which she performs is an ongoing inspiration. The recording of Chess Records and Northern Soul music where a big presence in my youth. As well as whatever was on the radio at the time.

 

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Funny you should ask—

It’s a retrospective called Deranged To Divine spanning over the last 15 years.

I released the album partly because I knew I was going to be traveling through the UK and EU with Puscifer this summer and the response our latest album has been so great. It’s picked up a lot of new people and I wanted to release something that would be a cohesive yet eclectic, experimental and very personal introduction to my solo work for people who have never heard it before.

When choosing the songs I actually used a close friend for help. I started by simply listening through my entire catalogue and taking note of the songs that to me felt most “necessary”.  The songs that had a definitiveness that was expressed by a congruence between the melody and the lyric, generally were the songs that I ended up including. There are two songs that, following that logic, should be on the album but in the end I just couldn’t make them flow in the sequence. Those were “Pick Up The Phone” and “Do You”, which contains the lyric that “deranged to divine” is taken from.  In a way, I think those two songs stand alone so well as their own complete little narrative universes that once they are taken out of the context of the album (Tigermending)  and EP (Things You Should Know) that they come from it was very hard for me to find a place for them amid all the other songs from different records.

Overall I made a conscious effort not to worry about being objective. I could have gotten a consensus from friends and fans and built the song list from that. But really I wanted the retrospective to be my own personal introduction to my work, for someone who has never heard me before.  I didn’t want it to be balanced or have all the “favorites”.  More than anything I wanted it to encompass the most eclectic examples of moments in my career where I’ve had a breakthrough and achieved something with a song or recording that was unexpected. ‘Message To Apollo’, ‘Backseat’, and ‘Mother’s Pride’ for instance share nothing in common thematically or mood-wise but the feeling I had while writing and then when they were completed was almost exactly the same:  that in spite of whatever ambition or focus I initially had going into the process something inspired happened out of my control and the result was better than anything I could have consciously willed into existence.

There are also a couple of songs on there simply because they have never been released before and I wanted long time fans that bought the record to be getting something that don’t already have.

 

 

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I live in Los Angeles.

As far as I can tell its pretty disconnected, a fucking free for all. There seems to be lots of different little scenes depending on what area you are in. It’s hard to get a single pulse because it so spread out and also I’ve been on tour for the last couple of years.

I love seeing and playing shows at the Wiltern and The Ace Theater. I also have a soft spot for The Hollywood Bowl because I had a great experience seeing Arcade Fire there on the Neon Bible tour and its a pretty magical place but on the whole its not ideal to see a show there.

The Hotel Cafe is actually a good venue to play when you’re starting out and there’s a heavy scene based around there. The bootleg has a great sound and people really come for the concert as there’s nothing else around it. And of course School Night curated by KCRW DJ Chris Duridas is a good place to just show up and trust that there’s something interesting happening every Monday night.

 

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

LA based trio Autolux just put an album out called ‘Pussy’s Dead’ produced by Boots. Failure just put out their first record in 20 years. Jenny Lee from Warpaint just put out a solo record. Alessandro Cortini is an Italian minimal electronic artist based in LA. He plays with NIN but his solo project is called Sonoio. Telefon Tel Aviv is currently opening for Moderat. Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens Of The Stone Age) is out playing with PJ Harvey right now but his solo stuff is amazing. My friend and collaborator Aidan Hawken is recording new music. My other band Early Winters you could say is LA based, apart from the other singer Justin Rutledge who lives in Canada. We have a new record set for release early next year.

 

  1. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

www.facebook.com/carinaround

www.carinaround.com

www.instagram.com/carinaround 

www.twitter.com/carinaround

www.soundcloud.com/carinaround 

Its also a good idea to join the mailing list on my website for regular updates whenever something is happening.

Interview with Challan

1. How did you get your initial start in music?

I started out dancing and first performed as a dancer. This then lead into me doing a little bit of tour managing for other artists. I would learn a lot form watching them perform and also get some experience from the managing side of the business from a bookings and tourings perspective. Then as I started to take singing more seriously I started  to look for producers to work with and I think my first real effort at producing what I considered complete song was with producer Blaze Billions, on a track called BreaK A Beat (this was never commercially released, just sold on the street as a CD). This was a very good development experience for me, and helped me to understand more of the process that is involved in producing a song and getting it mixed and mastered.

2. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I love listening to and performing positive music, and to perform a show with other talented musicians that could really effect change, inspire and uplift would be a huge reward. I consider music a wonder medium for touching the heart and uplifting the mind and the more of this we can produce, hopefully the more positive the impact.  

3. How long have you been writing your own music?

I have been writing my own music for over 10 years on and off, but really only started seriously in the last 3 to 4 years.I wrote my first song when I was about 17. I remember being quite pleased with myself that I had managed to pen down something. But since then, I have written all my songs, sometimes with a little bit of help and direction from some other talented writers and performers.

4. Who are your top three influences and why?

God & Jesus Christ

They are my first influencers when it comes to producing music, as I am focused on trying to produce wholesome music to touch the spirit and inspire faith, and so I look at God and Jesus Christ as the best influencers to help me accomplish this. And by this I mean, I look for inspiration for the lyrics and the direction of the music based on the feelings and thoughts I get when I consider them and the task ahead.

Michael Jackson

I watched a lot of Michael Jackson growing up and I loved his passion, singing and powerful performances. I do not consider myself to be like Michael Jackson but certainly aspire to learn from his examples in performance, energy and positive messages.

5. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Step by Step is a positive uplifting song. There are 10 children that sing on part of the track, and it has a very uplifting pre chorus and chorus with a wonderful catchy hook. The message is positive and I hope it provides a good feeling to those that hear it.

3 Remixes that have been produced to cater for slightly different tastes and genres.

Step By Step – Baltik Weather Studio Remix – Dance

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael/step-by-step-baltik-weather-remix-mp3

Step By Step – Blaze Billions Remix – Dance / Urban

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael/step-by-step-blaze-billions-remix-mp3

Step By Step – Larsmellow Remix – RnB

6. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I am currently based in Nottingham, England. And the local music scene is very vibrant. Some cool venues like Rough Trade, The Maze and Rescue Rooms have a lot of gigs, and there are many more too. 

7. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

There is a local Hip Hop Artist called KC DA Rookee who is a conscious artist. He has produced some fine music.

8. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Pre-order now: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/step-by-step-single/id1093444648?ls=1

Links:

www.challancarmichael.co.uk

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael

https://www.facebook.com/challancarmichaelmusic/

https://twitter.com/ChallanC

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCexVQanNA09bzBSj6P4T9ig

https://www.instagram.com/challancarmichael/