Paco Osuna, Spanish DJ/Producer and International Ambassador of techno/house, is admired for his constant striving towards creativity and innovation, while still keeping his music intelligently deep, dark and minimal – just the way we like it!
Not only has he played at major international events such as Sónar, WMC, Tomorrowland, Monegros, he’s also won countless awards and has been nominated ‘Best Artists’ & ‘Best Techno DJ’ multiple times. Over the years, Osuna has been involved in some groundbreaking projects that you might well have heard of:
– Club4 – Osuna’s very own conceptual club in Barcelona, which was set up in Feb 2006 with Christian Smith, Marco Carola and Adam Beyer, and has seen the likes of Richie Hatwin & Carl Cox hit the decks and smash the floors! – Mindshake – Osuna’s very own label, which has become one of the most talked about labels in the US, and certainly has a solid roster of up-and-coming artists to look out for. The label’s aim is to provide the world with a “first-class experience in contemporary electronic music culture”. – ENTER. – Osuna has become a key figure and resident DJ at ENTER., the most sought after event in Ibiza. Masterminded by Richie Hawtin, under the brand and concept “Music. Sake. Technology. Experience”, ENTER. paves the way to “a crossroads of experience”!
As we enter 2014, Osuna is currently in the studio, putting all of his good vibes and artistry into a new album.
2013 has been a fantastic year for you – what has been the highlight? Personally: definitely the birth of my son. To become a father has always been a dream for me.
Professionally: it’s been a highlight to see the trust and faith clubs and festivals all over the world have in me! Thanks to that, last year I played a lot more gigs than in previous years; I played in over 25 different countries and shared booths with some amazing artists whom I really respect.
The best moments though have been through Club4, the evolution of my agency B4Bookings and my Mindshake label, which have all done really well and have been the highlights of 2013.
You closed the 2013 Monegros Festival in the middle of the Spanish desert at sunrise. What was the most surreal part about it? I have to say that closing Monegros was something very special for me. It’s a bit of a second home for me and I was conscious about the importance and the responsibility of closing a festival like that, and so I had prepared for it in my head for months. Every single moment of the gig was planned, from the beginning to the end.
The most surreal part about it was that a few days before Monegros I dreamt that the music went over during my set, and it actually happened to the artists that played before me. So I was really really nervous before I started playing!
Can you tell me a little bit about your residency at ENTER.? Being part of ENTER. has been a great experience in every way. It means working with a great team and with people whom I have a very good relationship with. Even though the brand is all about Richie Hawtin, I live and love it like it were mine and I feel very much a part of it.
What made you choose to become part of ENTER.’s development? Was it thanks to Richie Hawtin and the people involved, or was it more to do with the concept behind it? It’s a combination of all those things really. I’ve been working with Richie since 2006 both on his label and sharing booths… He is like family and is a person I’ve always admired and with whom I work with very well. We both think and act similarly when it comes to work and we know the importance of innovating musically. Also, we have a very transparent relationship and I can tell him very honestly what I think. It’s great to be part of a project in which the innovation in music is essential, because this is one of my strongest beliefs and it makes me feel very much a part of ENTER..
You have won a series of major prizes over the years and have established an important name for yourself worldwide. How does it feel to be regarded as the international ambassador for techno music in Spain? It’s funny, because I don’t feel like the ambassador of techno music in Spain, I’m a DJ who plays all over the world and who exports his music to other countries. I feel proud to be part of the techno scene in Spain, but I don’t feel like I’m its most important asset. However, it’s nice to know that some people think that! Really though, what motivates me most is to continue to learn and improve.
Music is subjective. No doubt, your music touches people’s souls in different ways and a new story is told each time. What are the stories you communicate through your music? I have a very personal style. I describe myself as the DJ who makes the party! My music is made to dance to. It’s lively music that makes people move. All my music is based on this idea, and I always try to improve it by adding new sounds and effects that connect with people and give them something new and special. The main thing is to be coherent with my style and with the moment. I communicate a different story depending on the country, the club, the moment, the duration of the set… Every gig requires its own story. You’re a pioneer for music, always looking for innovation. How has your style evolved over the years and what were the key moments and reasons behind these progressions? My style has evolved according my evolution as a person. My interests and preferences are not the same as they were 20 years ago. Also, I’ve always tried to take advantage of the developments in technology in order to create my own style. The key aspect in the evolution of my style is that I’m constantly searching for new ways of expression.
When you were first starting out, what were your driving forces and your greatest fears? If you had one piece of advice to give to young upcoming artists, what would it be? I’ve always believed in myself and I know that with effort and hard work anything is possible. Since I started DJing, I’ve been very tenacious and I’ve always given my best. But it’s true that there is always the fear of not connecting with people while I’m playing. The best tips I can give to young artists are: work hard, be honest and never stop learning. You have to be patient and always be faithful to your principles and beliefs. Also, it’s very important to respect and love this profession and never forget that music is your best tool to express yourself with and to connect with your public. Mindshake records – your label, your baby – is all about believing in young talent. Who are the ones to look out for? What’s the most exciting thing at the moment? John Lagora, Lorenzo Bartoletti and Fer BR are three names to look out for without a doubt.
With regards to Mindshake, the most exciting thing at the moment is that it’s developing its own sound that allows people to identify the label.
What are your plans for 2014? What do you look forward to the most? During January and February I’ll be in the studio, working on my new album. To produce is something that I really love and lately it’s become almost a privilege. It’s the best way to start the year, with new material for my upcoming gigs. From March, my plans are to keep sharing my music with people all over the world. Great events are waiting for me, like the Winter Music Conference, Sonar, ENTER. parties in Ibiza… I’ll be playing again in clubs and festivals that I adore and I hope to visit new ones and learn as much as possible.
Thanks Paco! Congratulations on the birth of your son! We look forward to hearing what’s coming next! ☺
Paco Osuna chose our #SundaySessions this week. Listen to them here.
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The Wolf of Wall Street, the film that’s rolling off everyone’s lips at the moment, should definitely secure an Oscar. Not only is it an outrageous and controversial movie, it’s a brilliant work of art. Aside from the film’s boldness and bluntness, its outstanding cast, its exceptional performances, its fast-paced dialogue and its dynamic and rhythmic scene sequences, The Wolf of Wall Street is an epic tale about modern day hedonism, wild debauchery, self-indulgence, greed and excess, communicated via a tone of dark-sadistic humour.
As for the film’s soundtrack, the legendary Martin Scorsese, is yet to shy away from surprising us all. “The main thing about Marty’s use of music is he’s fearless, creatively fearless” says music supervisor Randall Poster on THR. Indeed, the music adds unequalled depth to the movie and adds emphasis to the power of the performance.
There are 60 songs in total throughout the almost 3-hour-long production (which includes the likes of Cypress Hill, The Foo Fighters and Jay Z) and 16 terrific and adventurous tunes (listed below) in The Wolf of Wall Street’s Official Soundtrack, named “a comic grand opera” by THR Todd McCarthy. Marty, Randall Poster and executive music producer Robbie Robertson artfully mix up the genres and decades for the enjoyment of the every-man, including classical, ska, jazz, blues, hiphop and indie rock. Each song harmonically fits each scene, bringing each sequence to its climax. No doubt, the film’s energetic, vibrant, emphatic and lively music more than appropriately – if not fantastically – matches, and yet simultaneously clashes, with the openly loud exhibition of “sex, drugs and risky business”.
The Wolf of Wall Street Soundtrack
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!” – Cannonball Adderley (In certain countries, on a mobile device, you wont be able to view this video ☹)
A smooth, jazzy & soulful tune – What a great song! The crowd cheering and clapping in the background adds to the overall atmosphere of the piece. We love the saxophone riff. It’s a triumphant choice of song for Jordan Belfort’s first day on Wall Street.
“Dust My Broom” – Elmore James
Who doesn’t love a bit of swing! This old school blues track that dates back to the 1930s captures the essence of Jordan Belfort’s cocaine-sniffing and edgy rock n’ roll lifestyle, as he narrates his life at the start of the movie, showing off his gorgeous naked wife and white Ferrari.
“Bang! Bang!” – Jo Cuba
In 1966, Jo Cuba, Nuyorican (New York fused Puerto-Rican) boogaloo mastermind, sold millions of copies of his smash hit “Bang! Bang!”. This fun, rhythmic and exotic gem sets the mood for what’s to come, as Jordan sells his first penny stock and meets Donnie for the first time. Yes, we’re in for a ride!
”Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” – Billy Joel
The song describes the singer’s disgust with the money-hungry aspirations of middle and lower-class New Yorkers who spend their lives working in order to claim they’ve “made it”, rejecting their working-class backgrounds. It’s ironic and brilliant that the song appears as Jordan introduces his sales friends to the idea of becoming stockbrokers.
“C’est Si Bon” – Eartha Kitt
We hear this refined, sophisticated and alluring French melody as Jordan sniffs cocaine off of Naomi’s chest in the limo, just before his wife catches him. What an unfitting choice of song – a wonderful contrast!
”Goldfinger” – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Sharon Jones nails the vocals on Shirley Bassey’s great classic. This track is so unique and a great song choice for a film about wealth, excess and fraud. It fits the glamorous wedding scene between the Duke and Duchess like a glove! Plus, Jordan Belfort (yes, the real Jordan Belfort) played “Nobody Does it Better” – the theme song for The Spy Who Loved Me – at his very own wedding.
”Pretty Thing” – Bo Diddley (In certain countries, on a mobile device, you wont be able to view this video ☹)
This electrifying tune with its haunting beat is the film’s running motif and is heard throughout and at its most unforgettable at Jordan’s bachelor party, during the infamous and explicit scene on the plane.
”Moonlight in Vermont” – Ahmad Jamal Trio
A couple of Ahmad Jamal’s tracks are heard in The Wolf of Wall Street. This particular one is playing as Jordan asks Naomi to marry him and presents her with a ring that nobody could say no to.
”Smokestack Lightning” – Howlin’ Wolf
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqI2YStPK3E Who could forget the scene where the stockbrokers are rolling around the office floors with strippers up to their ears? It’s a classic – “A whoo hoo!”In 1956, “Smokestack Lighting” became one of the most influential blues songs of the time. This video is a live performance of the song form the maestro himself.
“Hey Leroy, Your Mama´s Callin’ You” – Jimmy Castor Click here to view video (embedding disabled). This song stays permanently engrained in your mind. As Jordan finishes his speech and the brokers start dialing their clients’ numbers, they’re not exactly “callin’ mama”, they’re on the road to making 22 million dollars in 3 hours!
“Double Dutch” – Malcolm McLaren
An energetic tune to emphasise the excitement, energy and drive of the young aspiring millionaires who come looking for broking jobs at Stratton Oakmont, one day after Jordan’s article appears in Forbes Magazine.
”Never Say Never” – Romeo Void
This punchy and funky bassline illustrates the moment Naomi enters Jordan’s life. The lyrics “I might like you better if we slept together” definitely read what’s on Jordan’s mind. Life is about to get even crazier…!
”Meth Lab Zoso Sticker” – 7Horse
“Let’s strap some cash to a Swiss hooker and let’s smuggle it into Switzerland”… says nobody in his right mind! Rock n’ Roll baby! This track is unique, it’s electric, and it captures the moment when the movie takes on a whole new dimension and things are about to ignite.
”Road Runner” – Bo Diddley
You may have heard The Rolling Stones cover this song but there’s nothing quite like Bo Diddley’s 12-bar blues track, with its victorious beep-beep chorus. Stratton Oakmont begins to sell penny stocks to the wealthy.
“Mrs. Robinson” – The Lemonheads
Famous for its soundtrack in The Graduate, this song was written by Paul Simon and originally performed by the incredible Simon & Garfunkel. Although The Lemonheads’ cover cannot be compared to the genius of the original, with its unbelievable harmonies (what a classic!), it became one of the band’s most successful releases – now associated with the very anticipated scene in which the FBI arrests the entire company in The Wolf of Wall Street. Poster says: “I just like the energy and irony of it”.
”Cast Your Fate to the Wind” – Allen Toussaint
This song is rebellious, dynamic, exhilarating and charismatic. It’s a running theme throughout the movie. “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by Cannonball Adderley’s, with its similar riff, is played on Jordan’s first day on Wall Street, welcoming him into the fabulous, scandalous and self-indulgent life of a multi-millionaire. What better song to choose for the film’s ending? A grand opening needs a grand finale. It’s unforgettable.
Daft Punk and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the big winners at 56th Grammy awards held last night in Los Angeles.
Daft Punk dominated the awards with five total wins including Album of the Year for ‘Random Access Memories’. The first general category win for a dance-orientated album since ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack won it back in 1978. They also won ‘Pop Duo’, dance / electronica album and engineered album, non-classical…it was quite a memorable evening for the non-speaking, helmeted pair!
Pharrell Williams of course, shared in their wins and was also named Producer of the Year, non-classical. “Dude, on behalf of the robots, thank you, thank you, thank you…They want to thank their families, and of course, the incredible Nile Rodgers” said Pharrell. Performing live on national television for the first time in 6 years Daft Punk performed alongside Pharrell, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder playing a fantastic medley of Get Lucky, Freak Out (Chic) and Another Star – it was one of the best ever performancea at the Grammy’s. When the camera swung out into the crowd Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono could be seen geeting down to the groove – as could Taylor Swift for most of the evening..
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis followed closely behind Daft Punk with four wins, including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance – a win that did not go down very well with the hip-hop purists who stated that “Thrift Shop” broke on pop radio. “Macklemore said about “The Heist”. “I want to say we made this album without a record label, we made it independently and we appreciate all the support.”
Lorde surprised everyone by beating Timberlake, Perry, Sara Bareilles and Bruno Mars to win Song of the Year for “Royals” – the youngest artist to win in a general category (aside from Best New Artist). “This is the one thing I didn’t expect the most about tonight, so thank you so much,” said Lorde.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6OVxPiZQDc This Grammy ceremony will forever be remembered for a marriage of 33 couples – straight and gay, presided over by Queen Latifah. The marriage ceremony took place, very appropriately, duing the performance of “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – a song that talks about attitudes to homosexuality. Queen Latifah was only told about being a commissioner a couple of weeks before the ceremony: “It’s something that I took very seriously,” she said. “I had to be sworn in as a commissioner by the state of California. I think these couples should be celebrated tonight … to have your wedding in front of a million people is really momentous.” Then, to top it all off, just as Queen Latifah pronounced the couples married, Madonna swung open the doors of the stage and sung “Open Your Heart”.
The Beatles had a steady presence throughout the show. Paul and Ringo performed ‘Queenie Eye’ from Paul’s ‘New’ album and Ringo also sung ‘Photograph’ (his Billboard Hot 100 Nº1 back in 1973). The Beatles celebrate the 50th anniversary of their arrival in the US with a special show to be aired on CBS February 9th. Paul McCartney won the Rock Song award for ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ with Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
There were other veteran stars that won prizes – Led Zeppelin took home the Rock Album award for ‘Celebration Day’ – their first-ever Grammy and Black Sabbath won Metal Performance, their second Grammy, for ‘God is Dead?’
There were many memorable moments to report – and one of them has to be Pink flying 100 feet above the audience with no safety net.
Another was Katy Perry who gave a brilliant performance of “Dark Horse” turning the stage into a goth party – with real flames, plenty of thunder and lightning and dancers galore.
GENERAL Album Of The Year: “Random Access Memories” — Daft Punk Record Of The Year: “Get Lucky” — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams Song Of The Year: “Royals” — Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor, songwriters (Lorde) Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
POP Best Pop Solo Performance: “Royals” — Lorde Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Get Lucky” — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams Best Pop Vocal Album: “Unorthodox Jukebox” – Bruno Mars Best Pop Instrumental Album: “Steppin’ Out” – Herb Alpert Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “To Be Loved” – Michael Bublé
DANCE Best Dance/Electronica Album: “Random Access Memories” – Daft Punk Best Dance Recording: “Clarity”– Zedd Featuring Foxes
ROCK Best Rock Performance: “Radioactive” — Imagine Dragons Best Rock Album: “Celebration Day” — Led Zeppelin Best Metal Performance: “God Is Dead?” – Black Sabbath Best Rock Song: “Cut Me Some Slack” – Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, songwriters
ALTERNATIVE Best Alternative Music Album: “Modern Vampires Of The City” – Vampire Weekend
R&B Best R&B Performance: “Something” – Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Unapologetic” – Rihanna Best R&B Album: Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Please Come Home – Gary Clark Jr. Best R&B Song (A Songwriters Award): “Pusher Love Girl” – James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake)
RAP Best Rap Performance: “Thrift Shop” — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “Holy Grail” — Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake Best Rap Album: The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Best Rap Song: “Thrift Shop” – Ben Haggerty & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz)
COUNTRY MUSIC Best Country Solo Performance: “Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker Best Country Album: “Same Trailer Different Park” – Kacey Musgraves Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “From This Valley” – The Civil Wars Best Country Song (A Songwriters Award): “Merry Go ‘Round” – Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)
NEW AGE Best New Age Album: “Love’s River” – Laura Sullivan
JAZZ Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue” – Terri Lyne Carrington Best Improvised Jazz Solo: “Orbits” – Wayne Shorter, soloist Best Jazz Vocal Album: “Liquid Spirit” – Gregory Porter Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Night In Calisia” – Randy Brecker, Włodek Pawlik Trio & Kalisz Philharmonic Best Latin Jazz Album: “Song For Maura” – Paquito D’Rivera And Trio Corrente
GOSPEL/CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC Best Gospel Album: “Greater Than” (Live) — Tye Tribbett Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance: “Break Every Chain [Live]” – Tasha Cobbs Best Gospel Song: “If He Did It Before… Same God [Live]” — Tye Tribbett Best Contemporary Christian Music Song: “Overcomer” – David Garcia, Ben Glover & Christopher Stevens, songwriters (Mandisa) Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Overcomer” – Mandisa
LATIN Best Latin Pop Album: “Vida” – Draco Rosa Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: “Treinta Días” – La Santa Cecilia Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): “A Mi Manera” – Mariachi Divas De Cindy Shea Best Tropical Latin Album: “Pacific Mambo Orchestra” – Pacific Mambo Orchestra
AMERICAN ROOTS Best Americana Album: “Love Has Come For You” – Steve Martin & Edie Brickell Best Bluegrass Album: “The Streets Of Baltimore” – Del McCoury Band Best Blues Album: “Get Up!” – Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite Best Folk Album: “My Favorite Picture Of You” – Guy Clark Best Regional Roots Music Album: “Dockside Sessions” – Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience
REGGAE Best Reggae Album: “Ziggy Marley In Concert” – Ziggy Marley
WORLD MUSIC Best World Music Album (tie): “Savor Flamenco” _ Gipsy Kings “Live: Singing For Peace Around The World” – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
CHILDREN’S Best Children’s Album: “Throw A Penny In The Wishing Well” – Jennifer Gasoi
SPOKEN WORD Best Spoken Word Album: “America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t” — Stephen Colbert
Beyoncé and husband Jay Z opened the ceremony with ‘Drunk In Love’
COMEDY Best Comedy Album: “Calm Down Gurrl” — Kathy Griffin
MUSICAL THEATER Best Musical Theater Album: “Kinky Boots”
MUSIC FOR VISUAL MEDIA Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: Sound City: Real To Reel Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: “Skyfall” – Thomas Newman, composer Best Song Written For Visual Media: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall”– Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele)
COMPOSING/ARRANGING Best Instrumental Composition: “Pensamientos For Solo Alto Saxophone And Chamber Orchestra” – Clare Fischer, composer (The Clare Fischer Orchestra) Best Instrumental Arrangement: “On Green Dolphin Street”– Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band) Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): “Swing Low” – Gil Goldstein, arranger (Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding)
PACKAGE Best Recording Package: “Long Night Moon” – Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package: “Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition)” – Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney And Wings)
NOTES Best Album Notes: “Afro Blue Impressions (Remastered & Expanded)” – Neil Tesser, album notes writer (John Coltrane)
HISTORICAL Best Historical Album (tie): “Charlie Is My Darling” – Ireland 1965 “The Complete Sussex And Columbia Albums”
PRODUCTION, Non-Classical Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: “Random Access Memories” – Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta & Daniel Lerner, engineers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Daft Punk) Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical: Pharrell Williams Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: “Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)” – Cedric Gervais, remixer (Lana Del Rey)
SURROUND SOUND Best Surround Sound Album: “Live Kisses” – Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Tommy LiPuma, surround producer (Paul McCartney)
FIELD: PRODUCTION, CLASSICAL Best Engineered Album, Classical: “Winter Morning Walks” – David Frost, Brian Losch & Tim Martyn, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Dawn Upshaw, Maria Schneider, Australian Chamber Orchestra & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra) Producer Of The Year, Classical: David Frost
CLASSICAL Best Orchestral Performance: Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4 – Osmo Vänskä, conductor (Minnesota Orchestra) Best Opera Recording: Adès: The Tempest Best Choral Performance: Pärt: Adam’s Lament — Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (Tui Hirv & Rainer Vilu; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Sinfonietta Riga & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Latvian Radio Choir & Vox Clamantis) Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Roomful Of Teeth – Brad Wells & Roomful Of Teeth Best Classical Instrumental Solo: Corigliano: Conjurer – Concerto For Percussionist & String Orchestra — Evelyn Glennie; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony) Best Classical Vocal Solo: “Winter Morning Walks” – Dawn Upshaw (Maria Schneider; Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough & Scott Robinson; Australian Chamber Orchestra & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra) Best Classical Compendium: Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik — Christoph Eschenbach, conductor Best Contemporary Classical Composition: Schneider, Maria: Winter Morning Walks — Maria Schneider, composer
MUSIC VIDEO/FILM Best Music Video: “Suit & Tie” – Justin Timberlake Featuring Jay Z (David Fincher, video director; Timory King, video producer) Best Music Film: “Live Kisses” – Paul McCartney (Jonas Akerlund, video director; Violaine Etienne, Aron Levine & Scott Rodger, video producers)
An interview with Hillary Capps and Anthony Farina.
New York based singer/songwriter, Hillary Capps, and producer/songwriter, Anthony Farina, are buzzing after having just released their very first full-length album The Wishing Forest a few days ago. While Hillary’s fairy-like voice lends itself perfectly to the albums’ classical jazz and pop influences, she conveys a horizon of emotions with an utmost sense of honesty. The catchy melodies, enthralling lyrics, tight musicianship and running theme of “wishing”, fills the album with a range of moods and colours that originate from Hillary’s childhood and take us on a spellbinding journey across time, into the mysterious and secret land of a child’s hopes and dreams.
2013 must have been a very busy and exciting year! You’ve just released your first album on the 21st of January. How did it all start?
Basically, we picked up where we left off with the ‘Maybe in the Morning EP’. We learned a lot from that record; it gave us a sense of what we wanted to do next and how to go about it. We continued writing new songs while we were promoting the new EP and got to a point where we had enough new material, that was all very cohesive and focused, to make a new album. From there, we saved up, did our research on when and where to record and who we wanted to involve, and went into the studio in June 2013.
Anthony, you produced and co-wrote the album. You play the guitar on the record and live on stage. How did you guys get together to co-write the album and what’s the song writing process like?
Hillary and I have been working together for over 3 years now in multiple musical endeavors. She’s the type of singer and person you dream to work with because she’s extremely positive and on top of that, an incredibly skilled vocalist. You just know she’s going to nail it every time. She also has such a unique timbre and innocence to her voice that you can’t help but to smile when listening.
For me, co-writing and producing this album all in all was an incredible and humbling experience. We had great musicians on board and we wanted to keep this record sounding organic and natural. We wanted to bring back the days when synthesizers weren’t always blaring in our faces and get back to our roots – good songs, engaging lyrics, and live instruments. The tracks are very personal to us but we also wrote songs people could relate to. There always seemed to be a presence of love, or lost love, longing or desperation, and I think Hillary does an amazing job at strongly conveying these emotions. We’ve all been in moments where we are elated or devastated and we wanted to connect with our audience. In terms of the writing process, we’re constantly challenging each other. I’m extremely critical and I tend to write fairly quickly. I feel that being in the moment is important to the process and creates an honesty in both the lyrics and the pacing. I will basically bring an entire song to Hillary and say, “What do you think?”. We’ve been known to duke it out during the process (not physically, ha) but when we work through it, songs like “New Melody” come about and it just so happens that it’s the single for the record. Also, coincidentally we both wrote a ukelele/voice song a few weeks before recording that ended up starting and finishing the record. This release sounds great and I’m very proud of it. Looking forward to touring and getting these songs out there this year!
The album was mixed by Michael Brauer and Ryan Gilligan at the famous Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, and mastered by Eric Boulanger at the Mastering Lab LA. What was it like to have such talented and respected people working on your tracks?
The music industry is a crazy thing. We feel very grateful and lucky to have had Michael and Ryan on the project, but it didn’t actually start out that way. We spent a long time researching who would be the right person for the mixes and collecting contacts. We finally found someone who seemed like a great fit and was interested in the project and we went into the studio thinking he was the guy for the job. After we had everything recorded, the arrangement fell through, which was so disappointing and discouraging. It was hard to see at the time, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because that engineer ended up recommending Michael and Ryan at Electric Lady. They made the process so smooth and easy for us. And they just got it. They really understood the songs and the vibe we were going for. They translated everything we had in our heads seamlessly, and took the recordings we had done at Vinegar Hill Sound (in DUMBO Brooklyn, NY) and really brought them to life.
Earlier this year you released two singles from New Melody and Pop Star, as well as a music video for Pop Star. How would you say the response has been?
The response has been great so far! It’s very exciting. The “Pop Star” video was recently premiered on ARTISTDirect, a very well received online media entertainment company that gets thousands of views per day. The video was featured on their home page for a week next to artists like Katy Perry, Eminem, and many more. Both “Pop Star” and “New Melody” have been featured on popular blogs and in magazines several times. People look forward to hearing those songs at our live shows now, which is pretty cool. Excited to get the rest of the songs out there soon!
Hillary, you chose a captivating title for your album, The Wishing Forest. Is there a story behind that?
Yes. The title appears in the song “Storybook” on the album. The line in the song goes “Give me your hand, follow me down the wishing forest, and dream as you please, here everything is at it seems…”. The Wishing Forest is actually a real place in my Dad’s backyard in Vermont. I’m not sure when the tradition actually started or when it was dubbed the wishing forest, but when I was little my Dad used to take my sister and me into this specific cluster of trees, and we would pick a spot and make a wish. I found that a common theme throughout the album was wishing for things, in one way or another, so the title seemed like the right choice.
The album is lively and showcases a whole range of interesting moods and colours. It’s both musically and lyrically captivating. Who would you say are your greatest influences?
Hillary: I have a lot of musical influences in both pop and jazz especially. Sara Bareilles is a key influence of mine. Adele, Ingrid Michaelson, Maroon 5 and Norah Jones are as well. I would also say The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald.
Anthony: I’m kind of all over the map. I really enjoy Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Frank Sinatra, The Police, Michael Jackson, etc. As to the contemporary Pop world, I’d have to agree with Hillary – Sara Bareilles is probably my favorite female songwriter out there right now. Throughout your musical journey what would you say have been your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that almost any artist entering the music industry encounters is exposure – getting seen and heard. With the support of our PR company, specifically our publicists Amanda Pelletier and Beatrice Bugnosen, we’ve been able to get our work out there on a bigger level than ever before. But there’s still a long journey ahead. It’s all about being patient, persistent, and gradually growing and building it up.
What kind of advice would you give to young upcoming artists who are striving to succeed and who want to stay true to themselves?
There are always going to be people who believe in what you’re doing, and people who don’t. Not everyone is going to love your work or be on board with it. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong, it just means you need to find the people who do believe in it, and surround yourself with those people.
Do you have any exciting plans for this year? Will there be a tour?
Yes! We are planning to play at SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas this March. We also plan on doing a selection of showcase dates outside of New York in cities like Buffalo, Nashville, Atlanta, and LA over the summer.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
Hopefully doing the exact same thing we’re doing now, on a bigger scale! In 5 years we would both like to be touring the US and Europe and making records full time. 🙂
Hillary Capps and Anthony Farina chose our #SundaySessions this week! Listen to them here.
The Sahara’s most revered band, Tinariwen, was at the Jaipur Literature Festival recently to play to a large and fascinated crowd. Rock veterans of the best sort (PopMatters recently called them the ‘greatest band the world, bar none’, sentiments that have been echoed across the globe), Tinariwen are an ensemble collective from the deserts of Africa and have been operational for decades.
Creation 5 spoke to them on the eve of their performance.
1. The history of your origins is very interesting indeed. Could you tell us a little about where you and your music come from? Our music comes naturally from our traditional culture. Tinariwen’s founders discovered the guitar and brought it to the desert, and we learnt to play by ourselves, with traditional rhythm and tunes serving as our natural inspiration. Also a big motivation was explaining our geo-political situation, as we were in exile over this period. 2. With Tinariwen being a rotating ensemble of troubadours and musicians, do you find it difficult to really define yourself as a band in the traditional sense of the word? Is a band how you classify yourself so it becomes easier for Westerners to relate to your group ? Tinariwen is the representation of the modern aspect of our culture, and also the speakers for our population, now in all the world. Since the band exists for more than 30 years now, during its story many musicians took part in the team occasionally. But since we began to tour in the West, the set up is almost the same, two experienced members and four from younger generation.
3. You are known for your outspoken political activism, like your recent statements against the coup in Mali – one of your members has even been detained at airports, internationally. Do you think, as popular artists, that you’re obligated to take up issues you believe in? Tinariwen is always looking for a peaceful solution to their population’s situation. The music and lyrics seem to make people happy to hear of life out in the desert, to discover how much we love our way of life. Of course, like everybody else, we have to be concerned about the evolution of our world’s situation.
4. What can we expect from your upcoming LPs? Would you say Tinariwen as a project is satisfied with it’s sound, or is there room for experimentation on future releases? For this new album, we recorded in the Californian desert – our own Sahara was not secure enough for our crew. Emmaar means the heat of the breeze, it is a metaphor about the situation in our lands… the tension before the war, the revolution.
We invited some of the musicians we met during our many tours to contribute to the previous album. It is always a pleasure to meet some musicians, with the experience and sensations that arise when they have a meeting with our music, we have some great fun!
5. From herders to exiled rebels to poets, the musicians in your band have fascinatingly slipped through an assortment of roles. Is it not difficult to balance lives of such distinct passions? When you live a moment from war, you are looking to find peace without arms. That’s why our arms are the music we make. Also the opportunity arises to speak with various media, to find a reasonable way to build a future society. But since it’s surely against world interest in a way, we cannot follow the money making direction of our spirit…… we all have to wake up for humanity, for our children!
6. As your band-leader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib has stated in previous interviews, you are notoriously unaware of the modern music scene. Have you chanced upon any electronic music over the course of your travels? What do you think of these sounds? Of course we listen to a lot of electronic music. Sometimes we try to imagine and understand what the people like about this style and these sounds – often, it portrays the dark and industrial sensibilities of an urban society. This helps to create an ambience and color the spirit. 7. What do you have in store for the JLF audience? Are you customising your set to Indian sensibilities in any way? We will prepare a set list to give a new Indian audience a glimpse of all of what we are with our music. As to understanding lyrics, that will take longer. We hope people will be curious enough by the end of the set to look at our albums or website about what we are singing. Our show will go from tradition to modernity, with the ancestral spirit underlying it always.
8. How did you hear TV On The Radio’s music, and what about it appealed to you? Tell us about your collaboration with Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone on your last album. We met Kyp and Tunde at the Coachella Festival a few years ago, and the idea to invite them to the Sahara desert was born! Their simplicity when living in these circumstances was wonderful, and the whole situation was an amalgam of experiences… they play music with heart and spirit.
9. You have been widely acclaimed over the past decade. Do you ever read what the critics have to say about you, and does it matter? Of course we are always curious to hear what critics have to say, they help us understand what the audiences feel about our music!
Tinariwen’s sixth studio album, Emmar, releases this February.
Imidiwan Ahi Sigdim from their new album Emmaar:
AyseDeniz was considered a child prodigy in her native Turkey and made her concerto debut when she was just nine. At thirteen, she had already performed as a soloist with various orchestras and upon hearing her interpretation of a Chopin Sonata, Nikolai Petrov personally invited her to perform in the Kremlin Palace – a concert that was very well-received and marked somewhat of a mile stone in Miss Gokcin’s young career.
After three of her piano arrangements of Pink Floyd songs in the style of Franz Liszt went viral, AyseDeniz attracted the attention of the progressive rock world, and was supported on the group’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Upon the requests of her fans, she completed a full album called: Pink Floyd Classical Concept, which has been released on iTunes and in limited hardcopy edition on her online store. She has been featured in media world wide – from the BBC over Classic FM to rock magazines and blogs and appeared on numerous TV shows, radio stations and magazines.
Aside from all this awe-inspiring talent, AyseDeniz is bubbly, charming and a complete joy to talk to. We were lucky enough to chat to her on Skype one afternoon last week and not only did we have a good laugh, we also spent nearly 1.5 hours talking when we had only booked half an hour – but then again, AyseDeniz does likes breaking the ‘rules’.#Liszttified
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Details that are not in your Biography. Well, the general theme of my life is that me and the piano have been inseparable ever since I was baby! We had an upright piano in my family, which I considered to be my number one toy and my number two toy was my cat! I didn’t play with Barbies, put it that way! I was a serious child, very formal, very conservative. My first piano teachers didn’t want me listen to pop music, I was not allowed to wear nail polish, everything was very strict with super high standards, and you had to act like an adult instead of a kid. Fortunately, it was quite the opposite in my family life. The result of this upbringing has been living with two identities: one side of me is very proper and formal and the other side is an anarchist, and a fun party person.
Would you say you have an eclectic taste in music, or is your style quite specific? Yes, definitely – although I was very influenced by rock / pop music when I was growing up. The first CD I ever bought was Michael Jackson. I love all the oldies…I listened to what my parents listen to. I think I am still stuck in the music that came before the millenium…
Do you have any favourite quotes that have stayed with you throughout your life journey thus far? It’s very cliché but… “Do what you love and always put your heart into it” “Take risks but make sure there is room for mistakes before you do!” and “Never give up!” pretty much sum up my life. I think you have to be adaptable and recognize that the only constant in this life is change. That’s why you have to embrace your failures and turn them into constructive solutions.
You made you first concerto debut when you were just nine years old, and it’s been an uphill climb since then. Were there any hard sacrifices you had to make in place of your passion? Yes – I hung out with a lot of older kids whenever I went to summer schools or festivals, because I would be the youngest one there. While my classmates would play dodge ball, I was giving concerts, performing for classical listeners who are mostly above 50, so I ended up not being able to relate to people my own age. I also took on a lot of responsibility by playing pieces by composers whom I deeply admired, in front of so many people that it had to go right otherwise I would be humiliated and embarrassed. So that made me grow up really quickly and I assumed everyone would be similar to me but that didn’t happen. I take everything too seriously, and whatever I do has to be done right – I have far too many high expectations which frustrates me very often.
How much time per week do you spend sat at the piano? Ideally every day for 6 hours (more before concerts) unless there is a good excuse not to! You have to stay fit – your memory and your muscles. But I’m so busy that it’s hard to make the time nowadays – I end up going to bed so late in order to fit everything in! I wish there was more time in the day! I have started my own music business in London (AGOKCIN Music) so I am very busy building up a brand, managing and producing, finding the right team… it’s all very time-consuming. I also do a lot of interviews which takes up so much time.
What’s the longest period of time you’ve gone without playing, and why? One week! I was in Argentina for two concerts and there was a week between each one so I met up with friends and we went to places in South America where there was no piano in sight! It was a nice break…but it’s something I wouldn’t normally do – it was too long.
How often do you find yourself composing a completely original creation? What triggers these compositions, do you go out to seek inspiration or does it come to you when it’s ready? I used to do a lot more original creations when I was younger, but it fits me better to do something that people know already. I might do spontaneous improvisations, yes, but that’s not creating something totally new. I like to take melodies and arrange them – I think I have an architect’s mind. I like to build something up and calculate the options, putting in voices etc. Not covers – it’s a mixture between composing and arranging really.
Your Pink Floyd compositions are truly inspirational – what’s the story behind these? This started when I was doing my Masters in 2011 – it was Franz Liszt’s 200th anniversary and everyone was giving tributes. I found it all so boring though…I don’t believe they captured the essence, the spirit of what Liszt was about. Liszt gave people something more, he was so charismatic. What he did in his day was so modern, not at all formal. Everyone was blown away with his showmanship, he was a rock star of his time. He did charity concerts, he brought music to the people, he loved literature and art and was a romantic hero who had many personal problems sure, but he was super popular in society. As I thought more and more about this it reminded me of Pink Floyd’s lyrics and I got this crazy idea of merging their music to represent Liszt’s essence, like he did with the music of his time. He did so many arrangements and paraphrases, using music from operas, symphonies and poems and songs and taking them to the people who couldn’t afford to go to the fancy halls in big cities.
I never wanted to imitate Pink Floyd or Liszt while doing these arrangements, but only aimed to do a personal tribute that captured the essence through re-interpreting Pink Floyd’s music in a “Lisztified” manner. I was going to use it as my Masters project, instead it actually became real. I released the tracks and after 2 months it was all over internet. Some people have been so thankful to me for introducing them to Liszt and others (mostly elitist formal crowds) thankful for introducing them to Pink Floyd! So I accomplished my goal of merging the two audiences and bringing back this tradition.
Piano is your passion, profession and a part of who you are. Can you imagine a world without it? What sort of challenges do you face? I can’t imagine a world without music. I would never leave the industry even if I wanted to. There have been a few times in my life when I was so sick of the challenges… Many times I thought I wasn’t successful enough, or that I had tried my best and no one cared except for my family members (who usually love everything I do anyway!) When I was 13 for instance I thought I wasn’t cool enough so I started playing drums and dyed my hair pink. I was mad at my parents for pushing me into classical music because none of my classmates talked about Beethoven or Chopin! I thought head-banging to Rachmaninoff was equally enjoyable if not more, to head-banging to Metallica. So I thought there was something wrong with me, but thankfully meeting musicians my age in summer festivals and then in university proved I wasn’t the only one.
Also, I began realizing that this was the result of the faulty education system with boring teachers, mass media, the elitist classical music listeners and the super old fashioned performers. The music was so great, yet the packaging and the social environment was just not helping young kids relate to classical music.
Thankfully now that I am a bit older, my friends actually listen to classical music and they enjoy it more than they did before. Also living in London makes me so excited – there are new theatre, ballet, opera and music projects all around. There are also amazing young artists who are embracing this century much more than they did when I was a child.
There is still the usual challenge which is to reach out to people and to make a project work so you can earn a living while doing something you love instead of having to do some other job you don’t enjoy. Thanks to Classic FM and Pink Floyd – they gave me so much support– I have managed to get to the next level. I have a growing fan base, and I am always in touch with them through social media. I want to hear what they want, and whether they like something I put on Youtube. I also use Facebook and Twitter, and often upload videos on Instagram from my practice sessions. I love sharing my life with others. I am working on two albums at the moment: one is all Chopin, and the other is half grunge rock and half classical – but I am not giving away any names! It should be out around December 2014 if everything goes right!
Tori Amos, a famous American pianist who has sold over 12 million records worldwide has been quoted saying ”Everybody told me this ‘girl on the piano’ thing was never going to work”. I wonder if you can relate to this… Have you ever had doubters around you, including yourself? If so what do you say to them? I am the Nº1 doubter! It hurts when people who are close to you doubt you as you need the opposite. My family has always been supportive but everyone has something different to say. They are worried I will turn into a pop artist! Some said… “this Pink Floyd idea is never gonna work”. As an artist you get so many comments from people who have no idea, everyone thinks they know best. The trick is to build “A Wall” that protects you from all that.
Your song ‘Libertango (Piazzolla)’ is a very powerful piece of music, especially when coupled with the music video. For those who haven’t seen it, it tells a story through music and motion that raises awareness of women and children in unsafe living environments, and the beautiful piano that’s featured in the video was donated by a charity ‘Community’s Child’ working to help with this problem.
What was it like shooting such a strong video, and was this the original inspiration behind the arrangement? I have always wanted to make a music video for this Libertango arrangement, which I had done long ago. People expected tango dancers in the video, yet you don’t need dancers in Piazzolla’s music – it dances by itself! I wanted the passion and drama in it to be the main focus, by doing something that had a strong message. As a female, I have seen so many problems – women are very sensitive and are too often exploited and misunderstood. I worked with Boondock films and we brainstormed together. We shot so many scenes in two days… It was very intense that I had no idea how it was going to turn out, because editing is the magic part where it all comes together. It ended up being exactly what I wanted to say. The main character is very naïve…it could have easily been me. What she fails to see, though, is that success is not related to how much you let yourself be used; it is about being patient, embracing failure, creating the right environment in which you can progress, and of course, having people around who believe in you and support you… Yet she does all the opposite things. It is what many people choose, which is very sad. We all need to realize that there are always other options for all of us, and that if one doesn’t work, we should not give up or let ourselves be exploited.
The piano in the video was donated by Community’s Child, which is a charity that’s offering women & their infants safe living environments, training and education to help end poverty, neglect, abuse, and addictions. I really wanted to support this charity and to try and change things in a positive way. I would love to do more projects like this soon.
Taking into account everywhere that you’ve traveled, do you have a favourite place in the globe? Depends, wherever my friends are really. New York is one of my favourite places as most of my friends ended up there after university. In terms of sunshine, I love the West Coast (USA) but it’s a bit of a hassle moving around there. I also love London so much, I just wish there was less rain and clouds! Istanbul is wonderful too – the city planning though is a bit of a nightmare – there is too much traffic, too many people, it’s all a bit chaotic. I want to travel more and revisit the places I have already been to and want to go to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand soon. Although not for playing, otherwise I will be stuck in a practice room ☺
In a few words try to describe the life of a pianist. Eat. Sleep. Practice.
Favourite musical artist right now? “Right now” is a bit tricky! Usually I would give you names from the 50-90’s!… But I’ll try: I listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Radiohead, … Sometimes
Performance wise – Martha Argerich is definitely my idol. But if you want younger names, then Yuja Wang and Lang Lang (both Chinese pianists) are great because they are vibrant, energetic, and full of charisma. Likewise, Dudamel is a great conductor, and one of the most well known alumnus of El Sistema –the music education program that changed hundreds of thousands of young people’s lives in Venezuela. (I recommend checking out their TED talk)
Favourite musical artist when you were 15? I think I really had a wide range… I have to admit, I listened to lots of Britney Spears and Shakira ☺ And also Eminem! I would wear baggy pants and stretch tops and teach all my friends at classical festivals the lyrics! His song with his daughter made me really like him at the time. Also the rhythms of the words. When I was 10, I was a hardcore Spice Girls fan – once even did the role of Mel C in a school dance!
If you could make more time for something, what would it be? Honestly I just wish I could spend more time at the piano and at the computer arranging music… If I could do it all, without sacrificing anything it would be amazing. I love socializing, reading, travelling, learning new languages… I also love to sleep (who doesn’t?) – I wish I didn’t so I could do much more in a day!
The video that thousands of people have already seen on Youtube titled ‘Street Piano’ in which you are playing on pianos in different locations on the streets of London, what was that about? Tell us a bit about it and your experience. This is my interpretation of Fazil Say’s arrangement of Mozart’s Turkish March. Fazil Say was on trial for ‘retweeting’ an old, sarcastic poem that criticised religion. As a very valuable Turkish musician, I respected his works and decided to support him in a peaceful way, so I played this piece on 50 pianos in London, to promote freedom of speech and thought, tolerance and an environment that promotes discussion rather than punishment.
AyseDeniz chose our #SundaySessions for this week. Listen to them HERE!
Trance Untes is a group of unconventional musicians from Madrid that are quite difficult to categorise yet definitely worth discovering. They produce a truly impressive sound and their concerts are real dance therapy. You will hear trance, house, techno, progressive, primitive, ethnic, psychedelic and more with instruments from all corners of the globe.
Daniel, Mito, Juan, Carlos and Javier are as far from the conventional as you can get, with origins that are just as diverse. They casually banded together in 2010 to form Trance Untes and from the very beginning they were clear on the fact that they’d make completely unique music. They describe their sound as “Advanced Primitive Music” yet their rhythms have the sophistication of a good jazz jam session. After several concerts all over Spain and a tour in South Africa and Mozambique, the band launched its first album in 2013 titled “Playing”.
The combination of Didjeridoo (Australia), the Harmonium (India) and the Timbla (Mozambique) or midi guitar result is a very rich sound which can only be described as intoxicating. One thing that is certain, after seeing their live performance, you know you are definitely not listening to a pop group. Their concerts are designed more as a music session than a repertoire of songs. This is party music that would be at home on any dance floor – universal music with a rhythm that everyone understands.
Their goal is quite simple: to make you dance! Music and dance as a therapy in its most primitive sense – reaching, through a state of trance, a physical and mystical communion that heals the spirit. They are Gurus of the Temples of Dance.
Daniel Salorio: Harmonium, Carcasheps, Hang, Spring Mito: Bass Juan Laguna: Dijeridoo & Drums Carlos Leal: Midi guitar & Guitars Javier Catiñeiras: Drums
Trance Untes are our #SundaySessions for this week. Click here for their playlist.
A new year brings forth a whole new set of movies with release dates we’re slowly edging towards. We’ve put together a neat little list of the top 15 movies you simply can’t afford to miss in the first four months of 2014.
The Legend of Hercules Release Dates:
United States: January 10 Europe: January 30 – March 19
Plot: Following the story of the famous mythical Greek hero who is exiled by the King, his treacherous stepfather, and is sold into slavery due to a forbidden love. Can Hercules claim back his rightful Kingdom?
The LEGO Movie Release Dates:
United States: February 7 Europe: February 6 – 20
Plot: An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller Stars: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell
The Monuments Men Release Dates:
United States: February 7
Europe: February 13 – March 12
Plot: Art masterpieces have been stolen by Nazi thieves in this time movie. A World War II platoon is formed to carry out the dangerous task of seeking them out and returning them to their rightful owners.
Director: George Clooney Stars: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
RoboCop Release Dates:
United States: February 12 Europe: February 5 – 14
Plot: Set in futuristic 2028 Detroit, Alex Murphy (good cop) faces severe injuries while in the line of duty. With this once perfect cop in critical condition, the multinational OmniCorp sees their ideal candidate for a part-robot, part-man police officer.
Director: Jose Padilha Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Douglas Urbanski, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman
Non-Stop Release Dates:
United States: February 28 Europe: February 27 – March 13
Plot: When an international flight goes horribly wrong, an air marshal aboard fights to save the passengers and himself.
300: Rise of an Empire Release Dates:
United States: March 7 Europe: March 5 – 7
Plot: After his victory over Leonidas’ 300, Xerxes marches towards the Democratic city of Athens. Admiral Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.
Director: Noam Murro Stars: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton
Mr. Peabody & Sherman Release Dates:
United States: March 7 Europe: February 7 – March 13
Plot: Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time. They find themselves in a race to repair history and save the future.
Director: Rob Minkoff Stars: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert
Need for Speed Release Dates:
United States: March 14 Europe: March 13 – 20
Plot: Street racer Tobey Marshall was framed by his wealthy business associate. Fresh from prison, he joins a cross country race with revenge in mind.
Director: Scott Waugh Stars: Aaron Paul, Chillie Mo, Dominic Cooper, Dakota Johnson
Grace of Monaco Release Dates:
United States: March 14 Europe: March 13 – 28
Plot: Set in the early 60s as a french invasion is looming, the story of Grace Kelly’s crisis of marriage and identity unfold, during a political dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainer III and France’s Charles De Gaulle.
Director: Olivier Dahan Stars: Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Andre Penvern, Frank Langella
Divergent Release Dates:
United States: March 21 Europe: March 20 – April 4
Plot: In a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions, teenagers must decide whether to stay in their faction or switch to another…for the rest of their lives. Beatrice Prior makes a choice that surprises everyone – and finds her life threatened when she discovers she’s Divergent, she doesn’t fit into any one group.
Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
Noah Release Dates:
United States & Canada: March 28 Europe: March 27 – April 9
Plot: The famous story of Noah and the flood, set in biblical times.
Director: Darren Aronofsky Stars: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Release Dates:
United States: April 4 Europe: March 26 – May 1
Plot: The Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier battles against Steve Rogers. Can Captain America win the upper hand whilst struggling in the modern world?
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Stars: Chris Evans, Frank Grillo, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson
Sabotage Release Dates:
United States: April 11 Europe: 25 April
Plot: Members of an elite DEA task force are taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
Director: David Ayer Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard
Transcendence Release Dates:
United States: April 18 Europe: April 17 – 25
Plot: A world renowned scientist falls victim of a hate crime and ends up critically ill in hospital, as a result they figure out how to download his brilliant consciousness into a computer.
Director: Wally Pfister Stars: Johnny Depp, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Release Dates:
United States & Canada: May 2 Europe: April 16 – 25
Plot: The infamous company Oscorp is battling Peter Parker once again with an array of super-villains.
Director: Marc Webb Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti
Guts – French electronic beat-maker and producer with a heavy hip-hop base pours his soul into his music and takes us on a mysterious and uplifting journey across continents. Guts is one of the co-founding members of Alliance Ethnik, the inspirational and trend setting hip-hop French band from the 90s.
His interesting use of contrast captures a whole range of moods and emotions – from a trance-like state to a carefree and joyful one. Guts’ positive island vibes that transcend his music leave us with a sense of intrigue and longing. Let him take you away to more than one place at a time as he tells a beautiful and sentimental story about how music and a joie de vivre can come together to form a life of serenity, peace of mind and perfect harmony.
Your first album release Simple et Funky in 1995 went platinum. How would you describe your experience with Alliance Ethnik? The most beautiful experience one could dream of is when a band is formed and the magic works spontaneously. We arrived at the right moment and with the right musical and artistic direction. As our budget was “No Limit”, we were able to ask our label for anything we wanted, so we asked Bob Power to produce and mix the album… Bob Power is to post production and mixing what Ennio Morricone is to film music – a virtuoso… He created numerous albums in the 90s that turned into mythical ones. For example: A Tribe Called Quest, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, De La Soul, The Roots, Common, etc… My experience with the band lasted 8 years, with memorable tours and travels, incredible encounters and collaborations. Alliance Ethnik was active up until 1999 and it was only in 2007 that you released your first solo album Guts le Bienheureux. What were you up to during that time and what made you decide to go solo? After Alliance Ethnik, I thought for a long time about heading for New York and taking my chances in the hip hop capital, but a love affair kept me in France. As a result, I composed and produced music for a diversity of French artists like Big Red, Passi, Svinkels, Sage Poêtes de la Rue. I also had some very enriching experiences in Africa and Jamaica in those days. As the years went by, I lost my way and grew tired of collaborating, to the extent that I left France for good. I went to live in Ibiza, which was the perfect place to find myself again and to try out my chances as a solo artist… it was the right choice because it worked. The East Coast hip-hop scene has heavily influenced your beats and your time spent in Jamaica and the Caribbean seeps through your music. Can you tell me a little bit about your musical journey and the way in which it has evolved over the years? It’s true. I have been totally immersed in East Coast hip-hop, which had a great influence on me. Later on, I became extremely interested in the way that music was sampled and recycled in order to produce hip-hop albums. My curiosity and my love for music did the rest. After having discovered the culture of Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Funk, Disco, I discovered Reggae, West-Indies music, South American music, African music and, finally, Eastern European music (Turkey, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Russia…), I became an album collector and dug into all genres. Recently, I discovered a whole musical heritage from Tobago and Trinidad, which is absolutely incredible. As a result, Mambo and I have decided to release a compilation album on a yearly basis, called Beach Diggin’, which is composed of our little pearls that have never been released.
Since moving to Ibiza from Paris, you’ve founded your own label, Pura Vida Music. What’s the story behind that and how has the gorgeous Spanish island inspired you and your sound? The idea of founding the label Pura Vida Music came from the desire to release my self-produced second solo album and to form the duo Pura Vida with Mambo. I wanted a visual identity similar to my musical one – something I did with Mambo. The label solely serves as a way to release personal projects, nothing else. It was a good experience but the heavy workload was too much to handle alone.
With regard to Ibiza, I am convinced that it inspires my music. Its peace, its energy, its vibrations, the sun, the sea…. I try to put into my music what I get out of this island. It is no coincidence that I listen to so much West Indies music at the moment… I’ve found harmony in my life and in my music. Where do you get your samples from and what’s the creation process behind the production of your tracks? Every single one of my samples comes from my vinyl collection. I listen to several discs until I am struck or moved by a sound, a note, a loop, a harmony, a melody, and then I am off. I sample, I cut, I change the pitch and, eventually, I find an angle, an interesting twist and, if it works, I pursue my ideas and follow through with them, even if it sucks at the beginning. Once I find a twist that captivates me, I go on to add the rhythmic part of it as a base layer and then I try to tell a story with some transitions, bridges, variations, accidents…
Your most recent album, Paradise For All, covers a kaleidoscope of colours. The dark, melancholic strings and nostalgic piano lines, mixed with your sunny, reggae-soul and punchy feel-good rhythms, fill your album with a unique atmosphere. What message are you trying to communicate through your music? A music that helps people to breathe more easily… a music that has virtues… that calms the pain… that makes you want love yourself and to love others. It’s a great and intricate album – I see it as a kind of masterpiece. How has it been received? I haven’t the slightest clue, as I never read the critics and chronicles of my albums. I don’t give a sh*t. Some people like vegetables, others don’t… it’s the same with my music. Art is ultra subjective, it’s impossible to please everyone and thank goodness for that. I don’t believe that Paradise For All is a complex album and a kind of chef d’oeuvre. It’s rich and diverse, it’s full of contrast, but the one I will be releasing in 2014 will be more complex, much richer and will have even more of a contrast. What could come across as complex is the pleasure that I have in fusing tracks with very different colours and universes in the same album. I don’t stick to one single direction and that’s what interests me… a change of path and unimaginable stories.
Your Django Remix EP came out in early 2013. What effect did Tarantino’s film have on you? I don’t like Tarantino’s films at all. I’m not a fan of violence and blood in the cinema but his remake of Django is absolutely wonderful! Without a doubt, it’s my favourite film of 2013. He re-adapted the film Django in a great way and with great talent. For a long time, I wanted to re-adapt the soundtrack, I had dreamt of doing it and I loved doing it, when it came to it. I love the duality in Tarantino’s film. I like his mix of humour and darkness in certain scenes. I like the silence that alternates with the music and dialogue. I like contrast and that’s precisely what influences my music.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXYdIypoLsE What can we look forward to in 2014? 2014 will certainly be the busiest and most exciting year since the end of Alliance Ethnik. I’m in the middle of writing my new album, which is supposed to be out in Sept 2014 and is the most ambitious and certainly the best one yet. I’ve invited quite a few artists from the other side of the Atlantic and by doing so, have gone back to my first loves. I’m also working on a French Hip Hop project with Blanka (Jukebox Champions/ La Fine Equipe), which should be out in May 2014, as well as another compilation album of Beach Diggin’ with Mambo. The end of the year will see the album release of a new artist called Asagaya, whom I absolutely adore. It’s an album that I have partly produced. Asagaya deals with all the musical compositions, whilst I ensure its recognition.
Interview written December 16th in the sky between New York and Barcelona – Pura Vida.
Guts chose our #SundaySessions this week, click here for the playlist.