Last week I had the pleasure of catching up with Blake Byrd from the band FLOCK. Their new single “Date or Dance” is already out streaming on Spotify - if you’re up for some high energy pop with a feel good groove that’ll take you back to your High School Prom (or even to your forthcoming engagement!) - you gotta check it out - it’s a blast.
As a music curator, I'm sent a lot of music. But every so often, I'm hit with something that completely stops me in my tracks. Dutch producer SWACQ's remix of 'Faded Away' by Sweater Beats & Icona Pop is well and truly Music to Save the World! (you can read about why here,) and has rightly been our featured track for the month of October.
With a catalogue that spans a huge range of styles and includes collaborations with the likes of Tiësto, Nicky Romero and Justin Mylo -not to mention the frequent spins on the iconic Hardwell on Air collections - SWACQ is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the world of electronic music…
So Simon it goes without saying that you a real bonafide Doctor of The Funk, so if you could cure anything in the music industry today, what would it be, I’d personally eradicate the epidemic of the use of autotune vocals.
“Yeah, autotune as an overblown effect can go. Unless you're rocking some super silky Herbie Hancock Future Shock vocoder skills - then you can stay. As with any industry there's a ton of things that need change, but it would be nice to wave a magic wand and cure the lack of diversity for starters”
Thanks for answering a few questions for Music To Shake A Hoof, 20 years in the game with numerous singles, four albums with a further one on the way, (Lab Experiments Vol 2) you’ve always featured some great guest vocalists and I’m personally loving the collaboration with ‘Kaiit’ on new single ‘Warning’ so what can we expect on the new album.
Eight tracks of heat! Seriously though, instrumentally, Vol. 2 has a tasty mix of jump up breakbeat jams (for the b-boys and b-girls) and some grittier, more cinematic numbers. Vocally, aside from our collab with the fabulous Kaiit,…
When ‘Blackout’ first landed in my inbox, I was absolutely taken aback by its sheer atmospheric depth, sonic unpredictability and masterful production quality. There was no doubt that I needed to meet the mind behind the music, Pynk64 – aka Frank Iengo. Frank has been active in the music industry for almost two decades, and in that time his musical dealings have spanned house, chillout, pop, hip hop, R&B, soundtracks and movie scores and, in his own words, ‘anything else that inspires me’. Frank has been involved in numerous projects during his artistic tenure, including Surfers, Aguadulce, Nevrotype, Dynamicode, Relaxingvibe, and of course, Pynk64…
So tell us how many versions of hot sauce did you have to cook up before you got that ‘just right’ taste.
Hot Sauce was more or less straight out of the pan, with a bit of seasoning along the way. Most of my beats start with a main section (8 bar loop for example) I build this up until it feels right and full. At this stage I then create other sections of the beat and arrange it. Next is removing elements to refine and clear out the unnecessary juices. Get the basic flavours working together but don't over season... There's nothing worse than an over salty dish…
Last week I had the pleasure of once again chatting with UK Producer Matt Jenko about his new release, Himalaya. This is the second track released through the new Music to label and we're super stoked to have Matt on board.
“To whoever is reading this, I implore you to look for music that goes beyond what is mainstream. Find artists who are really making things because they're passionate about the music and the creation process, not because they want clout or money or whatever. There are so many amazing artists out there that are struggling to make ends meet because the big blogs or labels aren't giving them a chance because they're not a surefire money maker like these trashy money-machine artists…
And here we are with the artist of this week. The guy who brought us a new anthem to sing with “God Gave Rock and Roll”, but making it clear in half the time. Nothing against Argent, but is a good point when the message can be sent a bit shorter...
This week's Music Curator chat is with Tommi from the Music to Celebrate Life playlist. It's another wide ranging discussion looking at the problems associated with territory restrictions in the digital age - the challenge of how to listen to all the music that's being submitted to a great chat on the nature of song writing and what makes a great lyric - it's great stuff - thanks Tommi!
Talking to musicians, even only via email, is such a treat, especially when they can offer pleasant things such as humor and real insight. Van Tastik, an American expat living in Europe, offered just that in our brief conversation on the internet. I’ve selected his song “Drag Me to Hell” for the Music to Conquer Mountains playlist (link to song here please). Because the song is just so damn interesting, Spotify even selected him for its Delta Blues Playlist. I wanted to talk to Van Tastik about all that - his songwriting, being an expat and the power of streaming. Check it out!
Apostle is a new rising talent from London, England, whose debut single "Dakota Thunder Rising" came out right before Christmas. It's a brilliant pop song with a very thought-provoking and poetic lyric – one of those songs that stay with you even after you've taken your headphones off and gone to bed.
Impressed by the songwriting talent of this young man, I asked for an interview and was granted one. I was excited. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about Apostle and more importantly, spread the word about him and his music. And no, the irony of becoming a messenger of the messenger (the definition of the word "apostle") did not escape me.
Nigel Powell is a pretty sincere man. Although I only got to interview him via email, his answers ring with a clarity and honesty that’s pretty damn impressive. His portfolio is pretty impressive, also. He’s been a part of Frank Turner’s touring band The Sleeping Souls for ever now and working on several projects on when he’s not on the road. The Sad Song Co. is the one project where he’s most himself and doesn’t depend on the vision of others. Powell’s new record Worth is due February 9, 2018. It’s a collection of songs that flow seamlessly into one another, in spite of the impressive eclectic songwriting style he displays. While a solemn prog rock vibe is the thread holding them together, Powell plays with whimsical pop arrangements, minimal synthesizer rhythms and sweeping guitar solos to craft his intricate music.
Q: You use a lot of spiritual imagery in your lyrics. How does religion influence your songwriting?
Dylan Dunlap released his new EP "Feels Right at Home" almost two months ago. His past EPs and Album shows all the potential of this 21 year old multi-instrumentalist, but more importantly they show his way of singing about life and his way of verbalising himself to the world. This is why I think he's a perfect example of the idea of Music To Open Another Door.