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Calzo Houdini Interview 2016

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Calzo Houdini Interview 2016
Calzo Houdini
has been involved in different projects with Empire of the Sun, Peter, Bjorn and John, The Streets and a few others… He’s clearly a talented producer who opens up about his passion for music in this exclusive interview. Don’t miss a word of this creative artist who has a lot to offer!!!

1 – How long have you been producing and how long does it take to produce a track?

I have been producing music professionally on and off for almost 10 years. Starting around 2007 I had a label which became a sub of Warner Music Group (WMG) and then part of BKKMG Records in Thailand. The time put into a track varies. If I’m making my own tracks I’d say anywhere between 2-4 weeks per track. That will sound like a long time to some producers but I take breaks in-between so I’m not burning myself out, plus I have other work commitments. If I’m producing music for another artist it really depends on the style of music, what they expect of me and their deadline.

2 – What is your state of mind when you produce a track?

There are long periods of time when I’m not in the mood to make music. It’s either a lack of motivation or I’m too busy. I’m easily distracted when I’m sitting in my studio so if a track isn’t working I’ll start a new one and see what comes out after an hour or so. If I like what I hear I’ll focus on that track for a few sessions which will hopefully turn into a finished song. So to answer your question, my mind is always wandering all over the place. I have 5 hard drives full of unfinished tracks.

3 – You are also into DJing and what genres do you play?

I have tried DJ-ing a few times but again I’m easily distracted and lose sight of what I’m doing. I start enjoying the music and atmosphere a little too much and can’t focus. I prefer to listen to the music rather than concentrating on making sure people are having a good time. We record DJ live streams in my studio every now and then but I hand over the DJ reigns to my friend Ron who really knows what he’s doing whilst me and Valerio play around with the cameras and make sure the audio is on point. It’s mostly Deep House and Dance music I guess. A few of our past live streams are on my YouTube channel.

4 – You lived in Thailand, How good is the nightlife and the electronic music scene over there?

Thailand has a massive choice of clubs and bars depending on your taste in music. For electronic music the larger clubs in Bangkok cater to more mainstream dance, EDM and house music. I’d recommend checking out Levels nightclub in Bangkok if you are ever over there. I loved Bedsupper Club in Bangkok but they had to close it down in 2013. They had a lot of top DJ’s and artists playing there every few months. My wife Chelsea and I used to live in Pattaya where they have club 808, MIXX and Lucifers which all have a stream of great DJ’s and live bands playing every night, resident DJ Andy P from Manchester being one of my favourites. I play his mixes on my radio shows, great stuff. Look him up on Facebook.

5 – Tell me about your work with Empire of The Sun? Was it easy or hard work?

It initially started when I produced a remix of the PNAU track ‘With You Forever’ which has Luke Steele on vocals, who at the time was in a band called The Sleepy Jackson. Luke then later created Empire of The Sun with Nick Littlemore who was in PNAU. Randomly out of the blue my remix was played by Swedish House Mafia on BBC Radio 1’s takeover show about a year after I released the remix. Someone in their camp heard it and I got to work on small bits and pieces with them on their second album ‘Ice On The Dune’ about 4 years later!

6 – Where can we listen to your new EP ‘One Man Room’? Are you planning to release a music video?

The new EP is available to buy from all of the usual digital retailers and on Spotify if you want to stream it. I wanted to release a vinyl but that’s something I’ll keep for an album. There won’t be a full-length music video for the EP. I filmed a short promo for the title track which is on my YouTube channel but nothing on the EP really warrants a full-on music video.

7 – Do the lyrics tell a story? Who provides the vocals on this EP?

When I set out to make the EP I planned to have the tracks flow together and tell a story but the deeper I got into it the more I realised that I just wanted to release a collection of songs that I had finished and enjoyed making, which is why it doesn’t fit together like an album would. There are a few artists providing vocals on the EP. The majority of the vocals are from the super talented Stevie Adams and Holly Drummond. You can find Stevie’s EP on Spotify and her videos on YouTube and Holly does a lot of studio session work. Both great artists in their own right. When we were recording vocals in my studio Stevie was bringing melodies to the tracks that I would never have dreamt of. She’s a great singer and songwriter. Keep your eye out for her.

8 – As an artist, do you share every aspect of your life with the Internet?

Ha! No. Musicians, actors, performers and artists all have to share a certain amount of themselves with “the internet”. It’s 2016 and the media industry is driven by the internet whether the big labels and studios like it or not. As loathsome as self-promotion is for both the artist and their followers it’s a large part of getting your music out there. There’s only so much a record label or publisher can do for you. An actor is obliged to promote their movie, why shouldn’t a musician tweet about their music? When it comes to personal stuff, I enjoy posting photo’s of my wife looking at menus in restaurants and videos of my cat but that’s probably as much of my family life as I’ll share with the internet. No one is really interested in the personal stuff, although I have been asked some strange questions over the last few years, mainly from Empire of The Sun fans.

9 – You produced a free a track for the IBIZA Together Week Parties, who is it aimed at?

I was contacted by a promoter for the IBIZA Together Week and asked to create a track and video that would be played in and around the weeks events. It was intended to be played more as background music or as an art piece that would be projected on screens in bars whilst everyone is chilling out and having a few drinks. So I guess it’s just there to keep people motivated and in the mood when they are socialising before they head out to see the big DJ acts in the clubs. I like to think of it as elevator music. The kind of music that you hear in the background but it sticks in your subconscious. Something you would remember if you heard it a few months later but couldn’t quite place where you had heard it. That’s the idea. It’s fun making quick off the cuff house tracks like that. Easy. Plus I’ve never been into the whole Ibiza scene, I’m a recluse. It would be amazing to be there and hear the track being played poolside but I’m in no rush. I made it and it’s over there being heard by someone, somewhere, that’s enough for me.

10 – What days are you live on your online radio show?

The radio shows are on a hiatus at the moment until I get other work out of the way but I would love to bring it back with some real DJ’s, hosts, and guests. I’d like to incorporate our DJ live streams and make it a monthly event. It’s something I’m working towards but it’s difficult to keep a schedule when there are so many other projects on the go. It’s a matter of sitting down with my friends Ron and Valerio and building something where we can feature new artists and local talent. I think there would be a huge interest for something like that, especially if we keep it local to start with. The guys at the Boiler Room do it perfectly.

11 – We know you’ve worked on film scores, In what kind of film does your music fit?

The first original film score I produced was a single track for Gerard Butler’s film production company back in 2011. It was intended for the end credits of the movie Playing the Field. My track was dropped from the movie when the producers decided to change the title of the movie to Playing for Keeps. Somehow my track no longer fits into the end credits and that was the only shot I’ve ever had at a “Hollywood” movie. I still haven’t seen the film but I know Andrea Guerra would have put together a great score for it. For the last year or so I have been sporadically working on a score for a Swedish independent movie called Spare Change. I’m looking forward to releasing the album for that soon. I love pulling together strings and orchestration and then watching real musicians play it. Magical.

12 – What’s your favorite song you’ve ever produced? Why?

That’s a tough one. I think it would probably have to be when I wrote orchestration and produced the remix of ‘The Streets’ (Mike Skinner) track ‘Everyone Has Something to Hide’ from his last release as ’The Streets’ ‘Computers and Blues and Cyberspace and Reds’. Shoutout to Tess, Jamie, Shep, Ozzie, Rod, Emma & Adam Dempsey. Good times.

13 – Do you find that most of the people you meet in the world of music have quite bad taste in music?

I’m not sure I understand what ‘bad taste in music’ is? I think there is an ear for everything out there. There are genuine people in charge of the industry who have no interest in even being associated with the music side of the process. Businessmen who can’t decide what music they enjoy because they don’t understand the concept of music. As one of my hero’s, Gene Wilder, once said, “Show-business… I like show, but I don’t like the business.”. Music is subjective but at least let the creative ones produce, influence and direct the industry. The same goes for the art world, comic books, movies, and radio industries. Everyone needs to back off, let people who know what they are doing get it done. Business men will always reap the benefits regardless but at least talent flourish and grow without being restricted by sociopathic old men with money and fuck all else to do with their time. I dunno, it’s a vicious circle of the industry. Keep on, keeping on.

14 – What’s your label’s plan for making you a more commercial-oriented artist?

I’ve never been interested in becoming a commercial artist. My label primarily focuses on building K-Pop bands and Asian rock bands. I knew that from the beginning and I’m happy to just have an output to get my music out there to the few who want to hear it. It’s fun. My music performs pretty well in Asia but I have no intentions of trying to be anything other than a guy from Edinburgh who makes music in his bedroom.

15 – Which artist would you like to collaborate with?

Paul Buchanan. Single greatest songwriter of all time in my opinion. Please look him up on Spotify and if you meet him in Glasgow, tell him I’m asking for him. He was part of the 80’s band The Blue Nile. Their music is phenomenal.

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Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Interviews

M.D. Chau Opens Up About Music And New Song “Stand Next To Me”

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M.D. Chau

M.D. Chau is a recording artist and music producer previously known as “Minh.” Today he shares a beautiful single titled “Stand Next To Me,” which carries a message of hope for humanity and a better world. Learn more about him in this interview.

1 — When exactly did you change your artistic name?

With the “Stand Next To Me” release, I decided to change my artist name to M.D. Chau. The main reason is there are so many Vietnamese artists named “Minh” and I just couldn’t come up with some clever name that was congruent with who I am.

2 — Musically speaking, are there any differences between Minh and M.D. Chau?

I think the difference is I’m no longer chasing fame or wealth in my music endeavors. I do well in business and I really don’t need much from the industry or even people in terms of approval or accolades. I want to make honest music and use sounds I personally enjoy. Under “Minh” I was trying to find “my sound” mostly because the industry forced that kind of thinking. Now, I don’t really care about any of that. And the music I make, I don’t need it to become popular.

3 — Do you still see yourself pursuing music as a career or a hobby?

The world may correlate or validate a “career” in art with monetary gain and not for the frequency of works being released by the artist. I don’t look at it that way. It’s always been a career for me and will continue to be, but it’s part of my entrepreneurial career – it’s a creative venture within the whole of my entrepreneurial life and my goals.

4 — Are you ever stuck for what record to make next?

Not personally, as far as creative direction or ideation. If something is not being created, it usually has to do with the time and resources I need to get what I want to create out. I have two songs now in the works and I’m letting it sit a bit so I can come back to it with an evolved perspective. One is called “Good To Me” and one is called “Broken Inside”, both of which I wrote in the studio when I decided to just book the room and see what comes out.


5 — Do you ever worry about staying relevant?

I think everyone does and I do too. I would say that it matters less the older I get and the more I realize how true that opening line from “Ted” the movie is… “No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber, or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit.”

6 – Your latest single “Stand Next To Me” is awesome! What are the lyrics about?

With the lyrics, I wanted to draw attention to the one thing I think we all have in common as humanity, no matter what our differences are… we want to see our families do well and not hurt. I feel like if we can all get around that, we might just gain enough empathy to come together and figure out a middle ground and stop hurting each other’s families. Because of all this hate and division, that’s all it’s doing. I hope the song can somehow be used to bring us together. If I can get the resources and connections I need, I’d love to do an essay and songwriting contest about unity in middle schools and high schools across the country with a scholarship prize with the theme “Stand Next To Me.”

7 – Who or what inspired you to write this song?

All the Asian hate crimes happening as well as the injustices happening to pretty much every race across our globe. I also always had a vision in my head of all the moms in the world that work so hard for their families, including my mom. And when we act like horrible human beings, we shame them – we shame the family that has been sacrificing so much for us. For another person, it may not be a mother – it may be their father, uncle, grandma, etc… we have to do better as humans, for our family’s sake.


8 – Did you collaborate with a gospel choir? Tell us more about your experience.

The pianist on my song is also an incredible music director, Rashad Howard. He’s played for some big names in music. He also plays in churches, so when I wanted a choir sound, he got some choir singers from a church he plays for and that’s what we came up with in the studio in a session. They did an incredible job!

9 – Are you already working on your next single?

Yes, there are two I’m working on that I mentioned in the previous question. But, I’m also thinking about re-doing some of the songs from when I was “Minh” and released five albums. Some of those songs I think deserve a new musical effort behind them.

10 – If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I don’t think artists and songwriters are being compensated enough to make a living, yet songs permeate every aspect of our lives. I wish entrepreneurs could figure out a way to reward artists in their ventures that use music as a vehicle. I don’t think you can expect consumers to step up. I think business people need to consider the hard work behind every piece of music released for their use. I think artists also need to understand that if there’s not a marriage between art and commerce, none of us would be inspired by any of the artists that have influenced us – and that’s true in every artform! Many artists are too difficult when it comes to commercializing their art and they don’t reach someone that probably really needs a piece of what is coming out of them.


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Interviews

Interview | Questions & Answers With Cultural Vultures

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Cultural Vultures

Danny Schneider aka Cultural Vultures is hoping to become the opening act for Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas via Audacy’s new competition. The winner will perform in the biggest concert of the year at the Hollywood Bowl. Get to know the artist better through this interesting interview.

1 — Did you begin playing drums or guitar just as you hit your teens?

Guitar has been my go-to instrument of choice, although I love the piano as well. Drums have always been intriguing to me and love beats and movement. Music takes me to a different place. It opens up parts of my brain that normal thought can’t access.

2 — How have you changed musically over the years?

Well, when I was younger I would listen differently than I do now. I would definitely not overthink or overcomplicate a song and just love it for what it was. Now I’m listening to all of the delicate intricacies that make a song. The arrangement, the melodies. Figuring out the key by just listening. I try to pick out all of the subtle instruments in the songs that you don’t know you are hearing. The melody in a lyric, etc.

3 — What do all your songs have in common?

People have gotten away from albums. Now people listen to a single song because of the platform they are on. I’ll write an entire album and although each song is separate there is a flow and they are all connected by sound. My songs as a whole usually tell a story collectively throughout the album. I will also use the same theme musically. For instance, in my songs, I have a huge orchestral element that I wrote for each song. All of the songs on the albums will have this because even though it’s a Rock song, to me it has to flow with the album. Like a DJ in a club, the transition from one song to the next should be seamless.

4 — Which musician other than yourself have you ever wanted to be?

I don’t think anyone wants to be someone else. There are musicians I admire Like Brian Eno, Trent Reznor, Bjork, and Tricky. I’d say in my opinion Prince was the greatest guitarist the world has seen. Even better than Hendrix. Prince’s biggest downfall was he was brilliant in every instrument so it overshadowed how incredible a guitarist he was.

5 — Is “Catch Hell For Comfort” your all-time favorite song from your catalog?

I am proud of that song and it’s been the one most people know me for. It’s not my favorite though, there are a few I’ve written but haven’t released yet which inspire me and make me giddy at times. As far as ones I’ve written and released I’d say “Time”, or “Surreal Sister” would be my favorites. Time builds on itself like you are walking up a mountain, then in a moment it’s like you are caught in an avalanche and you are falling. “Surreal Sister” to me is a beautiful yet fast-paced song that I love.

6 — Who would you dedicate these lyrics to?

There are those in my past who’ve moved me or made me feel certain ways. I’ll just say they are real truths I’ve experienced in my life and leave it at that.


7 — Are you currently signed to a record label?

I was the first artist signed to WatchMojo’s new record label SoundMojo. They primarily released my music videos though not my albums. So I would say as far as that is concerned I’m not signed to a label.

8 — We know you’re running to open for Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas at the Hollywood Bowl. Please tell us more.

Well, I was picked with several other bands to open for both of those bands but it’s a voting thing. I would need my fans to vote on Theopenact.com for it to happen. We will see what happens. I just love performing and getting lost in the music on stage.


9 — Do you have any special ritual to prepare your voice before performing live?

Haha, usually I’ll sing loud in my car trying to stretch those vocal muscles. Typically I’ll sing a lot of Mad Season songs, I’ve always loved Layne Staley’s voice.

10 — What else can we expect from Cultural Vultures for the rest of the year?

Well, I’m doing a couple more music videos, a live studio performance, and working on the fourth album. We will see what’s next, I’m always ready to keep working and living this adventure.


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Interviews

The Two Fake Blondes Drop A String Of Hot Remixes, Full Interview Here

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The Two Fake Blondes

The Two Fake Blondes is a husband-and-wife duo based in Seattle, Washington. Since the release of their debut album ‘Out Of The Darkness,’ they’ve been gaining momentum across the electronic music scene. In this interview, we discuss their recent remixes and much more…

1 — Why did you decide to release a string of the remixes?

We really wanted to continue to breathe life into our album, and we thought – what better way to do that than calling up a few of our awesome friends and asking them to offer their own interpretations to songs off of our album via a remix?!

2 — How did these collaborations take shape?

When ‘Out Of The Darkness’ was released last fall, we already had three out of the four artists in mind that we wanted to get involved on remix duty. So in that process, we reached out and asked them to choose a song from the album that stuck out to them. Each of them came back with a song choice and really meaningful reasons on why they chose the song that they did. On the fourth remix, Sherm actually reached out to us explaining how much “Alone” spoke to him on a personal level and how instantly he knew he wanted to remix it.

3 — From a production standpoint, were things done drastically different with each remix?

Yes, each remix was drastically different from the original, which we loved! The most consistent aspect was Hannah’s vocal, but otherwise, everyone tapped into their own magnificent creative workflow and delivered remixes that blew us away. We couldn’t be happier with each one.

4 — All of them sound pretty dope, which one is good for clubs and festivals?

We’ve got Sherm’s Tech-House remix, which is guaranteed to go off at the clubs. Yabe’s Deep House would be a sick poolside party track. Deadman’s Future House remix would surely blow the speakers out on a festival stage and finally, you’ve got Neon Feather’s epic Synthwave/House track that you could listen to literally anywhere. It’s such a good range!

5 —How would you describe your role during the creative process?

When it came to these remixes, we just took our hands off the wheel and handed the keys over to the remixers. Because we were fans of each of their music already, (and had already worked with some) we knew we wouldn’t be getting anything less than fantastic from each of them. We did make tweaks for the final mixes, but otherwise, it was all them.


6 — What philosophy guides your music career?

Hard work and joy. We love to hustle and work hard, it’s literally in each of our DNA – it’s so fun for us! We love seeing results, we love reaping the rewards BUT at the end of the day – are we healthy? Are we burnt out? How is our marriage? We also try to see everything we do music-wise through our fans’ points of view. There’s nothing that makes us happier (when it comes to music) than being up on stage sharing incredible moments with the audience and getting to chat with them after. We’re here to give them an escape and hopefully enhance their lives in some way, big or small. We try to recreate that with our social media experience as well. We love our music fam!

7 — Do you believe being a husband-wife duo makes things easier while working together at the studio?

We’ve built our relationship on mutual respect, trust, and communication. We had no idea how much these traits would translate into the studio! We both also know each of our strengths so we don’t need to step on each other’s toes. We take credit for everything together equally, even if at the end of the day we know who did what. Haha! Ego is always left at the door when we head into the studio.

8 — Have you ever worked on solo projects separately?

Yes, Pete was just Petey Mac for a long time, producing House and Tech-House. Hannah was actually a Country music artist (Hannah Michelle Weeks) for almost two decades!

9 —So far, what’s the best feedback you’ve received about your debut album ‘Out Of The Darkness’?

Besides the positive comments from our fans on social media and personal stories from our remixers, I think the coolest thing has been seeing how many “saves” the songs are getting on Spotify. We all know, you really really have to like a song to make the effort to hit that heart! We’ve had so many amazing blog write-ups as well and feel so abundantly grateful for our supporters in the press.

10 — Musically speaking, what are your plans for the upcoming months?

We are actually having a baby in about 6 weeks! We are going to take some time off of social media and really soak up these last few weeks before parenthood begins – we cannot wait to meet our baby boy! For the rest of the year, we will be writing and working on brand new music for 2023 and working on booking our Summer tour for 2023 as well.


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