There’s so much to talk about “Item For Sale” by April And The Drift. It has a sound so unique and captivating that, once you have started listening to it, you’ll realise it’s filled with pure emotions through intimate lyrics. Who would have imagined that this musical project would be born thanks to an online ad? Well, their music is inspired by so many different styles that it’s not easy to slot them into a genre box. Take a bit of your time to enjoy this exclusive interview.
1 — How are you feeling about the release of your latest single “Item For Sale”?
I feel like it turned out pretty well, it’s always a journey to be happy with the final sound and production of any song since there are so many ways you can do it, and also because we both like to keep a pretty free approach to it. In other words, we like to just keep the feeling as our guide to get us through to the ending, above everything else. If we feel like we’ve captured the feeling both Fidel and I usually end up pretty satisfied.
2 — I noticed there’s an eclectic approach to this song. Can you tell us more about your creative process?
One of my favourite musical quotes ever has always been one by Billie Holiday as she said it so perfectly I think “if it’s got no feeling to it, then, I don’t know what you’re doing but it isn’t music” that’s the main aim of both Fidel and I too, for me in terms of writing it and capturing it in a song, and secondly for Fidel to feel it too, and putting his creative spin on it as well.
He comes from a Jazz background and we both like to keep it as free as possible like good Jazz should be, like Billie said it too so well, I never try to sing a song in the exact same way every time, also when we practice, the main aim is just the feeling, if I tried to make it sound the same way every single time I do it, I feel it’s like Billie said again so well, you’ll be stepping into the danger zone of losing the feeling and if you lose that well, then we must be circus clowns or something because it can’t be music we’re doing anymore. We never really know what genre we’re really doing for that reason too, and I don’t care too much about what you call it really, it’s just a name anyway, we’re just happy when we feel that we’ve captured the feeling and for me as a songwriter, the message of the song I’m trying to convey as well, although the interpretation of it is of course always up to the mind of the individual listener.
3 — Do you plan to drop a music video?
No, not at the moment, although we’re planning on doing that with our next release “Let Your Hair Down” in May and definitely “Waves Brush In” in June. But I suppose nothing is set in stone. Do you think we should?
Yes. All my songs are inspired by and based on my very real life. Many things inspired this song really, and it’s hard for me to explain apart from how it’s just a feeling. But one specific experience I might feel like adding is how I was sitting on a bench outside school one afternoon, having a herb cigarette, when two pretty young girls dressed in their gym clothes came out from the coffee shop and started taking photographs of one of their newborn babies and themselves, and I couldn’t help but feeling really unnerved by the scenario because it honestly looked like they were treating that baby more like an object than a little human being with its own individual soul to look good on Instagram or Facebook I’m assuming.
It’s again hard for me to explain what it was about their mannerism that gave me that a little bit disturbing feeling in my stomach, but I guess it was just the way they were tossing and throwing it around while doing different poses with their perfectly symmetrically shaped buttocks involved also of course. I think there is a big difference between consciously choosing to belong to someone compared with being born into the situation and being forced into those shoes, especially when you’re too small to understand what’s even happening or being done to you. It can be a really beautiful thing too though, and I think we all need to belong to something or someone we love, to feel happy and fulfilled in life.
5 — Was the making of this song different from others because of COVID-19?
No, not really I suppose if anything I wrote it with more ease than I usually do, as I’ve written songs now for quite a while too without getting too interrupted by a thousand other distractions of life, so I’m in that mindset, which makes it much easier for me to focus on getting inspired by something that attracts me, as well as painlessly completing it; and the COVID-19 kind of allowed us more space than ever to reach the end-product than I think we’ve ever been privileged enough to experience at any time before.
6 — After this pandemic, will you participate in festivals or do shows?
We hope to get there one day before we die. We haven’t really done it before because you need a pretty large repertoire to be able to deliver a live concert but I think we’re getting closer to that target than ever before.
7 — How did you meet each other?
On an online advertisement. Fidel was looking to get better at producing songs and was looking to find some practice dolls for it, and I always loved to write songs from a pretty early age and thought it sounded fun to get some of them recorded for free. I remember the first time I sang into a microphone what a scary strange experience it was compared with just singing to myself on the piano. Little did I know he was going to end up becoming my tutor in music, and some other things, but mainly in singing and songwriting too. I had to teach him to get back to his earlier roots of music though as well as he had been caught up a lot in doing robotica “modern music” I like to call it. It took me a year I think to convince him to do just a pure acoustic arrangement for one of my songs if not longer after we met up again two years later after I had finished a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
8 — What’s the funniest anecdote you have from producing music?
He once produced some dogs barking, cats meowing and some magpies chirping and put it together as an assemble for the animals.
9 — If you were not musicians what would you be?
Garbage police officers possibly. Or some humble servants of the animals of some kind.
10 — What else can we expect from April And The Drift for the next months?
Our next release is a Reggae release, it’s more classic Reggae this time than our previous stunts, although Fidel has of course put his own artistic spin on it. Then in June we’re hoping to finally get a Folky acoustic guitar song recorded to our liking, one I’ve written now a long long long time ago but we just can’t seem to get it right each time we try. We’re halfway there so there’s hope for the second part of it. In July, we’ve got some more Jazzy Reggae coming. And in August, surprise, we got some more Reggae coming as well, a little bit gypsy Fidel says it is. In September we’re hoping to get an old one I’ve written now almost a year ago, Paperback Station, finally completed to the liking of both of us as well. I think it’s Jazz but I’m not sure Fidel agrees with me.
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Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”
You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.