EXCLUSIVE! GALA OPENS HER HEART AND SHARES DETAILS OF HER LIFE.
I feel so proud to have a very interesting interview with Gala Rizzatto aka GALA. You probably known her for the Classic House music hits, such as “Freed From Desire”, “Let The Boy Cry”, among others. Well, the good news is that she’s back with more energy than ever before and has many new projects in mind. Read the full interview below.
1 – How did you get into House music?
When I was about 12 years old, I was told by an insensitive Italian doctor that I could not dance. Dance was my passion, it was the way I expressed myself. I would come home from kindergarden and primary school and the first thing I would ask my mother was to “put on the apple” (which meant to put on The Beatles’ vinyl records – they had a green apple on them and I would watch it spin on the vinyl player) so I could dance!
The day I was told that I could not dance something inside of me broke, it’s still in pieces now… I told myself that anything that I would live from that moment on was like a second life that I granted myself, but I didn’t really care about, because if it was for me I would rather die then. It wasn’t like: “I want to be a prima ballerina…” …it was worse, the doctor told me that I could not move too much in general in my life, try not to walk too much and dedicate myself to studying. I spent most my high school on books, reading and studying up to 12 hours a day. My body and my personality were born to live the exact opposite life, I was born to move, to dance, I still now have more energy then 20 years old kids…it’s just my nature, I am full of energy and it was almost a violence for me to have to spend those years sitting down.
On top of it, my parents were not religious, even if they came from religious families. So I didn’t have a church to go on Sundays, a community where to celebrate or pray… so the clubs became my church. Music is my world… 🙂
The clubs became the place where I would go to lose myself and find myself (In 2012 I wrote a song called: “Lose Yourself In Me“…that I realize now might have something to do with that desire to lose oneself…) I never did drugs, never tried any drug: cocaine, acids, ecstasy, mushrooms…nothing interested me, I just wanted to dance and listen to music and lose myself in a trance state… like the African dancer loses herself in the rhythms of the drums.
The clubs had the music, the kick drum that would vibrate inside me and the people of the night felt like me, outcasts.
At the time the clubs where different from clubs now, it wasn’t for everyone….it was the eccentric, the artists, the night “creatures” who came out at night in certain kind of clubs , the originals, the outcasts…NY in the early 90’s… the clubs were darker, no VIP areas or bottle of champagne and all that bullshit..it was the House music crowd, and now we are going back to that vibe, and I am very happy about it. (I also went through a period of more EDM remixes : the two singles I released “Lose Yourself In Me” and “Taste Of Me” had remixes more in that direction, and it was cool in that moment, but I never really cared much about those remixes and more about writing a good song and focusing on the original version, now with House and Deep House coming back in trend , I enjoyed the process of collaborating with DJs and doing remixes so much more.
In NY, as an art student in the early 90’s I started to dance again, forgetting all about what the doctor said and I started dancing Sabar, an African dance from Senegal, and other dances from Mali, Guinea, etc. The live sound of the drums reconnected me to rhythm, the essence of music, and dance.
“Freed From Desire” was dedicated to my first love, one of the younger dancers of the National Ballet of Senegal at the time…and his wonderful Senegalese community of dancers and drummers.
2 – How did you start the new year?
I was in Dakar, Senegal for New Year’s Day 2015 and I was supposed to go to Youssou Ndour concert but unfortunately I arrived too late and he was on stage already! I went into the crowd and just watched the show. Youssou Ndour didn’t know me or my face so he didn’t recognize me.
At one point Pape Moussa Sonko (best dancer in Senegal right now from the National Ballet Du Senegal who corresponded to my boyfriend twenty years before….) comes on stage to dance and he plays with the crowd; I start dancing with him from the crowd,
He was so surprised to see me dance Sabar that he called me up on stage and we started dancing together while Youssou Ndour was singing.
I left stage and Youssou’s friend started asking who I was. When he found out that I was Gala (my song was a hit in Senegal) he was able to let Youssou Ndour know that I was there (while he was performing for thousands of people) so Youssou called me up on stage again and I got to sing acapella a little bit of “Freed From Desire”, and I started 2015 like that! A magical coincidence!
The crazy thing is that my hit song was dedicated to the Senegalese dance community in NY and in particular to a guy who at the time was part of the National Ballet Du Senegal just as Pape Moussa! I was never before in Senegal and in 2015 we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of this song!
So I explained on stage this unbelievable magical coincidence and circle that closed for me… And what made me so damn happy is that I got on stage not for my name but for my uncontrollable need for dancing!!!
3 – In 1996 you released the song “Freed From Desire”. It was an unbelievable success played by all the Top Dance DJs. What is this song about?
The song is a Buddhist prayer. FREED FROM DESIRE, MIND AND SENSES PURIFIED.
As I explained in my previous answer, the clubs were my “church” and if I ever had a religion or philosophy of life, Buddhism would be probably the only philosophy that I could feel close to. So, you have no idea how is my pleasure when I see an entire club dancing and singing to these lyrics like a prayer.
I was and I am still shocked every single day by the injustice, the unfair distribution of wealth in the world. The night I wrote the song I went from a famous uptown restaurant in NY eating with some people I knew, to going back to my boyfriend in Harlem who was sleeping with other 5 people in a small house and even had big rats in the apartment.
But what was more interesting to me is that he and his friends were so much happier and had the life I dreamt of: playing music and dancing and having a community to support them, while the people uptown seemed so unhappy talking about the jewels they could not afford…and the frustrations they had about not getting a bigger house or boat, comparing themselves to richer friends.
“Freed From Desire” talks about this. Happiness is connected to how meaningful our lives are, not how much we have.
4 – From who do you take inspiration?
I am inspired by music itself. When I listen to great music I am inspired in many ways, I am inspired to be a better person and a better artist. Music can make you feel sexual if you weren’t feeling so, or hopeful when you were down, it can make you want to change the world, or cry..it’s incredible how powerful music is.
It’s not easy for me to listen to music because it can be too powerful actually… when I saw my first concert, it was Prince… and I was depressed for a year… because I felt I could not create what he created… I was in school and had to study greek, latin, math and philosophy, stuck to my desk… when I just wanted to drop it all and study music instead… but in Italy unless you were studying at he classical conservatory, there weren’t many possibilities to create and study music… and that’s another reason why the clubs were the place where I could find that energy… now I see all these famous artists coming from music schools like Berkley or the Brit School and I wish I had the possibility to go to such schools it would have been amazing.
5 – What are you working on at the moment?
I am looking for music collaborators to create something new and interesting. I have a great idea for a new project that involves also DJs and clubs but I am not sure I will have the budget and support to be able to make it, so I’m working on it… my dream is to mix genres (I love rock and blues, electro and house) I would like to create music that is eclectic, I normally create music like this, but the music that gets released and promoted is usually a genre that people can put into a box, my dream is to tour for two or three years straight with a band.
6 – Are you planning a concert tour?
I would love to… I think people don’t understand that without a label/manager and a booking agent it’s not easy to do it. People put me in the 90’s box and book me for 90’s events and I want to perform new music. it’s a constant struggle…I booked a show as a headliner show at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on my own, without a label or manager, it took me 3 months of work.
7 – Do you have any performance rituals before you go on stage?
Shower… In a hot shower, I go over the whole show in my head…I read Agassi’s bio and he did the same with a tennis match.
8 – What do you enjoy other than creating music?
9 – What was the worst song of the 90’s?
I didn’t like Eurodance… so all Eurodance for me wasn’t good. This is funny because I am known for that music, but it’s not what I listened to… I did like Deep House, underground House and Tribal House. I liked Le tigre, nirvana, etc.
10 – What do you miss most about the 90s?
I miss having met Steve Fargnoli who was Prince’s manager and he became my manager in 1998…I miss the support of someone professional and good, I never met another manager or label who understood me as he did and supported me.
I have been on my own since 2000, and it’s been lonely and not easy… but definetly a life lesson.
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Notaker’s Insights On His Debut Independent Album, ‘Echoes In Eternity’
In a candid interview, Notaker talks about the most important details behind his debut independent album, ‘Echoes In Eternity.‘ He offers his fans a glimpse into the inspiration and emotions that fueled its creation. Happy reading!
1 — In your words, how would you describe the sonic atmosphere of this new album, ‘Echoes In Eternity’?
I would describe it as otherworldly, outrun retro, or dimensional. Those are the kinds of ideas I really aimed at for this project.
2 — ‘Echoes In Eternity’ is an interesting album title. Can you share the story or concept behind choosing this name?
I’ve always liked the famous quote from Marcus Aurelius “What we do now echoes in eternity”. It parallels what I wanted to do with this album which was to make something timeless that I could look back on many years from now and feel proud to have created.
3 — How do you think this album engages listeners on an emotional level?
As it hasn’t been released yet I’m not quite sure. It certainly holds a lot of myself in the music and hopefully, those emotions that I felt creating the music will shine through to listeners when they hear the album.
4 — What steps did you take to connect and work with Danyka Nadeau and Eric Lumiere?
I knew Eric from a collaboration we created previously so it was very easy to reach back out to him and work again. Danyka and I met through her manager Daniel who thought we could create something awesome together, and he was very right. It was a true treat to work with both, they are amazing artists.
It’s much less confined to any parameter a label might impose upon my work. This is truly a raw and unfiltered look at my music. The most “me” thing I feel I’ve ever created.
6 — Is there any particular track in the album that holds a special meaning to you?
In a way they all are, it’s tough to choose. I think the “Illusion of Time” is very special as I got to make that with one of my friends Kyu who played the hand pan which I sampled for that song. Always great to create things with friends.
7 — How would you describe the evolution of your artistic style and sound as reflected in this album?
In a way it’s cyclical. Finding new things that sound nostalgic to me and then creating them in a new and interesting way. Hopefully, people can hear that in my sound, something new but also familiar.
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Öwnboss & Selva Dish On The Creation Of “RIOT” — Interview
Closing out the festival season with a bang, Brazilian talents Öwnboss and Selva team up on anthemic dance hit “RIOT” for their debut on the respected label Monstercat. Not only a mainstage monster, “RIOT” gears up to take on the virtual world as the official anthem in the latest Brazilian-themed season of the sports-based video game Rocket League.
We caught up with Öwnboss and Selva to go behind the scenes on the making of “RIOT.”
1 — First of all, how do you maintain a balance between staying true to your own unique style while collaborating and complementing each other’s musical style?
Selva: I think the fun part about collaborating is to mix things up and see what happens. That being said, presenting ideas with context, staying true to yourself, and respecting the collaborator’s input is the formula to create something interesting that you wouldn’t come up with yourself. For example, Öwnboss has his famous lead synth, but we never forced it in. The progression choices and the energy that builds up until the drop made that synth not only essential but also brought the power we needed for the drop!
Öwnboss: I would say that I don’t have much of that balance because I’d say I don’t follow only a single style, you know? My sound is what I like to play, what makes sense at the moment, and what makes me happy. Of course, “Move Your Body” is a track that defines me in a way and I’m very proud of it, but I always try to evolve and improve my productions, as happened here with Selva. “RIOT” had more than 10 versions that went through various musical styles, which speaks a lot to my trajectory as a producer as well. The final version was our favourite, and it brings a lot of who we are as musicians.
2 — “RIOT” is set to debut in Rocket League’s battle arenas. Is this the first time you have produced music for video games?
Öwnboss: That’s a good question because we didn’t really produce the song thinking about having it in a video game, but that’s exactly what happened in the end. I had the pleasure of having “Move Your Body” on the Formula 1 2022 soundtrack, I believe for the size the track has taken by playing on the stages worldwide. With “RIOT,” I think we were able to produce such an exciting, rebellious song…. almost like a generational anthem, that seeing it as a soundtrack for such an important and young game like Rocket League turns out to be a perfect fit. “RIOT” really has a feel of action and adrenaline.
Selva: Yes, for me it’s the first time. I still am getting used to hearing my kids across the house turning on Rocket League and hearing my song!
3 — What qualities do you like the most about the vocals on ‘RIOT’?
Selva: I think the vocals are the soul of this song. We built the song around it, and we worked really hard for the production to play the role of enhancing the power of those lyrics.
Öwnboss: I agree. I really like the contrast between the vocals of the children singing in a very high-pitched tone and Brian’s voice, more serious. I think it’s a very good balance since the sonorities complement each other. Another thing that catches me is this “battle anthem” vibe of hers, it feels half revolutionary, like… Pink Floyd. It had been a while since I’d received a vocal with this strength, and I believe that’s why this track became so important to us.
4 — Imagine you could incite a riot for change. What goal would you inspire people to stand up for?
Öwnboss: That’s a tough question to answer because the world needs a lot of change, so how do you choose the most important one? Or the most urgent. What comes first in my mind is a riot for people to be themselves, without being ashamed and without worrying about what others will think. Be yourself. I think it is a path of no return to freedom and happiness. Probably the world would be better and lighter if everyone could follow that.
Selva: Interesting question! I think once you create a song and put it out into the world, the meaning of it is no longer yours to choose. Everyone has a different life experience and people digest ideas and messages in a very singular way. At first, this song didn’t have a political angle, but it can absolutely have. I’d say: start a riot in your heart, soul, and mind.
5 — Öwnboss, your busy 2023 World Tour is currently underway. How does the release of “RIOT” fit into your tour’s momentum?
Öwnboss: The release of “RIOT” in the middle of my tour was very important because I was able to play the track on various stages around the world without it being released. People don’t know it, but the music captivates almost instantly, which makes it an important reinforcement for my sets. I see the audience eager to learn the lyrics. I can say “RIOT” certainly arrived at a good time.
Selva: I think of myself as a songwriter above anything, and I’m blessed enough to work with so many different accomplished and talented artists, including Öwnboss whom I have written a number of songs. “RIOT” is a special one for me, and it just felt right to represent this one by his side. I personally learned to trust my gut more than ever.
Öwnboss: RIOT is energetic, revolutionary, and catchy.
Selva: All revolutions start in the soul.
8 — Were there any specific elements that made the creation of this track particularly challenging?
Selva: The chorus. We knew the chorus was potent and strong, but it was challenging to “dose” it through the song. We did a bunch of versions in order to land one that we felt delivered the chorus without being repetitive and enhanced it.
Öwnboss: Yeah, the vocals, for sure. And the collaboration with a children’s choir, which is the “extra touch” and makes it different from anything that I’ve ever produced before.
9 — What specific role did you play while working on “RIOT”?
Öwnboss: The lyrics were written by Brian, so my main role was to help set the musicality of the track, creating a climax on the chorus and the revolutionary footprint we wanted for it. Then, another challenge of ours was to integrate the high-pitched voice of the children’s choir with the other elements of the track, so that it would be dense, dynamic and keep the rebellious tone.
Selva: As mentioned I was on the songwriting. I dove in on the production as well later on, but I’d say I mainly focused on melody and lyrics and let my main man Öwnboss do his thing and create the whole context and drop.
10 — If a future collaboration opportunity arises, what new things would you be interested in exploring?
Selva: I’d like to have another go at exploring a RIOT-like anthemic chorus again, maybe in a higher BPM.
Öwnboss: Each collaboration is the reflection of the moment that I’m living. After that everything changes, so I think it’s hard to answer this question. I will always explore what is true and meaningful to me in that moment, so my music can speak to others.
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.