David Haerle tells us his own story, reveals musical influences and talks about the new single “Finding Natalie”. A pretty nice song we’re digging at the moment. Definitely, if you pay attention to the lyrics its emotional component will make you remember your first crush! 💕
1 — What’s your general taste in music?
I really love a lot of different music, but my taste developed and unfolded in phases. As a kid, I remember riding in the car with my dad around Los Angeles and hearing David Bowie’s “Fame” on the radio. I thought now THAT’S cool! His voice, the groove, the background vocals, the band, I loved everything about it. If asked to name my favorite album of all time, I would say Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’. Then there were all the AM radio singles at the time by groups like The Commodores, K.C. and The Sunshine Band, Wild Cherry, Hall and Oates, to name a few, and of course, disco. Then I gravitated towards rock and hard rock, more specifically bands and artists with great lead guitar playing: Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple were all early inspirations of mine, especially with respect to guitar. I also loved The Cars, and then many, many bands and hits of the 80s.
My mother’s parents, and my father, had backgrounds in the country music business, and I have very early musical memories of hearing Johnny Cash’s live recording of “A Boy Named Sue” and Tanya Tucker’s “San Antonio Stroll”. Eventually, I developed a passion for my dad’s great love, country music. Artists like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, and also great bluegrass artists, especially those who recorded for CMH Records, the record label my father co-founded with Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith and which I continue to run today.
Over the years my ears would be turned on by so many great artists, I can’t give you a complete list, but here are a few in no particular order: Stereolab, N.W.A., The Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, The Avalanches, Convoy and Anita O’Day.
2 — How many years have you been active in the music world?
Professionally, over 29 years. I had been a music agent for around 2 years at International Creative Management (ICM) when my dad passed away suddenly. I decided to quit that career and take over CMH Records. I have been president of that company now for over 27 years. This does not count starting on guitar around age 13, playing in bands at parties and clubs around Los Angeles in my teenage years, and so forth. Around seven years ago I began working part-time at the label and spending my other working time writing and recording music. It was around that same time that I began work on what would become Garden Of Edendale.
Though I will gladly accept a Grammy if offered one, and would excitedly share news of topping a chart, I would say my goals are more along the following lines: Write the best songs and make the best music I can, with the skills and abilities that I have, and share that music with friends, with loved ones and with the public. I’d be thrilled if my music achieved some measure of commercial success and/or critical praise, as those are forms of acknowledgment that make you feel pretty good. It lets you know that what you have done has connected with someone, somewhere, and thus what you have done has had a purpose beyond yourself. I was very excited to hear that Electro Wow was liking what I am doing and wanted to do this interview with me.
The other day a childhood friend and fellow musician I respect wrote me a long e-mail with quite a lot of detail concerning how he liked my album. That felt quite wonderful and, truthfully, it’s hard to imagine that feeling being topped.
4 — What came first when composing “Finding Natalie,” the music or the lyrics?
The music came first, I had a chord structure and melody for the verse and the chorus, and had an instrumental jam developing.
Sometime after I developed the music I attended an alumni reunion at a school I went to in Los Angeles. I was a student there from kindergarten through third grade. At the reception, I noticed they had a table stacked with old yearbooks. I went over and began flipping through pages looking for Natalie.
Sure enough, there she was, smiling in those old photos. We were in the same class for 4 years before I switched schools. I was looking through the later yearbooks trying to find out how long she stayed after I left. She was there until 8th or 9th grade.
Natalie was my crush, or perhaps I should say, my first love. I started imagining what it would be like to find Natalie again, to tell her after all these years what she meant to me. The chance to tell her she was my first love would be fulfilling because that was not something I was able to do at the time. I was too young. Too afraid of my own feelings.
She wasn’t at the reunion, but the phrase “Finding Natalie” stuck with me. I knew it would go perfectly with the melody and chord progression I had been working on. I debuted the song at a live performance in Los Angeles at an event I love called Strong Words.
5 — I noticed there’s a classic rock feel to it. Are there any legendary bands that inspired your style?
I know I am influenced by classic rock bands and artists, especially those who would have instrumental sections, jams and/or guitar solos in their songs; where the drums, bass, lead guitar and other instruments would let loose on a particular chord progression or musical idea. My love for that is in my DNA, and I know Zeppelin, Zappa, Aerosmith, Sabbath, Hendrix, Nugent, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Deep Purple and many others are responsible for that.
Finding Natalie features a wonderful improvised solo by Luanne Homzy on violin, I take a guitar solo myself, and then Luanne and I do certain melodic lines together in unison and also with her harmonizing to my guitar.
I hope many people can relate to a story of first love or of a first crush. And I suspect quite a few folks might be able to relate to being too afraid of your own feelings, or of rejection, to express them to the person you feel those things for.
7 — Was the music video filmed at your own studio? Who participated in it?
The music video was filmed at the legendary studio Sunset Sound, in Studio 2. That is where we did all the basic tracking. We had done some pre-production before going in, and then overdubs were done at my own Edendale Studio in Los Angeles afterward. My amazing band consisted of Carson Cohen on bass, Reade Pryor on drums, Alex Wand on rhythm guitar and Luanne Homzy on violin. Sabrina Doyle directed the video, and her team included Stephen Paar, Lee Young, Chris “Moose” Stalsworth, Samuel Phillips and Daniel Myers. And you need great engineers, and we had them in David Bianco, Geoff Neal and Jose Salazar.
So many legendary artists and bands have recorded at Sunset Sound: The Doors, Prince, Van Halen, The Rolling Stores, Zappa, The Beach Boys, Neil Young, Zeppelin, the list goes on and on.
8 — What’s the best thing about working with other artists rather than working all alone?
The input and great playing they bring to the table make all the difference in the world. In “Finding Natalie”, I love the drums and drum fills, the bass playing (it is outrageous on section 5 of the jam), the violin answers to the vocal and improvised solo, Carson Cohen’s and Alex Wand’s harmony parts and singing, and so forth. That is all them, not me.
9 — What can your fans expect from your next single?
The next single is a favorite of mine on the album, and it is called “Always.” It’s about a relationship between two people in the late summer of their lives. It is a call to love, from one to the other saying that it’s now or never. They’re both aware their time is finite, but there’s still the chance to pursue a dream, the dream of embracing and loving each other, and spending the rest of their lives together.
In my teenage years, I wrote a song called “Amazon Laura” about a crush I had on a friend of a friend. The chords from that song, simple as they are, have stayed with me and I drew on them for this song and while making my first album. The music has been with me since the early spring of my life, but did not come to fruition until the late summer of my life.
10 — What are your thoughts on the streaming era? Do you see more benefits or more disadvantages?
There are a number of things to like about the streaming era from an artist perspective and an independent record label perspective. But first the disadvantages and what I miss: I grew up holding LPs in my hand, looking at the artwork, the photos, and the liner notes while listening. That is an experience that is hard to beat, and I do miss it. Something tangible to hold and to look at. But as far as advantages go, you have the ability to make your music available to a huge audience at very little cost. And around the world for that matter.
From the independent record label perspective, manufacturing CDs and sending them to stores around the country was and is a fairly costly endeavor, and you have to spend time managing your inventory and keeping track of components (booklets, stickers, etc.). And it was sometimes hard to know what was really selling vs just sitting in record store bins. CDs could be returned by stores to the distributor and the label if not sold, for full credit. With streaming, your manufacturing costs are about zero in one sense, returns are not consequential, and you can stay right on the pulse of what is being listened to via reporting that is available. However, with Garden Of Edendale, I did choose to make a CD with a pretty elaborate package. I just wanted to!
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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.