This is the first time I interview a Heavy Metal band, and contrary to what many believe, Images of Eden‘s music isn’t too dark. Surprisingly, their art is just the opposite as there is always a positive message through lyrical content. In this interview, we chat with band members Gordon Tittsworth (GT) and Steve Dorssom (SD) who clarified everything. If interested, watch below their video clip for “Shield Me”, which has already won several awards in national film festivals due to its production.
1 — How do you describe your genre?
GT- The best way to describe it is a mix between modern hard rock with classic metal/progressive elements, but with a very unique sound. Musically – A lower end/ heavy sound but lyrically – Very positive, uplifting, inspirational and hopeful.
2 —How did you get the name ‘Images of Eden’?
GT- “Images of Eden” was actually the working title for the first release. There was no band name at the time but since the concept of the first album worked with what we are about and trying to say, it was a no-brainer to use it as the band name, so voila.
3 — What makes you unique from other bands?
GT- Many things- first, our sound is very unique and cannot really compare to anything specific, and even though our sound is heavy, you will hear a very positive tone/ arrangement/ delivery which in many cases, seems to offset (or “contradict”) the heaviness. The lyrics are very “divinely inspired” and also very much contradict the heaviness as well, which lends to the uniqueness. All of the IOE releases have been “concepts” in their own way. The first 3 albums were a concept trilogy about the ongoing journey of life and how we persevere. But, when we completely reformed the lineup in 2016, the content shifted a bit as well. “Soulrise” is actually a narrative/ “conversation” (so to speak) from the very beginning to the very end. I won’t say anything beyond that because I want the listener/reader to interpret it their own way. But… The lyrical content is 100% about bringing hope, strength and inspiration to the world in a very dark time. We cover all of the trials we face on a daily basis but there is a very real common denominator that brings us through everything and strengthens us. I encourage everyone to read the lyrics because writing this album was completely life-changing for me. I hope it cascades to each listener.
4 — What was the inspiration behind your new song “Shield Me”?
GT- Being haunted by a “demon” (addiction, fear, frustration, hopelessness, etc) and fighting hard to unsuccessfully escape it. However, when turning to faith, we find that we gain all of the strength to win the war and defeat what is trying to destroy us.
SD – The inspiration to this video storyline was the fact that we are all tired of seeing young people, or at any age for that matter, get hooked on drugs, then it’s, over they die. We’ve witnessed friends, family, and parents go through this and it’s horrible! We thought this was a good way to give back and put a message in metal music that actually means something and could be life saving.
So, the storyline in the video was a little visually metaphorical in the sense that the dark figured demon just would not leave the girl alone until he got his way. It was also a setting for a kid who feels alone, no parent involvement or understanding, the things this girl faces on her walk home is just tremendous pressure for a young person to deal with. This video brings a view from the outside in so maybe someone who has a similar situation can say, “Yeah! That’s me”… and know they are not alone, there is hope and things can be good with the right choices in life.
5 — Who wrote its lyrics? What’s probably the best line?
GT- I write all of the music and lyrics. Everything I write comes from faith-based inspiration, but very specifically, drawing strength, hope and inspiration from personal struggles that we all face every day. “Shield Me” is specifically based on personal experiences with addiction/ loss, and warnings against (or trying to deter) death due to addiction. But most importantly, a) gaining strength to conquer our demons, b) convey the message that addicts are not alone and should not feel alone, so they should all be encouraged to reach out to someone, and c) that life beyond addiction is far superior than life during (and prior to) addiction. I even say “prior to” because once you have won a war on substance abuse/ addiction, you feel stronger and have a much greater appreciation for life than you did beforehand. At least I do.
6 — How good was the experience of filming together the visuals for this single?
SD – This was a two-part film shoot. I produced and directed the video so it was a wild experience to say the least. The first shoot we did was strictly the storyline, what we call “B-Roll”. This is where we filmed all the actor scenes at various locations, the emergency scene etc. We had about 90 days of pre-production just for this 3-day shoot, due to the fact we had to finish scripting the story for film, cast actors, find the right locations and so on. We needed every day of it. Then we took another 90 days of pre-production just for the live band performance 2-day shoot. This is when the band came together for the very first time to meet and perform in the same room. It was a pretty special moment for this band!
GT- Right now, we have been playing high-profile concerts in support of national acts (Geoff Tate- 30 yr Operation: Mindcrime, Stryper, The Iron Maidens, etc) but are also playing 2-3 dates at the 2019 Exodo Fest in Mexico and will be coordinating a tour there as well. Beyond that, there are some irons in the fire for a possible 2019 North American tour.
8 — Do you have a ritual before going on stage?
GT- Nothing crazy… get ourselves pumped up, fight off the nerves and have a group huddle/ prayer before the show.
SD – Yeah our group huddle that we do before we go on is our thing! We started this when we first got together to film the music video and now we do it every time before we perform. Someone steps up in the huddle and states a short motivational speech. then we GO!
9 — What gets you excited when you think about the future of music?
GT- We have all been writing, recording and playing music for decades but with “Soulrise”, it was as if we reached a new level in every way. It was also very clear that everything we have all been working so hard for so many years for has all been in preparation for this, and that everything we need has been miraculously placed in our paths. So, we are extremely excited to see where things are going.
SD – The only thing you can do as a musician in a saturated musical world is be YOU and do your thing the best you can do it! That’s what you have control of….the rest you hope takes care of itself. With that being said, this is the most amazing band I have ever been a part of. When Gordon and I found each other it was like from that point on everything came together in an awesome but unorthodox way. This is the best album I have ever recorded, hands down! I am putting all my cards in on this one and really hope the fans feel what we feel.
10 — Any advice on starting a band?
GT- A LOT of advice:
1) NEVER give up no matter how much discouragement you get. Those first pieces of negative feedback make you question your abilities and whether or not this is something you should be doing. Do NOT let it discourage you. Learn from the feedback and use the info to improve your skills. I got a ton of negative feedback over the years and I would never have improved without it. Be grateful for the feedback.
2) HANG IN THERE! Most bands fail because they throw in the towel. They think that if they are not rock stars after 1 or 2 releases that they did not make it. Longevity is the key. This is a marathon and not a sprint.
3) LOVE THE JOURNEY and have no expectations of reaching a “destination” because you may never see that port that you hope and expect to reach. I would not trade ANY part of my journey for the world. I have grown, matured, lived life and become even more than I thought I would be by taking this journey.
4) Cliché but stay true to yourself and who you are. Trust your gut and do not let someone else dictate what you do/ how you do things. Everyone thinks they know what you should be doing better than you do. News flash… they don’t!
5) Be careful who you take advice from. I would only recommend taking advice from those who have proven success, not from the yo-yo who is still at the same place they were at 20 years ago.
• You will hear NO a lot. Let that motivate you to keep going.
• Put a notepad and pen at your bedside. The best solutions and thoughts come at night when your relaxed.
• Do it for the love of your instrument and the camaraderie of your band. If your in it for fame and money your hearts in the wrong place.
• Believe everyone but trust nobody
• Be a dreamer! That’s where it all starts. It’s the people who act on those dreams are the ones that prosper.
• Work on your craft everyday
• Remember always put your best foot forward
• Invest in your vision. It takes money to make money. Invest in your gear, recording and presentation. These are foundations to being a pro!
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Steve Marinangeli Reveals Details On Debut Album, ‘Hidden Thoughts’ — Interview
23-year-old Steve Marinangeli is a rapidly rising indie artist who has topped the Luxembourg iTunes Top Songs chart twice. This success is due to the fact that he writes and sings songs close to his heart. The way he connects with listeners through his intimate lyrics is simply outstanding. Not to mention, his first two singles resonate with daily experiences that lead you to meditate on his words. If this sounds interesting, learn more about his upcoming debut album down here, which is coming out in 2021.
1 – What’s the name of your upcoming debut album? Do you have a release date yet?
The name of my upcoming debut album is ‘Hidden Thoughts.’ I’m still working on the album so I don’t have a release date yet.
2 – What came first the music or the lyrics?
The lyrics came first. For most of my songs, I already had the perfect situation in my head and wrote it down. A lot of the lyrics I’ve written are very personal so that made it easier for me.
3 – What’s the overall theme of this material?
The overall theme of the album is kind of a self-reflecting concept. It’s gonna be a very personal album that will describe struggles, sadness, and dark thoughts, but they will all turn into something positive, good, and uplifting. The message I wanna put out with the album ‘Hidden Thoughts’ is, “No matter how down you are, there is always a way out. It’s okay not to be okay. You are not alone!” There will be a lot of more sad/slow songs on the album, but overall I just think they will fit perfectly in the theme of the album.
Since now, I have a few songs which put me in a good mood, like for example, “It’s You,” “Dance with Me,” and “Under The Moonlight.” I won’t give away too much yet though.
5 – How did lockdown affect you artistically?
Surprisingly, the lockdown was kind of a positive trigger for me artistically, cause it made me start writing lyrics. I‘ve spent a lot of time during the lockdown to get even more into music and discover more different genres of music. During lockdown then, I started writing my own lyrics and with the help of other people (singers, producers, etc.) we transformed the lyrics into music and created some songs.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists on this project?
Yes, I did. It was hard for me to begin and take the first steps in the business, so I had the company YourSongmaker helping me with my first few songs. They turned my words and lyrics into some fantastic songs and they have a brilliant team, so thanks to David and their team. I also was looking for other ways to make music so I was looking for singers, producers, mixing and mastering engineers by myself and I’ve been in talks for some interesting collabs for the next songs.
7 – Who is your latest single “It’s You” dedicated to?
I didn’t have any specific person in mind when I wrote the song “It’s You.” I put myself into the position of being in love and having the feeling of loving someone very much and transformed it into a song. It was more general as I didn’t have someone specific I thought about. It’s certainly a song with which a lot of people can identify.
8 – When you created these songs do you have the American audience in mind or do you think it’s more oriented to European listeners?
Well, that‘s difficult to say. I didn’t focus on a specific territory while writing and creating music. My music is available for everyone to listen to. My debut song “Rescue Me” had more success in Europe, while my second single “Sacrifice” had also some success in the US and South America. My music should be there for everyone to listen to, appreciate and love, with no exceptions whatsoever.
9 – How would you describe your music to someone that hasn’t heard it before?
For me, it’s hard to already put my music into a definite genre because I‘m still in the process of finding my own sound and thinking in what genre, my music fits the best. Right now, it fits definitely in the Pop genre, sometimes a bit more slow, dark, sad Pop songs, sometimes a bit more upbeat, and funky. I do have some musical influences which are Westlife, OneRepublic, and Bruno Mars for example, but I wanna create a unique sound so that people immediately know, oh yeah that‘s a song by Steve Marinangeli, a bit like in the case with Billie Eilish. Everyone immediately recognizes a Billie Eilish song because they are so unique.
10 – Finally, What do you love the most about your followers?
I love most about my followers, that they support me and my music and that they are open to listening to my music. They support me so well and even though I’m not very known. They helped me reach 2 No. 1 iTunes singles here in Luxembourg already which is unbelievable for me. They are just the best and I can’t wait to see what can still happen in the future. I‘m very grateful for the fans I got, and I love them!
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Exclusive Interview: The Story Of DJ/Producer Jacob Colon
Jacob Colon has been working his way up the musical ladder for some years now, coming from humble beginnings in his local church band before discovering House music and falling in love with the genre. He taught himself how to DJ and produce and has since released some sensational tunes such as “Bliss” and “I Want My House Music.” Now he has his very own imprint and renowned radio show called ‘Made To Move’. We caught up with Jacob to find out more about his story and how he got to where he is today.
1 — Tell us about the very first moment you discovered your love for music?
I started my musical journey in a church band when I was in my teens. I played the keyboard along with 4 other musicians. While playing in the band, I taught myself how to use the workstation within the keyboard. Luckily for me, my mother used to clean the church and had the keys to get in when nobody was there. Therefore, I would use her keys to get into the church and record beats all night in the keyboard. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to save my work, so I would turn off the keyboard when I was done and delete all my work. During this time is when my passion and love for music began to grow.
2 — What was the first instrument you ever tried to learn?
My aunt purchased me a toy keyboard when I was young. Though I wasn’t playing like Beethoven just yet, it sparked my interest in instruments. I played the oboe in a school band but later continued playing the piano.
3 — What type of music were you brought up listening to?
Growing up, I always heard my parents playing music that was released back in the ’70s and ’80s. They listened to guys like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and other RnB, soulful artists. When I began playing in the church band, I listened to a lot of gospel, alternative rock, and jazz.
4 — How did you continue to progress your talent as you grew older?
Practice makes perfect.
5 — When did you decide that you were going to pursue a career in music?
After I started making my first beats, I knew music was what I was made for.
6 — Tell us about your first ever gig?
My first party was at a lounge/restaurant type of venue. Of course, because it was my first gig, I invited the whole entire world and made it a huge deal!
7 — Who were your musical role models growing up?
When I first got into the music scene, I started producing hip hop and RnB music. I wasn’t a DJ at the time, so my influences came from producers like JUSTICE League, Alicia Keys, Scott Storch, and Swiss Beatz.
8 — How has your life experiences impacted your music?
Life is a marathon. The bumps in the road are all a part of the path you need to take to win.
9 — What goals have you achieved so far?
The goal is always to be the best I can be at what I do. Thus far, the biggest accomplishment I’ve had was charting #1 on Billboard’s Best Dance Song list with a remix that I produced with Crystal Waters and Sted-E & Hybrid Heights.
10 — What piece of advice you would tell your younger self when you were first embarking on music?
Don’t stress about where you currently are. Continue to strive because your later self will be grateful you did what you did.
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CDJ Discusses Music Career And His Newest Song “Mama” In Interview
With a career that’s spanned the best part of a decade, CDJ aka “The Godfather” is widely recognized for his smooth swag, making full use of his storytelling abilities. In this new interview, he talks about his career and the new single, “Mama”. Recently, he’s focused to put social consciousness at the forefront through music. Learn more below.
1 – Were you always a natural singer or did you get trained?
I’ve always loved performing in front of a crowd from a very young age. Back then I enjoyed imitating different rappers and singers that were quite trendy, you know the likes of Prince, KRS, etc. It’s something that came naturally to me, however when I decided to become a full-time artist I took some coaching to polish my skills because I felt that there were some aspects that were still raw.
2 – Why people call you “The Godfather”?
The moniker was given to me by one of my fellow musicians after a gig. He’s like, “why do you always act like you’re the godfather”. I think he meant my mannerism and how I deal with my band members. Whether it’s true or not I can’t say, but nevertheless, the name has stuck.
3 – As an artist, have you achieved financial security in the music industry?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to achieve financial security. There was a time when I was pretty close to reaching that goal, but at the moment with this pandemic, it is almost impossible for artists to have some kind of economic stability. I hope things get better soon as we are all finding it difficult to make ends meet.
4 – What is the most rewarding thing about your career?
Working with people from different walks of life, especially the creative exchange with people of different backgrounds. You never stop learning from others, it’s about feelings and emotions put in the right perspective, plus having the chance to send a positive message and to accept all living entities on this planet with all the different value systems at hand. I get a chance to raise my voice against injustice, discrimination, and all those stifling isms, last but not least, the overwhelming love and support from my fans.
5 – Who inspired you to become CDJ?
Revolutionary individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Marley, or Allende were inspiring. Critical minds that stood and made themselves count in a society full of inequity. Musically, a childhood friend who could play different instruments with ease – I looked up to him. My parents were not in the entertainment business, nevertheless, they inspired me subconsciously by introducing me to great music of the flower power generation; jazz of the highest quality; sweet soul, and David Bowie.
6 – Is your music influenced by contemporary trends or is it something else?
My music is shaped by modern trends in the music scene and our society in general. It is also influenced by modern trends in electronic, hip-hop, and house, at the same time the mind-set of the musicians in the ’60s has left a mark. Sometimes, I feel I’m guided by some abstract fountain of energy.
7 – What keeps you motivated when it comes to writing lyrics?
Lyrics are something like my mouthpiece, they give me a chance to reach an incredible number of people. My environment, my surrounding, and the people I interact with on a day-to-day basis also fire me up. Fact of the matter is that as an artist you have lyrics on your mind 24/7, it comes naturally without giving it much thought. I simply observe what’s happening around me, this kick starts a process of lyrical exploration.
8 – Why people must listen to your new single, “Mama”?
To reflect on the present situation in the world, this is something we just forgot to do too often. It’s about the changes we are going through and how we interact with ourselves and nature.
“Mama” talks about the need to respect our ecosystem, in other words, all that has been presented to us by the universe. The slow destruction of our planet is at the heart of the song and the dawn of the era of the Anthropocene.
9 – Who is this song dedicated to?
It is dedicated to “Mama,” meaning Mother Nature, which is actually where it all starts. If you like, some kind of a reminder that we have been given all we need, but we still haven’t learned how to allocate our resources, instead we have created an imbalance on the planet. “Mama” is also about the mothers of the world including mine, those who give life and illuminate the world.
10 – What’s next for CDJ in the next months?
We have an album in the pipeline with the working title ‘The Source’, so we need to put the final touches on that. I’ll release a track or two on my various platforms to keep my fans engaged.
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Exclusive Interview: Maybon On His New Track “Joyride” And Music Production
I had the pleasure to interview Norwegian electronic artist and producer Maybon about his radio-friendly Dance-Pop number “Joyride,” which is a collaborative effort with Rainage and Skylike. This new track provides a surging dose of ear-worm inducing, feel-good vibes in mere seconds. In addition, he opens up about his music production preferences and more. Continue reading below.
1 – When you started producing music?
I was so young the first time I played around with production. I think the very first time I opened some music production software, I was maybe around 10 years old. I didn’t understand much, but I managed to create some simple melodies. It was not until later when I was 14-15 years old, that I started more seriously with music production.
2 – What different emotions evoke your new single “Joyride”?
“Joyride” is a song that gives me a feeling of happiness and it takes me back to good memories during the summer. This is really nice as we enter these darker and colder times here in Norway.
3 – What did you learn from this collaboration with Rainage and Skylike?
I learned a lot about their workflow, as well as the techniques they use when they’re working. Like how to create different patterns and rhythms on the guitar, from the initial chord progression.
4 – Is there a message behind the lyrics of “Joyride”?
The message in the lyrics is to think back to better days when you are feeling down.
5 – Where was this new song recorded?
The song was written at our school (Limpi) in Lillehammer and was later recorded properly at Need Music in Oslo.
6 – Do you have any favorite set of equipment, tools or software in the studio?
This switches once in a while, but right now I’m really enjoying Roli’s Seaboard. This is a keyboard that is unlike no other, and you can get unique music progressions right away. It works flawlessly with Logic Pro X, and other plugins like Pigments, Equator, and more. Also, I have my trustworthy Roland JU-06, to give me those smooth and warm synth patches.
7 – What’s the process you go through finding the perfect sound?
For me, it’s always a lot of tweaking, but I also believe that if you end up tweaking for too long, the foundation is not good enough. So to me, it’s about knowing when to change the melody or idea, and when to settle with the sound that you have made.
8 – What’s an unexpected collaboration you dream of? Why?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Calvin Harris lately, and seeing the way he manages to switch between styles and still making bangers is really inspiring to me. A session with him would be CRAZY!
9 – How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
During the next 10 years, I hope to see myself as a well-established producer with a nice studio, and a vast range of songwriters to work with.
10 – What makes you want to keep producing music?
The endless inspiration from the endless opportunities! A lot of songs look alike these days, but you can really dig deep and create something new by experimenting without boundaries.
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Meet Nathan Daniels, A Brilliant Musician In The Balearic Islands — Interview
Nathan Daniels is a brilliant composer, producer, and musician based in the Balearic Islands. The new single “I Choose” walks a fine line between modern RnB and Soul with Pop nuances. In this exclusive interview, you will discover the way this South African artist works and essential information about his instantly-catchy anthem that recently topped the UK iTunes R&B Charts. Happy reading!
1 – For newcomers, how would you best describe your sound?
I offer feel-good-music with influences of Soul, R&B, Motown, Funk, Sophisticated Pop, and Jazz.
2 – What do you think motivated you to write a song like “I Choose”?
I came to realise that not only is there more gratification in giving than receiving, but even if you do decide to do the right thing, it does not exempt you from life’s challenges. I think that these challenges are designed to help you become a better you.
3 – How would you interpret the story behind the music video?
The music video aims to speak about the obstacles one faces when taking on a project, or setting in motion a strategy for reaching a goal. Once we start we are fired up and much sooner than later we hit obstacles that leave us frustrated and demotivated. But if we keep our eyes on the prize it helps us to refocus, and we find what we need to overcome them and we come out better on the other side.
4 – Who are your main inspirations?
My wife (she has a killer attitude for staying positive no matter what), John Legend and Lionel Richie (Composing & Songwriting), Brian McKnight (stage presence) & Michael Bublé (how he manages his career).
5 – Do you have a favorite place to write your songs?
I would exactly say I have a favourite place but my favourite time to write is in the middle of the night when everything is quiet in the house.
Yes. I have been fortunate to have quite a few weeks of daily shows back to back.
7 – How is life in sunny Spain? Is there an active music scene?
Spain is a fantastic place to live. The Mediterranean cuisine is exactly what the body needs and sunsets are breathtaking. Living on an island makes all the above even more amazing. The music scene is quite active and if Latin music is your style then it’s definitely the place to be.
The Brothers Of Soul started performing around 2003. Since then we’ve been entertaining tourists of all ages. We have some followers that came when they were kids, bringing their kids to see our shows and I find that really wows me when I think of it. Of course, the music we offer (Motown and Soul hits) does the job of putting everyone in a fantastic mood, but I sincerely think that the connection we make with the audience is a wonderful experience that makes them come back for more.
I’ve started on my next single that should be out around the end of November and then I’m enjoying the holiday season with my family. I’d like a beautiful snowy destination… maybe even learn how to ski.
10 – If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
A bit of a tough one. I love people and creative solutions. I guess I’d be doing something motivational. Another passion of mine is helping others discover their hidden talents and help them sharpen it and see the masterpieces unfold. I might even have been a great landscaper, or maybe that’s just my wife’s way of getting me to mow the lawn regularly.
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