In the last few years, Singer/Songwriter Karen Atkins returned to the world of music with a renewed vision of life. She still has a special love for guitars and everything associated with New Age. In this interesting interview, she gives full details about her new song “High On Love (Can’t Get Too)”, which comes in the form of a spaced-themed clip. I highly recommend you watch it!
1 – First of all, how would you describe your music style to new listeners?
Soulful indie pop-rock influenced by 70’s R&B and 90’s alternative rock flavors with Conscious/New Age themes. Others have likened my music to singer/songwriters like Sheryl Crow and Juliana Hatfield. My biggest influences are Stevie Wonder, Jim Morrison, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Simon & Garfunkel and Billy Joel.
2 – Is your music a job, a hobby or something else?
Music is my spiritual sustenance and deepest passion. It is certainly more than a hobby or just a job. It is the way in which I connect to the deepest part of my inner world and a way to express that to the outer world.
3 – How long have you been working in the music industry?
On and off for over 20 years. I had an active career back in the 90’s and built a solid following in NYC. After the musician lifestyle of constant travel, late-night gigs, poor nutrition, and smokey bars took a toll on my health, I quit and delved into the world of alternative health. In 2011, after regaining my energy and moving to California, I reconnected with my creative passions and literally felt summoned by the mountain where I live to start writing music again. I recorded a 12-song album in 8 weeks called The Vibration Project and created a book of photographs and stories to accompany it. I struggled internally with whether to engage in music professionally and finally made the decision to come back fully last year with the release of my album In My Room.
Just on a very simple level, you really can’t have too much love! That’s pretty much what we’re made of, that’s what this universe is all about as far as I’m concerned.
I had a pretty profound experience a number of years ago, where I had this feeling like there was actually nothing but love and the only thing I needed to do was let it radiate through my pores. And I didn’t have to actually accomplish anything, I didn’t have to do anything.
That was a really big revelation for me. That I could just let love be with me and let it radiate.
Many things may look bleak, but I believe there’s something happening above the apparent bleakness. My life’s work is to tune into what’s happening on the channel above. What does the channel of love have to say about this experience right now?
It may sound kind of Pollyanna, but it’s actually very practical. It’s very tangible to be choosing the frequency that you want to vibrate in. Ultimately, we all have a choice.
And that’s really the main message of the song.
5 – Can you name some songs or artists that have influenced this new single?
Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. This song, in particular, is centered around the bass line, which was inspired by the fact that Reggie Hamilton (known for playing with Seal and Mariah Carey) was going to be playing the bass on the recording. His bass playing blows me away and when we decided to work together, I was determined to write a bass line that was going to be fun for him to play!
6 – Why is the music video related to the SpaceX Rocket Launch?
In the music video, I’m flying around space in a red Tesla Roadster, in search of a backup planet. We filmed this video in May of 2017, and with various delays in the post-production, decided to release it at the beginning of February 2018. Little did I know that CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk announced in December that he was going to be launching his own cherry red Tesla Roadster in the Falcon Heavy rocket aiming for Mars! We ended up “launching” the music video on the same day the Falcon Heavy launched – with Elon Musk’s dummy “Starman” flying through space in the red Tesla, which looked so much like scenes from my video!
7 – Do you believe there is life out there?
I think it would be pretty narrow-minded of us to think that there isn’t life out there in this vast universe. It’s only been 400 years since Galileo was exiled for saying the earth revolved around the sun, which is now considered factual and common sense. There’s so much we still don’t know, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities. I’m all about keeping my mind open to new information.
I enjoy playing live, but I feel that I can connect more deeply to the meaning and feeling of the music when I’m in the studio, so I prefer the process of recording more than playing live. The part I love about playing live is the connections I get to make with people. But I did burn myself out when I focused on gigging and touring – it was hard to manage my health through it.
9 – We are sure all your songs are special to you but do you have a favorite one?
I generally tend to prefer the more soft-spoken, introspective songs, but sometimes one of my upbeat songs has a melody that just pulls me in. That’s the case with my song “Julian”. It’s also a favorite of a lot of my fans, especially because the music video for “Julian” features 2 adorable kids who come together to create a machine that turns garbage into energy. It’s a sweet story and we had such a fun time making the video. A brilliant artist/inventor friend of mine even created a life-size garbage to the energy machine for the video! 🙂 here’s the video if you want to check it out:
10 – Finally, what’s next for Karen Atkins?
That’s not a short answer because I’m a pretty active woman!
Musically, “High on Love” is the first single for my new album that I plan to release this summer and I’m working on my next music video for a Paul Simon Cover, “Slip-Slidin’ Away”. We’re adding a little optimistic twist to the video and some cool visual effects!
In the wellness space, I’m launching an “Inner Circle” program where I will share very simple tools, practices, and resources for succeeding in living a healthy, balanced, creative and fulfilling life.
And of course, I plan to continue sharing the lifestyle practices that I’ve been living and sharing for the last 20 years.
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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.