If you haven’t watched the “Breathe” music video yet, it’s time to do it! Singer-Songwriter YOVANNI opts for haunting black and white visuals that match with his expressive lyricism. Below, in an exclusive interview, you can discover more about the Miami-based artist and his new single.
1 — Hello YOVANNI, how many years have you been active in the music industry?
Hello Modern Citizens. Thanks for taking the time to learn about my musical world. I have been in the music business for over 20 years! I have been both an artist and a Production Manager for other labels. It has been such a journey to experience the changes that the music industry has gone through. I was around where people still shopped around cassette tapes and now is nothing but a link on your computer. I love it! So much more simple and mainstream for everyone. Now we all have a chance to shine. There is an audience for everyone.
2 — Can you describe your music for people who might not be as familiar with you?
Whenever I meet anyone and they ask me what kind of music I make, I tell them that it is a stew of pop, rock, funk, and electronica. I am a mix of George Michael, Madonna, Celine Dion, and Freddy Mercury. I was raised in musical theater but rebelled and decided to pursue pop rock music so that I could sing my own songs.
3 — Did someone in your life encourages you to become an artist?
I grew up in the 80’s where music and entertainment were breaking into the mainstream market. MTV made it possible for me to learn about music through icons such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and George Michael. These three artists were my main dish all day long. I listened to music on my walkman wherever I was. Even in class I would sit in the back of the room and just listened to my music while the teacher was not even paying attention. I loved the sounds and the imagery that came out of the 80’s generation.
4 — Are Madonna, George Michael, and Adam Lambert still your main influences? If so, why?
Madonna and George Michael have always been my number one teachers and as I grew up there became few recording artists that even captured my interest until Adam Lambert sang “Ring Of Fire” on American Idol. It is very hard to impress me. I do look forward to seeing who else is gonna be able to make get into the groove. One thing I love about music is that it is always evolving and now there are so many choices on the menu to taste.
My new single “Breathe” is about taking a moment out of the chaos of your life and realizing that if you try to calm the chatter in your mind, everything will be ok and yesterday was nothing but a cloud. We all have daily struggles in our personal lives. We all cry and laugh. After every storm, cities rebuild and lessons are learned. “Breathe” for me represents moments in my personal life and the life of people I have met on my journey here on earth.
The “Breathe” music video is a production where the only location to consider was my bedroom. I am healing from a leg injury that left me unable to walk or go outside for months. I had to get creative, so I built a set in my bedroom that represented a church. I used my mom’s old saints and statues and filmed myself. The other scenes of other people were created using licensed stock footage. For example, there are a couple of scenes dealing with suicide. That was something that I had to go through with an ex who tried to kill himself in front of me. Other scenes represented moments in my life, like the time when I was homeless for a brief moment. I had to make sure that the scenes in the video represented issues that we all have to deal with.
7 — After watching this clip, I can assume you are fan of film-noir style movies? Is that correct?
While I was in the studio recording the music for “Breathe” I already had a vision of the style of video I wanted to produce. I loved the BW Film Noir style because there is such a range of emotions when you combine classic lighting and shadows. Film Noir represents a mood of melancholy that the song expresses. If you watch a classic film from the early days, you see such a beautiful emotion being portrayed in shadow and light. I really wanted to haunting sounds of the song “Breathe” to look like a classic BW movie.
8 – Have you considered remixes for your latest single “Breathe”?
I am and will always have dance music in my blood! I really enjoy working with DJ’s who are also producers that can re-create a song into a hot groove to dance to on the dance floor. I come from the EDM world. There are new amazing remixes that are now available worldwide of “Breathe”. My manager Nelson “Trigga” Martinez is great friends with legendary DJ Producers such as Bimbo Jones, Dark Intensity and the Klubjumpers. The clubs are now able to have an anthem that they can groove to on the dance floors thanks to all the Dj’s who are spinning the remixes!
The next upcoming months for me are really gonna be very important to my personal and artistic growth! I have been finalizing final production on my next single and I really wanna start giving birth to my next child. There is a huge catalog of music that I recorded last year and I am really aiming to move forward in my life and release my stories for all the modern citizens who are willing to listen and welcome me as an artist in this crazy game of life.
10 — Finally, do you have a favorite place to write lyrics?
I can write lyrics anywhere but if I had to choose a favorite place, it would be in the studio. I really like being in a studio environment. I enjoy jamming with other musicians or just listening to a musical score that I can have a conversation with and write a story to sounds. But I have to feel inspired and I always gotta try to find a personal connection either if I am writing for myself or other singers.
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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.