Adrian Hibbs is a true artist in every sense of the word. Recently, when I was exploring his songs I quickly got hooked by his original funky style. Besides that, he’s a man with many skills, especially as a keyboard player. Well, after reading this interview article you’ll agree with me his music is cool, and his personal stories too.
1 – What was the very first instrument that you laid your hands on?
When I was about seven or eight my Grandmother taught me some boogie-woogie licks on a Casio keyboard I was obsessed with but it was the fourth grade where I joined the school band as an alto sax player. The competition was fierce lol but I made the band and had recitals thru out grammar school and junior high. I really didn’t get serious with piano until I was 16 and dreamed of going to Berklee College if music which eventually happened. I was self-taught on the keys so I had my obstacles in music school. Singing & writing came later in my 20’s after I left Berklee and moved to NYC.
2 – Was there a moment in your life that allowed you to discover who you are and enabled you to translate it into your music?
The high school I attended had a very large theater that I would sneak into. I loved setting the lights blue, rolling the nine-foot grand piano on stage and playing by myself for hours and hours. I miss that environment and it was a part of my life that definitely had a huge impact on me. I still enjoy exploring empty churches or old theaters and there is always a piano, hidden, waiting for my confessions. Looking back though I think that I knew I wanted to give people the business from a young age, always inspired.
3 – How would you describe your sound?
I’m such a sucker for the classic soul artists before me and over the years it merges with modern production… Kind of a neo-funk / soul mash-up. I tend to collab with people who share a divine love for Stevie Wonder, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of bands from that era. As a solo artist, I have the ability to rotate chairs in my band. Also living in LA grants me access to some of the greatest players in the world and each of them has an influence on me and shapes the sound but if I had to describe its genre then “Feel Good, funky soul”
4 – What ideas were put on the table before producing your new single “Voodoo”?
Most of the time I start writing with a bass and drum groove. I had been playing with melody ideas for weeks and weeks over the two changes in the Verse (B-7 / Bbmaj7) and knew I was onto something but it was a hard range for me to sing in. I had my close friend Lex Sadler lay down some more bass for me and then the song kind of evolved on its own.
It was a bold move for obvious reasons but to the objective listener (who will enjoy the most) the feel of the instrumentation with the lyrical content made sense to title the track with the hook. You know that pull someone has on you? That’s their own Voodoo that they’re putting on you.
6 – How did you discover the talent of Myra Washington? Where did she record the vocals for “Voodoo”?
Myra and I first met during a recording session for a FIFA World Cup commercial that aired for the Brazil Games. We are also both session vocalists and played phone tag for about a year until our schedules aligned. When she came over for the first writing session last April I had a track in mind for her because Voodoo was actually taken by another artist (who will remain nameless) but I could tell the original singer ( for Voodoo) was not super excited about the track. When Myra heard it she stopped me and told that is was hers so that was that. Her enthusiasm won her the track in the beginning but she made it her own after we started punching her verses right in my apt in Hollywood. I made most of the track here then went to a few different studios to get the drums right and some final mixes then I sent it off to mastering back east.
I have been grateful to tour all over the world with some incredible artists and bands but most recent I have been stepping in as a keyboard player for an Australian band ‘The Intergalactix’. They are so much fun with a huge indie- electro/funk sound. I’ve been working with them for about two years touring both the east and west coast and Canada. The last time we went out to support “Strange Talk” also from Australia and every moment felt like a comedy. The border agents did not like us so we missed a few sound checks getting to the Toronto and Montreal shows but let’s just say what happened in Canada stays in Canada lol 😉
8 – What has been your favorite performance show so far?
That is a hard question. I can’t say I have a favorite because all the experiences are so different but the best shows are usually a product of a well-rehearsed band, I’m always more confident when I don’t have to cut parts live and make sure they’re playing all the parts that were written. Over the years my whole setup changed from just playing keyboards then singing, now I’d love to not play keys and just sing…. We’ll see, I’m nervous, the keyboard standing or sitting is a crutch on stage so I look forward to having a bit more freedom to move around a bit. I think my favorite shows will be in the future.
Believing that I have something to offer this world. It’s our job (as artists) to reflect what we experience in life and then report it back thru songs and live shows and it I feel extremely undervalued most of the time, I live for the moment, for the performance, the rest of the time is preparing for that moment which only lasts for about 40-50 minutes. You really have to mean what you’re saying because there is a lot of noise out there. I don’t want to feel like I’m adding art for art’s sake, especially since so many people are hustling their creative talents. Man, I could go on and on here but this is how I am feeling today, ask me tomorrow and I’ll vent about digital streaming or pop music (haha). Honestly, though, anytime I have that self-doubt monkey on my shoulder I ask myself right then and there “What the f*ck else is there to do?”
10 – What can your fans be expecting from your future releases?
I have another record with Myra “Silk Blue Birds” scheduled early May and then a few other artists I am excited to feature. Chenai out of the U.K. and Maiya Sykes to name a couple so I’m pretty busy finishing these other cuts. I want to get back to performing soon, I’ve taken a lot of time off to focus on production and it’s been a transitional period for me cause my performance was full time to a screeching halt since last winter. I really needed the time to focus on these songs but I’ll surface, soon.
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Exclusive Interview: Jenna x On Debut Single “When The Party’s Over..”
Jenna x emerges in 2021 with “When The Party’s Over..” which is an incredible debut single that plays equally as well at the party, at the afterparty, or the next morning. Definitely, the best asset is her melodious singing voice. Scroll down and learn more in this exclusive interview.
1 — First of all, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is constantly evolving within Pop, but it’s more cinematic. I envision each of my songs as a scene from a film and try to capture everything that would be there—the temperature of the sunlight, the scent in the air, the city sounds, and the words that are being spoken.
2 — Why did you pick “When The Party’s Over..” as your debut single?
It was the exact type of sound and message that I wanted to release as my debut single. I also think that it’s a good representation of me as an artist because it’s a song that I really tried to be honest with myself about, as well as the other parts of myself that I am revealing, like my inner thoughts, emotions, and philosophies.
3 — Is this song based on a personal experience?
Yes! The party in my song is both literal and figurative—I, like anyone else, have gone to a party or a large gathering just to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside, only to leave with a greater sense of loneliness. I’ve also felt like I have nowhere to go emotionally, which is the figurative part of the song.
4 — What’s your favorite line from it? Why?
The entire chorus is my favorite part, especially the “will there be anyone to watch me die / someone just shows me how to cry” part. I think they really capture the essence of the song and are the parts where I am the most direct with what I want to say. The second half of the chorus is almost like a cry for help you can’t ever let out.
For me, they usually come together but for this song, the lyrics came first. I had a clear idea of what I wanted the song to be about lyrically and then used the melody to fill in the blanks.
6 — Given the situation the world is in at the moment, do you miss partying?
I’m not the type to usually enjoy large parties, but I do really miss gatherings with my closest friends. But who knows—by the time this is all over I might be dying to go to a huge party.
7 — What makes you different from other singers?
I like to think of my music as very visual—I always try to paint a picture with my music and focus on what the music is painting. Each sound is like a color I use to paint the song, and the way they are delivered are the brushstrokes.
I think I had a lot of phases where I was into different types of music and different artists. I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. I was always fascinated with how brilliant and revolutionary their melodies and lyrics were. Later in my teens, I had A Great Big World’s albums on repeat. A part of me is also in love with classical composers, like Elgar and Rachmaninoff. The second movement of Elgar’s Serenade for Strings is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
9 — When you’re not at the studio, how do you usually spend your time?
Usually prepping for studio time! But if I’m not working on music, I’ll watch movies or binge a show. Right now I’m on season 4 of Criminal Minds, and it’s been sucking me in. I’ve also been really busy these days with my new release and everything that goes along with it, but I’ll still find time to video chat with my friends and listen to my favorite albums on repeat.
10 — What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Working! I have an EP coming out in February, so I’m prepping for the release and other music that I’ll release during this year. The upcoming EP is part two of the story of loneliness I started telling with “When The Party’s Over..” and the more colorful, visual part of the story, so I’ll be working a lot on perfecting that. I also hope to be wherever I can be with my music, doing whatever I can to express myself through it.
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Dar.Ra Talks Latest Single And Confirms New Album In 2021 — Interview
Following the release of his latest single “Rise Like The Sun” along with its proper EP, Dar.Ra also plans to drop a new album in 2021. ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has been confirmed to be out by the end of January. In this exclusive interview, the British artist talks about the recent single, the most important details on the upcoming album, but also his various side projects, which include his own radio show.
1 – Can you reveal to us the name of your upcoming album?
I have two new projects out, a single called “Rise Like The Sun” with 6 killer remixes. One from Columbia and one from Sri Lanka from a killer Producer called Vidula who did the “Lights” remix from the new kinda normal album.
I did the other mixes which have a tribal House feel and an Ambient 6 am Chill Out mix. All mixes have a Sunshine title, from UK Sunshine mix, Indian Sun mix to Australian, Indonesian, USA, and Columbian mix. It’s all about not being dictated too in your time here and “Rising Like The Sun” every day of your life.
The other project is more of an alias back vibe and is a compilation of slower more Ballad type songs that I have had released over the years. I am doing a radio show called The Kusha Deep Radio show which is going out around the world through various Radio outlets and I did this show which featured some of the laid-back tracks I’ve done and I thought it would make a great album of torchlight songs. The album is 12 tracks long and is titled ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ and is out later this month.
I am also working on a new album of songs for the spring with a new single planned for the first quarter of the year release.
2 – Were there specific things that helped you get creative?
I’m always inspired by life, it’s hard not to be unless you shut off from what’s going on around you. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, I had two singles out “Stand Up For The Heroes”, “Rise Like The Sun” and the ‘Whisky n Honey’ EP plus two remixes out. I also started doing a new project which is now syndicated around the world called The Kusha Deep Radio Show, which started off playing tracks that I had out over the past 25 years.
I also started doing a TV show with a Washington DC-based journalist MJ Godfrey which is a cultural review show looking at things happening in the UK and the USA. I’ve also written the next album to follow up on 2019’s ‘New Kinda Normal’. If you stay open to ideas and let them flow it’s a natural vibe for staying creative.
3 – Are you discovering new sounds on this new record?
I explore different sounds all the time, I’m getting known for merging styles and creating new hybrids like Rock Step a vibe that featured on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album which mixed the elements of Rock and EDM together which you can feel on tracks like “Nightstepper,” “The Beat” and “Heart Shape Pill.” There’s also a genre called Gothic Soul which you can hear on tracks like “The Lights” and “Whisky n Honey.” I was feeling the Latin vibe on “Rise Like The Sun.”
I wanted something uplifting that holds no allegiance to what’s happening in the charts but has a classic Santana vibe mixed with that Gothic style vocal.
The actual record itself is truly global, the mixes and mastering were done all over the world, the drums recorded in Italy, the Horns in Portugal, the rest in the UK. I love that about the technology vibe that you can work with people everywhere now.
4 – How many tracks will there be on the album?
The album ‘Ballads For The Down-Trodden’ has 12 tracks and “Rise Like The Sun” single has 6 mixes on it. The new album will have around 12 tracks on it as well, value for money I say!
5 – What themes will the new album explore?
The new album has some wide themes such as loyalty on a track called “No Time For Tears” which has a cool Rock vibe about it. There’s a track about power struggles with relationships on “Don’t Make Me Beg.” There’s a track about migrants looking for a safe place to call home on “Renegade Serenade.” At the moment, it’s looking very love-oriented in one way or another.
6 – Did you collaborate with other artists?
I do work with other artists when the vibe is right. I’m doing a track with a producer called KDX in the UK, a Deep House kinda groove.
7 – What makes your latest single “Rise Like The Sun” special to listeners?
It’s honest, it’s real and it’s played with passion.
8 – What exciting projects can we expect from your label Kusha Deep Records?
All the above and more.
9 – Can you tell us more about your 2021 tour?
We were supposed to be doing a US tour last year, not sure how things will pan out this year but would be good to get out on the road again for a bit.
10 – The global pandemic forced the music industry to try innovative things. What do you think about private live zoom concerts?
I played Rock the Lockdown back in May and we had a few thousand people all rocking out to the set. I also did a US online tour in the summer which broadcast shows into the venues from my studio. I’ve been doing lots of interviews from Brazil to America, Australia, and the UK online which is ace as you don’t have to drive anywhere. Less hit on the climate and you can hit so many more people with a live stream if it’s set up properly.
Nothing will take the place of a jam in front of people, but I think the live stream is here to say alongside the live gig. I love technology though so it’s all good in my book. Be safe out there and looking forward to partying with you all soon!
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Quickfire Interview With: SOUNDQ
Hailing from Krakow, the cultural capital of Poland, Kuba Kubica aka SOUNDQ carries the flag of innovation when it comes to producing electronic music. The interview below is very clear and gives you a deep insight into his art. Scroll down to read his answers.
1 – You’ve been composing songs since…
Year 2000. The year when computer records got screwed by the two 0s was the year when I started programming a dodgy Korg workstation.
2 – You got involved in the music realm because…
I found it liberating not to have to depict anything. To be able to express what I feel without saying or drawing what it was.
3 – Your sound is…
As incomplete as I am. There’s always at least one element causing some imbalance. You’re never quite sure if it all won’t fall apart.
4 – Your biggest inspiration is…
I am most creative when I’m deadbeat and stressed out. So, in a way, pressure inspires me – or rather makes my creative juices flow faster.
5 – People should listen to your new track “Bad Lot” because…
It offers a glimpse into a complete world – fatalistic, sexy, and dangerous.
6 – If you want to know who SOUNDQ is, listen to the track…
“Bad Lot.” And if you’ve heard it already, give “This Heart” a spin.
7 –Your most memorable career moment so far has been…
Crossing the Ural Mountains in -30 degrees Celsius to play a death metal gig in Jekaterynburg.
8 – Your dream is…
Long forgotten the moment I wake up.
9 – Your next release is called…
“Disco Turista Antifascista.”
That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “My Kingdom” by Future Sound of London.
11 – Your favourite place to write songs is…
I love coming up with ideas when I’m traveling. Not a lot of occasions for that in 2020 though.
12 – If you weren’t an artist, you’d probably be…
An Instagram influencer pretending he’s a XIXth Century French flaneur. All dressed in epoch clothes doing product placement for travel gear and shit.
13 – You’ll only stop making music if…
I don’t think I have it in me to stop.
14 – In a few years, you want to be…
Able to go out without a mask, play gigs, laugh together with large groups of people. Travel to big cities and get lost wandering through them.
15 – What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s evening already, so I’m going to be busy writing music till late.
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