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Nicole Russin-McFarland Interview 2016

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Nicole Russin-McFarland

Nicole Russin-McFarland is an incredible multi-talented person. She’s a film director, music composer, journalist, model and more! During her tender youth art was coursing in her veins. She spent her childhood studying classical music and today she’s well prepared as to pleasantly surprise everybody with her art. Last year, the world first heard her compositions with the release of The Eyes of Old Texas soundtrack, so if you want to discover more about Nicole and her interesting life please read this interview.

1 – You’re very well known for your classical music compositions. Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

I love all kinds of film scores, whether they are traditional (Hans Zimmer) or experimental (The Social Network by Trent Reznor). Because none of us are ever perfect, you can never stop learning. Sometimes, I’ll listen to a particular century of classical music on the radio. It just depends. When I was in school and taking lessons, I had to play Rachmaninoff a lot, so I’m kind of sick of his work! LOL! Though I now love working with crazy chromatics, which I have a lot of saved up on themes I want to use.

2 – Tell us a little about your composing style/method.

I love chromatics for some reason. Also lately, when I’ve been doing themes for a particular film project goal I have in mind and doing really rough drafts, I’ve been fascinated by themes that start and end on the same note. Of course, because our first movie uses “The Eyes of Texas” – that’s how it’s called The Eyes of Old Texas, for the old song – I didn’t have much room to play with. But on the track “I Know What to Do,” I proudly made it really evil with lots of brass. Usually, the song is this really sweet and happy school theme song. I’m glad I got to make it angry for once.

3 – What’s your favorite and least favorite movie soundtrack?  

I just love Gladiator’s score. It was one of the first ones I bought, and ironically, with an Eminem album and I want to say Christina Aguilera. That goes to show you how eclectic I am. Some of it almost sounds like it could’ve been out of a 1940’s or 1950’s drama. And then we have that really amazing theme that isn’t really in the movie a lot but plays when Maximus just confronted Commodus in the arena. When you remember a theme that much, you know someone’s done an outstanding job. I mention Hans Zimmer at times, so let’s have some backstory on him. Remember Pharrell doing both of the Despicable Me soundtracks? Pharrell actually did more than the “Happy” tune. He did a lot of the music, and Hans Zimmer was his boss on those films.

Alexandre Desplat is pretty much the other standard gentleman when it comes to great film scores. I advise people to check him out.

As far as least favorite film score, I don’t like those generic scores that fade into the background you usually hear on romantic comedies. Or any comedy. Throw in random clarinet here because Ryan Reynolds needs to break up. Stuff like that. A good score makes you remember the music as much as the movie.

4 – Have you only made soundtracks for animated/cartoon films? Why you love this movie genre so much? 

No. Animation just happens to be what we are starting out with. I as a film director want to eventually branch out of that to doing both animation and live action. I have a lot of ideas, but due to the way filmmaking works, you don’t one day come out with your masterpiece as your first film. Nobody will watch it. You need to be established first – and that’s why I chose animation with my film’s co-executive producer because we both love animation, but at the moment, we also both have side occupations we’re trying to work on. He’s a celebrity chef and NYC restauranteur in addition to being a rocker. His rock band was the first professionally touring metal band in China. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get the books side of Lucky Pineapple Books + Films heavily established so I can have a bigger staff of people running things in the near future while I work on my movies. And, I’m currently animating this film…MYSELF. I have a lot to take on before I move onto scoring live action.

5 – Did you feel ready to call yourself a music composer after the release of ‘The Eyes of Old Texas’ soundtrack?

Of course! You are a composer when you release your first work to the world professionally. I would’ve loved to have called myself a composer when I was 11 to 12 though. Technically, I enjoyed composing then, and some of the themes I want to use in my future film scores are from that time period of my life. When you write a good theme, or at least a theme that sticks in your head for that long, it’s all how you do the rest. You really only need the theme. What you do with it can range from any kind of sound or emotion. You’ll see this a lot if you look at some of your favorite films. Indiana Jones is a great example of this my teacher made us study for our homework assignment. I guess unlike everyone else, I was paying attention in class! We had to play that and see how the same theme changes. The other day, I rematched the movies on TV as they had a marathon and I saw, “Yeah! That’s true!” The theme shifts around the whole movie beautifully, but it’s the same theme. You do so much with a simple basic theme.

6 – Are you currently working on a new movie soundtrack? Please let us know something fresh about it.

I have things saved on my computer and iPad I want to work with, but because I’m not done yet with finishing The Eyes of Old Texas – in both the animation process which is hard, and in how we’ve recently filmed backgrounds locally in Peru, Argentina, Chile, and are hitting Brazil – I want to focus on finishing the movie for now. As I said, the main importance is completing the themes, anyway. When the time comes to use them, I will be fine as I have the basics down.

7 – What do you love most about what you are currently doing?

My mind gets really bored by knowing what will happen next. For my mind to be happy, I have to train it like I’m doing puzzles. What that means is I have zero tolerance for doing the same thing over and over again. Of course, making a movie and composing classical music does involve some repetition, but nowhere near what most “regular” jobs involve.

For example, journalism I did not related to food or cinema. When I wrote about divorce and depressing relationship articles ages ago for one place I did journalism for, I hated it. Not only was it so awful to interview people about depressing subject matter, it felt like the same thing nonstop. I really wasn’t using my brain. I was sitting there taking notes and rewriting what people said about horrible things happening to them. Later on, I did this again, but the subject changed to stuff like, “Someone wants to take away my apartment.” Or people suing someone. I currently once in a while do food or film related journalism, at least interviewing someone in fashion, but because those people talk more about positive topics and creativity involved, and often business, I’m more interested. So not all journalism is bad and deadly.

8 – Have you ever being criticised for being a female music composer?

 I’ve never had criticism about my gender with the job, but I have dealt with lots of sexist comments. I always explain it like this to people. When a young boy says he wants to direct movies, people give him a camera and how to book. When a girl says the same thing, they ask her to be an actress. Which is what happened to me all the time from 11 up to 27 until I, for lack of a better gesture, began speaking my mind when people told me to do. I’m not opposed to acting. If ever Will Ferrell called me up to be in Zoolander 3, I would love it. I love being funny and telling jokes. But acting is a choice someone makes. People often are really disrespectful when you express your interest in making movies or composing music. They ask you, “Why?” But men or young boys don’t get the why question. And, the other thing is, when I say what I want to film or compose, people have other suggestions for me. A women’s themed film CAN be good, like In Her Shoes, or it could be a disaster like most of them out there. And that’s what people generally, especially women, suggest I make. As far as music, women also like soft, dainty songs that don’t really have any particular strengths. Yet, I don’t.

9 – Which music composers or film directors would you like to collaborate with?

As far as music composers, James Horner died, so I can’t really collaborate with him. With my first soundtrack, we blended Brian Tsao’s rock music into chunks of it. I’d love to do that again with him forever…collaborate on film and music and see it sell big like a John Williams score! Or something putting classical over a shocking genre, like country or rap. Weird stuff like that always sounds good because it’s like how this horrible sounding fusion cuisine item on the menu may taste delicious! Being adventurous is the way to go! With film directors, I’m open to anybody who is serious about their work and blending music into it. The person doesn’t have to be famous. They can be an up and comer who’s made a few movies but wants to be the new Tim Burton, for example, and has that drive. Pedro Almodovar could be a fun gentleman to compose for though. He really uses music a lot in his work. And his work is crazy. I love that he defies standard genres. I’d say any DreamWorks cartoon too. I would jump for joy and dance in my room if DreamWorks Animation hired me to direct cartoons and compose the scores for them. I love Shrek so much and How to Train Your Dragon. The attitude!

10 – What are your future plans for 2016?

I want to do anything in my power in 2016 to make Lucky Pineapple Books + Films a force to reckon with. Everyone has to start from somewhere. And as I cannot rub in enough about my love of working for the “next Steven Spielberg” or whoever that “next” is, I hope people will see how I feel… when they look at me. Our culture is weird because we want all our actors to look unnaturally young and/or not to work with anyone over 30 for roles written for women in their 30s and 40s as Anne Hathaway has discussed, but we cling on the established film directors and composers. I love the guy, but honestly, at some point John Williams will no longer be with us. Nor with our favorite film directors. What do we have left? People who don’t know what to do anymore because most of their film directors of this generation 40 years old and under are taking the initiative of going on their own like these film directors did when they were young. It’s hard. I’m not denying that. But I’d love to establish myself on my company in that demeanor people had when they ran  out and made the biggest movies they could at age 20-25. We don’t have that anymore. Nowadays, people lack drive.

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Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Interviews

Ananya Birla Discusses New Tune “Day Goes By” Ft. Sean Kingston In Interview

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Ananya Birla
She’s a popstar, mental health campaigner, entrepreneur and the first female artist to go platinum singing in English in India. I’m talking about Ananya Birla, who got the chance to chat with Electro Wow blog about her latest collaborative single with Sean Kingston, “Day Goes By” + much more. Scroll down to read this exclusive interview.

1 – What do you miss most about open-mic nights in London?

I really loved those little shows. I guess sometimes I miss their anonymity. No-one knowing who I was, no hype, no real expectation. I was also having a tough time back then at college and those nights around London, when it was just me up on stage, was something I used to look forward to the entire week..

2 – Apart from open-mic nights, in what other ways did you promote your music at the early stage of your career?

I’ve always loved performing, but back at that start of it all I kept pretty quiet about it. I was still full of self-doubt, and unsure whether I had what it took to make it work as a career. It wasn’t until I signed on with Universal back in India that I really believed I could do it and started the whole self-promotion thing. I was lucky that one of my first tracks was remixed by Afrojack, which threw me into everything pretty quickly.

3 – Do you consider yourself a natural-born singer?

Music has always been a massive part of my life – nothing in the world makes me happier. I grew up in an incredibly musical household, and was always performing, whether it was playing classical Indian music on the santoor or playing my friends songs I’d written, strumming along on my guitar. It’s a part of me, for sure.

Ananya Birla Interview
4 – I know you just toured along with American rapper Wiz Khalifa. What did you learn from this amazing experience?

It was unreal to be able to share the stage with such a talented artist like Wiz. To do what he does, and make it look effortless – now that’s talent.

5 – What type of listeners would be interested in your new tune “Day Goes By”?

It is upbeat reggae/pop vibes… you can dance with it or chill to it. We had a lot of fun making the track and you can definitely hear that in the final product.

6 – Is there any message you want to share through the lyrics?

I write or co-write all of my lyrics, and they’re all based on my own personal experience. While the topics are universal – love, lust, heartbreak– the feelings in the tracks are all authentic. I want my audience to connect with my music emotionally, nothing makes me happier than when I read DMs from fans saying one of my songs helped them to feel better about something they were going through.

7 – How did your collaboration with Sean Kingston come about?

I met Sean last year when I opened for his tour in India. We got on immediately – he’s such a level-headed, grounded guy. He really vibed with my sound, and we agreed we’d jam together next time I was in LA. So, when I was over, I hit him up and pretty soon after we were making Day Goes By.

8 – Can you share with us any funny anecdote while you were recording the music video?

I gave one of my friends back in India a call on their birthday, and I had told Sean she was a massive fan. Next thing I know, he grabs the phone and is singing Beautiful Girl down the line. She loved it!

9 – Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?

So many people, all over the world. Collaborations with artists from different places really help elevate a song to another level because everyone has such a unique way of working and drawing inspiration. Khalid has been doing some amazing stuff recently, I would absolutely love to collaborate with him. Post Malone, I am also loving at the moment. Since I was a kid, I dreamed of working with Eminem.

ananya birla singer
10 – Last question, as an active mental health campaigner, do you believe music can improve the state of the mind?

There is a lot of evidence to say so. Music has the power to act as a tool for processing emotions, trauma, and grief—and it can also be a great way for dealing with anxiety. I also recently read that heavy metal is particularly good for combatting depression. Personally, music has helped me through some of the most difficult periods of my life.

Music has also given me and many others an amazing platform to speak about an issue that is still not really openly discussed. The more we talk about it, the more likely we are to get rid of the stigma that prevents so many people from reaching out and getting help, and also to make sure these people feel less alone.


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SYNES Opens Up About Chart-Topping Single “The Man I Am”

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SYNES Opens Up About Chart-Topping Single “The Man I Am”
SYNES opens up about “The Man I Am”, a Synthpop ballad that debuted at number 3 on the LGBTQ chart. But behind the catchy melodies, there are also emotive and relatable lyrics. For all those who know him, you’ll agree that all his songs are impossible to go unnoticed due to his powerful and strong vocals. Read our full interview down here!

1 – First of all, what message do you want to convey to your listeners with your new single “The Man I Am”?

I think the message that I want to send my listeners with my new single is don’t be afraid to write about stuff that’s personal. Good music comes from the heart, and great lyrics come from the heart. Art is subjective. Be who you are, and don’t forget to thank those who made you who you are.

2 – Are the lyrics based on a personal story?

Actually yes. The song is written as a thank you to my late mother who died back in 2017. I wrote the song as a story first. Recounting the time I walked into her house after she passed to pick up the pieces of her life. My mother always kept pictures of us kids on her walls and when I arrived there I had to take them down off the walls which was rough. The song starts with the memories of those pictures. In looking at them one by one, I saw the timeline of her and how she was with me growing up. It was beautiful and tragic all at the same time, just like her. It took me a long time to forgive my mother for some behavior over the years. But this song was the catharsis I needed to move on. This song is dedicated to her memory.

3 – What’s your favorite line from this song?

“I try to find the reason why you were so blind, But now I’ll swallow all my pride.” Because this is the moment when I forgave her.

4 – If I am not wrong, I believe your sound is influenced by Depeche Mode. Is that correct?

Absolutely, among others such as VNV Nation, and Petshop Boys, and other great Synthpop acts. I grew up going to industrial and goth clubs so my sound is still very much in that vein.

SYNES interview
5 – Is this the first time you collaborated with Giuseppe D during the recording process of a song?

Actually no, he co-produced both “Something’s Got to Give”, and “It’s Over”. We have been working together since the inception of SYNES. He’s a great producer.

6 – Why do you believe this track is going to keep climbing up the charts? How do you feel about it?

Ha! One can only hope, right? There is so much music out there, it humbles me that people want to listen to my record. I think it’s doing well because it is a deeply personal song that folks can feel connected to. Maybe they have someone in mind as well that made them who they are when they listen.

7 – How many days did it take you to shoot the video?

Actually only one. I was graciously given the space from my college to use and we banged it out in one full 9 hour day.

8 – Are you planning to release remixes?

As of this time, we are not planning on releasing remixes. Perhaps an acoustic or just piano version, but not remixes.

9 – Is SYNES taking a dark direction with his music for the upcoming singles?

I’ve always lived on the darker side of things. I have a hard time connecting to stuff that is overly happy. Not because I’m sad, I just don’t think it’s genuine. Maybe one day I’ll write a love song or a soulful ballad, but since the world is dark, and my world is in a dark place, my writing and art are going to be as well. I think art should reflect the artist’s situation. Anything else feels disingenuous.

10 – Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?

Be on the lookout for new singles, and my album “7” which is coming soon. And keep at it, that little voice telling you shouldn’t is the reason why you should. Remember that!


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Interview | Questions & Answers With Roberto Rodriguez

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Roberto Rodriguez interview
Roberto Rodriguez
is known for his releases on labels such as Red Lizard, Pulsive Media, and Seriously Records and has seen support from major DJs such as Don Diablo, Oliver Heldens and Timmy Trumpet. His latest release “Nostalgia” is a melodic Bass House tune that’s guaranteed to bring the party. We caught up with Roberto to find out more about his track.

1 — Hi Roberto, first off, great track! Can you tell us a bit about the story behind ‘Nostalgia’?

Hey and thank you! This song was created in a summer studio session and was produced in a few hours. I wanted to capture those summer feels in this track.

2 — How do you approach creating a new production?

First of all, there must be nice weather, lots of sunshine! Then I like to have a lot of positive energy and just be in a good mood when I’m producing.

3 — What do you love most about this track?

As in most of my songs, the main melody is what is most memorable.

dj roberto rodriguez
4 — Would you say this is the typical ‘Roberto Rodriguez’ sound?

This is not the typical ‘Roberto Rodriguez’ sound because it does not exist. We are in these times now where every song should sound different and I love experimenting with each release.

5 — What has the reaction been like so far?

So far the reaction has been really positive. I think that with good promotion, this song can do really well on the market.

6 — How would you describe “Nostalgia” to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?

“Nostalgia” is a song that can be classified as a light Bass House. It is a track that allows you to let loose and have fun at parties.

"The Way Is Hard", A Vivacious Banger From Roberto Rodriguez
7 — What do you do to spark your creativity?

I listen to music from other producers, watch movies, and meet other people.

8 — What’s your one piece of golden advice to new producers?

Set targets for yourself and consistently strive for the goal. You need to put in a lot of hours to reap the rewards.


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Behind The Scenes Of Withus’ ‘Up Down’ EP — Interview

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Behind The Scenes Of Withus' ‘Up Down’ EP — Interview
Since forming in 2018 they have quickly gained the attention of the industry with their original productions getting signed to some of the hottest labels around and bringing their signature sounds to clubs and festivals all over Germany. Withus never fails to thrill the crowd with an energetic grooving mix of House and Tech House. Their recent EP ‘Up Down’ has been a raging success across the electronic music scene so we caught up with the boys to discuss their Motive Records release.

1 — What was the concept behind the EP?

After releasing ‘Got Me’, which we created with a lot of Ibiza vibes in mind and our Tech House groover ‘Diamonds’ with its Hip-Hop samples on Heulsuse, we wanted to make some classically inspired House again.

Alex found this vocal hook deep down in his folders and we put dozens of FX on it and played around with it for a solid three hours. The second track “Someone” started out with that piano progression. We built a matching bass line and put some very classic House vocals on it.

2 — Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?

Really tough question right there. Every track got its own unique spin to it. It depends on the situation and mood. “Up Down” surely has more of a clubby dance vibe to it, “Someone” is more for the chilled-out party at the beach, when the sun sets and you put more and more booze into the drinks!

3 — What is your creative process like when working together?

It usually starts out with an idea one of us has picked up at some point in the studio individually. Then we both sit down and talk about which direction the track should head. Everybody comes up with different elements, ideas, vocals. There is no certain procedure. Every song comes to life in a different manner.

Withus duo
4 — How would you best describe the ‘Up Down’ EP in 3 words?

Catchy, groovy and uplifting.

5 — What do you love about each track?

“Up Down” is exactly what you want to hear at 1 am in the club with its chunky bass-heavy groove and its super catchy vocal hook. “Someone” is the perfect accomplishment with a deeper vibe, it’s jacking percussion, thumping bass and classic house vocal samples.

6 — Tell us how the reaction to the EP has been?

We’ve got a ton of great feedback. It was really surprising. We knew we made some solid stuff, but we didn’t expect that much appreciation. Seeing the EP climbing higher and higher in the charts and finally peaking at #27 on Traxsource House was stunning.

Withus
7 — Which part of the track do you usually start with?

Like we said, there’s no certain way. Every track comes to life in its own inimitable way. Sometimes we start with kick and bassline, sometimes with a vocal snippet or hook, sometimes with a melody we have in mind or with a percussion groove.

8 — What was it like working with Motive Records?

At that time there was this massive release ‘Give Me Love’ we pumped at our gigs on and off, on Motive Records. So, we sent them our demo. Within a few hours, they replied on Instagram with our songs on blast in the studio and a few days later we signed the contract!

The guys from Australia did a great job and really pushed the release. All the lovely people there are kind-hearted, down to earth and you immediately recognize there’s nothing more important to them than music. We want to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts once again.

9 — Where can people download their copy?

Download your copy of ‘Up Down’ on every store or stream it on every service out there. You can click this link to go to your preferred store/streaming service: https://smarturl.it/withusupdown

10 — What’s next for Withus?

We don’t want to say too much about the next big thing at this point, but we’re currently working with some great artists and material and we’re non-stop in the studio. Right now, we’re in talks with some really nice labels, so see what surprises are coming in the future. Stay tuned!


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Interview | Questions & Answers With Natixx

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Nattix
German DJ and Producer duo Natixx are currently climbing their way through the ranks of the EDM scene with every release they make. With previous releases on Maddox, Spur Records and a whole heap of successful bootlegs, it’s clear that this duo is a match made in heaven and with their “Harmony” release making its way up the charts we caught up with the duo to find out more.

1 — What was the inspiration behind ‘Harmony’?

We actually had no real inspiration. We were just in the studio messing around with some sounds until we randomly came up with the idea. Because it was a really melodic track with lots of harmonies, we decided to name it “Harmony”.

2 — Talk us through your creative process?

We always start with the Melody. After that, we try to build a drop around it and when we are finished with that we start working on the rest of the track.

3 — How has the reaction been to the release?

The track received some really great feedback from all over the world.

4 — What was it like working with League Of Lyons?

Everything worked perfectly fine. We know the owners of League Of Lyons (The Lyonbrotherz) personally so it went really smooth. We loved working for them.

Nattix interview
5 — Can we hear any of your influences in this track?

Of course, with our self-designed synths and orchestral elements we tried to make it as original as possible.

6 — What’s your favourite part of the drop?

In the second half of the drop when the melody goes one octave up.

7 — How would you sum up “Harmony” to someone who hasn’t heard it yet?

It is a really melodic and powerful track that is perfectly made for streaming but also for big festivals and clubs.

8 — Where can people go to download your latest single?

It is available on every major store and streaming service.

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