The Bootleggers Music Group is made up of creative individuals with a higher purpose. Not to mention, their versatile style is so spiritual that it has the power to bring people together. Discover more details in this exclusive interview by the hand of his founder, Paul E Jones.
1 — First of all, when did this project start?
In 2019 When the pandemic hit my company, Campus Callers, which I started 18 years prior was deemed “Non-Essential” via our customer base and we lost about 97% of our client base within a few weeks of the shutdowns. After months of deep depression being, 56 and finding myself having to essentially start over in life, I pretty much determined I was going to leave Earth soon and asked GOD to allow me to write and record some music to leave my children.
I began writing and recording as well as playing occasionally out acoustically with a few friends, One of them being a fellow founding member, Wayne Maxwell. One particular night while sitting on my deck I asked GOD what he wanted of me. What was I supposed to do? The very next day Wayne stopped by my Office, Unannounced which had now been converted to a 1600 SFT Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Wayne walked in and Said “Paul I think I am supposed to start playing music for the LORD” to which I replied simply, “OK” He then said, “but I also think I am supposed to write music for the LORD”. Again, my reply was simple, “OK”. He then said, “but I don’t know how to write, that is the gift GOD gave to you”. It was at that moment that I realized my prayer from the night before was answered and we began our task of writing, producing, and releasing music to help people come together and possibly have a relationship with GOD.
Understand this, please. We are not about religion, as a matter of fact, I personally believe “Organized Religion” is one of our world’s greatest problems. But GOD and the LOVE of GOD is what is important. It’s the private relationship that an individual has that is important. Do your best, be as kind as possible and everything else should take care of itself.
2 — Nowadays, how many musicians form part of The Bootleggers Music Group?
We have approximately 35 musicians, producers, writers, and artists involved from all over the globe. Most of them are currently listed on our webpage “Meet the Bootleggers.”
3 — Why did you go multi-genre instead of a specific category?
GOD was very clear to me in the message… Bring people together through music. MUSIC, all music that is kind in its base will bring people together. One night while sleeping I was awoken with a clear message, “GOD LIKES THE BLUES TOO”! Yes, that is exactly how it happened. It was then I realized we must attract people of all musical tastes. Thus far it has worked exactly as I was told, we have people from all genres coming and listening to the music.
They may have heard a Blues track, but then are listening to the others. We are very blessed to be able to do this. Indeed, we are actually producing our first Rap song… The writer, pastor Bob Neal from Cincinnati, an 84-year-old, White Baptist Minister 😊 We recently released his first track, “Words” and he then said he has written 20 Rap songs… So what the heck, let’s do it!
4 — What’s the message behind your latest single “It Is What It Is”?
This is highly funny to me… Again remember we are producing what we are directed to do. Hard to believe I know but “The BOSS” (GOD) sends all kinds of great music to us. “It Is What It Is” came to be because I started sending our music out to Music Critics prior to release in order to get feedback on my mixes.
I truly wanted to find out if I was getting them right, so who best to ask than the people who will decide if a song is played. I had just sent out a pre-release mix of “The Last Grain” as the song which poses the question of a father to his son “If the second to last grain had just fallen and you knew, what would you do”.
The song, to me and us, had a lot of meaning, depth, and feeling… However, while driving to Florida to do a private show I got an e-mail from one of the critics. He actually tore the song apart and said “It had no depth or meaning” HA! Now understand, I am a realist, not every song will be a winner and not everyone will like the music. I have been in the entertainment business since I was 5 so I get it, but his words really threw me off. So I turned on the Country radio station, as he was a Country music critic… I listened to about 8 songs and honestly, the lyrics to these so-called “HITS” and traditional radio tracks were 8 in a row simply dumbed down to “me” I decided that I was going to write a song that meant nothing.
After the first pass with fellow Bootlegger, Wayne Maxwell based on the concept of a song that every line would be a cliché’, we realized we may be on to a pretty fun song! On the drive back from Florida I began to paint the picture of a Middle-aged guy shelling out life advice… By the time I got back to Cincinnati, I had a storyline in mind and started making it all make sense “One Cliché’ at a time” and that is how that came about. Wish I had a better explanation, but that’s how it went!
5 — Would you describe it as a worship song?
Not at all, it is yet another one that honestly I believe was sent to us that will make people smile and ultimately end up getting them to come and listen to the others. GOD has a sense of humor as well, (side) note the whistler lives in Germany and came to be due to I am a huge Andy Griffith fan! You will notice two of my granddaughters, Colby, and Amelia are on the Spotify canvas!
6 — Which is your favorite line? Why?
My favorite line is “Everybody is a critic, it’s a sign of our times” which comes from the answer in #4 😊 Ironically I sent it to the Critic of Last Grain and have not heard back… I wonder if he picked it up. 😊
7 — What do you like the most about the arrangements or the style of “It Is What It Is”?
I think the best part of this song is it sticks in your head and simply makes me smile. The whistle makes the song to me!
8 — Have you ever done covers?
Yes, when playing out we mix many covers into the setlist, however, we try and stick with a 70/30 split when we are able to… 70’s originals and 30% covers.
9 — Will you be touring next year? Please let us more.
Our current plan is to start going out 1-4 times per month in mid-2023, however, we have made up our minds that we will only be playing venues we can fill and only do 1 ½ shows based on our own music.
10 — Musically speaking, what has been your biggest accomplishment?
Hard question, but I think to date it is that GOD provided me with some pretty crazy abilities. I am able to play any instrument I pick up. I do not know how to read music, I can only hear it in my head. This project has shown me how blessed I am and then the ability to match the best players and producers to the song.
Understand, this project is not Paul E Jones or any other single human. The Bootleggers Music Group has been designed to live on well after any of our current members including myself are gone. I have done all I can to make sure the person in the driver’s seat will not matter.
Everything from track management to the contacts, writers, players, and the cost of services is kept in a very tight database. Playlist curators, bloggers, and influencers are all known and rated by the genre they like to write about and promote. This way if I die tomorrow it will not matter… The Bootleggers Music Group will continue on!
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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.