Remember Robin Lane & The Chartbusters? Yeah, that band was all about mixing Rock, Pop, and Folk in their own unique way. Now, get ready to dive into an awesome interview with the legendary Robin Lane herself. Her brand new album, ‘Dirt Road To Heaven,’ is creating a buzz!
1 — Your latest album, ‘Dirt Road To Heaven’ reflects who you are as an artist now. Can you elaborate on the themes captured in this material?
The usual love, loss, anarchy, simple life, insanity, rebellion, get it together, it all makes sense. Here and now, is where we find ourselves and though it all may end soon, as we wind down to zero hour, in our individual lives or possibly as we near the end of existence of humanity on the planet, “This Is It, It Is Perfect.”
2 — Among the tracks on this album, which one would you say is the most personal or intimate?
Most of them are in their own unique ways. From an honest point of view of something that actually happened… “Woman Like That” is as honest as it gets, but “Faded Leaves” in all its melancholia is true too but more subliminal, winter coming on, is that real or the winter of our lives, the circle of life. “Hurricane Watch” perhaps, it is saying something to me but I’m not totally sure what it is even though I wrote it. Other people have told me “Hurricane Watch” spoke to them. Sometimes, I write a song and I don’t know what it’s really about.
3 — What inspired you to explore a different musical direction, moving from New Wave Rock to Americana?
Those are labels and I didn’t put them on my songs. I’ve written songs since I was 20 and to me, they are all just songs that other people need to put into a category. Of course, that happens. When I had my band Robin Lane & The Chartbusters I was doing a specific type of music that spoke to me at that time. It was white music, no black influences during that period for whatever that means but Punk and New Wave were very white cept for Ska I suppose. I limited myself to what I wrote and listened to with a purpose in mind. All those bands that were out then, Tom Petty, Television, Graham Parker, and so many artists I listened to but they were all of a certain genre.
4 — Who collaborated with you on this new project?
My friend and bass player John Pfister who owns Ringo Studio in Marblehead. We worked on this album for a long time. Marblehead is a few hours from where I live and then there was a tragedy that occurred which took me away and right after that came Covid. So it took us a number of years. We finished just in the nick of time. We have a very good working relationship. He kept every track that I played on or anyone else played on. Kind of drove me nuts but he was able to put all my guitar parts together in this most awesome way. We were in a very happy state of mind doing that album even though having to go through 20 or 30 tracks of similar guitar parts I did, did make me kooky… it was worth it in the end.
I also wrote a few of these songs with different friends. One friend William Dubby Fuqua and I wrote “Hunny Dummer” up in Zion National wherever that is. Our friend Terry Sachen had a house. William, Dubby, was the first sound man, roadie, light man, and be-all to end all for Neil Young & Crazy Horse when they first went out on the road to support ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.’ You can see him on the inside of the album with a white dog leaning up against him. He also wrote “Rodeo Clown.” We called him Baby John at that time or Will Hinds… oh these people with their name changes.
That’s what you are saying and I suppose if it’s true and that’s awesome. Here is the way I see it. I wrote the song, my band recorded it and then Warner Bros sent some videographers out to shoot a video. We didn’t really know what was going on. I didn’t know you had to have an image to put in a video, I was always about the music, not so much the visual. Big mistake. I didn’t know it was important, or even possible that a video could enhance your musical notoriety and exposure. We didn’t have MTV in Boston at that time, and as it was the 11th video on MTV, there wasn’t anything that came before to learn from. Some people understood where this was headed at that time but I just didn’t know how important MTV and videos were going to be. And yes… it means something in the history and evolution of music. It was fun but I wasn’t that aware of it at that time so it’s all a reflection and I don’t think about it too much spending most of my time in the present.
6 — Could you share your memories of collaborating with members of Crazy Horse and singing with Neil Young during the late 60s?
I had met a Shindig dancer named Danny Whitten. After Danny’s dancing phase he started a band with Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina called “The Rockets”. It was around that time I started hanging out at their house up on Laurel Canyon. I kind of thought they were not so hot. In retrospect, they were the first garage band I ever knew. The din across Laurel Canyon and the whiff of pot fumes led right to their door. The Rockets sold pot to survive. They’d give me money and I’d go to the market to buy the food and although I couldn’t boil an egg I was very adept at following the recipes from the new hit cookbook by Julia Childs.
One night Neil Young showed up. His band “The Buffalo Springfield” was already one of the favorite bands around town. “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” was completely unique. This band hit a nerve with me as did Neil and Stephen’s songs. I was desperate to write songs as they did.
Neil and Stephen Stills were a constant at the Rocket House, singing their songs. I’d sit in front of them totally mesmerized, absorbing their music. I could only creak out a couple of songs Danny had shown me, but much to my amazement Neil liked the way I sang and taught me one of his own songs he hadn’t recorded with the Springfield. A couple of years later I recorded the song “Round and Round” with Danny and Neil in the studio for his first solo album ‘Everybody Knows This is Nowhere’ In time, all the practicing the Rockets put in had paid off and after Neil broke with the Springfield he renamed the Rockets, Crazy Horse and the rest is history.
7 — Your discography spans several decades. How would you describe the evolution of your songwriting in your music?
First, I played guitar and tried to write songs like my heroes. Neil, Tim Hardin, Jackie De Shannon, Laura Nyro, and there were plenty of songwriters in my sphere that never got famous but from whom I learned much. I floated along like that for several years, playing in tunings, and singing at Hoot Nights at The Troubadour as a singer/songwriter. Then I left LA and moved to Boston and got hit on the head with all the new and more vital music being made by the Punk and New Wave bands coming out of New York and Boston had a real scene. So that influenced me to write new songs that had more social meaning and start a band of my own.
I’ve spoken about that in this article already. I kept a tight ship in those years, I knew I wanted that 12-string effect like the Byrds had, a band who’s shows I went to constantly back in LA in the late ’60s. After my band lost the record contract, I didn’t stop writing songs… I wrote some really good ones and made some EPs and cassettes that nobody ever heard of. I just kept going like the energy bunny go go go… why would I stop. Music and songwriting is my life, saved my life, although often challenging to live a life with no other means of income. I put out a few albums during those years, ‘Cat Bird Seat,’ ‘Piece of Mind’ with Robin Lane & The Chartbusters again, and a bunch of cassettes I’d pass out at shows.
I always performed and went to Europe to perform with musicians over there. Everyone thought I’d disappeared and I suppose I had from the public eye. You need a lot of support to be out there in the arena where people know you exist and can follow you. Not like today where you can set your own pace. Young musicians today, it’s a whole other world. I don’t understand but they do. Yaaaaay for them. Me and those of my era were pretty much at the mercy of record companies’ publishers and managers… if they dropped you… you were toast. Although I didn’t like the burnt smell, so I kept going, all on my own and with other musicians I’d find in my immediate sphere but nobody too famous, maybe a couple but… you can’t give this music stuff up if it’s in your blood and has given you life and even saved your life.
How great for everyone that is into it and understands it. Do your own thing. DIY. Now you really can.
9 — Do you have a sense of nostalgia for the vinyl/CD era?
No, although the albums were awesome. That’s the way I grew up. There was a lot of information that we all wanted to know about the people whose music we listened to. But no nostalgia, time moves on.
10 — Looking back on your music career, if you had the chance to go back in time, what aspects of decisions would you handle differently?
If I could go back up in the womb and my childhood, I’d have been born to really really smart parents so smart and their DNA would inform the code in me. As it were I had a beautiful model for a mother and a musician for a father. They were not emotionally available. If I had this other DNA code I would have ooooodles of confidence. I would know how to play this music biz game, not just the music part, and I would pick the correct manager, one who understood me (of course I would understand myself too) and would stick with me through all the trials of the industry and we would keep going together. If I’d had someone like that…who knows what could have happened. But shite happens, life goes on. I had a baby at a time when women who played Rock ‘n’ Roll did not do that. Couldn’t mix up the whore persona with the immaculate virgin woman pregnant thang… read Germaine Greer.
I think if I had had the wherewithal to choose a manager that truly believed in me and my talent then that is what I would have done, chosen that guy or gal. But the manager I had, did get us noticed, so that is good too. The music business was different then and it was mostly how men thought about it at that time. It changed soon after, although…??? You just can’t keep looking back… it’s not healthy. Life happens and you live and you grow and you breathe in the beautiful air and all that is around you. This is it, it is perfect, as I said. I heard that at the first “Human Be In” in Golden Gate Park, in 1967. Gary Snyder the poet or Baba Ram Dass said that to the masses of hippies that had gathered in the polo field, all high on Owlesy’s windowpane acid. I can’t believe I survived it all… Happy to be alive and being interviewed by you. What a trip. Do you ever feel you’re running a marathon?
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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.