"We will learn what happened on the record, but once it comes back into the live show, it really starts to change again, and it evolves because, in a live show, you’ve got to bridge all of the tracks. Things start to happen spontaneously in the show. Sometimes by accident, sometimes we allow things to happen. I think of that as decomposition, where you had the finished composition and now it’s starting almost to disintegrate” - the Comet is Coming drummer Max 'Betamax' Hallett says in the PopMatters interview. The band is deep in the tour part of the writing-editing-touring cycle, and they will be back to writing - “but to do that, we need to be ready, but we also need to be blank. The canvas needs to be white; there needs to be nothing there, so we’re ready to do something new".

"The Brits have always been good at repacking Black American music and then selling it back to the US. If you think about the Beatles and the whole British Invasion of the ’60s, those artists were all massively inspired by rhythm and blues and other forms of Black American music, but the white audiences that loved them wouldn’t necessarily go back and support the records that inspired these groups in the first place. The same thing happened with dance music" - Matt Anniss told First Floor. He also talks about the "Ibiza origin myth", music journalism, “hardcore continuum”... Anniss is the author of 'Join the Future', a history of bleek techno, which is being reissued this month.

Only a feeling
January 18, 2023

Rick Rubin: I know nothing about music!

"I have no technical ability. And I know nothing about music" - THE producer Rick Rubin told Anderson Cooper in an interview tied to his new book 'The Creative Act: A Way Of Being', the CNBC reports. What he knows, Rubin says, is "what I like and what I don’t like. And I’m decisive about what I like and what I don’t like." He points out what he's being paid for - "The confidence that I have in my taste and my ability to express what I feel has proven helpful for artists." Watch the interview - here.

Trapital's Dan Runcie is looking into Diddy's businesses with tequila and cannabis, building upon a successful venture with Ciroc vodka. Some interesting thoughts by the entertainment/business analyst: "Tequila is a less mature liquor than vodka, but U.S. tequila sales may soon outpace vodka as the #1 spirits category. Tequila has different drinking occasions, which shifts the marketing and messaging... Cannabis is a more complex industry. Many Black business leaders want in to help reset the narrative. Historically, the criminalization of weed affects Black people disproportionately, but the legalization of weed has benefitted white business owners the most".

"If you need to recover from anything, whatever it may be, whatever sort of fundamental change you want, there’s usually a darkness there. I think everyone has a shadow within those periods of isolation that we were confronted with" - The Murder Capital's frontman James McGovern says to The New Cue about the process of writing their new album 'Gigi's Recovery', written in isolation in rural Ireland. "When we were out there making this album we were alone, it felt like that old world had departed to a different side of the galaxy, so we had to iron out the creases ourselves. To make authentic music it requires honesty. We were calling out our own shadows and just being like, we need to change this darkness". Also, good advice about New Year's resolutions: "A good resolution is to be kind to whatever parts of yourself were good in the year before and to continue on with them. Focus on them more because they already exist."

Soil, water, air, light... and music
January 09, 2023

Podcast: Links between music and plants

The latest episode of Source Material podcast explores the symbiotic links between electronic music and house plants discovering how bass frequencies mimic bees and why festivals are adopting sonic soil pollution. Diving into the world of frequencies and root systems, RA's Martha Pazienti Caidan speaks to four musicians and artists who make music and/or technology for plants - biotherapeutic musician Imka, Joe Patitucci of PlantWave, an app that translates plants' biorhythms into music, sound artist Karine Bonneval and composer Erland Cooper.

The New Cue talked to Bristol’s singer-songwriter Billy Nomates about her new album 'CACTI', out this Friday. She describes how she chooses songs from the raw material: "What I’m slowly realising is you never throw the dart closer to the bull’s eye than when you first burn off a demo, because you create something that’s just the feeling and sometimes it actually doesn’t need the other things. It’s taken me a long time to understand that but I’m starting to grasp it now. I think getting them out of the bin was a lot of encouragement, there was a lot of kicking and screaming, there was a lot of ‘naaah, what are you talking about, it’s rubbish!’. That’s the cons of being a solo artist, you are your best friend and your own worst enemy in those situations".

"There were a lot of samples and things that needed to be taken care of. It was long, but it wasn’t grueling. What’s great is that a lot of these owners, writers, and publishers were De La Soul fans, and they had publicly understood what was going on" - De La Soul's Posdnous says in the Billboard interview about his band's music finally coming to streaming platforms. It was frustrating to be absent from the digital media: "It almost felt like we were being erased from history, because our music wasn’t up".

In a rare interveiw for the Wall Street Journal, Bob Dylan shares his thoughts on how technology might represent the end of civilization, the music he likes, as well as creativity - "When we’re inventing something, we’re more vulnerable than we’ll ever be. Eating and sleeping mean nothing. We’re in 'Splendid Isolation', like in the Warren Zevon song; the world of self, Georgia O’Keeffe alone in the desert. To be creative you’ve got to be unsociable and tight-assed. Not necessarily violent and ugly, just unfriendly and distracted. You’re self-sufficient and you stay focused".

Violinist and singer Sudan Archives talks to Pitchfork about her musical style, her identity, and her urge to change. “There are people who want me to be this certain type of Black artist woman singing about hippy shit and the trees... The highest version of myself is a ghetto fabulous girl. I can’t run away from that. It’s time to show these motherfuckers who I am" - SA talks about her early fans.  On the topic of artists who stay fateful to their old sound - “that’s some pussy-ass shit right there. I’d rather make horrible songs and be feeling like I’m expressing myself and growing”; on steady pathologizing of Black creative power in every industry - “I’m not their magical nigger”.

Patrick Hicks has a TikTok channel where is telling interesting music stories 4-5 times a week. He started in April 2022 because his wife challenged him to do a new creative project for 30 days. Now, he has nearly 300,000 followers. In MJI interview he points out that he'd like to see "more positivity and enthusiasm for music. I didn’t really know what to call myself when I first started doing this—journalist, historian, storyteller—and then somebody in the comments said I was a 'music celebrator' and I really like that. Music is so amazing, I’d love to see more celebrating of it".

A very interesting interview in GQ magazine with Lyor Cohen, Google and YouTube’s global head of music, about short-form video. "Kids are being hit with the tidal wave of choice and it's unpleasant. You cannot become an adult until you find the soundtrack of your youth. You don't know what partner to hook up with, what clothes to dress in and what crew to run with. It helps curate the direction... It’s a ‘Complicated Age’, but I think short-form video is the solution for it all... It’s going to simplify everything. Kids now want to participate. When I was a kid, it was OK for me to break of record open, put a needle on, smoke a joint and listen. Now, that doesn't work for them. Short-form video means they can be part of the zeitgeist without, 'My life is great and your life sucks'. It’s the new version of rummaging through the crates, but my competition wants them in that ‘dumb stupid mode". Cohen is a businessman, but he still nurtures the passion for music: "Being surprised and blown away by music is sticky and powerful".

An interesting conversation in Wired with the "computer musician" Holly Herndon, who created an AI-powered vocal clone called Holly+ that is, at least theoretically, infinitely capable. “There’s a narrative around a lot of this stuff that it’s scary dystopian. I’m trying to present another side: This is an opportunity" - Herndon says. She recently released Holly+’s cover of Dolly Parton’s 'Jolene' (watch it below). Wired also makes a good point - It’s not creepy. It’s pop culture.

Daniel Vangarde is an artist, writer, and producer behind an array of releases that range from the wildly obscure to the instantly familiar, like Ottawan's 'D.I.S.C.O'. Vangarde had retired from music years ago, relocating to a remote fishing village in northern Brazil, after losing interest in music. However, at the age of 75, he is having a career-spanning compilation released. Because Music was keen to release the compilation, partly due to the success of his son, Thomas Bangalter, until recently one half of Daft Punk. Alexis Petridis brings the exciting story.

"When you go to a football match and there’s lots of people all singing together, in the 21st century that’s a unique thing. When do you get groups of people singing together unaccompanied other than at football matches, mass singing like that?" - Alex James (of Blur) says to The New Cue about his football song 'Vindaloo'. Having a football record, James argues, is "half as good as a Christmas record... I’ve come to realise, because it’s every two years that there’s a major tournament and Christmas is still yearly". He also favors "boozy singing late at night" with friends - "there’s nothing more wonderful than singing when you’re drunk, is there? It’s better than headlining Glastonbury, a bunch of mates all singing together".

A very interesting interview in the Tone Glow with members of experimental rock band Horse Lords about being in a band, understanding and experimenting with each other. "I think in a larger sense, there’s a combination of a willingness to experiment in a free way, or playful way, but also a willingness to submit to various strict practice-based music" - guitarist Owen Gardner says about their "shared language", which the saxophone player Andrew Bernstein defines as "an ethos that we’re willing to trust each other". Bass player Max Eilbacher talks about playing in the band: "When I have time with these three people, it’s very much hyper-focused and we all have a common goal. We’re all in it for the same reasons, too, which I think is really important. At least from what I can tell, we all have the same end goals and desires and we wanna derive the same joys out of what we do together".

King Princess is the latest featured artist on Song Exploder with her song 'Let Us Die' which she wrote in a special place on a lake, while having relationship issues. Mikaela Straus breaks down the song, along with two of her collaborators on it: co-producer and co-writer Ethan Gruska, and multi-Grammy winning producer Mark Ronson. The song features Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins on drums, who died afterward. Also, Straus' father Oliver, gave the key engineering advice.

Musician, producer, DJ, director, and author Questlove has released season 2 of his Shorty Award-winning YouTube series 'Quest for Craft', where he talks to creatives about their creative process and the way they’ve honed their craft. In the new season, he talks to ballet dancer Misty Copeland, author Fran Lebowitz, and Kenan Thompson. In episode 5 he talks to producer Mark Ronson about finding your voice as a craftsperson and an artist, as well as composer and musician Kris Bowers about expressing emotions.

Dan Runcie talks to New York Times music reporter Joe Coscarelli about his new book, 'Rap Capital', in the latest Trapital's podcast. The key, Coscarelli believes, is Atlanta rappers' adoption of modern tech: “I love to see when art lines up with the technology of the moment. These Atlanta rappers were in the perfect place at the perfect time to take advantage of that explosion". Also, the reporter sees broader liberties: “Artists have found freedom…your audience is going to find you. You can still have as much of a footprint but not in the same everybody-knows-the-same-10-people way. It’s almost healthier for some of these artists to say ‘I’ve seen what happens on the fame side and I don’t want that part. I just want to make my music and play for my fans.’ That’s become more and more of a possibility without having to play the game with the gatekeepers”.

Drugs side of the Lhooq
October 14, 2022

Podcast: The changing landscape of drugs

Party and drugs specialist Michelle Lhooq discusses the changing landscape of drugs in the New Models podcast - from legalization grifts to “spectrum sobriety”, They also discuss nü party paradigms, emergent synthetics, and the gentrification of club drugs like K, MDMA, and 3-MMC. Additionally, Lil Internet fills in some context with fascinating explainers on Berlin’s Telegram drug delivery services. Listen to the podcast - https://ravenewworld.substack.com/p/techno-disneyland.

Country superstar Kane Brown's manager Martha Earls shares some interesting thoughts in an MBW interview about signing musicians based on their viral TikTok videos. "People are signing moments – 15 seconds of a song being popular — without a plan to develop a long-term career for the artist they’re signing. That’s troublesome to me because that implies these artists are disposable people. ‘Oh, you had a hit, we’ll sign you. You don’t have another one? Whatever, we’ve moved on.’ Are you really giving them everything they need to have the most successful career possible? I do have some concerns with that".

An interesting interview by The New Cue with Paul Heaton from The Beautiful South and The Housemartins, on several topics, including money: "I have seen that the more money you make, the more it controls you. They move to bigger houses, with bigger fences and bigger gates. The higher the gate, the more safe they feel, but I always think that’s really unsafe. I live in plain sight. I live on an ordinary street. You come up to the door and I answer. There’s no barrier between me and other people, because I think if there is it promotes a them-and-us thing. If I have someone stalking me I know straight away. I’m not a curtain twitcher but I know everybody on our street. So if someone tried stalking me, they’d be stalked back".

How music is being used and its effect on people is the topic of the Anne Helen interview with musicologist Lily E. Hirsch. "The discussion came up among music scholars of whether music used as torture even is music. Can music actually be torture? At first, I was caught up in the discussion, but immediately I started to think, This is not the point. The torture is the point. What this is doing to people is the point, not whether or not it’s music." Hirsch has also written a book about the issue.

"Be uncompromising in what you’re doing with your music. If you really feel it, then go with that" - Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember shared his career advice with The New Cue. Also, he believes you can't really plan to have a career in music: "Just do what you want to do and maybe later on in the rearview mirror you’ll see it as a career". Kember also says he doesn't really plan to reform Spacemen 3: "There is no reason why every band should reform just because people have gotten into them 30 years later. Careful what you wish for as well. I remember going to see The Velvet Underground when they reformed and I left halfway through. I’m a massive fan but I was just like, ‘Naaaa, I don’t think I need to do this to their memory'".

The Mars Volta have reunited and announced a new album with single 'Blacklight Shine', 'Graveyard Loce' and 'Vigil'. Many fans weren't happy with its latin-rock/yacht-rock sound. But the MV's main two boys don't really mind, as they say in the Guardian interview. “I’m not bound by genre. The only thing that matters is if music makes you feel something” - says Omar Rodríguez-López, and adds: “Losing ‘fans’ is baked into what we do. I don’t know a greater happiness than losing ‘fans’. A true fan is someone interested in what’s happening now, and then there’s everyone else trying to control what you do or project on to it. I have an aversion to that. That sounds like school. That sounds like the government. That sounds like the police. And unfortunately that’s what a lot of people who think they’re fans end up thinking like”. His bandmate Cedric Bixler-Zavala goes back to the perspective of the band: "Omar said the Mars Volta can be whatever we

Some really interesting thoughts by singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin in The New Cue about how songs come to life and how they change: "I feel like this record in particular, when we finished it, it was just like, ‘oh, OK, this is what I made, cool’. It wasn’t exactly what I imagined but also I was just very open to the journey and for it to be what it needed to be, which is a relaxing way to be sometimes... Sometimes I think crowd responses informs me what the song is and how it should be played, I think they can really transform on the road".

Roxy Music's guitarist Phil Manzanera talked to The Telegraph about how much he makes from music: "Luckily, Roxy have continued to be popular, so it’s like having a pension. I don’t have any other pensions... I was also lucky to have my guitar riff from my 1978 second solo album 'K-Scope' sampled in 2011 by Jay-Z and Kanye West, who built a whole song around it. The track, 'No Church in the Wild' on the 'Watch the Throne' album, won a Grammy and was hugely successful and used in films and lots of ads. It was like winning the lottery out of the blue. I get more than they get for it: a six-figure sum over 10 years. And they continue to pay me multiples of six figures because they’re so successful and I partly own my share. It’s prob­ably more than I ever earned in Roxy: we had all the gold albums but no gold!".

Guardian takes it all
June 19, 2022

Abbatars changing the future of music!?

How will digital technology shape the future of live music - that's the theme of the Guardian podcast about Abba Voyage, a digital Abba tour which debuted in London last month. The production cost £140m. The Guardian’s head rock and pop critic, Alexis Petridis, and the Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes, were there. Was it history in the making?

An interesting point by Interpol's Sam Fogarino in The New Cue interview about live rehearsals: "When you’re in a room together, even if you’re really close, and the band has never come to fisticuffs over the years, we’ve had heated arguments, but nothing more, but still, you get with everybody’s daily mood, stuff that’s unrelated to the task at hand. There’s ego and desire and we’re all emotionally bound in this sexless three-way relationship, you know what I mean? It’s worse than a marriage, because it’s all the emotional shit but no sex at all! There’s no outlet in that way. Being separate, you were able to fully express yourself before sharing it with anybody. Then when we finally went to upstate New York to get together to play the material, it was extra special. We’d bypassed this whole usual laborious process".

“I take the month off of gigs and use Ramadan to focus on my spirituality, giving back, making time for family and close friends, revisiting the areas in my life that need improvement. Islam is all about being intentional with the way we live our lives" - Minneapolis-based DJ Yasmeenah told Mix Mag about how she spends this month-long period. Kan D Man says “It is a detox for me for the mind, body and soul. Sometimes in our industry, we are always rushing and on the go, especially being in London my whole life; I know how fast-paced life can be on a daily basis. It is a month I like to detox, switch off and reset everything”.

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