Time of Extinction (소멸의 시간) – Friday Song of the Week

Dear Chris and listener,

Thank you for sharing Kileza’s track with me. Her wonderful voice is definitely a pleasure to listen to, and the raw emotion she pours into her singing is definitely sure to ring an emotional bell or two.

This Friday I want to up the tempo a bit, and feature some foreign artists. The band I’m talking about is Jambinai (잠비나이). They’re from South Korea, and they blend metal, rock, and traditional Korean music in quite a fantastic way.

The track I want to share with you is Time of Extinction (소멸의 시간), one of their more agressive and upbeat numbers. The track has a steady build up of energy. A sinister Koto starts setting the tone, and one by one, the other band members chime in with their own layer of sound, until the track builds up to a chaotic explosion of musical expression. The music video also doesn’t leave you wanting for much with its juxtaposition of colourful silhouettes.

Look forward to hearing your two cents.

Our musical discourse so far:

Find Me” by Marcus D (Ft. Jun)

Hide” by FKA Twigs

I Am Here” by Funky DL

El Pescador” by Banda Magda

Empires” by Electric Swing Circus

Jungle” by Tash Sultana

Never Knew a Thing (Live)” by Kileza

Time of Extinction” (소멸의 시간) by Jambinai (잠비나이)

Jungle – Friday Song of the week

Dear Chris, and listener,

The Electric Swing Circus definitely made this usually static booty want to go “Pop, pop!” If you don’t enjoy this track, I feel like you have to call human customer support and demand you get your missing parts back. The track is fun, but more than that, the music moves. It’s not static in its composition, and it’s just fun and fresh. And if that was not good enough, the music video really has a pulse! I’ve seen a good share of electro-swing on Youtube, and it’s usually just people dressed up in retro costumes playing 4-chord jazz pretending it’s swing. But this video POPS real hard. Love it.

I accept your declaration of war. And what better way to wage music war than to throw strange mishmashes of genres at your respectable (or otherwise) opponent. This week I am going to hit you with Tash Sultana’s Jungle. This girl came on the scene only last year, and seems to be the spirit child of Jimi Hendrix. She plays a prodigious mix of rock and reggae guitar. And with her mastery of looping pedals she’s truly a one-woman band.

The glove has been thrown.

Find Me” By Marcus D (Ft. Jun)

Hide” by FKA Twigs

I Am Here” by Funky DL

El Pescador” by Banda Magda

Empires” by Electric Swing Circus

Jungle” by Tash Sultana

El Pescador – Friday Song of the Week

Chris, and listener,

I dug the Autonomy track you sent me. I enjoyed the trumpet melody line that contrasted his vocals. The trumpet was just blowing carefree notes while his voice delivered the rhymes in an intense contrast. It was an enjoyable blend of hip hop, soul, and jazz.

This week I’m going to share a track with you which impresses me in its layering. Don’t get me wrong, the aesthetics lack for nothing – Banda Magda’s El Pescador has a big band Mediterranean sound that will get your foot nodding. But the sequence in which the instruments join in, weave through eachother, and finally climax, is absolute finesse. This track could be on Masterclass teaching composers and audio engineers how to make and layer a track.

I think it’s nothing short of criminal to listen to this song on an iPhone or a tablet. Make sure you got yourself a proper headset or at least decent speakers. This is a song you have to listen to at least two or three times. The first time you’ll hear the aesthetic and the lead melodies, which granted, are great. The second time you’ll start paying attention to the many melody lines and rhythms playing off eachother. And from the third time on, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a sense of the spectacular chaos sculpted by the many musical elements of this gorgeous track.

So far we have have built the following playlist:

Find Me” By Marcus D (Ft. Jun)

Hide” by FKA Twigs

I Am Here” by Funky DL

El Pescador” by Banda Magda

Happy listening 😉

 

Hide – Friday Song of the Week

Dear Chris, and listener,

I want to reciprocate the gesture of sharing a piece of your world with me.

As this is the first time we do this exchange, I also want to share something that currently reflects some small part of my world.

I recently met a friend who pushed me further down the rabbit hole of obscure, yet wonderful music. She also shares my love for trip hop, but unlike me she has done more than just dip a toe.

The track that I want to share with you is “Hide” by FKA Twigs.  It’s a bare bones trip hop track. Tahliah’s voice doesn’t leave you wanting for anything. It rises and falls between the weaves of a day-dreaming jazz guitar. The precussion is simple and works. The bass pops its head up when it’s needed, but is always noticed. More than anything, this track has a unique musical idea and identity that is so rare to find in the trip hop universe. With so many preformers trying to outdo eachother on producing the freshest sound, FKA Twigs just does it. And like all great preformers, they do it better live.

FKA Twigs – Hide (live)

Thank you for sharing this experience with me.

Vladi

Find Me — Monday Song of The Week

Hey Vladi,

For the inaugural song recommendation, I wanted to do a tribute to my trip to Japan, where I showed you “Greater Purpose” by Marcus D, featuring the stellar contributions of Cise Starr. After due consideration, I looked to Marcus D’’s LP, Lone Wolf.

While the LP has many worthwhile tracks, a couple even featuring Cise Starr, I wanted to switch things up and give another one of Marcus D’’s collaborations the spotlight.

I downloaded “Find Me“, featuring the soothing vocals of Jun, shortly before my springtime trip to Japan. I can still remember sleepily listening to the track as the plane made its way down the north end of Japan, finally finding Narita Airport.

The song’s lyrics are almost exclusively Japanese, and I have thus far resisted the urge to translate it. As I slowly learn the language, it has been a pleasure to unlock more and more of the lyrics. It’s one of the many rewards I have for my efforts.

Admittedly, this track may not fit your extract taste, but it’s worth the experiment if it gives you a fraction of the peace it gives me. I suggest giving it a listen during a long trip, preferably when you’’re in the mood to let a song carry you away.

Let me know what you think, and I look forward to your recommendation at the end of the week.

Chris

Q & A With Kileza

ColourOne2By Chris

If you visit this artist’s YouTube Page, you’ll find her performing “Never Knew a Thing”, my favorite song of hers. The video begins with a piano and her captivating voice taking the foreground. Before long, the entire band creeps in and carries you through a story of her past lover. After seeing this performance, I knew I had to interview her.

Born and raised in South Africa, Kileza was brought into the world of music at an early age, taking up piano lessons at the age of seven. This would begin a journey that would see her becoming a citizen of the world, living and performing in Argentina, Canada and Germany.

Her placement within the top 6 finalists in Idols South Africa’ s second season, gave her unprecedented exposure, and her future success would come in Canada with her winning the 2005 Waterloo Idols.

Now in Germany, Kileza works to build a name while also maintaining a regular blog called Tea Talk Tuesdays, where she shares a perspective she’s gained through work and life around the world.

She describes her music as “psychedelic R&B, a blend of experimental electro, soul and hip hop.”  While the aforementioned “Never Knew a Thing” gives a smooth and intimate experience, songs like the intoxicating “James Blake” lean to the alternative style. In both cases, her vocals hold up well.

In The following Q&A, Kileza shares for experiences, her art and her plans for the future.

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What inspired you to take classical piano lessons at the age of seven, and what eventually moved you more into the world of pop and jazz?

“Well, I was fascinated with the piano from a young age, and for some reason my parents enrolled me, without me really asking, which was wonderful because it felt like divine intervention.

I was heavily influenced by my parents’ listening habits, my mom is more of the pop girl, and my dad is more into jazz and classical. Jazz was a great sort of technical/harmonic basis for the instruments I was playing, and I love pop music because for me, it’s a science. Distilling music to its most crucial elements.”

Was it primarily this shift towards the latter two genres that made you pick up the guitar?

“I’m not sure why I picked up the guitar; again I was just fascinated by it. I remember this Red Hot Chili Peppers Song “Otherside”, I think that opening Bassline made me want to play a stringed instrument. As I got more and more into the guitar, I fell in love with jazz guitar, particularly samba, and that still influences most of my playing today.”
At that point did you have any idea that you would be using your voice as much as you do?

“I’m not exactly sure, maybe around 10 years old, I remember going to my grandmother’s house in Sasolberg, and singing extra loud because I wanted her to her me and tell me I was good!

When I was 16 I took part in “South African Idol” and afterwards we all made a CD together, that was my first time being in a real recording studio, and I remember thinking, “this is me!”

 

At the time, did you have any dreams of becoming a musician, or was it only a hobby?

“Again, I think it was around the age of 10 that I realized that you could be a singer as an actual real profession. Since then it was my dream, my purpose.”

 

Can you describe your time in Waterloo, Ontario? How did your time in this region affect you and your art?

“My time in Waterloo was crucial to me becoming a producer. Not only did I take a University course on the subject, but I also began studying with a teacher externally. I think that was the most important part of the situation. It also made me realise how much I didn’t want to be in school, and how much I wanted to pursue my music career seriously.”

 

Given everywhere you have performed and lived, do you ever feel homesick for any one place?

“No, luckily I don’t really feel homesick for any particular place. I’ve found that each place has its advantages and disadvantages. I always feel a little bit out of place no matter where I am, so I think that helps me in being able to adapt to new places and circumstances easily.”

 

What was it about school that didn’t appeal to you?

“Again, I just felt like I didn’t belong in University. In primary education I was a model student.

I had the best grades and I did well in a lot of extracurricular, so University just felt like an extension of that. I knew it was something I could succeed at easily, so it was quite boring sometimes. That being said, there were some courses that were instrumental to my musicianship. I guess like most students I realized I liked learning more for the sake of learning, and not for the sake of repetition and test-taking.”

 

What eventually brought you to Germany?

“Once I’d transferred from the University of Waterloo to the University of Toronto I met a musician who’d lived in Germany for 10 years. He told me it was much easier to live and work as a musician in Berlin. He said that you’d do 1 gig and it would pay your rent, and that made my eyes light up because being a musician in Toronto was quite difficult. I always needed a side job to make ends meet; also I felt that the general public didn’t have much regard for local musicians. Luckily I’ve found that it’s much different here!”

 

As an indie artist, what are the biggest struggles you have faced that many outside of the creative community may not be aware of?

“Well, the first thing that came to mind is that it’s somewhat disappointing how poorly musicians are treated sometimes. Although we enrich the most important moments of people’s lives, we’re still somehow seen as subhuman by even the most well-meaning people. I suppose this is pretty common across all fields.”

 

Are there problems that are unique to young women who are trying to make it as musicians?

“Yes, I think as a young woman, you’re often not taken seriously, especially if you want to do something outside of singing, like production or audio engineering. I can also count on several hands the amount of older men that underestimated my intelligence and mistook my kindness for stupidity. Luckily I haven’t been through anything horrific really. That’s why the growing awareness about feminism is so important, because it normalizes women being strong and powerful from a young age. It’s also unfortunate that women often feel like they have a ticking time bomb in regards to their age in the music industry. Luckily I’m seeing attitudes changing quite a lot now.”

 

On a recent episode of Tea Talk Tuesday, you discussed the importance of being yourself in an industry obsessed with image. For young women in the arts, can the idea of ‘image’ be reconstituted effectively to inspire ideas of empowerment (I’m thinking of bold artist personas that challenge societal norms), or do you believe empowerment is best achieved though absolute authenticity?

“Well, if I understand your question correctly, you’re asking if “reconstituted” or “created” personas can be as empowering as an authentic image?

I think they are both useful. There is always a bit of truth in the “reconstituted” image, even if it was dreamed up in boardroom by a bunch of ad men (and women!). For me personally, I find that I’m more deeply inspired by the artists that are more authentic. When I can see an artist’s journey, and/or their flaws as opposed to only their perfection, they become human to me, and I can see myself in them more; it allows me to believe that the same miracles that they’ve created are possible for me. I find that the artists when artists “fake it”, you’re always a bit disappointed when the truth comes out, and it always comes out.”

 

Do you think that, as technology makes our lives more and more open (whether we like it or not), it may eventually become impossible to keep enough of yourself hidden to maintain a cultivated image?

“I think it’ll be much harder than before, but not impossible to maintain a cultivated image.”

 

What was your inspiration for the song “Never Knew a Thing”?

“Never Knew a Thing”, was written about someone that I loved very much, that I dated when I was very young, and he was much older. I think for him at first it was just as bit of fun, but he treated me pretty badly, and the song is me telling him the depths of how hard I was hit. I think he was completely unaware of that because I always kept a “stiff upper lip” but I was devastated, broken. Within a few months, he realized how deeply he had felt for me as well, and he regretted ending it. The song stayed with me for a long time, I kind of got it as an instant download, and I just kept that melody with me for months until I was ready to write it down, and start recording it.”

 

There is a strong sense of intimacy I get from your songs. What is it like to take something so personal and share it with an audience of strangers?

“For me it’s very freeing, because I’m normally quite private. I think it creates an instant bond with the audience, when you’re willing to be imperfect and vulnerable.”

 

What future projects of yours are in the works?

“I’ve worked recently with a great production team “Mokoari Street Productions” on a video for my song “Homegirl”. I’m hoping to release that in the fall.”

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Kileza’s YouTube

Kileza’s SoundCloud

 

Naomi Carmack of Six String Loaded

By Chris

naomi2017 is to see the release of the first studio album of the Edmonton-based rock band, Six String Loaded. The band is looking forward to a 2018 Europe tour. Those looking to get a preview of what`s to come, their singles Memphis, The Last Song I Ever Write, and The Web We Weave are available for download on iTunes.

The focus of this article is on their charismatic frontwoman, Naomi Carmack. Having begun in early childhood with the hymns her mother and grandmother sang, Naomi eventually found an affinity for pop music and dreamed of performing for people on stage. At 14, she won the Power 92.5 FM’s Powermix contest, an accomplishment that would mark the beginning of a tremendous shift in her perspective.

“Those teen years were confusing but very exciting,” Naomi recalled. “Being part of that contest introduced me to some great industry people, including Chris Sheppard and Gary McGowan, who left a great legacy in Edmonton’s music scene. Gary really had my back in nurturing my talent. It was strange to be in junior high going through this at that awkward teenage stage. I was trying to fit in with my peers, and not knowing if my friends liked me for me, or because I won the contest was a challenge. I envisioned that this WAS it. That I was meant to be a pop star, and my dreams would all just magically come true because of one moment.”

While a big step forward for her, there was still a missing element in her formula. Her vision for herself as a pop singer did not quite match her full vocal potential, but that would soon change with the call to rock music.

“I thought I was a pop singer in those days, but once I had taken some vocal training and spent real time in a recording studio, writing songs that actually had depth, was when I let my real voice out. I’m a big, loud, rock singer.”

Her new path would see the creation of the original incarnation of Six String Loaded, which concluded its run with a performance at Rexall Place for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

The reincarnation of Six String Loaded would come when Naomi teamed up with Guitarist Matt McCotter. Together, they recorded their first song, the aforementioned “The Last Song I ever Write”. The band would then grow to include drummer Brandon Reddecliff and bassist Alanus Maximus.

I had an opportunity to converse with Naomi, and we touched on the influence of media and of artists, the evolution of her own craft and the future of Six String Loaded.

 

Do you think that contest shows like American Idol feed into the idea of instant success, or are they part of a teenager’s perception of stardom?

“They absolutely feed into that. Young minds are impressionable. The value they would receive through competing in those shows is an education on performance skills. Maybe some famous connections. After that, win or lose, they are not likely going to be superstars, sadly. The reality is most finish the show and do not release hits. There’s only a handful of artists who sustained huge careers from these shows. There’s so much to be said for doing the grind of playing in dive bars, earning your dues, and creating your own fan base.”

Have you had any nightmare performances, and if so, how did they help you develop?

“I’ve been lucky enough to not have a total meltdown show. We’ve all derailed from time to time (forgotten lyrics, throwing my body into guitar necks when I don’t see the bandmate next to me). I almost had a wardrobe malfunction a couple of times.  I like to get a video of the show and watch it afterward to grade myself (see what I did well and what needs to be worked on). It’s helpful.”

The post-game analysis is a really smart strategy. Did you adopt this approach early in your performing life or did it take some time to develop such an analytical approach?

“I would say it was pretty early. I watched videos of the shows and would cringe at viewing myself. One thing I realized quickly was that if you make a move on stage and feel silly doing it, it will translate that way to the audience. You have to not care about looking weird and do it with confidence. Anything you do on stage with confidence looks great. Go all out or don’t do it at all!”

Do you use the onstage presence of other frontmen as a blueprint for your own improvement?

“I sure do! The ones who I grew up watching were Jon Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Gary Cherokee…the list is endless!

I also learn more now from seeing bands play in my city of Edmonton. I try to see as many shows as time and money allow to support local acts. I’m also doing my homework at the same time.”

Looking forward, what creative directions are you looking to take with your music?

“Looking forward, we are writing heavier rock material as a band. We aim to have an album completed by the end of 2017.

I’ve always written lyrics and melody. Our guitarist, Matt McCotter, will usually come up with the chord progressions, and I’ll write on top of that. Brandon Reddecliff, our drummer, and Alanus Maximus, our bassist on board add their pieces to the puzzle as we go.

This writing process seems to be the way I’ve always done it. I’ve written songs by myself in the past, but I like having people to bounce ideas with. I’m not very great at collaborating on lyrics and melody, though. That’s my baby. It would be good for me to learn to do that.”

What is it about writing lyrics that makes collaboration difficult, and do you think it’s for the best, in general, for one mind to shape the words in a song?

“For me, it’s difficult to open myself up to write in the first place. Doing that with a writing partner is something I’m not always comfortable with. If I’m telling a story, I like it to come from one source, lyrically.

I suppose if it’s a fun party song and not too deep, that would be another story! Then I would just fear that my lyrics might be cheesy and dumb.

I find it much easier to write from pain than joy, unfortunately. Putting lyrics together for positive songs is hard to do without sounding cheesy. I hope that is something I can change.”

Do you think that there is something inherent in the artistic expression of positive themes that tend to pull works towards “cheesiness”?

“Not in general. Some writers can relay positive themes very well. I’m just not very experienced with it, myself.

Depends on the genre, too, and if you’re trying to relate to a 15-year-old or a 40-year-old with the message. Pop music aimed at younger audiences tends to lend itself to a cheesy, thrown-together lyric at times.

There’s an album by Bon Jovi called “Bounce”. The overall theme is about the nation pulling itself together after 9/11. They took a tragedy and created a message of hope in a time that it was needed. Same thing with Bruce Springsteen and “The Rising”. These lyricists know how to write a positive message without the cheese factor.”

That opens up an interesting question; what role do you think musicians should play in shaping the social and political landscape of a culture?

“They have a lot of influence over people’s decisions. There’s power there, so you have to be careful with it. I believe you should convey any message you like. I believe in free speech. As long as you’re not taking yourself too seriously; that’s when it can get grating.”

Are political messages something you can see entering into your songwriting?

“We have written a song called “Egomaniac”. It’s about how the propaganda machine can be brainwashing to some. It was inspired y the events going on in the US, but I wrote those lyrics months ago before we knew Trump would be elected. It was an outcome I hadn’t envisioned, but the song expressed my distrust in him and the whole system.”

To bring this around, what is in the immediate future for your band?

“We are finishing our album this year. Then we plan to travel and play Europe in 2018 (if all goes according to plan). Hit up the pubs and festival circuit.”

 

For now, we have a few singles to enjoy as appetizers, until Six String Loaded brings us a full album. To keep up-to-date with the band’s activities, visit http://www.sixstringloaded.com.

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