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Interview with Adrian Younge (english version)

Adrian Younge
Adrian Younge
(Interview by Nicolas Ragonneau for Paris DJs - november 2011)

Black Dynamite composer and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge gives us an exclusive interview while he releases his new project 'Something About April' performed by Venice Dawn (Wax Poetics Records). On this record one can listen to sheer never-heard-before sounds. Why? The answer is the Selene, a very special lo-fidelity weapon and new keyboard Adrian has invented with friends, and he's got the only copy worldwide.

Adrian Younge

01. What is the story of "Something about this April"?
The story depicts the trials and tribulations of a young interracial couple in the late 60s.The male is a married black man and the woman is a young white female.The song something about april compares their love to the seasons: winter represents the male and April represents the spring (listen to the vocals on the something about april song).

02. Who would be the ideal director for a "Something about April" movie?
I love working with my good friend Scott Sanders (director of Black Dynamite) and my other good friend David Wong (director of my 'Shot Me in the Heart' video). Either would suffice.

03. What instruments are you playing on the record this time?
This album encompasses more of my band, opposed to the black dynamite score. On this album I am playing a lot of instruments ranging from the selene (a modern mellotron instrument we crafted), viola, horns, drums, keys, flute, etc.

04. Dennis Coffey makes a cameo on the record.
Yes! I was fortunate enough to have him play guitar on the song 'Lovely lady'. That guy is a great and underrated guitar player… he added some serious class to that track.

05. Who are the other guests musicians?
My band includes the following: Jack Waterson (drums), C.E. Garcia (bass), Alfredo Fratti (guitar), Mike Wait (guitar, but he is no longer in the band), Loren Oden (lead vocals). Guest musicians on the band include: Rebecca Jordan (female vocals); Todd simon (horns), and the others are listed in the liners.

06. Tell me about the singers on this record?
Rebecca Jordan is a great singer from New York.She was introduced to me by my publishers, Notable Music. They flew her out to LA to record some tunes on the album. The result was: 1) Midnight Blue 2) it's Me 3) Midnight Blue. She has a great voice and definitely knows how to capture the listeners attention.
Loren Oden is one of my best friends (since high school) and is the lead singer of my band. He was also the lead singer on the Black Dynamite score. He is one of the most impressive singers I know and he basically has no limits… he is a beast in the vocal booth! Also, he played Leon St. James in the Black Dynamite movie. He was the alcohol sponsor at the beginning of the film.

07. You have invented a keyboard called the Selene, which is a modern mellotron. What does the Selene do that mellotron can't do?
The selene is a sample based keyboard that I use to record and take on the road. I recorded all of my instruments through tube compressors, vintage mics, etc. and pressed the sounds hard to tape. There is a computer inside of the selene that is triggered by the keyboards. The mellotron is a tape based mechanical instrument that is very conducive to break downs and failures due to the moving parts of the keyboard. The selene is much more sturdy and has more lo fidelity. Also, the Selene has an on-board LA2A tube compressor provided by Universal Audio.

08. How have you worked on this invention?
Jack Waterson and I contracted the services of Ken Rich Sound (a keyboard repair and design company) and we formulated the selene together. The leader of this project was Luke Jones, an engineer at Ken Rich Services. He is a master craftsmen and a great musician.

09. How does the musical world react to the Selene invention?
They love it! Whenever we perform, people go crazy.

10. Do you think the Selene could be manufactured one day?
Never... that keyboard is worth about $25k and I can not see anyone spending that kind of money to purchase one.

11. Your first record was an original soundtrack and this one is also a soundtrack. Is cinema a kind of obsession?
Extreme obsession. I am very much into telling stories with chord changes. All good music that touches your soul is pretty much cinematic... if it innately takes you somewhere, it is magic… I strive to create magic with music.

12. What is the last contemporary OST you loved?
I own a record store and only collect old soundtrack music [NB : the record store is also a hairdressing salon, it's called The Artform Studio].Therefore, I have no contemporary OSTs that I love; and I know I'm probably missing out but there are just so many gems undiscovered that I spend my time searching for those old gems.

14. Will there be a "Black Dynamite 2" and if so, will you compose this new score?
Can't talk about that, but let’s just say that I have a good feeling.

15. What do you think of movie scores today? Don't you think too many productions recycle great OST's of the past, which is the easiest solution?
Definitely, that’s another reason why I don’t listen to them. I don’t like rehashed material.

16. Can you unveil a bit of your next collaboration with the Delfonics?
This project is very important to me. I am heavily influenced by the Delfonics and we are halfway through the album. It will be released by Wax Poetics records and trust me… it sounds like Wu-Tang meets Portishead meets the Delfonics. It is dark and sweet at the same time.

17. So, OK to come back with an original DARK SOUL mix for Paris DJs at the beginning of next year?
You got it! Thanks for the love.

Links :
Adrian Younge and Venice Dawn : discogs | facebook | myspace | parisdjs | twitter
Wax Poetics : official | facebook | myspace | parisdjs | soundcloud | twitter | youtube
Nicolas Ragonneau

Nicolas Ragonneau

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