Our Interview with Avicii

Avicii: “I still feel lucky”

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Avicii on täällä jälleen! Syyskuussa julkaistaan hänen debyyttialbuminsa TRUE, ja Spotify haastatteli häntä uuden singlen tiimoilta, musiikkigenrejen sekoittamisesta ja kuinka hänellä menee äärettömän hektisen kiertue-elämän keskellä.

Tapasimme Aviciin klo 2.30 aamulla pukuhuoneessa heti sen jälkeen, kun hän oli heittänyt keikkansa yli 50 000 mutaisen festivaaliosallistujan edessä. On sanomattakin selvää, että hän on house-musiikin ykkönen juuri nyt ja syyskuussa ilmestyy ensimmäinen albumi TRUE. Tänään Spotifyssa on saatavilla uusi single tältä albumilta. “Odotan innolla uuden You Make Me -singlen julkaisua. Wake Me Up on pärjännyt todella hyvin ja tämä uusi kappale, jolla kuullaan Salem Al Fakir’n loistavaa ääntä, poikkeaa Wake Me Up -sinkusta, joten saa nähdä, millaista palautetta se saa”, kertoo Avicii.

Kyllä vain, edellinen single Wake Me Up oli huima menestys. Se on yksi kaikkein soitetuimmista kappaleista ensimmäisen Spotify-kuukautensa aikana – yli miljoona striimausta päivässä. Aviciin mukaan tämä kappale määrittelee koko albumin ja hänen uuden saundinsa.

K: Mitä tarkoitat, että se määrittelee albumin?

V: En suunnitellut Wake Me Up:ia niin akustiseksi, mutta mennessäni kotiin studiolta olin kaikkien instrumenttien ja fiiliksen lumoissa. Se osoitti minulle, mitä voisin tehdä muissa kappaleissa. Kaikki albumin kappaleet ovat edelleenkin house-musiikkia, mutta se on miksattu muiden genrejen kanssa, mikä on minusta tosi siistiä. Miksaus ei tunnu pakotetulta, vaan orgaaniselta. Juuri tästä koko albumilla on kysymys.

K: Aloit työskennellä house-musiikin parissa samoihin aikoihin kun Spotify käynnistyi, mikä tarkoittaa, että uramme ovat lähes samanikäiset!

V: Hengailin Spotifyssa heti alusta alkaen. Se tarkoitti minulle laittoman musiikin lataamisen loppua. Kaikki oli saatavilla niin nopeasti ja helposti. Käytän sitä useimmin silloin, kun haluan kuunnella jotain tai kun ystäväni tulevat luokseni syömään. Kun haluan kuunnella musiikkia, käytän pääasiassa juuri Spotifya.

K: Vuonna 2011 teit 320 keikkaa ja nyt matkustelet 200 päivää vuodessa ja näytät tekevän jatkuvasti töitä. Olet toisinaan varmasti aivan loppu, joten mikä saa sinut jatkamaan?

V: Olemme vähentäneet niitä reilusti. Teen nyt vain 150 keikkaa, hahhaa! Se on edelleen paljon. Mutta se on ollut unelmani, elää musiikilla ja matkustella ympäri maailmaa. Tunnen olevani onnekas. Muistutan siitä itseäni jatkuvasti ja se saa minut pysymään vauhdissa.

Hän väittää olevansa hyvin rauhallinen ihminen, joka rentoutuu helposti itsekseen. Mutta mitä hän tekee halutessaan olla Tim Bergling eikä maailmankuulu artisti Avicii? “Otan viikon vapaata ja menen kotiin joko Ruotsiin tai muualle ja vain kytken Aviciin pois päältä. Yritän olla ajattelematta musiikkia tai mitä minun pitäisi tehdä”, hän kertoo.

K: Mitä arvelet tekeväsi kymmenen vuoden kuluttua?

V: Toivottavasti samaa, vaikka en ehkä soita livenä niin paljon vaan tuotan enemmän musiikkia. Kymmenen vuoden kuluttua olen 33-vuotias… Ehkä minulla on silloin vielä jäljellä muutama vuosi keikkailuun. Minulla ei ole erityisiä tavoitteita, vaikka tavallaan niitä tulee lisää kaiken aikaa. Yhä enemmän sellaisia juttuja, joita en uskonut koskaan tapahtuvan, tapahtuu kaiken aikaa, ja musiikista tulee suurempaa ja suurempaa. Mutta alussa asettamani tavoitteet on saavutettu. Kuten pääesiintyminen Miamin Ultra Music -festivaaleilla. Oma albumini on nyt tulossa, mikä on myös yksi virstanpylväs. On todella hauska nähdä, millaisen vastaanoton se saa. En todellakaan aavistanut, miten ensimmäinen single Wake Me Up pärjäisi, mutta yllätyksekseni se toimikin erittäin hyvin.

Valokuva: Johan Forsberg

The sounds of September courtesy of Playlists.net

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We present you the music selection that our friends from Playlists.net have handpicked for this month.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

When Playlists.net was just a kid, Sunday’s were boring. Homework to be done. School’s shadow cast over the day. Nothing to do. Nowhere open. Now we’re all grown up, we can’t get enough of them. Sunday’s are all about good coffee and great food, newspapers and sport; leisurely strolls, a nap, perhaps, and maybe even a drink or two. And good music, of course. With that in mind, we’re endeavouring to give every day that Sunday feeling, with our Easy Like Sunday Morning mixtape. So, which artists encapsulate the perfect Sunday vibe? The Spinners, Commodores, Al Green, Womack & Womack, the Stylistics, Michael Kiwanuka and Average White Band, to name just a handful. This a 47-track mixtape, spanning over six hours, that makes every day a Sunday.

The Soundtrack to August 2013

This month, Playlists.net staple The Soundtrack to is a mixtape of “biblical proportions.” That’s the description from creator >Phil Wilce, and we have to agree. As always, it’s 50 of the best new releases around, taking in almost six hours of music as brilliant as it is eclectic. Wilce recommends “the wondrous, riotous hell of The Amazing Snakeheads, FIDLAR and Parquet Courts,” as well as, “a flood of cuts from what are shaping up to be albums of the year from Disclosure, John Grant, The National and Jagwar Ma.” Favourites in the Playlists.net office include the rat-tat-tat rhymes of Bloc Party’s Ratchet; the irresistible, rock-and-roll riot that is Primal Scream; and the brilliant return of Gold Panda. Brilliant, as always. A genuine must-hear mixtape.

Improbable Banjo

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. This is what Playlists.net is all about: weird, wonderful, creative mixtapes, collections of tracks you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. We’ll hand over to *AJLW to tell you more … “I’ve been collecting songs for a while,” the Playlists.net user says, “which have a sneaky banjo lurking somewhere in the mix, trying to avoid the more obvious bluegrass and country genres. Hope you fall in love with the vibe as much as I have.” We have. No doubts about it. Who’d have ever thought artists such as Nelly Furtado, Pavement, Travis, Prefab Sprout, Joy Kills Sorrow, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits would include the humble banjo. Not us. A first-class mixtape. We can’t recommend it highly enough.

Breaking Bad – The Comprehensive Collection (Season 1-5)

Chris Hill has brought together all of the music from the best ñ and unequivocally darkest ñ show on TV today, Breaking Bad. He created this mixtape after swotting up online on the tracks used throughout the programme, incorporating music from seasons one through five. And it’s a cracker. ìEvery song from the show that is available on Spotify,î he says, ìcompiled using various blogs and fan websites and is as comprehensive as you’ll find. Up to date with season five episode eight.î Walt fans. Jessie diehards. Los Pollos Hermanos lovers. This is the mixtape for you. Try, like we have, to name in which episode each of the 88 tracks included here features. As addictive as a bag of blue crystal, but less likely to make your teeth fall out, this is a proper must-hear mixtape for aficionados of what is one of the greatest shows in television history.

Grunts, Groans & Moans

ìFrom the soulful groans of James Brown and Otis Redding,î hoxsd1 says, ìto the lustful moans of Donna Summer and Prince, to the well placed grunts of bands like The Rolling Stones or Rage Against the Machine, these songs capture the raw emotion of music at a primal level.î If that doesn’t get your musical juices flowing going, nothing will. The Playlists.net hall of famer has put together a collection of noises that, no matter how unintelligible they may be, stir the soul, give you goosebumps and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Sounds by the likes of Marvin Gaye, the Stooges, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the Smiths, Howlin’ Wolf, Happy Mondays, Beastie Boys, Serge Gainsbourg, the Birthday Party, Sly & the Family Stone and many, many more. The OOOHHHS. THE WAAAHHHSSS. The YEEEAAAWWWSSS. A magic mixtape.

The World’s Most Perfect Pop Songs

We don’t shy away from the big questions, here at Playlists.net. Questions like, What does the world’s most perfect pop song sound like? That’s the thinker we’re talking up in this mixtape, the latest creation from the Playlists.net team. Yep. We’ve carefully curated a collection of perfect pop songs from around the world. Over 200 of them, in fact. That’s more than 24 hours of pop perfection. It’s the sun-blushed harmonies of the Beach Boys. It’s the elegy of .Amy Winehouse. It’s the synth-driven genius of Electronic. It’s the lilting tones of Bill Withers. It’s Daft Punk, Supergrass, All Saints and Natalie Imbruglia. It’s Robbie Williams, Van Morrison, Primal Scream and Elbow. It’s a collection of artists as eclectic as it is infectious. It is, quite simply, the greatest collection of pop music in the world.

Not Another Hipster Playlist

Hipster mixtapes: you love them, we love them, Vince Chiaramonte loves them. Very much aware of their ubiquity, the Playlists.net user has knowingly titled his latest creation Not Another Hipster Playlist. ‘A little indie goodness,’ is how he describes it. A lot of indie goodness is how we describe it. Over 50 tracks of audio nourishment, in fact, spanning almost six glorious hours. It’s a deft mix of new, not-that-new and old, the unifying theme being a commitment to top-drawer music. Our recommendations include tracks by the Black Keys, Vampire Weekend and alt-J, Jose Gonzalez, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Fitz and the Tantrums. But it’s a playlist of real quality throughout, so click shuffle, hit play and see what you discover.

Fantasia: New Classical Chill

Is that really you, Reggie Prim? Is everything okay? Are you feeling alright? The Playlists.net user is our undisputed heavyweight champion of the underground electronic music mixtape. This is unequivocal fact. With that in mind, his latest creation came as something of surprise to the team ñ albeit a very, very pleasant surprise. Fantasia: New Classical Chill is, in Prim’s words, ‘Selections from recent classical releases to help soothe the mind and mend frayed nerves.’ It’s a change of pace for the user who’s normally raising heart rates with deep and driving house and techno, but one we welcome. Our advice? Kick your shoes off, click shuffle, hit play, sit back, relax and unwind. A superb playlist by one of our most dextrous users.

Great Themes

It’s a classic barroom question: what is your all-time favourite theme tune? This is something Music Dynamite has put some serious consideration into. The result is this playlist ñ simply entitled, Great Themes. ‘The best (also my favourite) themes,’ says the Playlists.net user, ‘from movies and TV, that have ever been composed. Some epic, some beautiful, all fantastic to listen to.’ Our favourite? It’s a tossup between: Duuun dun de duun duun, duun duun duun, duun dun de dun duuun, DUN DE DUUUUUN!, and Da duuuuun, duuun, da duun duun duun duuun, da da duun de duun de duun de daa, daaa, de duun duun duun daaa, da da da da da da DAAAAA DA! Both of which feature here, alongside over eight hours of classic theme tunes. Super stuff.

The Best Remixes of 2013

It’s been a great year for new music, and arguably an even better one for great remixes. One user has had the foresight to put them all together in one, continuously updated mixtape. So far, it stands at a whopping 300+ tracks. That’s hours upon hours of the best remixes, reedits, reworkings, cutups, mashups and club mixes the past 12 months has to offer. It features a stellar lineup of artists such as Hot Chip, Blue Foundation, Trails and Ways, Wave Machines, Milwaukee and the Deers, with the likes of JD Twitch, Sun Glitter, the Seshen, James Yuill, Amtrac and Dwid on remix duty. Some of the remixes featured here, in fact, dare we say, in our humble opinion, are even better than the originals. But we’re not saying which ones. This playlist is updated regularly, remember, so don’t forget to subscribe.

Lady Gaga – Digital Culture From Present and Past

Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, is a genuin pop queen influenced by David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Queen and the ’80s. She is recognized for her extravagant, versatile and outré contributions to the music industry through her performances, music videos and jaw-dropping fashion. The word crazy is no longer a question of definition when you appear in public wearing a gas mask, gyroscope, large lampshade, massive egg or dress made entirely of meat.

Lady Gaga is born and raised in New York by her Italian parents. Her name was invented by her friends who told her that she was “sooo Freddie Mercury”…“like Radio Gaga” and “a gay guy in a woman’s body.” Since then she has been called Gaga, which made it quite natural to just add Lady, making it her artist name.

Lady Gaga has been nominated several times as Artist of the year in Billboard’s magazine, and in 2010 she scored the definitive title. VH1 put her up on 4th place as the 100 Greatest Women in Music and she is regularly placed on lists by Forbes magazine, including The World’s 100 most Powerful Women from 2010 to 2013. In June 2013 Forbes listed her as the world’s second most powerful celebrity, after Operah Winfrey, followed by Beyoncé and Madonna. Also, Time Magazine named her as one of the most influential people in the entire world.

Gaga’s last tour, Born This Way Ball Tour, grossed $168 million through January. She would have likely topped $200 million if it hadn’t been for a hip injury which forced her to cancel all the remaining shows. The 11th of November 2013 will mark the release date for her new and much anticipated album Artpop.

Even though Lady Gaga has some of the best-selling singles worldwide and her achievements include five Grammy Awards and thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, she is way more than just a singer and songwriter – she is also a record producer, LGBT activist, businesswoman, fashion designer, an actress and she is a huge influencer. Together with her nearly 38 million Twitter followers and 59 million Facebook fans, Lady Gaga successfully marries music, fashion and culture into a digital world. She is the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. Lady Gaga constantly creates a buzz, she has dominated the world of pop during the past years in a way that no other artist with similar sales ever had. Neither has any superstar in history ever managed to connect with their audience in the unique way that Gaga does.

The 27-year-old Lady Gaga inspires her fans and the whole community around her. The relationship between Gaga and her fans is fascinating – it’s exceptionally intime and she is consistently in contact with them through social media. She has gained so much power so that today she has a very big responsibility towards all her millions of fans. Lady Gaga creates trends by repurposing the past, particularly the ’80s, for present use, creating sustainable pop for a digital world. The impressive Lady Gaga has become a phenomenon of sorts; you can almost call it a culture.


 

 

#MusicMonday playlist brought to you by @MonaFims

MusicMonday

Our friend @MonaFims has this #MusicMonday’s recommendations.

We start this week with an Italian-born singer/songwriter: Mauro Remiddi known as “Porcelain Raft” and his beautiful “Drifting In And Out”.  The next song in our playlist this week is a song called “Ghost” taken from ON AN ON’s debut album “Give” released earlier this year.

We continue with a band from Los Angeles, California: “Mansionson the Moon” and their dreamy “Rest of Your Days”. Next we have an old favorite: “A Little Piece” by Australian “The Jezabels”.

French Kicks are an indie rock group from New York City and next we have a song from their fourth and latest studio album “Swimming” released back in 2008.

If you have song suggestions for next week’s playlist, be sure to drop them in Mona’s Spotify Inbox.

Subscribe to the playlist and you will get a mix of twenty new Feel-Good tracks every Monday.

 

Our Interview with Crystal Fighters

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“Santana at Woodstock seemed pretty rad…”

Sebastian Pringle from Crystal Fighters is in a hotel room in Lisbon when we reach him. There’s a festival tonight, another tomorrow, a string of gigs happening in the days after that. This is a band that love to travel and use the experiences they collect to inform what direction they move in next. After their recent sunburst-shaped enormo-smash You & I comes the new album, Cave Rave, which was inspired by the idea of ancient hole-in-a-hill dwellers free of all cultural baggage. A bit like [name redacted].

So what Lisbonic culture has Sebastian been soaking up?

“I’ve actually been sleeping most of the day,” he laughs. Righto

Hello Seb – tell me, what was the first music you were aware of?

Well, my dad listened to a lot of blues and reggae; the Paul Butterfield Blues band and Taj Mahal were my his favourites. As I became a teenager I discovered Oasis and Blur and then we all moved onto American punk, like Pennywise – that skate sound. Later we moved onto UK punk like Capdown and Captain Everything, more on the hardcore and ska side which, of course, led us back to reggae and dub!

You’d come full-circle?

Yeah. I was listening to King Tubby and people like Phyllis Dillon. I was living in Bristol by then, so there was a lot of dub and hip-hop around.

What five artists couldn’t Crystal Fighters exist without?

I’d say Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and that whole Brazilian Tropicalia take on rock and roll. MF Doom would be in there, he was hugely influential for me lyrically and Madlib, his ease with samples and sounds is completely inspiring. Then I’d have to say reggae producer The Scientist – his Rids The World of the Curse of the Intergalactic Vampires album is a real favourite of mine.

What was the last amazing record you heard?

I love that sort of dubby, minimal techno that producers like Pylon make. Graham from the band is really into all of that and he knows a lot of those guys. The new Aquadrop record is great too – he’s really flipped his sound from glitchy electro to straight up trap. Then there’s Cumbia legend Anibal Velasquez – his stuff is really taking me away at the moment.

Are Crystal Fighters Spotify users?

Oh yes, big time. I think the amazing thing about it is you can hear a reference from someone in a conversation to a piece of music then you can go straight to it on your phone. I discovered King Tuff the other day through a chance conversation and I really like him. I think Spotify is an amazing resource.

If I could drop you into any band in history, who would it be?

Definitely Santana’s band at Woodstock – they seem pretty rad. They looked out of their minds and they had such a powerful vibe!

When these dates are done we’re going to throw a big Crystal Fighters party and you’re DJing: what five records are we guaranteed to hear?

Oh well, you’ll definitely hear some Pylon, then Mambo Loco by Anibal Velasquez – that’s a mad tune. Badness Dub by King Tubby is brilliant, then it would be straight into Chic’s Everybody Dance and some vintage Afro-beat piece by D.O. Misiani

OK, simple final question. What’s your favourite noise?

Oh that’s easy - birdsong is my favourite noise. We had a house outside Austin during SXSW in 2010 and the birdsong there was fascinating. I think a lot of early music must have been inspired melodically and rhythmically by those sort of natural sounds.

Check out their exclusive Spotify Session live from our London HQ here!

 

Amy Winehouse: #AMYS30 Playlist

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As a child growing up, Amy Winehouse’s life was full of music. Sometimes it would be her dad Mitch singing Sarah Vaughan or Frank Sinatra songs around the house, other times Amy and he would harmonise together as he drove his black cab through the London streets.

Over the years Amy’s mother Janis built up a huge record collection and she says she would often find her daughter singing along to favourite LPs, while Amy’s brother Alex frequently discovered that the CDs he thought were missing CDs were actually up in Amy’s room. Later, Mitch’s new wife Jane would take her step-daughter along when she worked on hospital radio and let Amy’s taste guide the music she programmed for that day’s shows. Ultimately, all of this music went on to create a soundtrack to Amy’s life as well as providing an inspiration for the songs she would go on to become hugely – and rightly – famous for.

This September, Amy would have turned 30. To celebrate her life and career – and the work being done in her name by the Amy Winehouse Foundation - her family have compiled a playlist of her most beloved songs for Spotify as part of #Amys30. Come for the classic soul, jazz and doo wop that helped to shape and define Amy’s sound, stick around for the handful of truly left-field choices woven into the mix.

Click here more information on the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

 

Our Interview with The Strypes

Strypes

 

“It’s like a hobby that’s got horribly out of hand…”

From Cavan in Ireland, The Strypes have become fairly famous fairly quickly for being incredibly young guys into incredibly old music. Rarely, if ever, and certainly since 1965 has a young band been so in thrall to The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Who and The Stones. When they came into play Spotify’s London office recently, in between their own singles – Hometown Girls and Blue Collar Jane – they also found room for their version of Bo Diddley’s You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover, a single that was released 51 years ago to the very day of their performance. Spooky, eh?

Hello Strypes. Please introduce yourselves and tell us what the greatest record ever made is.

Evan: I’m the drummer. The greatest record ever made is Stupidity by Dr Feelgood.

Ross: I’m the singer. I’ll say the album that song’s from, Down By The Jetty, by Dr Feelgood

Peter: I’m the bass-player, I agree with Ross – Down By The Jetty!

Josh: I’m the guitarist and I think the greatest record ever made is Revolver by The Beatles

You’re all still teenagers, you been gigging for years, Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane and Elton John all love you. How did that even happen?

Evan: Ha! Well, the whole thing happened slowly and happily over 15 years. Me, Josh and Pete were all friends as were are parents when they were younger. The whole lot of us would get together at my parent’s house and listen to their records.

Josh: That’s how we got introduced to bands like the Feelgoods, Rockpile and The Yardbirds and through them we learned about the musicians they were into, people like Little Walter, Slim Harpo, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf – the list goes on!

So you all began playing when you were very young?

Josh: I began playing at 5 or 6, but Evan was playing drums at 3!

Was there a guiding hand behind it all?

Pete: No. We just hung out with each other a lot. Niall [Evan’s dad and the band’s manager) played us a lot of music and we just all fell in love with it.

Josh: We discovered artists at our own pace. We’d say, we’ve heard about this fella John Lee Hooker and Niall would say, “Oh yeah, well there’s a load of his records up on the shelf there!”

Not one of you has had so much as a dodgy metal past?

Pete: No, not really. Some of us flirted with football. Ever since we’ve been kids this has all we wanted to do.

Evan: It’s like a hobby that’s got horribly out of hand!

Are there five artists that the Strypes couldn’t exist without?

Evan: There definitely are, and they have their own five that they couldn’t exist without!

Josh: I’d say, Dr Feelgood, The Yardbirds, The Stones, Chuck Berry and Rockpile.

And who couldn’t they live without?

Pete: Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

Evan: And they couldn’t live without Charlie Patton and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Josh: And Blind Lemon Jefferson!

If you could be any other band in history who would it be?

Evan: The Rolling Stones would be a good one - but with all the fights and drugs and dead band members removed.

Josh: Dave Edmunds too - he’s had a great 30-year career, but really the main ambition for the band is to sustain a career, to make enough money to keep going!

Who are you listening to right now?

Pete: We’ve been listening to Taj Mahal, The Undertones and Nick Lowe, but we saw Gary Clark Jr recently and he totally blew us away. He has actually stopped me wanting to be a guitarist as he’s just so amazing.

Evan: He has incredible presence and he’s so heavy - that’s rare. He’s really influenced us, we all want to get heavier and make it a better show.

If we were to gatecrash your next end of tour party - and I can’t promise we won’t - what records would we be guaranteed to hear?

All: Rosalyn, the debut single by the Pretty Things. I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass by Nick Lowe. Pump It Up by Elvis Costello. Get Over You by The Undertones and She Does it Right by Dr Feelgood.

Who’s the most impressive person you’ve ever met?

Evan: Probably Michael Palin. We met him in Dublin and he was sort of impressive and surprising - we’re all big Python fans.

Josh: We met Jeff Beck too and he was great - a really lovely chap.

Finally - crucially - what’s your favourite noise?

Evan: I love the click a car door makes when it’s shutting. Particularly a Golf.

Josh: Plugging in a guitar lead.

Pete: A lovely muddy bass sound!

Ross: You know when you hang-up a landline phone and you hear those little tiny bells? That’s a really great sound... 

Check out their exclusive Spotify Session live from our HQ here!

 

Our interview with Miguel

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Miguel has the voice of a god, which is something that he shows more than ever when he’s performing live. We caught him right after a concert to ask some questions about his beautiful voice and the different personalities of an audience.

We met R&B superstar Miguel shortly after he had stolen thousands of Swedish hearts during a festival gig in Gothenburg. This summer he’s been touring festivals all over Europe, and has gotten to know all kinds of audiences. “You never know what the personality of a crowd is going to be like. Sometimes a crowd will be very focused, but no real reactions. Here, they were all in the moment, there was an interaction with everyone I caught with my eye”, he said when we met him in his dressing room.

Q: You laugh a lot on stage and look so happy. What goes through your head and body up there?

A: To be honest, I don’t really know. I think it’s all in the moment, and I guess that’s why people want to watch me. I want to be transparent, so I don’t leave room for too much thinking.

Q: How do you prepare for a live show?

A: I try to get sleep. These days, it’s really about trying! There’s not much that I do that’s like routine, but I try to warm my voice up fifteen minutes before going on. And we always huddle before we go on. Those are two things that we normally do, but other than that it’s kind of free form. We ride the wave of how everything comes.

Q: Tell us about the moment when you realized that you were going to sing for a living. 

A: I’ve never just realized it, it has always been something I’ve known. I’m a firm believer that when children have a strong conviction about something, it’s often because there’s some powerful experience from a past life. Something that they didn’t get to fulfill. I’ve always had this tremendous and very deep feeling of knowing my purpose, you know? It never dawned on me, it always very much known.

Q: You have an amazing voice. What kind of special tricks do you have to treat it when it feels hoarse or you throat is sore?

A: There are a couple of homeopathic things that can be done, but you can’t really beat good rest and lots of water. That’s the honest truth. Making sure I’m well-rested and hydrated makes a big difference. Warm water and honey is a go-to, I don’t really drink tea unless it’s absolutely organic, because otherwise the caffeine will dry my voice out for some reason. And then there’s these throat lozenges that I get from New York, those are incredible. They are ginger throat lozenges, which is really good. They’re from this specific place in New York, I guess they make them there!

Q: Who is the world’s best singer according to you?

A: Oh my! It depends on what style. I would say that the most complex style of singing comes from India. Real, classical Indian music produces probably the best technical and natural singers in the world, just because the patterns and the inflection are so complex in how the style moves and what it requires vocally. I think the best classical singers come from India.

Q: You have some new material coming up! When can we expect it?

A: Top of September, and expect it to be fun. Most people know my music based on the singles, and think of it as scandalously romantic. There’s definitely a romantic vibe, but I often sing things that are very direct. I don’t beat around the bush much. But this next batch of songs, you can expect to be fun, interesting, and thought intriguing.

Q: To finish up this interview, tell us about your sickest live memory!

A: Oh man. These past three months doing European festivals has been a lot of fun. My favorite memory is a blur. Sometimes you don’t really want to tell everyone, just kind of keep it to yourself. But I will tell you that’s it’s a beautiful blur.

Check out “Spotify Sessions” with Miguel, where he played an intimate, acoustic band performance at the Spotify offices in London!

#MusicMonday playlist brought to you by @MonaFims

MusicMonday

Our friend @MonaFims has this #MusicMonday’s recommendations.

We start this week with a band from Los Angeles, California: “Mansions on the Moon” and their dreamy “Leaves Fall”. We continue with a musical project from Portland, Oregon: the beautiful “Fever Dreams” by  “Nurses” also known as Aaron Chapman and John Bowers.

“Gem Club” is an American chamber pop band based out of Boston, Massachusetts. “Breakers” is taken from their debut album released back in 2011.

Next we have Colin Caulfield also known as “Young Man” and his beautiful single “Fate”. And then it´s time for Canadian “Memoryhouse” and track from their latest album “The Kids Were Wrong”.

Last song in our playlist this week is “Purple Heart” by Danish “Kashmir”.

If you have song suggestions for next week’s playlist, be sure to drop them in Mona’s Spotify Inbox.

Subscribe to the playlist and you will get a mix of twenty new Feel-Good tracks every Monday.

Our interview with Cloud Control

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Dream Cave is the sophomore album from Cloud Control, and the follow up to 2010′s critically acclaimed Bliss Release. Like their debut, the album is filled with classic songwriting and melody. Unlike their debut, Dream Cave sees the band cut loose from their roots and embrace a spirit of experimentation. We caught up with bass player Jeremy Kelshaw to learn more about the music that inspired this new sound.

What music was playing in the house when you were growing up?

I can remember my Mum buying Bruce Springsteen, Born In The USA on vinyl. Heavy rotation. Also lots of Billy Joel. I can remember putting headphones on & singing Born In The USA at the top of my lungs & being sent to my room haha. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the only thing I’d done.

What was the first record you fell in love with?

Weezer, Pinkerton. A couple of friends from the grade above showed it to me at school. It blew my mind. I can sing every word. It is so raw & powerful.

Who made you want to make music?

I grew up on piano & hated it, finally found my feet with bass playing old Rage & Muse riffs. I just liked playing live & making music with friends growing up, being in the moment you know. I still do. Finding the right vibe or groove for a song, finding that thing that makes everyone in the room invigorated with something you’ve been working on, is such a unique & amazing experience.

What were you listening to whilst recording?

I can’t speak for the others, but I was listening to a lot if Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds & David Bowie. I like those guys.

What five records couldn’t you live without?

1. Paul Simon, Graceland
2. The Feelies, The Good Earth
3. Pallbearer, Sorrow and Extinction
4. Rage Against The Machine, The Battle of Los Angeles
5. Radiohead, Kid A

What are you listening to at the moment?

Right now in the tour van it’s Simply Red’s If You Don’t Know Me By Now . But apart from that, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, old Feelies stuff, Big DealPalms  and I’ve been getting back into The Prodigy.

Does the perfect song exist?

Yeah I think so, why not?! But I don’t think there’s just one. I have definitely listened to old Michael Jackson for example, and thought that’s the perfect song. But I guess that changes over time and from person to person. It’s all subjective which is why you gotta keep writing.

Finally, what’s your favourite noise?

The sound of a can of soft drink opening. Guinness cans sound great too.

Stream Dream Cave by Cloud Control on Spotify now.