Backstage med Florence + The Machine

På scenen er Florence Welch en naturkraft som kaster seg med hjertet først inn i musikken og publikumshavet. Men hva skjer backstage før og etter den enorme konserteksplosjonen? Florence forteller oss om et turnéliv fylt med tatoveringer, tresko og gjørme.

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På starten av sommeren slapp Florence + The Machine det storslagne albumet How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, og nå snur de konsertarenaer på hodet med den fengende musikken. Spesielt virker den nyeste singelen Queen of Peace å ha truffet en nerve hos mange.

– Det er en så triumferende låt, men jeg var ikke akkurat på et triumferende sted i livet da vi skrev den. Låten handler om kampen som utspilles i oss selv når det føles som om kjærligheten er en krig som ikke kan vinnes. Hver gang man slutter fred gir man bort en liten del av seg selv.

Det er fascinerende hvordan en så absurd situasjon som det å opptre foran tusenvis av mennesker kommer så naturlig for noen artister. Florence Welch virker som om hun er født til å stå på scenen.

– Jeg føler meg fri, som om jeg er knyttet til et eller annet som jeg ikke vet hva er. Jeg er bare på rett sted. I hverdagen føler jeg meg ofte splittet, men når jeg er på scenen faller alle bitene på plass.

Når du er ute på turné slik som nå, hva er det du ikke kan reise uten?

– Menn med tatoveringer, haha! Eller bandet, da. Også pakker jeg alt for mye klær, mye mer enn jeg trenger. Klær med fargerike mønstre og tresko. Jeg elsker tresko og det er litt bekymringsverdig med tanke på hvor tunge de er. Gucci har laget noen skikkelig kule som er dekket av pels. Jeg har mange «fuzzye» klær. Mamma blir ganske forvirret av dem.

Hva er det siste du gjør før du går på scenen?

– Samles i en klynge med bandet. Vi har fortsatt ikke funnet ut helt hva vi skal si til hverandre når vi gjør det, så det blir som regel til at vi synger en Beatles-låt eller noe. Vi samles og skriker ting. Jeg hører på andres musikk også. Den musikken jeg elsker akkurat da, som for eksempel Django Django som jeg liker skikkelig godt nå. Det gjør alltid at jeg får lyst til å opptre.

Hva er det første som skjer når du går av scenen?

– Noen legger en kappe eller et teppe over meg. Jeg har som regel glemt at jeg har mistet toppen eller at føttene mine er dekket av gjørme. Noen ganger blir jeg også båret av scenen.

Fortell oss om din aller første festival!

– Pappaen min tok meg med til Womad World Music Festival. Jeg ville ha en gjøglerhatt fordi jeg mente man ikke hadde vært ordentlig på festival før man hadde det. Å ha en morsom hatt var det aller viktigste for meg. Kanskje det fortsatt er sånn, haha!

 

Lytt til How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful her:

Father John Misty On Love and New Music

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Father John Misty is an intense musician. Or, at least, very complicated. The project of ex-Fleet Foxes member Josh Tillman, the second LP, I Love You, Honeybear, was just released this past Tuesday. The album takes a broad, although at times unsettling close, look at love; all in Tillman’s cynical, mostly tongue-in-cheek tone.

Josh on his new album versus his debut, Fear Fun

This album was definitely harder because I had to overcome my intense fear of being sentimental. This one is a lot more intense, a lot more vulnerable.

The album cover really articulates what the new album is. It’s an encounter with intimacy and what comes from that… what qualities manifest. Here it was a lot of jealousy and neediness. I kind of turned this woman into a sacred object instead of letting her be a human.

On “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.”…

You have these two pretentious, misguided people. One of which is me. Obviously. It’s really important to me that this song isn’t a figurative kind of thing. No, this is about a thing that happened. What am I doing there? What did I want? Really I just wanted my narcissism and vanity fed. I wanted to be around people who didn’t demand any intimacy out of me.

On “Bored In The USA”…

If nothing else it’s a way for polite, white liberal people to point at a straw man version of the grotesque American. If you can’t see yourself in any part of that song then it’s not a good song.

On love and his wife, Emma…

Intimacy and love is not a passive, consumer experience. You have to make it for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Spotify Landmark: Led Zeppelin’s IV

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To round out the month of Rocktober, Spotify Landmark – our series documenting music’s greatest moments in the words of those who made them – sets its sights on one of rock’s defining albums, Led Zeppelin’s “IV.” We bring you the “aural history” of the album in newly recorded interviews with the legendary band’s surviving members: guitarist and producer Jimmy Page; bassist, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones; and singer/lyricist Robert Plant.

Led Zeppelin recounts the story behind “IV,” and sheds light on their on-going re-issue campaign, which features each of their original studio releases re-mastered and packed full with never-before-heard companion audio.

It’s all here, only on Spotify Landmark.

 

 

Danko Jones: “Alt vi trenger backstage er vann og håndklær”

Spotify er veldig stolte av å kunne presentere Danko Jones’ første livealbum noensinne. Det er spilt inn i sommer, i Stockholms største fornøyelsespark. Vi tok kontakt med Danko Jones for å snakke om konserten, livet på turné og det kommende studioalbumet.

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Hvordan var konserten på Gröna Lund i Stockholm?
Det var en super konsert. Vi kjenner historien bak Gröna Lund, og føler oss heldige som blir bedt om å komme tilbake hit og spille. Vi kommer gjerne tilbake en tredje gang, hvis de vil ha oss.

Hvilken liveplate liker du best, og hvorfor?
Jeg må nok si “Soul Alive”med Solomon Burke, og B-siden av ZZ Top-albumet “Tejas”. De er begge eksempler på fantastiske, virtuose framføringer.

Hva står alltid på rideren deres, og hvorfor?
Vann og håndklær. Det dekker grunnleggende behov, og gjør at vi spiller rå konserter. Hvis man har mer luksus, blir det for behagelig, og showet blir slapt. Noen ganger står det andre ting på rideren vår, men det er som oftest til andre.

Hvordan var deres aller første konsert?
Vår første offisielle konsert var i Montreal, på et sted som heter “Looneys”. Det var oss, Sit N’Spin fra New Jersey og det legendariske bandet The Spaceshits som spilte den kvelden. The Spaceshits var startgropen for band som King Khan, Les Sexareenos og Mark Sultan. Det var ikke den beste konserten vi har spilt som band, men det var absolutt minneverdig.

Hva er det neste på plakaten for Danko Jones?
Vi er nettopp ferdige med innspillingen av det neste studioalbumet vårt. Tittelen er klar, men den er ennå så ny at den er hemmelig.

Hør albumet her, eksklusivt i Spotify!

 

Spotify Landmark: Nas’ Illmatic

Spotify Landmark – our series documenting music’s greatest moments in the words of those who made them – is back. This time around, we bring you the ‘aural history’ of Nas’ Illmatic – considered by many to be one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. On the occasion of the album’s 20th anniversary reissue, Queens, NY native Nas, his producers and his A&R executive recount the making of this timeless gem.

Uncover the story behind this iconic album with Spotify Landmark here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Peter – one of our community’s Rock Stars

Peter+Daniel(1)Have you ever wished you could reach out to an expert with questions about Spotify? The Spotify Community has your man.

A few months ago, we were incredibly happy to have our top community Super User, Peter Doggart from the UK, visit our headquarters in Stockholm. Peter alone is responsible for answering almost 30,000 questions for customers in our community! Peter received a tour of HQ, a day trip around Stockholm, and one-on-one time with Daniel, Martin and several top members of our organization. He was thrilled to be there and so appreciative of the opportunity to really get to know the Spotify team!

When asked why he helps out in the community so much here’s what he said:

What was the first time you came to the community like?

“I am almost certain I came to the community like the majority of current Spotify customers, looking for some help. Even now as a Super User, we need help with new features on occasion, but we are the lucky ones who can bug the staff team directly for answers! Whilst I was on the community myself, I noticed a topic from another community member which I could answer, so I did! The rest is history.”

Why did you keep participating in the community?

“I know music is an important part of peoples’ daily lives, knowing that I have helped someone overcome an issue which means they can enjoy their music, or anyone who says thank you for helping, those are the people who make me smile and make what I do worthwhile.”

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What was the best part of your journey to Stockholm?

“The best part of my trip was definitely meeting the people who live and breath Spotify. I have never been in an organization where I have seen so much passion and energy from the people before. It was really a dream come true to meet the founders of the company, as well as the product teams and of course to finally meet the wonderful community team I interact with daily. I feel like I am even more part of the Spotify family now!”

To find out more about how to contribute to the community and earn rewards, check out our new Spotify Rock Star Program.

 

Martin Garrix – The Spotify Interview

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Martin Garrix may be 17 years old, but the Dutch DJ is not lacking in experience. He’s been producing since he was eight years old, yes… age eight, and has been in the international spotlight since signing to seminal electronic label Spinnin’ Records in 2012. Since, highlights include being officially asked by Christina Aguileira to remix her track, “Your Body,” as well as producing a number one song in three different countries, in addition to huge amount of top tens, with his hit, “Animals.” Martin came by Spotify’s New York City office to talk about his earliest roots in electronic music, what his current listening habits are, and what his sound is progressing towards.

Martin has always been musical. He grew up playing classical Spanish guitar from the age of four. It wasn’t until he heard Tiesto’s monster track, “Traffic”, that he knew electronic music was for him. “It was on his album Parade of the Athletes and was played at the [2004] Olympics. I saw that and just had to buy the album and other electronic albums and compilations. But “Traffic” really drew me in because the melody is really simple and minimalistic, but the track has so much power and feeling to it. It’s just really, really great.”

We all have to unwind, right? So does Martin, he just has to do it in between jetting around the world for shows or intense days in the studio. “Sometimes I’ll stay for the after party, but usually I’m immediately going to the hotel or wherever to get some rest and recharge for the next show. After a long day in the studio I love to just chill out with family and friends… Flume’s remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me” is probably my favorite track to just relax to.”

You know when there’s that one track you can’t get out of your head? Well, the Dutch DJ usually has a few. “Picking one is hard, there are a lot of songs going on up there [laughs]. I really like “Aztec” by Julian Jordan. It has a catchy melody, and without noticing it I sometimes whisper the melody. I really like the track.” We asked Martin to pick one thing outside of his genre that he’s been into lately. “Once again, I’d have to say that album by Flume. His stuff is really refreshing. Yeah, it’s crazy. I really love that album.”

The best producers tend to have certain recognizable sounds, we wondered if Martin had any that he thought were unique to him. “I really like to work with that super plucky percussion sound [he mimics it by flicking his cheek with his mouth open, then quickly laughs]. But honestly, I’m trying to get away from it – I’m a little tired of it now. I used it in “Animals”, I used it in “Wizard”, I used a kind of similar sound in my remix for “Project T.” I’m looking for a different sound to start working with more. But I really like to work with just… silence. But with big sounds on top. The more trance-y kind of sounds, which you’ll hear in my new stuff.“

Martin Garrix’s brand new track, “Wizard”, was just released this week on Spotify. You can hear that, and more of Martin’s picks, in his Favorites playlist here.

 

Our Interview with Daria van den Bercken

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“I’m not interested in changing the music, just, sometimes, the context…”

Dutch/Russian classical pianist – and Eddie Izzard fan – Daria van den Bercken recently performed a series of pieces by Handel while being towed by a car around Amsterdam. Last year she appeared at the Virada Cultural festival in São Paulo, Brazil where she played 25 meters above the ground – at midnight – and gave a highly entertaining TED Talk about the power of music, so, as you can imagine, when Daria came into record a Spotify Session in Amsterdam there were a few things we wanted to ask her,

Why is Handel so important to you?
There is a relationship here – some music just fits you and Handel fitted me perfectly. His music is energetic, it has melancholy and energy, and it always has a positive undercurrent. You can feel each small pain and wish. I like those contrasts and I enjoy the physicality of playing it. But also Handel is kind of underplayed. Beethoven and Mozart are both played a lot, so there is a whole world of information you have as a musician with all the different interpretations of their music. With Handel, it was just me and the music, because there’s a lot less baggage, a lot less perfomance history. The crucial thing is to spread the music, it’s not about stunts.

Unless they’re super exciting.
Well, yes. An Italian promoter has already offered me twenty shows flying over crowds, but I don’t want to become The Flying Piano Lady. I don’t want to be a gimmick.

How did you begin playing music?
I guess my parents noticed how I loved music, so I started piano when I was six and began to sing in a choir at seven. My parents always had music playing in the house too. I’m half Russian, so we had a lot of Soviet records! I remember going to concerts and hearing a piano concerto and being totally swept up by it. I wasn’t a ‘Wunderkind’, I learned many things gradually and over time. I had time to think about it and I worked hard. So I had a talent, but I wasn’t a prodigy.

In your TED talk you touch on that constant state of wonder that kids have. Are these events your way of trying to reinstill that sense of wonder in adults?
Exactly. I wanted to reach out and catch people unexpectedly! I played at a bank the other day – they don’t usually do that kind of thing, but I know a lot of people would not normally listen to the music I love, so I wanted to reach out to them, take the music to where they are?

Does the perfect piece of music exist?
I love that question! I’d have to think about it. Beethoven wrote some music that was so weird and gripping that it could have been written fifty or a hundred years from now. There is a piano sonata, Opus 101, that goes beyond anything you’ve ever heard before. I don’t understand it, but I love it. True art reaches forward. Radiohead have almost done that, I think a lot of their music is for later generations, maybe we don’t understand all of it yet.

Finally – crucially – what’s your favourite noise?
Oh, it’s one combined with smell. You can hear people mowing their grass, then you get the scent and that for me is the best. Then it goes silent and you’re left with only the scent. But I also love one beautiful chord being followed by another one – my internal strings are definitely struck by that!

 

Jake Bugg – The Spotify Interview

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Jake Bugg has taken the UK by storm. At 19 years old, he is the youngest male solo artist ever to reach the top of the album charts! He’s now released his second album and is ready to take over the rest of the world. We met up with him and spoke about the new album, his influences, and what matters most in his life.

Charismatic, retro-inspired talent Jake Bugg has not only been nominated for the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year and Q Award for Best Solo Artist, he’s now won the Q Award for Best New Act and is quickly becoming a favorite of elite musicians and legends including Noel Gallagher, Lily Allen, Damon Albarn, Chris Martin, and Elton John. Jake just finished a European tour and released his second album, Shangri La, on which he collaborated with the legendary super producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Johnny Cash).

JB: It’s been going ok. I’ve played many shows much bigger than I’ve ever played before; that was fun. We’ll see how this album goes. I’m quite, a little bit, apprehensive about how it’s going to be received, but excited at the same time.

Shangri La is named after Rick Rubin’s studio in Malibu, Los Angeles, where the 19-year-old singer-songwriter recorded the album. Rubin produced the album, and it features Jason Lader on bass, Matt Sweeney on guitar, and Pete Thomas on drums.

JB: It was great to work with Rick! He’s a very nice man. I didn’t really know of his work before, so I wasn’t like in awe. I just went and met him for the person that he is. He’s a very nice guy, very relaxed. The place that we recorded the album was very relaxed too, Zuma beach. I didn’t want to leave to be honest. I was there for two weeks and I heard that’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place for the last two years. So it was like a holiday for me, recording this album. It was pretty nice; the purple sky when the sun’s going down and then some lemon trees growing around –very beautiful. It was like a dream.

Influences
Jake’s main influences as a songwriter are Layne Staley, The Beatles, OasisDonovan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and Nick Drake. This influence from older artists really shines through in his music. At home, Jake has a lot of old guitars – including a particularly special 60-year-old guitar that he bought in Nashville, Tennessee.

JB: It was something that I wanted for ages, but I never thought I’d earn such a thing. It’s quite a rare guitar, but I’m very happy that I own it. I own quite a lot of guitars… I probably have about 20.

Yes I Do
This year, Jake played the Glastonbury Festival, not once but twice. First on a main stage and then a smaller, more intimate gig on an acoustic-only stage. One of the songs he played that day was “Saffron,” an old song that he wrote when he was about 15 years old. About halfway through, he noticed that something was going on in the crowd…

JB: I saw a lot of people start looking at this woman. Then this guy stood up and she hugged him and he proposed to her. He asked her to marry him in the middle of my song. So, halfway through the song I said congratulations. That’s very nice, but if I were going to propose, I wouldn’t do it at a Jake Bugg gig.

Behind the Spotlight
Jake grew up in Nottingham, about two hours away from London. Currently, the young artist is without an official home base. London would be the obvious choice, but he’s also considering somewhere like Paris or Stockholm. Jake left home when he was 17, so wherever he settles will be the first place he’d live since then. Despite his rapid success and seemingly constant touring, Jake seems to be a surprisingly pleasant and down to earth person. He describes himself as quite cynical, about music and a lot of things.

JB: I think I spend too much time trying to work out everybody else’s personalities. Because I’m very grateful of what I have, I think I can also be quite generous at times as well. I just had my best friend with me on the tour bus for the UK tour, that was quite nice. I think it’s all about the people that you surround yourself with. If you start getting a big head or, you know, they’ll tell you… it’s good.

The thing Jake values most in life is his family, his friends, all the people that he loves, and, of course, the music.

JB: If I wasn’t doing this, I don’t know what else I’d be doing. It’s kind of all that I have.

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The Naked And Famous: The Spotify Interview

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The much hyped alternative rockband from New Zealand, The Naked And Famous, have recently released their second studio album, In Rolling Waves. TNAF just began their European tour, which will continue until the 15th of March, 2014. We had the pleasure of meeting with its two impressive vocalists, Thom and Alisia, on their first night of the tour, in Stockholm.

When Thom and Alisa met in 2006 at a music college in Auckland, New Zealand, they formed a songwriting partnership right away, which would become the life force of TNAF. Aron, who also studied at the music collage, soon became a production foil to the duo. Today, he’s the synth player. Actually, all of the boys in the band sort of knew each other from high school. Bassist David and drummer Jesse came on board as full band members in 2009. We asked them how they came up with their amazing band-name, The Naked And Famous.

– We stole it from Tricky! He was part of the Trip Hop scene in the early 90’s. I think he’s from Bristol. He was just someone I really liked, growing up listening to him through high school. He was one of my immediate frames of references as far as music. So I thought, maybe I’ll steal a name, like a verse or a title from something that I really like. That line, “naked and famous,” stuck out to me. It’s from one of his songs called “Tricky Kid,” and at the time it just seamed obviously ironic for us cause we were just a small indie band with small and realistic ambitious. As time has gone on though, I think it’s given it more meaning because we are now a global band and it’s important that, as we’re becoming more well-known, it does still remain ironic. Cause it is kind of trivial and silly, Thom explains.

The Sound
Some people like to describe TNAF as an electronic pop band. Though, that’s not how they would describe their sound themselves. They somehow got lumped into a synth-pop label that has been quite prevalent in the last 4 years.

– I like to call it alternative rock music. That’s the most broad and simple genre. It says enough. I think synth-pop is a very single-oriented terminology that was given to us, just based on our most popular songs on the radio. So, we kind of battled that, but now it’s really dissipated and we’re just seen as a rock group, which is nice. It’s been validating to not still be just part of a little time. There’s been a little bit of an evolution with the music, says Thom.

TNAF started as a very low-fi kind of project. They were a four-piece band to begin with, because Aron wasn’t even in the band when they first started. He was just helping them by engineering recordings and producing. They hadn’t really found an instrument for him to play, but he slowly developed that over time with the music software that he used to play live. There has been a lot of progress in the band’s sound since they first started off.

– This is my first band, so I never really knew how to use my voice properly. This band was my first serious go at writing songs. So, for me if I look at the recordings of the songs from our first EP, to where I’ve ended up on In Rolling Waves, it’s actually quite a development. You can hear it and you can see it. We’ve all been growing as musicians over the years, that’s great, Alisia says.

Who’s the Boss? 
– Thom is the boss, Alisia answers quickly without a single doubt.

– Yea, I naturally am in the position. I’ve always been a very pro-active person, wanting to make things happen for myself and wanting to achieve my desires, my goals. I find myself being interested in being pro-active. I like making things happen for myself. I like making my visions and my desires come to life. That puts you in a position of being in control over things, Thom says.

I asked them if they ever fight with each other, and Thom answers that they fight all the time. He said that there’s a lot of tension within the group, but at the same time they’re all very, very good friends and it’s a healthy, natural part of always functioning as an adult.

– And that’s proof that you are good friends because you can fight, and you can say things. There’s bound to be tension if you’re working with a group of people that are all very passionate about what they do, Alisia says with a smile.

Keeping Dreams Alive
The band released their album In Rolling Waves on the 16th of September. Alisia explained that they learned so much from the pursuit of their previous album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, that when it came to creating In Rolling Waves, they just took everything that they had learned, everything that they knew, and just built on top of that. I asked them if there were any songs off the new album that they are particularly proud of.

– For me, up until this point, just having released and finished In Rolling Waves, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and achievement. That’s the type of band that we want to be, we want to create bodies of work and we want to continue to make more albums. That we have our second one out is just so satisfying. The whole album is a favorite for me, says Alisia.

– I feel very much the same, it’s like a collective. They’re all like chapters in a book. It’s hard to just pick one, even though they do stand alone as singular songs. It’s too close to the whole process to have a favorite. The last album was such an eclectic experience. Making a record and being in a band is such a huge achievement. That was really one of the biggest factors for wanting to do the second record, having achieved our dream and then wanting to keep it alive, Thom says.