The “Wolfsong's” album is a collaborative project from the Wolfpack, a formation with many artists : Roberto Daglio (ITA), creix (FRA), Livio Amato (ITA), Yachar (ESP), Spisfire (FRA), Frank Harper (GER), Van Syla (BEL), Dom The Bear (FRA), Urzhia-Kan (FRA), zero-project (GRE), Pierre-Marie Cœdès (FRA), Daisylis (FRA). It has been made as a dedication for Barbara Wolfsong, better know on jamendo as orangeupurple, one the most popular reviewer. Van Syla and Frank Harper, the two artists who led the project during all the process, have accepted to answer our questions and explained us how this amazing project has been possible.
- Can you present yourself?
Van Syla: My nickname on Jamendo is "Van Syla", the Wolfpack members call me "Syl".
When I found the Jamendo site and discovered that amateur musicians like me could put freely their music on an internet site and that it could be heard by everyone for free, I decided to share my music on the internet through Jamendo. I was curious about the opinion of others for my tracks and I also wanted to know more about these Jamendo people. Musicians and reviewers seemed to communicate a lot and mostly in a friendly way.
My style of music is more a classical style based on my muscial education. I played the flute when I was younger but wanted above all to create my own music and leave the virtuosity to others. I use a digital piano that has different orchestral sounds with which I try to make something that sounds nice to me and that I want to share with others.
Tetra is another of my nick names. Her music is more a combination of different musical origins and doesn’t follow the classical rules.
When I uploaded my first album in October 2009 and read the first review about it, I was really stunned by the kindness of the reviewer for my little album. It was musictomyears and as I got to know Jamendo better after a few weeks and saw how some reviewers were so encouraging and positive and giving their time to write reviews for free. I decided to thank one of them, and it was musictomyears. I dedicated my 4th album to her.
- From where came the idea to make this collaborative album?
Van Syla: In January I heard about the financial difficulties of Jamendo and read what was said on the forums. And it is there that I saw that a reviewer, I much appreciated, was giving a lot of energy to try to save Jamendo : orangeupurple. For me that was really very nice to mobilize everybody around this SAVE JAMENDO campaign and being so active about Jamendo issues, trying to help people on the forums and meanwhile continuing to write interesting and generous reviews.
So, since I saw that orangeupurple was fighting for the best of all, I thought she deserved to be thanked by the musicians she defended. She is also popular among other reviewers and has many friends on Jamendo and Facebook where there is a community of Jamendo users who have regular
contacts with each other.
orangepurple has been the spokeswoman of an international musicians' community.
Thanks to her a lot of friendship bonds were created across the borders because we all have a commun interest and use a universal language : music.
That is why I had the idea of making an album with those who were in contact with orangeupurple through the reviews she made for them and with Jamendo-Facebook friends.
- Can you explain what is the Wolfpack? How did you choose the artist for this project?
Van Syla : I sent a letter from the Jamendo mailbox to those whom I thought would be glad to participate in that project of a collaborative album. I also invited reviewers of the Facebook group of friends to write a text for orangeupurple. Frank Harper immediately responded positively to my invitation. The “Wolfpack” name for the group and the title “Wolfsong’s” was his idea.
Frank Harper : Well, those who know orangeupurple do for sure know her last name (Wolfsong) and the nickname given to her by someone of the community, "Mother Wolf". She's a very caring individual, always having an eye on her "pack". And the title, "Wolfsong's", shall imply, that these collection is hers.
- How did you work on it? Did you have specific themes or atmospheres you wanted to develop? Or each artist was free to make his own subject?
Van Syla: The style of music didn’t matter as long as Barb (orangeupurple) liked it and had written a review for the artist.
We had to put a limit to the number of participants and a deadline for the making of the music, the mastering, the uploading of the tracks and the texts. The tracks had to be new creations and had to be especially written for Barb and for that occasion.
Here is where Frank has been very helpful to manage a site where the group could exchange vues and ideas and where we could make a schedule and point the deadlines of each stage of the project.
coriandolo has given us a great support also, finding a place to upload our music and being also very helpful in translating for the non english speaking members.
Pierre-Marie Coedes has been very active too and had always a ton of ideas to improve our project.
We decided to release the album on Jamendo in July. Frank took care of the cover of the album and all the technical parts : the mastering and the uploading.
We wanted the reviews to be fully part of the album and Daisylis was so kind to lend her voice on one of the tracks for the recitation on Frank’s music, of all the texts written by the reviewers.
We also asked each artist to explain shortly why he had made that track for Barb.
All the texts of the reviewers and the musicians are edited in a booklet that is dedicated to orangeupurple and has been given to her together with a CD recording at a meeting in Paris.
About the technical part, how did you make the mastering as a lot of artists come from different countries? Who was in charge of the ‘final touch’?
Frank Harper: It was much less difficult than expected. The only thing I had to do was to adjust the volume levels, and even these just slightly. And I didn't want to change the specific mood of the original pieces by using an equalizer or compressor. Sound is a matter of taste, and the album should also give an impression of Jamendos variety.
Creating the CD and preparing the upload on Jamendo have been the final steps, and as Syl said, it was always a joyful exchange of opinions. Thanks to Sylvain for supporting us!
- Have you already made similar projects by the past?
Frank Harper: No. I guess it probably was an outstanding and first-time experience for almost all participants.
- Do you plan to renew the experience?
Van Syla: Yes ! With pleasure!
- Would you like to push the experience further with other artists on jamendo?
Van Syla: Yes I think it would be very interesting to have more collaborative projects on Jamendo: there are several reasons why people could and would like to make music or an album together. For example making music around a theme : nature, feelings, a story, specific ambiances, genres, specific instruments, supporting a cause, to thank or dedicate music to someone for what he did... but please, no competition.
Frank Harper: I imagine that this experience will lead to further collaborations. I just started talks with one of the group members, but wait & see!
- Do you think there should be more collaborative projects on jamendo? In which way do you see that?
Frank Harper: Browsing Jamendo you may find some. And with that huge number of registered artists I guess we will see more and more collabs of two, three or more of them. Perhaps Jamendo itself may provide incentives for musicians to collaborate, e.g. an official annual Jamendo collaboration release.
Van Syla: We are all amateur musicians, we like to share our music and we love it when someones tells us : I like what you do - or when someone gives constructive advice about your music and shows his interest. It is there where we are even, we exchange what we have : music and comments. That is what Jamendo is about for me and where I feel at home among my friends.
Thank you all, my friends of the Wolfpack.