Published on March 28 2014

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

Welcome to Robin Grey's musical universe, where no unnecessary flourish is needed. If we had to describe the work of this London singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist in just a few words... Simple, but not simplistic, and yet ravishing. But why limit oneself to only a few words? That's certainly not what Robin, as a poet, storyteller and songwriter, would do. And some might say that actions speak louder than words, so have a listen for yourself: a guaranteed delight for your ears! And in the meantime, get to know the man and the artist.

First of all, can you introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Robin Grey and I am a musician from London. I have been pottering around with music most my life and accidentally made four albums in the process.
Double bass and classical guitar were my two main instruments for many years; recently I started focussing more on singing, song writing and folk music.
I have some lovely and very talented friends who have been lending a hand with recording and performing my songs including a Polish violinist called Basia Bartz, an accordion player from Somerset called Caitlin Roberts and a lass by the name of Candy Parfitt, whose sings like an angel.

 


When did you start making music? What is your fondest musical memory?
My grandparents will vouch for the fact that I have been singing since I was tiny. Apparently I used to belt out a great version of ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’ when I was five or six years old.
I have played in bands and written songs from the moment I picked up a guitar which was around age fourteen, although I played oboe and piano when I was ten for a few years.
Singing in choirs also featured heavily in my childhood, I got to perform with Cliff Richard in the Royal Albert Hall in London when I was sixteen and was blown away by how good the tambourine player was – I had no idea that instrument was so versatile in the right pair of hands.
Fondest musical memory – gosh, there are so many. I did a show backed by a full symphony orchestra and choir with a band I was in at university. It was our fourth gig and we played to a huge sold out concert hall. That will certainly stay with me the rest of my life.

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

Your writing style is very interesting: poetic but also intriguing! What drove you towards songwriting ? What do you mostly write about?

I always wrote songs from the moment I learnt my first few chords. It seemed like a natural thing to do with a guitar. I grew up listening to a lot of Michael Jackson, Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen – all artists who craft fine songs (or pay others to craft fine songs for them!)
I have also always written poetry and had this published long before I worked out how to sing in tune and set any of my words to music in a way that others might choose to listen to.
I mostly write from my own experiences and perspective, often commenting or reacting to events happening around me in the process. I have started to tell stories more in recent years such as the founding of my favourite community food growing project in ‘The Ballad Of Hawkwood’.

 

 

Your music is simple yet rich with different –and sometimes unexpected- instruments. How do you come up with all of these sounds?

I have been acquiring and collecting instruments since I was a teenager. I now have a great little studio which is totally rammed full of anything and everything I can get my hands on including a piano, double bass, electric bass, classical guitar, folk guitar, dulcimer, electric guitar, kids organ, harmonium, mandolin, keyboard, ukulele, banjo and many percussion instruments.
When I am arranging a song I’m recording myself, I often just take turns at picking instruments off the walls and jamming along with a recording until I am happy.
More recently I have been arranging and recording songs live with other musicians but getting people all in a room at the same time in London can be really hard and expensive as you need more space and expertise with recording equipment.

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

'More than today' is your 4th album. Was the creative process different from the 3 previous one?
‘More Than Today’ feels like my first album really – all the others were nice accidents. This is the first time I have set out to make an album knowing what I was doing and being fully happy with the result. It also took me three times as long as my first three albums - I put no pressure on myself to get it done and I feel the end result benefits from this.
Every song was recorded in a different way with a different combinations of musicians in different studios. Some songs came together in less than a day, some took over ten years to write and two years to record. Not that you would know or be able to tell from listening to it!

 

 

Is there one song on this album that you prefer? Why?
I genuinely love and am super proud of all of the tracks on this album in such different ways. Some were fun to write, some were fun to record, some are more fun for me to listen to.
Joanna’ is a little song that came out really effortlessly as did ‘Stuck On You’ which was only meant to be a demo but it had such a nice vibe I went with it for the final track. People tell me it is the most relaxed I have sounded on recording, which has got to be a good thing.

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

There is this one song called ‘I Love Leonard Cohen’. What other artists inspire you?
Joanna Newsom blew my mind and I only listened to her debut album for ages. Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill are a violin and guitar instrumental folk duo who I could have on repeat all day and ‘Three Cane Whale’ are trio from Bristol, again making instrumental music, whose music inspires me hugely.
I have recently been working with another folk guitarist and singer/songwriter called Tim Graham and he is inspiring me a lot at the moment – we have been co-writing our first few songs recently and I am really looking forward to recording and performing them.

 

You make folk music, but do you listen to other genres? What is your favorite tune at the moment?
I love good pop music and listen to a fair amount of rock music. I may be turning into my Dad as I even had a bit of Robert Palmer on recently.
Silence tends to be my default soundtrack though. I live by a river on the edge of a nature reserve and hearing the water flowing by with the birds singing makes me very happy.
My favourite tune – well ‘Taro’ by Alt-J is so good I considered giving up playing music for a few days after hearing it as I felt there was nothing I could do to top that tune... Then a few days passed and I realised that music is not a competition. The song has had a huge impact on me which I still have not really understood.

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

Any live shows scheduled in the near future?

I have a healthy amount of shows coming up around the south of England. I never quite seem to get too far from home as I miss my own bed and only really like travelling by bike.
I would love to get out to mainland Europe sometime as quite a few people seem to listen to my music in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Poland and France. I nearly did last year but the agent who booked me a month long tour turned out to be a crook and it all got cancelled a month before hand.

 

 

For the last question, let’s reverse the roles. If you were interviewing me, what would you ask? And how would you answer?
I would ask you what is inspiring you at the moment (doesn’t need to be music related!)
It is always wonderful to hear people talking about things they are passionate about regardless of the topic.
If I was asked, I would probably want to talk about how much I am enjoying learning about the real people’s history of England. We don’t seem to get taught history properly as a subject at school in England as our empire and collonial past is so dark.
We have still not had cause to face up to this past and learn from it as countries such as Germany have had to and I feel like it is a useful way to spend my time, sharing what I am learning with others.

"Silence tends to be my default soundtrack." - Robin Grey

Robin Grey's official website

Make sure to follow Robin Grey on Facebook & Twitter !

Written by The Jamendo Team

Published on #Interviews

Published on March 21 2014

Aliver J. came a long way to get where he is now, gathering countless experience on his musical journey. From his natal Italy to the United States, he grew as an artist, expanding its talents and perfecting his musical gift. Rapper, singer, songwriter... Aliver J. gives himself truthfully and completely to his music, with meaningful lyrics and his very own musical style (which even has its name !). He recently published his last EP on Jamendo, "Scenario di un mundo nemico". Get to know him and his music through the interview he gave us.

"Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J.

Can you introduce yourself ?

I'm Giordano Alivernini a.k.a. Aliver J. An Italian from Rome, who is now living in Texas. I'm a singer, songwriter and rapper. My genre is a mix of pop/r&b and rap. The rap was my first style to express myself.
Slowly through the years, I've developed a style as a singer also, and now, my style is an hybrid genre. It is a genre that I use to call "Soul mediterraneo music".

 

For how long have you been an artist ? When did you begin? Can you tell us more about our previous experience?

I think it's a gift from God and probably I was an artist since my first day on earth. I just had to discover the artist in me. I think everyone has a little artist within. It just has to be found. I've found that artist when I was 16 years old, writing my first rap, using the music as a type of therapy. I didn't speak much and I was kind of shy so... I thought that kind of music was perfect for me because every time I was rapping, the artist within came out through my words.
Since 1993 till 2005 I had a lot of experiences as a rapper first and as a singer later. I experienced a lot of ups and downs on big and little stages. I even had a couple of projects where I was produced by well known Italian producers. But you know, sometimes you meet the right people at the wrong moment and the wrong people at the right moment. So, once I had a clear idea of what I really wanted to do, I produced what I call my first album, "Dirapscalia", in 2007. Artistically by myself and economically by John Penate (a Dj producer from San Diego, California).
I never stopped writing and recording my songs. I have a home studio and I always have a new idea to record. I believe in what I do and I'm still waiting for the right people who can help to promote my songs. I mean, yesterday, I was waiting for something to happen. Even a little thing. Today, I'm writing for you so... Thank you for your support.

"Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J.

You are a rapper but also a singer. Therefore, your music has multiple facets: urban hip-hop, but also pop. Why did you decide to go both ways ?

I think that as an independent artist, I shouldn't limit myself. Why should I put a label on myself, when I'm not a product to sell? Every genre represents a character. But a genre can represent a mood too. Most of the time I wake up in the morning and I feel inspired as a singer-songwriter. In the evening, sometimes I feel like a rapper. So, I represent many sides of myself. When you hear a melody and rap in my songs, it means that I put all of myself in that track. I'm just honest with the listener. That's probably why I even sell some copies of my albums and singles without having a great promotion.

 

"Il Mondo Fuori" sets itself apart from the other tracks of the album, by its genre and its sound. What’s the story behind this song?

It's an important song for me. It has everything I wanted to say in this moment of my life.
The title in English means "The world outside".
Before I tell you what the song is about, I want you to know that I took the inspiration
from another song from my first album. The title is "La stanza piccola" ("The small room" in English). In that song I talk about me and my young brother, living in a small room, dreaming about a different world, dreaming of a future for us in a tough world with no money, no opportunity but a lot of hope to change our position in life. Musically it's simple, But the lyrics touched a lot of people's heart.
Then I thought I wanted to bring myself out of that small room. I wanted to open the door to see the world outside. I wanted to write about the best of what I see in others, every day, walking around. People with their different jobs and what they do to support their families.
Their struggle in every day life. And even if the world is running around with all its problems, the world still loves the people who don't destroy the earth. So, because of the theme and because of the melody, automatically the arrangement came out that way. But that's not the only version. There is another version, even slower. It's on my web site with other information (here: aliverj.com).

"Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J."Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J.

This album contains songs written in Italian. For our readers who are not familiar with this language, can you tell us what’s the theme of your lyrics ?

At the end of my songs, and a the end of my album - especially in Scenario di un mondo nemico ('Scenario of an enemy world' in English), the perfect word to describe what I want to say is "Respect". There is a lot of respect in everything I do, in what I write, for the people I meet and most of all for the wonderful world we are living in. I think that the most important word should be "respect" and not "love". Because "love" is a natural feeling and you can't control it. You don't have it for everything and everyone. But "Respect", is something that makes the difference when we have it.

 

 

Is there a message you would like to convey through your songs and your music?

Through the years, I wrote several songs about the "sleepers in the evil environments".
I mean, manipulators and those being manipulated. Even if our eyes are wide open, it doesn't mean that we are awake. That's what I think, and I use my the music for a good message, and sometimes I write love songs and funny lyrics too.

"Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J.

You also have written songs in English, haven’t you? How is writing in English different from writing in Italian?

That's pretty tough!! I have been living in the USA for 5 years but my vocabulary is still limited. You know, there are a lot of slang words and different accents, and sometimes it gets frustrating because I would like to express myself with words that I can't find. I seem to work more on the melodies rather than complicated lyrics. You can still find a story, with meaningful phrases but written in a simple way.

 

Do you have a specific creative process when making a song?

24/7. Really!! It's like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies. Everything gives me a constant input or inspiration for a new song. I know, it sounds crazy... all day... but that's what it is.

 

There is this very cool song on Jamendo that is called “GoL” and that is not in the last album. Can you tell us more about this one?

It's not even "Goal" but "Gol" because I wanted to write it in the way we scream it in the stadium in Rome. This song was also released in 2 versions. You know... it's our favorite sport in Italy. I love soccer!... but even if the lyrics are funny and the melody is catchy, this song is my invitation to take soccer for what it really is and not too seriously.

"Making a song is like inhaling images and sounds and exhale lyrics and melodies." - Aliver J.

Which artists do you listen to ? If you could chose one artist to collaborate with, who would it be ?

Boyz to men but the Eagles too. A lot of italian songwriters but R. Kelly, Craig David and Brian McKnight too. Also, my favorite rappers are LL cool J. and Treach from Naughty by nature. Probably I'll choose LL to collaborate with.

What are our future musical plans ?

In these days I'm reading a lot about history in general necause I have 2 songs in my mind that require some information.. I'm digging !! you know.. next stage, next level. With me, it's more about the message in the lyrics rather than "perfect"sounds. I'll let you know when the new 2 will be ready.

Thank you !

Nooo !! Thank YOU !!

Aliver J's offical website

Make sure to follow him on Facebook & Twitter !

Written by The Jamendo Team

Published on #Interviews

Published on March 14 2014

In 'We Breathe Like One', Slava Prox shows us how complete of an artist he is. This Russian musician creates its music from A to Z, and ends up delivering a strong album, mixing hip-hop, pop and rock. Discover his solid work and get to know him through this interview!

"I took everything I liked from different music styles and mixed them up in my music" - Slava Prox

Can you introduce yourself ?

Thank you for your interest! My real name is Vyacheslav Charikov (26 years old). I am a musician from Russia. I have been studying music since I was a child. My parents sent me to piano classes. My father used to be a musician himself and we had some musical instruments at home such as a drum-machine, a YAMAHA synthesizer, an acoustic guitar and a piano of course. I have always had a fever for the percussions. As most of all, I wanted to compose songs so I learned the ropes and started to play those instruments and write lyrics.

 

 

For how long have you been an artist ? When did you begin?

I have been gaining experience since 2005, writing songs, and I have produced the first album by 2008. There were 19 tracks in it. Then I published an album “My dream” in 2010 , “NiNo” in 2011 and “We breathe like one” in 2012. My new album “Infinity” is going to be released in March 2014.

 

 

You are a singer, but also a musician, writer, composer and sound engineer. When you make a song, do you do everything yourself ? Is it important for you to have this kind of control?

Absolutely! It is very important to keep everything under control. It is only me who knows how to make it sound. Those days my studio suffered from the lack of money, as well as from the lack of experience, which was why I was reading a lot, I was making attempts and learned from my own mistakes.

"I took everything I liked from different music styles and mixed them up in my music" - Slava Prox

Do you have a specific creative process when making a song?

There is no specific approach. Sometimes lyrics come first. But more often I just play the music and as soon as I get to know that I like what I do then I bring it along to the ready-made version.

 

 

The musical style that we can hear on ‘We breathe like one’ is hip-hop mixed with pop and rock sounds. How did you come up with that genre?

I didn’t come up with it. As I said before, I have always had a passion for percussions. For example, while playing synthesizer in a rock-band I always missed the broken beat, like in hip-hop, and I craved for drive and intensity in sweet pop-melodies. So I took everything I liked from different music styles and mixed them up in my music.

 

 

About the lyrics: do you write all your lyrics ? What do you mostly write about ?

All lyrics are written by me. Almost all of them are about love and taken from my own live experience.

"I took everything I liked from different music styles and mixed them up in my music" - Slava Prox

This album contains 19 songs. Are they all new songs, or did you include some previous work?

Yes, “We breathe like one” includes a lot of my previous songs. It is a compilation of my favorite songs.

Is there a specific message you would like to convey with this album?

The main message of this album is Love. Love in its various manifestations. It is about sadness, happiness. I am for the peace in the whole world. After listening to my album people may say, - “We’ve been there”, so it’s there’s nothing to be afraid of, I am not alone."

"I took everything I liked from different music styles and mixed them up in my music" - Slava Prox

What is the last album that you have listened to?

I have a collection of Infected Mushroom songs. That was the last music I listened to, as well as Eminem’s album - The Marshall Mathers LP2.

 

 

What are your musical influences?

I have been being influenced by the Russian singer Grigoriy Leps for a long time.

 

 

If you had to describe your music in just 5 words, what would they be ?

Kind, energetic, romantic, real, yours.

Written by The Jamendo Team

Published on #Interviews

Published on March 13 2014

 
If you are:
  • a solo singer/musician or a band (up to 8 members)
  • 13 years old or older
  • citizen of one of the 40 participating countries* (or at least one of your band members is)
  • able to perform your music live in full (no pre-recorded material, no DJ set)
...well, then the 2014 EuroMusic Contest is open to you!

*Albania - Andorra - Austria - Belarus - Belgium - Bosnia-Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Croatia - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Ireland - Iceland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Macedonia - Malta - Moldova - Monaco - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Russia - Serbia - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - United Kingdom - Ukraine
 
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April 2014: online voting period to elect the 40 pre-finalists (one in each country)
May 2014: professional jury to select 10 finalists
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Widen your audience, perform in Paris, win a 3-day recording session in world-class Black Rock Studios in Greece...Do not miss this amazing opportunity!

 


The EuroMusic Contest is supported by Le Nouvel Observateur, Wired, Euronews, My Band Market, Div'Up, iConcerts, Zimbalam, Swarm Planet, and of course Jamendo.

All info available here: http://euromusiccontest.com

Published on March 10 2014

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