JOVM celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year. And maybe I’m biased here — this is my site after all — but I feel as though I’ve managed to carve out a unique space in the blogosphere. JOVM is one of the few places, where readers can get eclectic and personal curation and coverage of local, national and international music scenes.
For the overwhelming bulk of this site’s history, I’ve run this site as a (mostly) one-man labor of love, run out of my Corona, Queens, NYC apartment while working full time in the editorial departments of three different book publishers as an Editorial Assistant and Acquisitions Editor. As you can imagine, I often felt that I had an unusual dual life: during the the day, I was a mild-mannered and somewhat sleep-deprived, Clark Kent. And when the business day ended, I would find some place to change out of my office clothes to street clothes, transforming into professional music journalist, blogger and photographer, covering shows at venues across the Metropolitan area. I’d return home in the wee hours, upload photos or work on a blog post, if i was able to manage it — and then I’d try to get a little bit of sleep and repeat. I generally survived on four hours of sleep a night and way too much coffee.
It’s often been hard work. But as a result of this site, I’ve done things I’ve never expected or thought would have ever happened. I’ve met some of my heroes. I’ve photographed icons and beloved legends. I’ve covered some amazing talented artists from all over the world. I’ve seen some memorable shows. I’ve been able to travel internationally to cover music. And I’ve met some of the nicest, kindest and most open people in the entire world — and these people have welcomed me to their hometowns, taken me to their best spots, introduced me to their favorite people and so on.
This sort of work should — and needs — to be continued and championed as much as possible. Music is the emotional center of our lives. More than ever in this profoundly unusual and unsettling time, we have to take comfort in music, art, literature and all the other things that make us human and connect us with others. Hopefully my work here has — and will continue — to bring some joy, some escape from the bleakness of our current situation or it inspires you to do something.
Of course running a site like this isn’t easy. And unfortunately, it does cost money. To that end, I started a Patreon page last year as a way to help support my creative endeavors and this site. Check out the page for more information:
Because of the uncertainty of the past few months, I understand that for there will be a portion of people who unable to contribute or buy merch. I get it. Trust me, I really get it. So don’t feel bad about it. There are other non-monetary ways to show love and support that really matters and are really helpful. So, if you really dig my work and JOVM, you can do the following:
Keep reading — and if you can read more! Seriously, something that small adds up.
Share posts you dig on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.
Pass the word on to friends who may dig this site and my work. The more eyeballs on this site at any given time does count and is beyond helpful. Seriously.
Pass the word on about the Patreon page to those that may be able to support.
As, I promised on my Patreon page, I also wanted to give a shoutout to this site’s kind patrons:
Thank y’all so much for your support and love. It keeps me — and this site going.
Since their breakup following a massive series of farewell shows at Terminal 5 and Madison Square Garden in 2011, the members of New York-based dance punk act LCD Soundsystem have spent the past few years […]
With the release of a now sold-out 12,” and their Young Ones EP, the London-based duo Formation, comprised of siblings Will and Matt Rinson quickly exploded into the UK electro pop scene; in fact, the duo’s […]
London-based DJ, producer, electronic music artist and multi-instrumentalist Marcus Marr is an internationally recognized artist, who has released a number of critically acclaimed singles through renowned electro pop/dance music/dance punk label DFA Records. His two best known […]
Over the past year Moonbabies, a Malmö, Sweden-based indie electro pop act comprised of husband and wife duo Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick have become something of a mainstay act on JOVM, as I’ve written about several singles off their impressive Wizards on The Beach, which was released earlier this year and have interviewed Ola Frick as part of the site’s ongoing Q&A series.
Although the Fricks have known each other since they were both high schoolers, they started writing and recording together in 1997. And with the release of their debut effort, the Malmo, Sweden-based duo had quickly developed a reputation for crafting an intricate shoegazer rock-based sound. However, by the time the duo had written, recorded and released their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, The Orange Billboard the duo’s sound expanded and had become refined; in fact, many critics across Europe had compared the album’s sound favorably to Wilco‘s critically acclaimed effort, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And as a result of the critical attention the album received, the duo embarked on an extensive European tour to support it. War on Sound, The Orange Billboard‘s follow-up effort was a critical and commercial success in Sweden and the album’s title track “War on Sound” won them greater international attention as the song was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
As the story goes, the Fricks were busily working on what would be their highly-awaited, third full-length effort, the couple had begun to feel an increasing pressure to create and deliver songs that were commercially viable — to the point that that they had begun to feel as though they were drifting away from their initial creative vision and spirit. Recognizing that they were in a creative rut, the duo forced themselves out of the their comfort zone, relocating to Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, they quickly felt in love with the city’s globally renowned EDM and house music scenes; in fact, as a result, the material they had begun writing began to lean heavily towards a more electronic-based sound. However, the duo did feel an entirely different pressure — the pressure of having to prove themselves in a much bigger, much more competitive scene, and after two years in Germany, the Fricks returned to their native country and started the recording progress again.
Upon their return to Sweden, the duo found the recording process to be both unsuccessful and frustrating, as they spent time forcing themselves to be push the process forward, scrapping it when the material didn’t feel exactly how they wanted it and then starting over, which according to the Fricks, they did more than 30 times. Interestingly, as the band has publicly noted, the birth of their son seemed to be the catalyst that breathed new life into their entire creative process and forced a change in approach. Their approach became much simpler – move past bad memories and associations, and focus on the songs that evoked a visceral sensation. As they were going through old material, they began to see things that they didn’t originally see within the material, and they found that ideas started to flow about naturally around it — and in a way that they hadn’t had in a while. And the end result was the duo’s aforementioned Wizards on the Beach.
Album single “24” pairs layers of shimmering synths, boom bap-like drums, acoustic guitar and industrial clang and clatter with Frick’s ethereal vocals to create a song that evokes the sensation of waking from a pleasant and yet half-remembered dream while subtly channeling the work of Jose Gonzalez and Junip. Recently, the London-based duo Glass Children remixed Moonbabies “24” as part of a unique remix exchange between both bands (you’ll hear about the band shortly), and their remix pairs Ola Frick’s vocals while an upbeat production consisting of layers of gently undulating synths, propulsive, tribal drumming that makes the song much more club-ready and yet trippy while retaining the dreamy feel of its original.
Comprised of David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou, the London-based electronic duo The Glass Children craft dark, 80s inspired, upbeat electro pop consisting of lush production and ethereal vocals. Their uptempo single “Undone” pairs layers of undulating synths, swirling electronics and Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals in a song that sways and swoons with a plaintive Romanticism. Moonbabies’ remix pairs Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals with swirling electronics and tribal-like percussion that actually makes the remix sound as though it could have been on Wizards on the Beach whileretaining the original’s plaintive Romanticism — and of course, adding a dreamy fade out to the conclusion reminiscent of the ending of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”
I recently spoke to Moonbabies’ Ola Frick and The Glass Children’s David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou via email about their unique remix exchange, their inspiration behind each band’s take on the other’s material and what’s next for both bands. Check it out below.
WRH: Moonbabies and The Glass Children recently remixed a single from their most recent full-length efforts — and both acts are releasing them on the same day as part of a “remix exchange” for lack of a better phrase. With Moobabies being based in Malmo, Sweden and The Glass Children being based in London, I wanted to know how did this collaboration come about?
Daniella Kleovoulou: It was through Twitter actually. When “Undone” was released Moonbabies discovered the track through a blog review and tweeted about it. A bit later Ola [Frick] contacted us about remixing the song which we were really up for. I told him that David [Fairweather] played me “24” a while back from a BIRP playlist and we both loved the song so Ola asked if we’d like to remix it in exchange . . . and that’s how it all started.
Ola Frick: Both of us loved “Undone” when we first heard it, I guess it was back in January-February maybe. And since their other tracks also showed that they’re pretty extraordinary we wanted to get in touch and see if we could do a collaboration or remix exchange, and that was just what happened. Nice peeps as it seems!
WRH: The Moonbabies’ remix of The Glass Children’s “Undone” retains Daniella Kleovoulou’s husky vocals but pairs them with a percussive yet very dreamy production consisting of undulating and swirling electronics before ending with chiming keys and a distorted vocal sample that evoke the sensation of waking from a dream. That remix sounds as though it could have been a B-side to Wizards on the Beach. Ola, why did you choose “Undone”? The remix manages to retain the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. What inspired your remix?
Ola Frick: I’d say all my good studio work starts with a being filled up to the limit with a great feel/inspiration to begin with. Confidence, as well. And if you have it, it all goes smooth, happens fast and is driven by pure instinct. With this track I needed to have a complete blank canvas and just let it out. It happened very fast, 3-4 hours with some extra tweaks a day or two later, including mix/mastering. I just felt the song, and let it go in any way. And the first path it took (the big rhythm and thick vocals in focus) was the right. I’m very happy with it.
WRH: The Glass Children’s remix of Moonbabies “24”retains the Fricks’ vocals put pairs them with an uptempo, dance pop production — shimmering synths, skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, and the like. It sounds as though it’s both headphone-ready and club-friendly. And much like the Moonbabies’ remix, your remix retains the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. Why did you choose “24”?What inspired your remix?
David Fairweather: It’s partly inspired by the same production ideas we had for our song “Undone”: a big bass and lots of 80’s analogue synths. We went for a melancholic feel but with some euphoric strings poking their heads in. We wanted to keep the beautiful central riff the Moonbabies wrote on the guitar, but instead translate it to the piano.
Ola Frick: We have a few dancy Remixes we’ve done of tracks by the bands Blind Lake, Cantaloupe and The Land Below, that I guess and hope will be out before the end of 2015. And as you know we just released the Deluxe Edition Version of Wizards on the Beach with 12 bonus tracks. It sort of marks an end to a very long cycle for us. It feel great to get back into making something brand new, a complete fresh start, as were on a blank paper. Don’t know when something new will be out. One thing [that] stands out of the experience of working within the music industry 2015, is that we’re doing it straight out of pure joy, nothing else. We have set up our own imprint label Culture Hero, and no real pressure. My guess is a spring-time Moonbabies single or EP release. When something great pops up, we’ll capture it and release it. And I’m not lying when I say that I feel more confident and inspired than ever.
If any of you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you’d know that a few months ago I recently joined Spotify — and interestingly enough I’ve been using it in some way to build a sort of retrospective/end of the month playlist for old and new followers alike. Sadly, in some cases some songs don’t appear because they’re not currently available on Spotify; however, this particular playlist is the start of a much more detailed playlist — a playlist that mentions not not the songs I’ve written about over the month, but the songs I’ve referenced throughout the month.
As I’ve mentioned before on the site, I’m usually up to all kinds of experimentation and I’m curious as to what you think of the monthly playlist as a regularly recurring feature. Let me know, folks.
The 2nd Annual SOURCE360 Festival Preview Created last year by Northstar Group and The SOURCE founder, L. Londell McMillan, The SOURCE360 Festival had set up shop in Downtown Brooklyn with an important mission: “to spread […]
Since this site’s inception, it has been an annual tradition that I write something on John Coltrane‘s A Love Supreme, an album that is arguably not only one of the most beautiful albums ever written […]
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’d likely know that this week has been insanely busy for me, as i’ve been covering the Northside Festival in North Brooklyn with my dear […]