Sultans of String Garner JUNO Nomination for World Music Album of the Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 7, 2017

Canada’s genre-bending string slingers SULTANS OF STRING garner 2017
JUNO nomination for World Music Album of the Year for their feast of raucous reels, ragas ‘n’ rumbas, SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT

Juno Awards World Music Album of the Year Nominees 2017

[Toronto ON]  Canada’s genre-bending string slingers SULTANS OF STRING garner a JUNO nomination for World Music Album of the Year at the celebratory Junos Press Conference for their feast of raucous reels ragas ‘n’ rumbas, Subcontinental Drift, featuring special guest/sitar master Anwar Khurshid (Oscar-winning Life of Pi).

“We are honoured to receive this JUNO nomination for our new album! We could not have made this recording without the support of the whole Canadian roots community, and our special collaboration with Anwar,” states bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. He adds, “there is something magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East.”

Yet, Subcontinental Drift is more than a genre-hopping passport. It is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time.

“Together we started writing songs about freedom and equality, and our hope of creating a better world. I feel in some way that these songs reflect our own personal hopes and journeys towards finding a world peace. This is a message that is needed more than ever at this time.”

The award nomination comes on the heels of the band’s whirlwind North American and UK Subcontinental Drift tours, including a special appearance organized by the High Commission at London’s Trafalgar Square. Distributed by Fontana North in Canada, the album hit #1 in Canada on Earshot’s international charts, top 10 on the American CMJ charts and top 15 on Billboard’s World Music charts in the U.S. It also got picked up for distribution in the U.S. by CEN/SONY and by Proper in Europe.

The band has been on the road non-stop and will make their debut in The Netherlands and mainland Europe this summer. Sultans of String are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band, criss-crossing North America and performing at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington.

They are currently recording a festive and world music inspired Christmas Caravan CD featuring Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Bruce Cockburn, Alanis Morissette, Emmylou Harris), 5x Platinum selling Nikki Yanofsky, The Chieftains’ very own Paddy Moloney, JUNO winner Alex Cuba, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Panamanian 7x Grammy/5x Latin Grammy-winning Ruben Blades, and more!
Sultans of String with Anwar Khurshid

CD & HIGH RES PHOTO DOWNLOAD:
http://tinyurl.com/naekrjd

STREAM:
https://soundcloud.com/sultansofstring/sets/subcontinental-drift

VIDEOS:
“Rakes of Mallow” (Raucous Indo-Celtic mash-up!)

https://youtu.be/1oBkM_zpd-M

“Enter The Gate” (Roots Country meets South Asia in this high energy fusion foot tapper)
https://youtu.be/y8mKJL4SvpQ

“Blowin’ In The Wind”
(Bollywood meets Bob in this Dylan classic)
https://youtu.be/2CfQOrdOB3U

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/subcontinental-drift/id1031300898

“Sensational. Loved it.” ~ Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul & Mary)

“Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic.” ~ Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel)

“Sultans of String are so extraordinary and put on a sensational show—one of my favorite bands on the planet!” ~ Todd Barkan, Lincoln Center, NY

“You get the feeling this is Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once… a sure bet to notch a JUNO and any other award winning hardware to come its way.” ~ Midwest Record, Chicago

 

http://www.sultansofstring.com
http://twitter.com/sultansofstring
https://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
FACTOR and Arts Council Logos

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications  lw@lwcommunications.ca  416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)

5x JUNO nominated/6x CFMA winning mando-maestro Andrew Collins Trio Release “And It Was Good” at Hugh’s Room on Fri. Oct. 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 12, 2016

Good Times Are Sure to be Had when 5x JUNO nominated/6x CFMA winning mando-maestro ANDREW COLLINS TRIO release ”AND IT WAS GOOD” HUGH’S ROOM – FRI OCT 21, 8:30PM

The Andrew Collins Trio

“Light of touch, fast of wit, copiously imaginative, and a musical scholar of the highest distinction, Toronto mandolin virtuoso pulls out all the stops” ~ Toronto Star

“Boundaries? What boundaries? Toronto mandolinist Andrew Collins ignores them all!” ~ Penguin Eggs

“To call Andrew Collins a master of the mandolin would be putting it mildly…. artfully arranged string music perhaps best described as ‘chambergrass’ shines through – 4/5 stars” ~ Exclaim! Magazine

Andrew Collins is a part of the firmament. He’s the mercurial, 5x JUNO-nominated/6x CFMA winningmando-maestro behind two of Canada’s top-billed string bands – The Foggy Hogtown Boys and the Creaking Tree String Quartet. An adventurous musical explorer, he lands somewhere between the re-imagined worlds of Béla Fleck and Newgrass invader, David Grisman.

Together with fellow members of the Andrew Collins Trio (ACT) – string guru Mike Mezzatesta and in-the-pocket bassist James McEleney – good times are sure to be had with their sophomore release And It Was Good CD.

Sitting atop a catalogue representing 2 solo records, 11 collaborative releases, and 2 with his Trio, Collins appears to live by the old adage, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” – because “And It Was Good” tackles Creation itself – likely keeping him just ahead of the devil’s grasp.

On his Trio’s new disc, all three players assault the 7 days of Creation, brilliantly rendering each day’s story to secular musical fruition in this new, Chamber Grass disc. “And It Was Good” IS good – a labour of love inspired by the late Oliver Schroer, if not overseen by his musical specter. The result is a lush-sounding, multi-layered composition bringing fresh meaning to an age-old story while demonstrating the depth of musicianship from each of these three inspirational players.

The trio’s instrumentation (mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, guitar, bass, mandola) is augmented by the Phantasmagoria String Quartet to add necessary shading and colour to each track, all carefully composed by Collins. Opening with “Light from the Darkness”, the use of mandolins, bass and strings transforms the concept of nothingness into the semblance of light appearing through two distinct movements that build in intensity as the world awakens.

The title track representing the last day breaks into what can only be called a gleeful, up-tempo celebration of life itself. The mandolin-driven piece draws heavily upon bluegrass with its bursts of fiddle, backdrop of acoustic guitar while the bass holds down the bottom. Everyone is clearly having a Good time in “And It Was Good”, now that the hard work is done!

The Andrew Collins Trio– admired for their absolute virtuosity – have been somewhat reborn through their re-creation of a story that brings a certain reverence to the party – and a distinctly unique approach to ensemble playing that represents a Second Coming of …shall we say 🙂 ….biblical proportions.

WHERE:
Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas W, Toronto

WHEN:
Friday, October 21, 8:30pm

TIX:
$22.50 adv / $25   |  416-531-6604  |   info@hughsroom.com   www.hughsroom.com

VIDEO:

https://youtu.be/7OsYx_jTBVw (30 sec clip)
www.andrewcollinstrio.com/videos (5:28 min)
www.andrewcollinstrio.com
www.facebook.com/TheAndrewCollinsTrio

 

Andrew Collins Trio

 

Canada Council for the Arts

 

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications  lw@lwcommunications.ca  416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)

Sultans of String Release DELUXE Subcontinental Drift Sept. 9!

Sultans of String Subcontinental Drift Deluxe version

Today is the day! Sultans of String‘s brand new DELUXE & DIGITAL ONLY version of their album Subcontinental Drift featuring sitar master, Anwar Khurshid, and 5 NEW TRACKS, is available now through Cadence Music, Creative Entertainment Network and Proper Music Distribution as well as on iTunes worldwide at: http://apple.co/2c3ZIp4

“Subcontinental Drift has, in some ways, been the most exciting project of our career so far. Our summer UK tour, including a special Canada Day performance in London’s Trafalgar Square, was a real personal highlight where we got to showcase the new songs as a trio (myself-Chris McKhool on violin, band co-founder Kevin Laliberté on guitar, and our special guest Anwar Khurshid on sitar). That is why when we had the opportunity to share Subcontinental Drift in a Deluxe version, featuring our smaller band configurations, I got really excited about it.

Two of the songs, Enter The Gate and Rakes of Mallow/Rouge River Valley are performed as a trio. There is something real cool about how a trio can have flexibility and pivot on a note – it offers a lot of freedom.

We also shook things up with a remix of Snake Charmer, incorporating some electronica and drum elements that Kevin mixed in.

We included a video edit version of Parchan Shaal Panhwar that is not only shorter but also in a lower key, as shimmering guest vocalist Shweta Subram wanted to try a version with a huskier voice. And finally we included a song that Kevin wrote recently, When We Were Four. He often performs that as a solo piece in our live show, but here it is with some violin added to spice it up.

These new tracks are added to the original ten on our original east-meets-west offering with Anwar Khurshid, Subcontinental Drift. There is something magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East. Yet, Subcontinental Drift is more than a genre-hopping passport. It is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time. Anwar’s become a great musical and personal friend. Together we started writing songs about the freedom and equality we experience living here in Canada, and our hope of creating a better world. I feel in some way that these songs reflect our own personal journeys towards finding a world peace.”

http://www.sultansofstring.com

Sultans of String Special DUO Concert & Video Taping at Hugh’s Room on June 28th

Chris McKhool & Kevin Laliberte of Sultans of String

Hi all!  After ten years of Chris McKhool playing with his good buddy Kevin Laliberté in various band configurations, they are finally doing what they have dreamed of for years, a DUO concert at their favourite club in Toronto!

This concert will be videotaped to make YouTube videos of Sultans of String’s duo show.

The band thought this would also be a great opportunity to support an arts charity that is very close to their hearts, ArtsCan Circle, and a portion of the proceeds from this concert are going to ArtsCan Circle (pls see full ArtsCan Circle info/mission statement below).

You will be a BIG part of the fun… Come and bring your friends and enthusiasm!

Check out the Press Release below, and look forward to seeing you there!

SULTANS OF STRING
Special DUO concert and YouTube Video Taping

June 28, 2015, 8:30 PM 

Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. W.
Toronto, ON  M6R 1X6

$10 advance / $12 door

For dinner reservations or tickets please call the club during regular business hours @ 416-531-6604 or email info@hughsroom.com or online HERE.

The Songwriting, The Sounds, The Magic

Chris McKhool (violin) and Kevin Laliberté (guitar), the songwriters behind 2015 JUNO Award Nominees and 2x Canadian Folk Music Award winning band, SULTANS OF STRING, take you on a musical journey around the world!

McKhool met Laliberté just as the guitarist was coming off the road from touring around the world with Jesse Cook. When McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook, Pavlo, Club Django) first heard guitarist Laliberté’s rumba rhythm their musical mind-meld created Sultans of String’s sound – the intimate and playful relationship between the violin and the flamenco guitar.  Acoustic strings meet with electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound, creating soundscapes that seem impossible to be coming from just two people.

Larger than the sum of its parts, this dynamic duo take you on a journey to hear the horses of Sable Island, underwater to hear the calls of Luna the Whale, on the silk road through Spain and the Middle East, through the Gypsy-jazz cafés of Eastern Europe, and then back to Canada for a trip to the majestic Arctic.

“Virtuoso playing…. An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving… The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!” – Mariposa Folk Festival

“Musical royalty… love those Sultans of String!” — CBC “Fresh Air”

“Thrill of improvising makes Sultans a thrill to experience… gripping suspense for both the audience and the musicians… Superb!” – Edmonton Journal

ARTSCAN CIRCLE
==============

ArtsCan Circle is a charitable organization with a mission to encourage self-ArtsCan Circleesteem in indigenous youth in isolated Canadian communities who may not have access to arts resources and programming through a cooperative exploration of the arts.  We believe arts education can inspire youth to express themselves in positive, life-affirming ways as well as providing a healthy way to express more difficult emotions. The communities we serve are several hours drive from larger city centres and most of the families live at a poverty level so do not have the means to access more arts opportunities for their children outside of their home community. ArtsCan Circle provides hands-on music and art experiences for the children and youth and donates new musical instruments and art supplies that will remain in the community to help ensure children will have ongoing opportunities for artistic and musical expression. If you’re interested to learn more about ArtsCan Circle, please visit www.artscancircle.ca or follow us on Facebook.

Tour schedule:  http://www.sultansofstring.com/tour
http://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
http://www.twitter.com/sultansofstring

Sultans of String: Booking/Publicity/Management:
Lisa Weitz, LW Communications
lw@lwcommunications.ca
416-624-3466

Canada’s Fiddle Phenom ANNE LINDSAY Finds Personal Triumph in SOLOWORKS & Performs at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room on June 3rd!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 23, 2015

Genre-defying fiddle player Anne Lindsay

[Toronto ON]  You already know Anne Lindsay – the exuberant fireplug of a session-player-to-the-stars (Led Zeppelin, The Chieftains, Blue Rodeo, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey) whose skills have graced many a stage around the world, adding significantly to the musicality of anyone she supports. She has also built a formidable career on her own as a musician, composer and vocalist — all showcased brilliantly on her new album, Soloworks. Toronto audiences will have the good fortune of hearing this for themselves at Anne’s CD launch on Wednedsay, June 3rd, 8:30 pm at Hugh’s Room!

Soloworks was triggered by life – or, in this case, the deaths of her father, and her musical soul-mate, Oliver Schroer, the loss of which thrust the former Stewed Tomato into music all the more. A subsequent tour of Italy led her to the tiny, medieval hamlet of San Felice, where she would practice in an old chapel, growing increasingly intoxicated by the building’s acoustics. This grew into a series of acclaimed solo shows, and the genesis of Soloworks.

A visit to Scandinavia following her work in a musical production of the Lord of the Rings found her digging deep into Nordic culture and the fiddle styles which had once moved Schroer. Together, these experiences formed the backdrop for this intensely personal collection of 13 tracks featuring Anne’s violin, nyckelharpa, vocals – and one piece for cello, played by Amy Laing.

Chapel-tested in Tuscany before they were painstakingly recorded in the rich acoustics of Toronto’s Timothy Eaton Church, these compositions cut to the heart and bone of human emotion.

It is life experience from all corners that fuels Anne — from the exuberance of the Majengo Children’s Home choir leading off “The Dusting Rag”, to the rapturous “Seas Will Rise”, written in and inspired by South Africa in celebration of the human spirit.

“Pilgrimage to Pushkar” and “Dogs in the Hollow” were written in India, an homage to Anne’s studies of Indian classical music with virtuoso Trichy Sankaran. Anne’s Arctic sojourns to Canada’s Nunavut and Finland’s Akaslompolo, give us “The Cold Told A Tale”, a testament to the tenacity of peoples in the far north, lyrically referencing the Nordic epic, The Kalevala. Clearly, music transcends all borders.

Anne’s boundary-hopping ways also reveal themselves in her insatiable interest in music of any stripe – jazz, rock, country, celtic, classical and klezmer. Indeed, the act of playing all music, of deriving joy and fun from having danced this dance around the world is what Soloworks is all about – a major artistic accomplishment, and a personal triumph.

Anne will also be leading the Swedish tunes at the World Fiddle Day celebrations in Toronto at Fort York on Saturday, May 16th at approximately 3:30 pm.

__________________________________________________________________

WHERE:    Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St , Toronto
WHEN:      Wed June 3, 8:30pm
TIX:           $20 advance  |  $22.50
INFO:        info@hughsroom.com  416-531-6604
VIDEO:      


__________________________________________________________________

• 2011 OCFF Songs From The Heart – Instrumental Award
• 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards Nominee – Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year
• 2007 National Jazz Awards – Violinist of the Year
• 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards winner – Instrumentalist of the Year
• 2007 Canadian Folk Music Awards winner – Producer of the Year
• 2006 KM Hunter Award winner
• 2006 OCFF Songs From the Heart Award winner – Instrumental

“A fiery violinist!” ~ Toronto Star

“Miss Lindsay is a strikingly attractive stage performer as well as a talented singer and jazz violinist.” ~ Globe and Mail

“Anne Lindsay … cut the night air with a brilliant fiddle solo that proved to be one-third Ashley MacIsaac and two-thirds Jimi Hendrix.” ~ Peterborough Examiner

“Whether she’s laying down Celtic riffs, wailing on a Jim Cuddy set or tugging on a mama’s Yiddish heartstrings, Anne’s nuance and passionate style wins her fans wherever she plays.” ~ Oliver Schroer

“Anne Lindsay is a Canadian treasure.” ~ Stuart Laughton, Artistic Director, Haliburton Forest Festival

“She is just unbelievable.” ~ Scene & Heard

“Ottawa audiences were taken with Lindsay’s fiddling, rising to their feet almost every time she put bow to string.” ~ Ottawa Life

“Anne Lindsay is a thoughtful musician, staking out original territory for her violin voice. A consolidation of Lindsay’s work thus far, and a delightful plunge forward….sounds like a conversation with God.” ~ Penquin Eggs

“It is a treat to be around her natural musicianship and warm personality. Anne always makes a huge positive impact on any musical project with which she is involved, she is a special talent!” ~ Phil Dwyer, Jazz musician and composer, Order of Canada

www.anne-lindsay.com
https://soundcloud.com/anne-lindsay

– 30 –

Ontario Arts Council
MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications
lw@lwcommunications.ca
416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)

Sultans of String Nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at 2015 Juno Awards

Juno Awards 2015 Instrumental Album of the Year nominees When my client, Chris McKhool, who is the leader of Juno nominated, CFMA winning, SIRIUSXM Independent Music Award winning and IMA Independent Music Award winning World Music super group Sultans of String asked me to put aside some time for him this morning as of 11:00 am to watch the 2015 Juno Award Nominees broadcast online live from The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, I did.

I was very excited for them and it felt like it took a while (although I was excited for other artists who I know and love who were nominated) but finally, the Instrumental Album of the Year nominees were announced and Sultans of String made the cut for their album Symphony! They join fellow nominees:

Canadian Brass for Great Wall of China
Daniel Lanois for Flesh and Machine
John Stetch for Off With the Cuffs
Encuentro for Quartango

It’s such a thrill for me to see one of my clients be nominated or receive a prestigious award for not only their undeniable talent but also the heaps and heaps of hard work that they put into their careers. I work with a lot of musicians but no one I know works harder than Chris McKhool for his craft or the production and marketing of it. It truly takes a village to keep a band like Sultans of String moving forward in the music industry and his team, including manager Dave Wilkes, publicist Lisa Weitz of LW Communciations, and incredibly talented band mates, Kevin Laliberte, Drew Birston, Eddie Paton, Chendy Leon and Alberto Suarez have what it takes.

Sultans of String are currently working on their fifth album, a collaboration with sitar fusion virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, whose music has been featured in the Oscar-winning movie Life of Pi.

I can’t wait to see what happens next for Sultans of String! The 44th annual JUNO Awards will be broadcast on CTV from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte and Chris McKhool

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte & Chris McKhool at the 2015 Juno Award Nominations at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto today.

 

Interview with the Transatlantic Musical Collaboration that is THE BLACK & BLUE ORKESTRE

“Heavy beats, deep bass, wild guitar, moody vocals–some might call it Sturm und Twang. The Black & Blue Orkestre’s vocals and instrumental music sips from the sticky cups of Spaghetti Western Surf and Cinematic Gothic Rockabilly Groove on acid. Their sound was once described by someone as “sweaty vampire Elvis”, which resulted in a punch in the face and the instantaneous collapse of a multi-million dollar recording contract.”

The Black & Blue Orkestre (B&BO) is a transatlantic collaboration between three musicians who at first don’t seem like probable band mates.  Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Tom DiCillo (NYC) is also an award-winning independent filmmaker (Living In Oblivion, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors) while lead guitarist Will Crewdson (London) has a busy career playing not only for his own project, Scant Regard, but also for the likes of Rachel Stamp, Johnette Napolitano, Adam Ant, Bryan Ferry, Bow Wow Wow and even Celine Dion and Tom Jones. Backup vocalist and bassist Grog is the lead singer of her own successful London/LA based neogoth/hard rock band Die So Fluid, and has been known to delve into the session world with the likes of Melanie C from the Spice Girls, Kelly and Ozzy Osbourne, Mike Smith (Gorillaz) and Dave Rowntree (Blur).

Mike Scott of The Waterboys once tweeted about The Black & Blue Orkestre’s music, calling it “Fab Morricone influenced music”.  Lyrically, their music possesses just the right combination of irreverence and irony, not to mention a seriously cool sound.  So what else makes this trio so special?  Come join me for my recent conversation with Tom, Will & Grog to find out.

CB:  Tom, how did you, Will and Grog connect and decide to form this transatlantic triumvirate?

Tom:  We all met in a strip club.  Will was on stage.  Grog was the bouncer. Actually, it goes back a few years.  I’d started a website chronicling all the sordid details of the release of my film, Delirious.  Well, Will wrote in with a very cool comment about how he liked my films and offered his help with the British release. He mentioned he was a musician and we started exchanging emails about the kinds of music and films we liked.

I’d been knocking together some songs for a while; very simple stuff.  I’d gotten my home recording system to the point where I could lay down a few tracks and I experimented with some singing.  I started with 16 Tons because it seemed like it was easy enough for me to handle it vocally.  I also liked the dark undercurrent of the lyrics. Something prompted me to send it to Will.

I’d never played music with anyone, nor had anyone listen to my music other than my wife, Jane.  I think I just sensed a real compatibility with Will and I really hoped he didn’t laugh at me.  Will, I’m curious what you thought when I sent you that first mix of 16 Tons?

Will:  Initially I was very impressed with the vocals.  I couldn’t compare them to anything and I found it hard to believe that they had only been heard by one other person.  I knew they had to be heard by more.  I always liked that song anyway so to have a crack at arranging a new version with a fresh take on it was really cool.

Tom:  I was blown away by Will’s musicality.  Suddenly, the song had a whole new dimension.  Will’s guitars were very rich and atmospheric.  They helped me clarify this vague idea I had about creating a sound that was very modern but that drew from the coolest parts of some older music; like the surreal twang of the surf guitar or some of the chunky, stomping beats and rhythms of Bo Diddley.

So, I emailed Will another song; the 2nd song I’d learned how to play on the guitar–St. James Infirmary.  And then I sent Whiskey Promise, the first song I’d completely written.  And in each case our shared sensibilities resulted in better songs.

Now, all this time one of the most crucial parts musically, the bass, was being poked at with one finger by me on my synth.  Will played a series of gigs with Grog and after a while he suggested we see if she’d be interested in adding her skill to the mix.  I was kind of dumbfounded when she said yes. But, from the first track we sent her everything and it just clicked.  There is nothing comparable to real musicians playing and what she does with the bass really brings the song into a kind of trio feel; voice, guitar and bass all working off each other.

CB: Where did the name of the band come from?

Tom:  It just hit me one day.  It implies something bruised, something that has felt the impact of something and is showing signs of the encounter. It’s not homogenized or smoothed over–the bruises show.  I realized it touched the tone and theme of some of our music.  The songs are about people who’ve been knocked down or who are really struggling with something.  I happened to see the word ‘orkestre’ spelled that way and I really liked the way it looked.  And, I like that implication too; that there’s something a little formal about us–but just skewed.

CB:  What does each of you bring to the B&BO?  How do you technically manage to put all the pieces together to record a song?

Will:  Well all the original ideas stem from Tom’s incredible imagination.  He is definitely the driving force.  I try and embellish what he has come up with, with guitar lines and production/mixing ideas.  It’s definitely unlike any other collaboration or band I’ve been involved with.  The bare bones of the song – lyrics, melody and chords are normally sent to myself and Grog with some expert direction from Tom and we do what we can to make it sound like we’re all in the same room.

CB:  Although Tom writes the lyrics for the B&BO’s original songs, Grog, what themes would you like to explore if you were to write material for the group?

Grog: 
Well, I do nearly all the lyric writing in my own band, so I guess I’d want to write about things that don’t necessarily fit with Die So Fluid’s vibe.  It’s pretty hard to put my finger on what that would entail but I might indulge in some ‘my man done me wrong’ stylings, more raw emotional improvisational stuff, which might piss off some of the post neo punk DSF fans but be most therapeutic for me.  That’s all hearsay anyway because this is Tom’s baby.  It’s refreshing being in a band where that’s not my role and I can really focus on the bass and embellishing the feel of the songs Tom comes up with.

CB:  Tom, were you simply a shower singer before you sang for Will or have you had a secret desire to perform as a singer for a long time?  

Tom:  
I’m not really a “shower person.”  I don’t like getting my hair wet.  No, I sing more when I’m walking down the street which might explain why all the songs are in a kind of straight, walking 4/4 time.

I’ve acted in front of people in plays and on film.  I’ve given speeches in front of thousands of people at film festivals.  But, I have never, ever sung live.  I’ve come to trust my voice more but at the beginning it was really hard having people listen to me.  I like singing a lot but I’ve never fantasized about making a career out of it.  I’ve had an interest in music for quite a while though.  I’m very involved in the music for my films and have written songs and music that appeared in them as early as Johnny Suede in 1990.  This more serious interest just kind of happened because of some long periods of waiting between films and I decided I should try singing instead of going insane.

CB:  Will, you wear many hats: musician, producer, programmer…what is it about the entire process that you enjoy the most?

Will:    First and foremost I prefer being a musician.  All the other stuff for me is only a means to get across the original song or idea.  I still prefer playing live to wearing any of those hats.  That’s the real test.

CB: You have a stunning voice, Grog.  Forgive me for making a comparison but your voice immediately reminded me of Exene Cervenka (formerly of X), not to mention you’re incredibly photogenic with a real flair for dramatic video performance.  Who are some of your musical and non-musical influences?

Grog:   
Thank you kindly, that comparison is a first, but a good one to add to the collection!  I enjoy all the aspects that go into presenting that magical ‘other’ world created by music.  I’m inspired by many diverse artists ranging from Billie Holiday to Iggy Pop, with Debussy, Tim Buckley, Soundgarden, Deftones and Shirley Bassey in between!  They just need to excite me, if not with their technique, with their spirit, vision and energy.  Non musically speaking, I’m attracted to strong, don’t give a damn, larger than life iconic female figures such as Bettie Page, Vivienne Westwood and Wonder Woman, creative and spiritual forces like Paulo Coelho and Alan Moore for example, and I’m a horror fan; film and books.  Rob Zombie is great. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate plenty of other styles.  I enjoy Tim Burton films and also love the Coen Brothers, David Lynch, the weird world of Guy Maddin and, oh yeah, that guy Tom DiCillo…

CB:  It’s obvious that Will’s Ennio Morricone-style guitar-scapes stand out in the B&BO’s music, but whose style would you say that you most borrow from as a musician?

Tom:   I’m not sure I would say “whose” style but more “what” style.  Obviously, something about the surf sound imprinted on my brain at a very early age because I could listen to an Am chord with the whammy bar for days.  There’s something very evocative about the sound.  It is strange and beautiful but it also carries the potential of emotion and drama.

I’m not into nostalgia in any way.  I just like interesting musical sounds; I don’t care where they come from.  You look at Morricone’s work on his Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns in the 60’s and the musical ideas he incorporates into those scores are more original and modern than anything I’ve heard today.

I like singers, both men and women who have an organic, original sound–where you feel something truthful when they sing–whether it’s early Elvis or even Eminem. There is great energy today in the way rhythm and beat are recorded and mixed that was more subdued in the early days of rock music. I like combining the punch and grit of modern sensibilities with some of the cool ideas that came before.

CB:  Will, how much has film influenced your music and if you could score a major motion picture production, what would the genre and plot be?

Will:   
A hell of a lot.  Because I’m really into instrumental music the visual side is very important even if it’s only in your mind’s eye while you listen to it.  When you write words and use them in a song there are, of course infinite possibilities for interpretation by the listener.  Those possibilities are always multiplied infinite times when you leave them out.

I would like to score an improvised Zombie/Sci-fi/Noir/Comedy/Thriller please.  The plot, like the music, could take you anywhere at any given point in the film.

Tom: I would very much like to see that film and to listen to that score.  Most film music today sounds like it was all written by the same person.

Will:
 It probably was!

CB:  Grog, if you were to conceive and direct a music video for the B&BO, which song would you choose and how would you tell its story with images?

Grog: 
I would choose our most recent track Ball and Chain because it’s my favourite so far and it has a ‘f*ck you’ thing about it I can relate to.  It would probably be each of us escaping three individually harrowing scenarios trying to reach a destination where we finally meet and rock out.  I’ll let you know when I’ve written the treatment.

Tom:  
That’s a pretty cool idea, Grog.  I can see it!  Also, I’d like to say that though I write the vocals and sketch out the body of the songs I don’t feel this is my gig.  I depend very heavily on both you and Will for your musical and thematic ideas.  I see the songs as really coming from all three of us.  I know this way of making music, you know–none of us in the same room–could seem a little strange but I like the way it allows us all the freedom to do what we want.

I hate it when somebody tells me what to do; especially if it is even remotely creative.  Grog writes all the bass parts. The same with Will.  All his guitars come from what he feels like playing.

CB:  How did you create your first music video for the instrumental track Frozen Sunset?

Tom:   I was excited when we finished that track.  I think we stumbled into some very rich territory in terms of sharpening and defining our sound.  I was also beginning to think about ways to get the music out there more.  And suddenly it struck me this would be a perfect track to do a music video for.  There is no singing so that complicated (and expensive) element of syncing to the words wasn’t even an issue.  Of course, we didn’t have any money to spend and that was an issue.  So, the first thing I thought was, “Well, since we’re all in different parts of the world, maybe we could just film ourselves alone, as if we each were just sitting in our homes privately playing the music.  Will and Grog liked the idea so I suggested we each shoot ourselves with our iPhones.  They sent me the footage and I started trying to cut something together with other stuff that was free–which was some footage I’d shot over the years in NYC.

The little drop of glue that pulled it all together for me was dribbling some food coloring into a glass on my windowsill.  It cost $1.39 for the food coloring.  But, it added something–it was almost like a visual version of the Am chord on the whammy bar.

CB:  Will, what is Scant Regard Radio?

Will:   
It’s an online show I do once a month where I subject…er, enlighten my listeners with my own personal choices.  I mix up a lot of different styles and sometimes it even works!  You can tune in the first Wednesday of every month at www.wickedspinsradio.org from 8-11pm GMT.

CB:  Although you’re from the UK, Grog, you’re based in LA and tour extensively throughout Europe with Die So Fluid.  How does the music scene in LA differ from London’s and why did you decide to move there when it appears (from your website – http://www.diesofluid.net) that Germany & Finland love your band so much?

Grog:   I moved here about three years ago from London mainly to be with my now husband in LA.  We met on the road in the UK and started to visit each other until we reached the point when we needed to be in the same city!  Die So Fluid has done one extensive and very successful US tour with Mindless Self Indulgence and we have been discussing more work here, but of course Mr. Drew and Al can’t just jump on a bus for a couple of shows six thousand miles away.  It has to be financially sound and a well planned tour route; bands are fighting tooth and nail for those opportunities right now.  We love touring and I travel to Europe to play a lot. We’ve always said we’ll play where ever we find our audience around the world and that’s what we’ve embarked upon doing.  If you plan on being an international outfit then you just have to get used to the travel.  The internet definitely enables you to achieve a lot more as a band without being ‘together’, as The Black and Blue Orkestre proves!

CB:  When can we expect a CD from the B&BO?

Tom:  
Well, soon I hope.  We’d like to get at least 8 tracks.  Originally, I thought we’d use one or two of the covers we’ve done but since we’ve altered them slightly from the originals it makes getting licenses for them very difficult.  I still think our version of Ring Of Fire takes the song to a whole new level but we can’t use it.  So, I decided to come up with some more of our own songs.  That push resulted in Fade To Black, Frozen Sunset and Frozen Heartache. And Ball & Chain which is still in progress. That might be enough.

CB:  Do you have a title for the CD?

Will:    Not yet, no.

CB:  Do you see yourselves performing live and/or touring with the B&BO in the foreseeable future?

Grog:  I think it would be really fun; I’d be up for it.  I think Will would too.  But then we’ve been travelling minstrel poseurs for some years now, haha.  Tom goes pale and shudders at the mention of it.

Tom:  I shudder but I don’t go pale.

Grog:  Well that’s how I imagine it to look because I never see you!  Maybe some stiff whiskeys would be involved in making it actually happen.  If he received enough red roses and fan mail begging him to perform I can kind of visualize him adopting a rock n roll swagger and rising to the challenge.

Thank you for the pleasure of this interview Tom DiCillo, Will Crewdson and Grog Rox and for talking to Press +1 magazine.

Currently, you can listen to The Black & Blue Orkestre’s tracks exclusively on their BandPage on Facebook at www.facebook.com/theblackandblueorkestre.