Appropriately enough what with it being Easter Sunday today (Happy Easter Mum), Scribble Records next release comes from Kormac and is entitled the “Good Lord EP”. After the success of his first release “Scratch Marchin”, he’s back again with another installment of his trademark hip-hop and Jazz mash up sound. This EP takes things to the next level by fusing live players, a barbershop quartet and banjos. This year Kormac has concentrated on bringing his live show to the stage and this record is a true reflection of where he’s at and where he’s headed.
To celebrate the release there is a release party at Crawdaddy in Dublin tonight. For those of us that can't make it we can make do with one of the tracks, Join Together, and an interview with Kormac courtesy of Beat Traders Podcast.
How has the last year been for you since the release of your first EP?
Really good. It was a big surprise for me that the EP sold as well as it did and that a lot of DJs who I knew and respected picked up on it and played it out. I get a lot of messages through Myspace from listeners and DJs all over the world telling me they enjoy it or they play it out etc. which is still fun ...I've spent the last year doing quite a bit in the studio and putting a lot of work into making the live show as good as I can.
We've seen and heard great things about your live show, can you tell us a little about how you transform your productions to the stage?
I'm quite lucky in that everyone in the band I started working with are really into it and are all great musicians. When I finish new tracks I send them on to all the guys and I sit down with each person individually and we go through it. Each player usually starts off playing the parts I've written and it develops from there. The guys always have ideas of their own which is a great thing and we work them into the tracks between us. It's really important to me that each player brings their own style to the music and express themselves within it.
We then all pile into the Scribble studio and start bashing it out (and taking the p* out of each other... ) For my parts I play a lot of the elements from the records using turntables, a soft-sampler and a keyboard. I've also just enrolled a banjo player for the next batch of gigs which I'm quite excited about.
Which performance of 2007 did you enjoy the most, and why?
It would have to be the Electric Picnic show. It was the first time we'd performed with the Barbershop singers and Eoin, our trumpet player plus Steve Egri did a great job on visuals. I was amazed at how full the tent was and at the unbelievable response we got.
What's in store for your next EP on Scribble records, and how have things developed?
The next release is called the Good Lord EP. I put a load of work into this record as I really didn't want to release an EP that was overly similar to what I'd done before. I also wanted to get some more live playing in. The record is so-titled as I spent a good few months listening to a lot of old gospel music and field recordings from 20/30s America so, sample-wise, there's a strong element of that in there, particularly in Join Together and Good Lord. I have my take on house music (Kormac's House) and did a full version of Jubilee. Some people might know this as our outro music from the live shows. I've also done a little interlude called "behind locked doors."
Can you give us a description of what to expect in your Beat Traders Podcast?
Pretty much what you get when you see me DJing out. I've tried to include all the styles of music I like playing and tried to put it all together in a cohesive way. I've included a few cheeky edits I've done myself (Dire Straits and Fred Astaire Remixes) There's a clap your Hands Say Yeah/Moloko thing I did a while back and lots of artists you might not expect like AC/DC, Beck, The Beta Band etc. All the intros/interludes are custom made too....
Are there any plans for an album project in the near future, and what direction will it take?
Absolutely, it's something I'm thinking about quite a bit at the minute but at the same time I don't just want to run with the first 12 tracks I do or anything.... Direction-wise I'll be looking to cover a lot of ground musically and incorporate lots of my influences. Ideally I'd like to get an album finished this year. I've already started on a few new bits, one of which (Hissyfit) I'll be playing out during DJ sets from this week.
Can you give us an idea of some of the music you've been listening to over the last year and what's been influencing your productions?
As mentioned above I got well into the whole early gospel/blues thing, people like The Staple Singers, Harmonising Four and The Golden Gate Quartet. Everyone should hear also John and Alan Lomax's recordings. Currently, I'm really diggin people like Jimmy Lunceford, the Jazz + Milk stuff, Lack of Afro, Rube, Kids in Tracksuits, Martina Topley Bird, that new Gruff Rhys/Boom Bip project Neon Neon and some jackin' house and electro stuff. On the home front I've been listening to some new stuff from Simon Resoul and B.D.I. There are very few types of music I don't listen to...
You've worked on a film soundtrack last year, any plans to explore these area's further?
Yeah I did some music for a short called Magic on RTE and the soundtrack for a documentary called Rugby Nomad which was on Setanta. It's something I'll definitely do again as I learned loads from it and really enjoyed it, but time-wise it's not far off writing an album and I need to get my own record done at the minute. That said, I'd be into writing individual pieces of music for films etc.
For any budding producers at home can you give them an idea of the kit you use for producing and useful methods you employ?
Sure, I use Pro Tools 7 synced with Reason 4. I love writing with Reason as I'm quick with the samplers and it allows me to audition stuff pretty rapidly. I generally sample from turntables into Pro Tools and then either arrange the audio in PT or throw it into samplers in Reason. I record all the live stuff into PT as well using AKG, Nymann and Shure mics and some analog pre-amps/compressors. When the song is finished I will get most of the stuff back into Pro Tools and mixdown from there.
For people new to production I'd offer two pieces of advice a) learn as many keyboard shortcuts as you can and b) don't get obsessed with having all the newest kit and best gear, you're far better off knowing your chosen kit/software inside-out.
Finally, whats your ethos on music and life in general?
"If it sounds good, it is good"
(File available only for a limited tim3 at request of the label).