< SWITCH ME >
They seem to fit the stereotype perfectly. Loose-fitting t-shirts, lots of tattoos and the attitude to go with it. Mund de Carlo, also known as Carlos Demsitz, is a hip hopper, alright. But he's more than that - he's a business man with a love for his music that has driven him to explore new ways of using his potential and skills.
Freestyling: Something about your mum, and something about your genitals
|Juliane (E&M) interviewing Mund de Carlo|
I meet Mund de Carlo right after his performance at the Skate Scene at Roskilde Festival, where he participated in the Rap Battles - something between a poetry slam, a freestyle rap battle and a more regular performance. The rappers have prepared verses meant to diss their competition, but they rap without a beat and rely on the audience's good will to keep them in the tournament. It's a rough environment where you can't take offense when the weight of your mother or the size of your private parts are being used as lyrical weapon. I asked Mund de Carlo why the style of the freestyle battles is always like this, and he explained: "You have to think on your feet and while you are rapping one line, you need to come up with the next. At the same time, you want to please the audience, so the language gets rough sometimes because that's what comes to mind when you have to think that fast."
Message to Bears is a one man band from Bristol, UK with music that can make you sentimental and dreamy, or just happy and at peace. Jerome Alexander, the talented multi-instrumentalist behind Message to Bears, just released his latest album "Folding Leaves". Read on to find out why messages from strangers can be important for song writing and, of course, where you can see a Message to Bears gig soon.
E&M: Your latest album was just released. What was the most exciting part of the creation of this record?
JA: The most exciting part for me was probably whenever a new track came out of nowhere after a period of writer's block, or when I tried one simple new idea (sometimes by accident) that completely changed a song for the better.
E&M: Being a one man band, I imagine it takes a while to put together and conceptualise the different audio tracks that go into a song. Do you have a clear idea of the outcome when you sit down at the start?
Can music have a national identity? If so, then maybe the 'Danish' style would be best captured by the slightly sinister, yet beautiful melodies of the Copenhagen-based duo Leap Over Light. Whether it's because they're Scandinavian or just very talented musicians - Leap Over Light are a great European band, and they've created a special sound which you must check out! Find out more about them in E&M's interview with singer Julie Aagaard.
E&M: How did the band come together?
J.A.: Lennart and I have known each other forever. We started back in the day in a really, really bad high school band. After that, we worked together for quite some years as a songwriter team - but always on different projects. We surfed around in a lot of different musical styles. But two years ago we decided that it was about time that we too do our own thing. So we did!
E&M: Do you ever get in fights because you don't agree on which direction to take with a song?
Time to introduce a band that does not fit into any category and yet is often compared to bands as great as Radiohead or Muse! Gazpacho from Oslo, Norway have created a fascinatingly unique sound and use lots of unconventional instruments. The perfect band for rock fans who are looking for more than the many all too similar indie albums. Read on to find out what the six guys from the band think about making music with childhood friends and which European country has the most dance-crazy audiences.
E&M: The band was formed by childhood friends. What does it mean to make music with people you've been so close to?
Gazpacho: It means we can be ourselves in the writing process. It also means that after 6 studio albums (and we've just finished the 7th) we quickly understand each others' tastes when writing music. It's easy to say 'this won't work' or 'this person won't like this riff' in the process of creation, so we can quickly get to a point where we discover a gem (for Gazpacho purposes) as we understand each other completely, even without talking. It's like having a family. That's why we can write a studio album in a weekend (as we have done with the newest album).
E&M: You've already played plenty of gigs all over Europe. How do tours inspire your music?
Following on from the Wired in special review by Heart editor Marta, I thought it'd be great to interview the guys from the Barcelona-based band Manel this week. If you wondered how Kenneth Branagh has inspired their songwriting or how artists deal with the empty feeling when you start a new album from scratch, read on!
E&M: You are already very successful in Spain. How do you plan to conquer the rest of Europe?
Manel: Well, we are not really planning to conquer anything. Actually, we never did. Four years ago, when our first album came out, we hadn't planned or expected that it was going to be this succesful. We were happy because we liked those twelve songs and that was all... Now, if we play in Europe and somebody wants to see us, it's amazing, but we don't have a master plan.
E&M: Your two albums have very interesting titles (translated to English "Europe's best Professors" and "10 Miles to See a Good Armour"). Can you explain how you came up with them and what they mean?
Have you ever wondered what life in Sofia, Bulgaria is like? Or rather, what the feel of the city is? Thanks to Velislav Ivanov there's now a unique way for experiencing just that. When you listen to 'The Eye of the Beholder', a musical tribute to this fascinating city and his latest album, you can imagine wandering the streets at night, breathing in the city life. Velislav sings in Bulgarian, but fear not - when you download the free album from his website you'll also get an English translation of the beautiful lyrics. The music can be melancholic or dreamy, it explores and describes many different sides of the city and I can promise it will get you hooked and ready to plan your next trip to Sofia!
E&M: You're a one man band. In what situations do you decide to sit down and make music?
VI: It's not a conscious decision, really. At any single moment when I have ideas, inspiration, time, and the necessary equipment it just comes naturally to me. Making music all by myself basically means that I take care of everything, from the conception of the melody to the final mastering of the song, and that process is incredibly time-consuming. I may actually write a song in minutes when I sit at the piano, but it takes dozens of hours until it reaches the state in which you hear it.
E&M: Do you ever miss getting inspiration from other band members?
I’m really excited to introduce a band from my hometown Cologne, Germany for this week's music for the weekend! Beeline is a band who seem to never get tired of reinventing their sound. You just have to love the mix of guitar and drum alongside computer generated effects. Despite all band members being busy working, studying or travelling the world, they've somehow managed to get out a couple of fun new songs and an amazingly artistic new video that you shouldn’t miss out on! Read on to find out where these guys find inspiration for their songs and what the echo of the snow means to them.FLEXOR & EXTENSOR by beeline
E&M: "Beeline" means 'the most direct route'. Does that somehow describe your sound?
Benji: Rather the contrary actually. To pursue a direct route means to have a determined goal right from the beginning. Yet all the songs we write start with an initial idea that dynamically evolves within a quite long and mazy process.
E&M: How did the band come together?
Finally, I get to introduce a fantastic new band from Spain. Thanks to E&M reader Hannes Brandt I came across the Barcelona based group OLIVEMOON – a band you have to check out if you’re into folky, beautiful music and ready to dream yourself to lovely places in nature. From sound collages to melodies that will get stuck in your head for hours, this band has its very own way of experimenting with sounds and melodies. Give them a listen and read on to find out what they think about creating album concepts, experimenting with unusual instruments, and, of course, living in Europe.
E&M: From your lyrics I take it nature is an important source of inspiration for your band.
OM: We often find ourselves missing the words to adequately illustrate the emotions we encounter in life. By drawing metaphors from nature, its scenery and its grandeur, we can provoke the senses in a way that is accessible to all. We use nature as a tool to convey our feelings and their intensity.
E&M: I usually ask bands about their favorite city in Europe, but I'd be interested what you guys think the most beautiful spot in European nature is?