Wait, I’m on WHATT now?

6/3/2021
Snapchat is my Friend

Wait, I’m on WHATT now?

(or What Am I Even Doing?)

The past few weeks felt like I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster and the end’s not near yet it seems. Why? Well, apart from this BIG thing, becoming Nana, It felt like mentally I’ve been reaching the end with all the covid shit. And I know it’s really bad, when I don’t even want to listen to some music. Though those moments where but a few…Fortunately, things seem (!) to be going back to normal, though I am still very apprehensive about being outside, seeing as how many people are going wild. I mean, I totally get it, we all want things to get back to normal – for as far as it’s even possible – but it means things could get out of hand any time.

Steve had his first jab, though apparently I still have to wait until I’m a year older – not too long from now – to qualify, crazy… Anyways, it’s happening. Can I just say I hate needles, had enough of those as a kid. It freaks me out though, to hear people say they will go out and do EVERYTHING, after they’ve been vaccinated. Get real will ya.

It’s closer than you think. As is X-mas after that.

It’s why I’ve been lagging in the writing department: that rollercoaster has my head spinning. Such a weird and unnatural thing, to at the same time feel like I’m empty, totally unlike myself. One of our slogans for life is: ‘You can’t give anything when your empty yourself’. Well, makes perfect sense doesn’t it. So it went from feeling empty one day to spinning the other, aaand back. Pffft. It’s tiring that’s what it is and then feeling guilty about feeling tired. 🙄🙄🙄, life.

Anyways, things are opening up around here and I finally got properly out of the house a couple of times last week. Man did I need it! Feeling alive had never been a thing before, but yeah, and since the weather seems to agree, it’s all the nicer for it. Still I had a hard time deciding on what to write about, so I might just stick with whatever comes up – nothing new here – and at the same time update you guys on a couple of things. Definitely something new there.

First of all: being Nana is GREAT and it feels like our grandson has been part of our lives forever, even if he’s just turned three weeks old yesterday. We never were the parents who would go on and on about their kids – never had any pictures on us either when people asked for them – so I will do my best to not go all mental about our grandson now 😂 But yeah, honestly? He is such a sweet one, hardly cries, sleeps and eats a lot and is an overall happy baby. Oh and did I mention he is GORGEOUS hehe. The peeps who’ve seen the pictures know I’m not lying. Just Sayin.

We had been trying to mentally prepare for our lives to be turned upside-down by his birth, but everything just flows so naturally and why should it not? We had our first ‘babysitting session’ a couple of nights ago and since lack of sleep is normal to me, it was a joy to have him. So many memories from our own kids are now flooding back, which is really nice too. Y’all know my memory is seriously lacking most of the time, but triggers always help. It’s crazy all these little details that are now coming back to mind. Seems my hard-drive had it stored somewhere after all. Recovered data and all that.

If Only

You may have noticed the announcement about my blog having its first year anniversary this month, the 16th to be precise. I’m wrecking my brain about doing something special – because YES! – and although I could always do another Spotlight on YOU (loads of new peeps!) something new is more appealing. I’m kind of proud of how far the blog has come, I’ll share some statistics on its birthday 🤐 However, I must say, the Spotlight section seem to have captured a lot of hearts and is still threatening to take over completely. I won’t lie, I really love doing those articles.

In a way you could say music has taken over my life – I said ‘in a way!’ – and the time spent on these articles are always a big challenge: Will I make sense commenting on their music? Will they even like the article? Etc. One of the Spotlight artists decided to give me a nickname, based on my taste in music and my – at that time – profile pic: Disco Mafia Don. If you’ve followed the spotlights, you know who I’m talking about, since I was about to spill the beans there and then. The name has me smiling every time.

Disco Mafia Don – pic by a bff, you know who you are still one of my favs 😂

And yes, things have been happening on the music side, I’ve gotten involved in stuff I never thought I would ever get involved in. If I thought expanding my social media was a big thing, 😜, more the fool me! You know I have a couple of fav artists/bands, which I am in pretty close contact with. I already had my first Spotlight 2 (the sequel if you like) and at least 2 are waiting to be written. My last Spotlight was about an absolute amazing band, Cool Million, with a bigger audience than most previous Spotlights. It was such an encouragement to hear their enthusiasm about the article, it just helps me remember why I am doing all this, when circumstances are trying to get me down.

Having  – FINALLY, sigh – discovered the apparently big difference, between publishing a ‘page’ or a ‘post’ – believe me, even Steve said they do Not use the correct/IT-accepted terminology here, which confused the heck out of us – I now also see my number of blog followers going up. See, the ‘follow’ button finally works now, so you actually receive an email when I publish something. This was a struggle for real. Never too old to learn, though we still have to look into some stuff ‘behind-the-scenes’. If you’re one of those geeks, you should  have noticed it in the URL’s I’ve been sharing…other than that, for you readers nothing has actually changed, except I have a few more – read: nicer – options now, regarding to coloring and stuff.

Though I’ve started all this for fun and to satisfy my craving to write, it’s absolutely amazing when a new follower is added. No big numbers yet, but hey, I was late to the party as they say. At the same time I also added the little ‘leave a comment’ box at the end of every post, so please, use it?! So far I got some really nice comments – which y’all can read for yourselves – as well as some spam. After my IT job you would think I would have thought about it, but it took me a couple of weeks to discover my blog actually has a spam folder. Well good morning to me 🤓

Where ‘normal’ comments will appear automatically, spam will have to be looked into and marked as non-spam, to allow it to be public. This is a good thing, since there’s some weird people out there sending the most amazingly awkward stuff. Yeah, wouldn’t you like to know. Luckily, I can delete those immediately and permanently. Case closed. There are also a couple of comments I just had to go like: Wait WHATT now? Sounds like Google-translate-fails to me, but hey, if the intention is nice, I take it. Tbh, I am not 100% sure my translations are always all that, even with 2 spellchecks AND Google translate. Sometimes I just rather write my way around things. Life of a blogger uhuh.

I will always try to improve, though I will also keep my focus on an easy-to-read site. Fortunately the most heard comment so far, is that people like my layout and how clear and readable the articles are, which makes me really happy. I myself hate it, when I visit a site and they make me go in circles for the most simple stuff. I usually give up after about 3 minutes 🤬 – if even – and try another site if I find one. It’s obviously a rush to read that some have marked the blog as a favorite on the other side of the world. Humbling really.

The blog seems to run itself, meaning, even if I wouldn’t share the publications on social media, which I’ve been toning down by half, there are always visitors. I said I would give it a year before deciding if it would be ‘worth it’, to go on and apparently it is. The ‘new’ posts, show previously published/related, articles, right above the comment section, which helps a lot too. People are just 1 click away from the next story. Now, talking about it being ‘worth it’, has nothing to do with any revenue I am receiving, because I can  write out loud, that’s 0.0 until now. I have the opportunity to ask money for anything and everything I publish, but I haven’t felt comfortable with that yet and although I may never be, I’m just giving you a headsup that things MIGHT change in the future.

Or NOT

The one thing I need to keep doing of course, is publish. There’s still the adrenaline rush right before I click that big blue ‘publish’ button, I can tell you that. Not so much anymore for my personal articles, since I write about me and I’m pretty sure I know what I’m about. Yeah. I’m sure 😳 But the Spotlights are a bit different. Listen, I could just go ahead and publish – almost – anything I wish about any artist and their music, but that’s not what I wanted and somehow I developed my own recipe to cook up. If you haven’t tasted it yet, it’s good!

More and more people are reading both ‘sides’ of the blog – thank you all for reading anyhow! – but it’s funny to see my audience is mostly split in 2 different groups. Or maybe it’s just a logical effect, depending on how you look at it. We’ve been talking about splitting them up for real, but decided that it’s not going to happen anytime soon, or ever. They seem to work together pretty well so far, so why change anything when it’s not broken. Unfortunately for you guys who don’t give a fig about the music. Then again, nobody is forcing you to read anything and crossovers will be happening once in a while. Read: today.

I’ve got the Music in Me

Because it’s again music that has brought some changes in my life. Steve and I have been talking about expanding my YouTube channel before – and I am really considering starting to use TikTok as soon as I get over myself – but it’s quite a bit of work, so progress is slow. Besides, as much as I love a challenge, y’all know to actually take that step takes some preparing and stomach ache 😬 In the meantime I’ve gotten so involved  – read: have been fan-girling about – one of my fav artists and one thing lead to another. Doesn’t it always?

For those of you who don’t know, as much as I do love all my Spotlight artists, there a 2 that just take the cake and I am going to introduce them a bit here. The First is Funk LeBlanc. He is one of the main reasons the Spotlight section came to life. It doesn’t happen too often, you can find an artist/band, and love all their music and Funk LeBlanc is one of them for me. A couple of months before I started the blog, I found him and got ‘lost in music’. You can read all this is My Kind of Music 1, My Kind of Music 2 and of course the Spotlight on Funk LeBlanc. Though we had been in contact from the start, he only followed me back since February this year. It had me screaming, since I really, really, LOVE his music. However, he is not the one who triggered the latest, biggest changes…

Funk LeBlanc on Spotify

The other is Discoholic and without trying to fangirl too much, he unintentionally got me involved in things that caused new stuff being added to my already full music schedule. Both artists have one thing in common and that is wanting to stay anonymous, which means hardly anyone knows what they look like in real life. Funk LeBlanc manages this, by simply not posting a lot at all and when he does, you’ll never see his face. Discoholic manages by either wearing a Discoball on his head, or more recently, using a Snapchat filter, created by himself, in the form of yes, a Discoball on his head 🌐 I am sure you’ve seen several post passing by, where I mention one or the other. Where I was already a big fan of Funk LeBlanc when I started the blog, I only fell in love with Discoholic’s music while writing his Spotlight. So much so, this one song, ‘Liftoff’, was streamed 817 times on Spotify, by me last year. (in only 4 months time) You can all read that in the special, Spotlight on YOU.

Discoholic on Spotify

In short: this mutli talented guy started his own streams on Twitch and recently got his own Discord server, for all ‘his’ discoholics. Now I was not a total stranger to Twitch anymore, since I’ve been following more artists there while joining URL shows, which I enjoyed very much. However, Discoholic’s streams are all about the music: everybody can send in their song requests and we all listen together and have fun. Sounds simple right? But for someone like me – and apparently a lot more people – it is really enjoyable. I’ve said it before: there’s so much fun in sharing good music! It’s also a great way to discover new artists, which is a win/win for me. Meeting new people is a bonus and since last week there’s even a ‘banger scoreboard’ to see who comes up with the biggest hits. I was the first of course. Just Sayin. (There’s way more, but I’ll leave that for Spotlight 2! 🤞)

While I’d added the Twitch app just a couple of months ago, the Discord app was downloaded by me right at the start of my blog, but not used yet… Being married to an IT nerd, the sweetheart, who has been using all of this stuff for years and years, I shouldn’t have been surprised when he took the next step for me, after I ‘FINALLY, sigh’ joined a Discord server (that’s right, Discoholic’s one – the things I do for Disco) He set me up with my own Discord server last week, specifically for my blog. My reaction: ‘Wait, I’m on WHATT now? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING??’ 😱

For someone who came from a-technical, a-social media, a anything online, it has come to THIS. Yes, I am figuring things out along the way and half of the time I may not have any clue what I’m doing, but one of my young Twitter friends told me, I quote: ‘That’s half of the Discord experience!’ Well Alright Then. Anyways, here you can find all things Colorful Expressions, you can drop by and share your thoughts about any article, give feedback, criticize, offer new ideas/improvement or just chat with me and others. I’ll share the link with you here:

Again, we had been talking about expanding, but this came out of the blue for me too! There are enough ideas, but working them all out takes time – mostly for me 😅 – and tbh, I’ll probably never feel like I’m ready for any of it, so I just have to take one leap at the time I guess. I hope you all join me in this new adventure, don’t leave me hanging now, I’m counting on you guys!

Well that’s about it I think. Again, if you have ANY questions or comments you’re dying to share and you don’t want to do it here, look me up and let’s have a talk, I am still very much interested in what you have to say. This would also go for that awesome idea you might be having for my anniversary special! I’ll give any idea a serious thought, though please keep in mind time is of the essence here.

Thanks again for reading, I love you all!

Enjoy the weekend. Disco never Dies

Spotlight on Cool Million

Special Feature 5/28/2021
Cool Million

Meet Cool Million: Influenced by the 80’s synth funk of The S.O.S. Band, Midnight Star and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Cool Million are a European production duo whose mission statement is to “take soul back to the future.” Founded by Danish songwriter Frank Ryle, a passionate soul music fan who ran his own magazine, Soulportal.dk, the collaborative outfit released its first track, “Naughty Girl”, through a compilation before German producer Rob Hardt (Chaka Kahn, Keith Sweat) came on board. Following the critical acclaim garnered by their 2008 debut, “Going Out Tonight”, they teamed up with a host of guest stars, including 80’s soul singers Meli’sa Morgan, Peggi Blu and Eugene Wilde and 70’s R&B trio Black Ivory’s Leroy Burgess, for follow-up “Back For More”, which was released through Hardt’s own label in 2010. Source: About Cool Million, Spotify

My Kind of Music, with Cool Million.

SUMTHIN’ LIKE THIS, Makes Me Coming BACK FOR MORE.

For today’s guests we’re off to Europe, a Spotlight I am particularly excited about, since they stand for everything I LOVE in music: Groovy, Funky, Danceable and Soulful, Cool Million has it all in my opinion. It’s days like this, I couldn’t be happier with being able to write and more specific, write about music I love. If your taste in music resembles anything like mine, this Spotlight is for you.

Was it a coincidence I was only this week getting myself into a little discussion about how it hardly ever happens I find an artist/band, and like about everything they release? The reply I got was something I had to agree on, I quote a Twitter friend: ‘A decent song is achievable, but a great or timeless song is a very, very difficult and elusive piece of art to create. Even the best oftentimes only have a few of those’. So true, though Cool Million seems to have no issue with that, resulting in me never getting enough of their sound.

I ‘discovered’ Cool Million late November 2020 and I was ever so happy to have stumbled upon their music. I quickly found out, their sound is so groovy and catchy, there’s really not one song I don’t like. And I can tell you, they’ve released quite a lot over the last decade already: 2 compilations, 6 albums and 36 singles/EP’s – if I counted correctly, including a lot of insanely good remixes done by other artists. Not even counting the amount of remixes they themselves done for others, since I’m pretty sure, I haven’t even discovered them all yet. I keep finding them all over Spotify 😅. Anyways, their latest remix is Next Level. Yeah, they are.

It’s because of this Spotlight section, I’ve been able to get a better idea about exactly how tough it is to come up with ‘a great or timeless song’. Of course personal taste plays a very big part for any listener – me! – but if it feels anything like me publishing articles…though I can never be totally sure, there’s this gut feeling about how well a specific article will be received and aside from the occasional surprise, that feeling is mostly right. Cool Million shows it’s not impossible to keep scoring though.

I’m happy my Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ is getting more and more attuned to the kind of music I am actually looking for and so it happened last November, I got my first taste of Cool Million. Y’all know I am no expert on the tech side of how music is produced, for me it’s all about the FEEL. Growing up with  Jazz-Rock/Fusion, read: a lot of funky stuff, my attention has to be captured within the first couple of beats. I will always give a new song a fair try, because one never knows what kind of transitions and/or, key modulations might take place, but yeah… Those first 20-30 seconds of a song can be all or nothing. The ‘Keep On’ boogie back remix, released 7/10/2020, had me right from the start.

The laidback, soulful groove is just music to my heart and the song was added to my Some Groovy Medicine playlist without a doubt. Where I more often than not, have to listen a couple of times to a song, giving it that fair chance before adding (there are plenty of ‘decent songs’) there was no need in this case. I dove into Cool Million’s discography and quickly became acquainted with their unique sound: you cannot miss this special flavor they seem to have bottled and sprinkled all over their tracks. Gimme some of that sugar sweetness babeyy.

Cool Million is currently close to 90K listeners per month on Spotify alone and they have a pretty nice amount of followers on social media too: the Facebook count alone is 10K. Not bad at all. Their collabs with big names – including vocalists – is impressive and makes for every song to be delivered to a T. Biased much? Of course! Their Spotify bio mentions bands I grew up listening to, so there was very little chance of me getting disappointed by them. Still, you don’t have to take my word for it – though it was mentioned I seem to have ‘immaculate taste’ 😂 – just give them a listen yourself.

Now I shouldn’t lie, there was this one thing that had me doubting and it was all about which song to add every week. Choosing is difficult, because there’s so much gold to share and the ‘competition’ is fierce lol. To not have to go through that same agonizing struggle again, the collection you find on this page consists of songs that were part of that weekly update – now stored in the Groovy Medicine Archive – or ones that are waiting to be added soon. Sure, you can call them favs, but I am not nearly done with that list yet. Cool Million’s sound is thoroughly speaking to my soul, making it impossible to listen to their music without wanting to MOVE.

Cool Million are also masters in creating very smooth (semi?) ballads. Coming from someone who’s mostly high on up-tempo songs, they do have mellow tracks that are a perfect execution of their mission statement to “take soul back to the future.” In my opinion specifically their album ‘Stronger’, released 8/9/2019 – including the original ‘Keep On’ track – is bursting with ballads, with often pretty sexy lyrics. Until now I’ve only shared one of the remixes of the title song ‘Stronger’, from this album, so let me rectify that here.

It took me until the end of February this year, before I gathered the courage to ask Cool Million if they would be willing to do a little interview. They’re a bit ‘bigger’ than most previous artists I approached and I wasn’t really expecting them to be interested to be honest. But hey, still holding on to the idea I’ve got nothing to lose really, I just put it out there. While at first I thought a reply wasn’t coming, I was surprised when about a month later they messaged me back with a simple, I quote: ‘Cool we are in 💙🍾’.  Yeah that got me hyped alright!

Going through their social media posts, there’s all the evidence Cool Million has kept busy throughout the years. Life performances – while possible – collabs and releasing new music. It was really nice to see many names involved with those collabs, had been popping up in my ‘Discover Weekly’ as well. Finding new artists to love is always good medicine, when all else fails, music can cheer me up. Apparently Cool Million is sharing this cure with us too: funky guitar riffs and basslines, great melodies and chords, amazing added strings…‘You can watch me as I shine’.

With 1.6M streams in 2019 and 2020 – ‘Back For More’ has over 1.6M all-time streams alone – the song rocks, let’s be honest –  and a rise in listeners and countries, Cool Million is going upwards for sure. They’re very well known in, for example, the UK Soul Chart and as mentioned before, if you search well enough, you can find their name attached to A Lot of artists and releases in unexpected places. I for one love to find ‘new music’ only to discover they had a hand in it. Cool Million is obviously taking matters in their own hands, making it impossible to miss them.

If you’re a collector and wishing for some physicals, the only ones still available as far as I can tell,  you can find on Bandcamp in the form of the earlier mentioned album ‘Stronger’ on CD and/or Vinyl. Whether or not there will be new opportunities for us to get our hands on material, this is of course my cue to tell you: Give them a follow and stay informed about everything Cool Million!

Just a heads-up for those who don’t know yet: A new EP is about to drop next month, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I for one am surely looking forward to more Cool Million, I mean, come on, with a name like that, success is a given. Maybe it’s me fan-girling but there’s just no way their music is not made to touch ears and reach hearts all over the globe, resulting in crowded dancefloors as soon as we’re allowed back in the wild. They rekindled the fire of Soul and are indeed taking it back to the future with every new track. It’s their passion for the genre, that is changing the music scene.

Well, it’s that time again and boy do I love this part. If it wasn’t clear yet, their discography is way too large to be displayed in just this little space (this is just a teaser!) and also: It’s up to you to find the treasure that is called Cool Million! But first of course: A BIG Thank You Cool Million! I cannot express enough how much I love your music and I am hoping you’ll keep on going on, feeding Soul to the world. I will add you guys to the Spotlight page asap, where you will stay indefinitely and where I will do my best to update any new release. Wishing you all the blessings and may The Soul be With You. Where would we be without your love for us.

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Cool Million? When and how did you get started in the music scene and how did you meet each other? Which instruments do you play?

‘Cool Million are Rob Hardt from Germany and Frank Ryle from Denmark. Rob has been making and producing music since his teens and Frank started also in his teens as music collector and DJ. We met each other through Myspace and the world wide web back in 2005. Rob plays keyboards and program almost all instrument. Frank mainly use computer and samples’.

You guys have been around for some time now and have already produced an impressive amount of songs, can you tell us a bit about your background, like: Who have been / are, your biggest influences in music? Was soul / funk always The Way for you and why does this kind of music means so much to you?

‘Soul and funk has always been a fav genre to us.. but we let us influence from all kinds of genres, be it Pop, jazz, Hip Hop. But our love is really soul and funk for sure. We started out by doing a style that was heavy inspired by the 80´s sound, we have kept a lot of that sound but we also try to embrace more modern sounds when we make new music. But because we both crew up on the 80´s sound it’s still a big part of our sound and style.

We love groups such as; The Temptations, Con Funk Shun, Bar Kays, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores, Cameo, Midnight Sar, Atlantic Star etc. singers like; Melissa Morgan, Kashif, Eugene Wilde, Glenn Jones, Leroy Burgess, Keni Burke, Melba Moore, Evelyn King, Rick James and Teena Marie etc’.

There seems to be a couple of pretty big names involved, as in collabs, could you name a couple of highlights and what it meant for your music? Were there any ‘turning points’ along the way maybe? Do you feel the music scene has changed since you started and if so, what was the biggest change in your opinion?

‘Key highlights have been Eugene Wilde and Melisa Morgan and Keni Burke, that was our little break through for sure. The collaboration with these names put a quality stamp on our music in wide circles mainly in and on the soul scene in Europe. The music scene changed with the uprising of streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Apple-music’.

Listening to your total catalogue of music, you stayed true to how you started. How tough is it to keep going strong and create / produce new stuff? Can you tell us a bit about how your creative process works? Are there any parts that you experience as struggle, or the opposite, joy?

‘The hardest part in keeping new music flowing is to find new interesting vocalists. We could keep to one formula we know would work – but we like to push ourselves, try new things, so we do our best to be relevant in style and sound. Which means we may do a up-tempo song and thereafter a ballad or a mid tempo jazzy tune.

You may be familiar with the Cool Million sound but you may never have heard us like that.. that’s what keep us strong and on our toes’.

Your Spotify bio mentions your mission is ‘to take soul back to the future’, which I can only applaud and enjoy. Though more artists seem to go back to that specific sound, you guys seem to have captured that typical 80’s feel and upgraded it with a fresh funky touch, renewing it. How hard was it to establish that typical Cool Million sound?

‘That sound has been with us from day one and is the sound of Cool Million – we don’t hide that we are under heavy influence of the 80´s sound. Moog and 808, Linndrum and all other instruments that capture that decade in the music history.

We are aware that more artist seems to look back to the 80’s and that’s all good. But we also feel that we kinda started that trend! We say that without trying to be pretentious’.

In between album releases there have been a lot of really great remixes released. How does that generally work for you? Is it a way to look at your music from a different point of view and thus generating new / more inspiration?

 ‘Remixes is a part of the game these days to keep a track longer on the market everything is going really fast and a song may not last long because there is so much new music coming week by week… and sometimes we ask someone to make their version of our song. Other times someone may approach us and ask if it’s possible to remix’.

I know you are about to drop new music, but how do you guys see the – near – future? What would be the next goal to chase for you, music wise? Though covid is not over yet, do you have any plans for live performances, or even a tour, yet?

‘The whole covid situation makes it hard for all but as a music group is very hard because we can’t get out a perform and let new people discover our music. But we are still here, and music from Cool Million we keep flowing. For the next period it will be single releases as it seems the album is dead these days’.

Is there anything else you would wish to add or share, with your fans / the readers? (Anything I did not ask about maybe?)

‘Yeah! Keep buying music and or stream it. And if you like Cool Million spread the word. Thanks. Rob & Frank aka Cool Million’.

Again, Big Thanks to Cool Million! And to you my readers, get your groove on, leave a nice comment below and give them a follow here:

Follow Cool Million on: SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeBandcamp MixcloudFacebookInstagramTwitter

Wishing y’all a very Cool Week(-end), listen to me, they’re one in a Million!

Spotlight on Ollie Happyness

Special Feature
Ollie Happyness

Meet Ollie Happyness: “Don’t resist, One Love. Follow on social media for videos of me eating bagels”. Source: About Ollie Happyness, Spotify.

My Kind of Music, with Ollie Happyness.

Something SPECIAL.

Yep, that’s it. That’s all we’re getting as far as general info is concerned. You think that’s quirky? Lemme tell you how this little story began…

I sleep odd hours during the night. As a former night shifter, this one little thing never got back to normal again. This means I get to do stuff during the night, that is, if I wish to 🤐 One of the things I definitely do, is listen to music and keeping up with my socials, since most of my contacts are awake then. Time zones can be killer, but I try to get as much benefit from it as possible.

Early morning – we’re talking 4:19AM local time – 4/21/2021, I noticed I received an email from Ollie Happyness, directed to my blog, which is always interesting to me. At the same time I got a new follow by a band called Downtown Mischief on Twitter, though the names did not seem connected, at first. Try guessing my reaction when reading this: ‘…Would you like to do an interview? I got arrested during my last video shoot and I live with 4 cats and a poodle!’

I looked up the band and was still not sure if there was any connection, so I just messaged them to hear if the actual mail was theirs. I then found out, my guest of today is a member of said band and had released a couple of solo tracks recently. So here we go, off to Canada once more!

First things first: if you want to know about the bagels, you have to look Ollie Happyness up on Instagram. Apparently there was a #1man1day11bagels challenge… Anyways, back to his music. The first song, ‘Special’, was released 12/18/2020. Giving me kind of a Beach Boy vibe at the start, it’s a track that slowly carries you towards a wonderful and totally unexpected transition, somewhere around 3:20.

One of the standard questions in my interviews is: How would you describe your music? Unfortunately, there was no real answer to that, and I find it quite a challenge to describe it myself 😅 Does it fit any genre I know? Not really… ‘Special’ feels like a fusion between the mentioned Beach Boys going to a Luau, a James Taylor’s folk rock song and finally transforming into the outro of an EDM track – which you might get the feel of while watching the video. The guitar play is woven throughout the song like a carefully spun thread. Though the song may sound like a sweet lullaby, the lyrics will make you think otherwise: ‘I know she’s thinking we’d be fine, and I can see it in her eyes and all she do is waste my time and I’m not gonna change my mind. She thought that she was special…’ I know… Words are just not doing this song justice, so why don’t you just click on the below and decide for yourself. It doesn’t happen too often I can share great video’s here!

Special

The second song Ollie Happyness released, is ‘Pashmina Baby Goat’, released 1/9/2021. Yeah. A title like that is bound to raise some eyebrows, wondering what the heck this could be about. Another song with some amazing unexpected transitions, which definitely will surprise the listener and keep ears focused on what’s going on. Telling ‘A Tale Of Two Species’, the song is displayed in a great video. Again we’re soothed with a song sweet as sugar, about the friendship between a – yes – baby goat and a human. Well, ain’t that the cutest, don’t let it fool you though, it seems to be a love lost also…

At around 3:30, the sweet baby goat changes from Pashmina to Psychedelic, basically rapping about being bigger than life, wearing sunglasses 😎, attitude and all. Really, Ollie Happyness seems to be bursting with creativity and it only makes me wonder what to expect in the future. The track is basically a showcase for his talent and the video is surely adding to the ‘whole package’ concept. For the rest, I’ll let Ollie have his say. But you can have a look!

Pashmina Baby Goat

So, Ollie Happyness, keep an eye out for him! It’s time for the interview and boy, I can only say: just let it happen lol. BIG Thank You, Ollie Happyness! I was so freakin pleasantly surprised by your little email, great way to sell yourself for real! I wish you all the blessing and creativity on your musical path! I will add you asap to the Spotlight page, where you will stay indefinitely and I will do my best to update every new release. You have the stage.

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Ollie Happyness? When and how did you start making music? Do you play any instruments yourself or sing? And where does the lovely name come from, has it any special meaning to you? 

‘Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Canada, just north of Seattle. I spend most of my days splashing in the oceans and playing music in the parks.

I play Guitar and have been known to sing Melody’s.

My name came from back in the days that people were putting “No Enbridge” and “Fuck Harper” in their Facebook names. I was thinking, “I agree, fuck those things, but is a changing your Facebook profile really the way to effect change?” and then I just changed it to Ollie Happyness and was like, “Ya this is a more positive message”’.

Before I go any further, your email sure was a great way to catch my attention! Please tell us about the video shoot and why you got arrested?

‘Oh I got arrested cause we were shootin this music video with a bathtub the week before and I did a streaking bit but didn’t realize we were in a public park. I ended up having to climb a tree to avoid the dogs!

Then the next week we are driving around smoking joints and the same cop sees us. Pulls us over, arrests my roommate (who was driving), and lets me go. I had to pick him up from the Police station 6 hours later to finish the video. No charges. We clear!’

Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where does your inspiration come from?

‘I love all music. Some days I just wanna drive my bus around and listen to pop country. If the girlfriend and I are having a night, D’angelo and Usher. Cruising through the nieghborhood, Anderson Paak always wins.

But then sometimes you gotta go to dads house, smoke a joint and listen to the Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson.

Oh ya Cat empire is top 5 fave bands too’.

You’ve got two songs for now: ‘Pashmina Baby Goat’ and ‘Special’. Especially that first one has one interesting title for sure. Can you give a little background info as to how the song came together?

‘I was in Northern India with my dad and brother 2 years ago. We had just arrived in this town called Leh, it is as north as you can get in India before you hit Nepal.

We had taken some LSD to acclimatize our bodies to the elevation and gone on a short walk. When we got back I was picking away on my super shitty guitar I had bought in Delhi the week before, like it had to be tuned with pliers cause the pegs were so rusty. The high E string peg broke fully, which is why the whole song can be played without it. We had been talking about buying a goat to bring with us on some treks and just generally for fun company. So I just started singing “I am just a lost Pashmina Baby goat” and my brother was like “Waiting for your love come play with me”.

I spent the next 4 hours making cool new chords and boom done. Then we hit the studio a few months later and the second funky half was just born out of the grooves Mike Zurmeli (drums) and Staves the Tiger (bass) were laying down. The entire funky part of the tune was written one evening in the studio’.

How does your creative process work? Do you have certain steps you follow, or do you ‘go-with-the-flow’? What do you consider the most fun part of making music and what would be the hardest?

‘No steps. Some songs are written on guitar. Some from just cutting and pasting in Logic. Some with friends, some solo. Some on Ukulele. Sometimes I just start singing a melody and record it, find it a year later and turn it into something.

My favorite part is discovering the music! I don’t think about it that I am making music art, more that I am discovering it. It just kinda comes out and I don’t know how it works. Anyone who tells you they do is either a Neuroscience Philosopher and they are grasping or they just have no idea.

Thoughts just come into being and its awesome!’

You’re also part of a band called Downtown Mischief. How different is it to make music on your own, compared to working in a band? Do you feel your music is an extension or rather something wholly different?

‘DTM is definitely fun but its just bigger to manage and there are more people on the creative journey,  notably Wishbone Jenkins. So its kinda nice to just have my own thing going on where I don’t report to anyone. But its also harder in some ways because when you hit a block, its just you to overcome it. Although even in my solo stuff I still do a lot of writing with other people and musicians which is something I really enjoy’.

Can you share a highlight from your past experiences producing music? And why was this so special to you?

‘I mostly just stay up way to late and record vocal harmonies until I have some sort of demonic bridge and then the next day I’m like “well that’s fucked” and usually cut it and make something less weird’.

I know you’re working on new stuff, anything you wish to share about what’s in store for your fans? What would be the ultimate dream come true for Ollie Happyness?

‘I am working on a EP right now which I am super stoked on. I have been recording real drums this last week which just adds such a live and funky element to music. Like I love produced drums but its different’.

Anything else you wish to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I think you nailed it. Look out for my EP this summer. Hopefully in August. Maybe even July. Definitely some singles coming before the whole thing come out!

Thanks so much for all your time!’

Again, Big Thank You, Ollie Happyness! And to you my readers, leave a nice comment below and give Ollie a follow, which you can do right here:

Follow Ollie Happyness on: Spotify YouTubeInstagram Website

Wishing y’all a great weekend and remember, baby goats are cute!

Granny Smith

5/20/2021
Spunky Apple

Granny Smith

(or how I feel, now I’m Nana)

Well I guess it wasn’t a real surprise there wasn’t any article published last Thursday. After the pretty emotional piece on my Mom – which I feel was unintentionally perfectly timed and got some very nice response! – it was time for a Little Bundle of Joy to come into our lives.

In case you’ve missed it, a little over a week ago today, we became grandparents. All the time people asked me: ‘So, how does it feel to become a grandma?’  As if I should know how that feels like?? One week later, I’ll give it a shot. Now before y’all go like ‘Aaaaaw where are the pics??’… There will be No Pics from our grandson here. I totally respect the parents wishes and if there’s any sharing to be done, it’s going to be their choice and their doing. Lost interest yet? 😆 yeah I’m still the same…

Did you wonder about my social media post and what the heck I was talking about? If you haven’t been following the Spotlight series, you might have missed the clue somewhat, so lemme elaborate a bit.

Posted 5/12/2021

When I started my Facebook account, the first and for a long time, only social I used, I thought long and hard about my username. Well, that didn’t really help, since I couldn’t come up with anything funny or original and finally settled for – as you all know by now – wien_sap. Yeah, yeah, kinda lame, except for the fact I was and am sure, there is no one else with the same name and it IS my name after all.

I already told you, if it wasn’t for my blog, I probably wouldn’t even have made an Instagram- let alone Twitter- account. I was all for social media distancing, since I never was one to be very social to begin with in real life. Anyways, when I had to – again – think about a username, I felt it best to just stick with the same, since it would make life a lot easier for me and for people to recognize me by. Little did I know, wien_sap would become something special after all, when one of ‘my’ Spotlight artists – Spotlight on Wizard of Loneliness – mentioned something I at first thought to be a joke…

Now you Dutch peeps got to understand and try to imagine, how my name is pronounced in English…yeah. I think I mentioned this before, but ‘Vinegar’, was by far the most hilarious 🤐 So now try to imagine how wien_sap is pronounced. I’ve even tweeted at one point how the Dutch IE sounds exactly like the English EE, just to try and explain what my name should sound like. Uhuh. There are definitely a couple who were getting it right from the start, but that’s mostly due to their own Asian/mixed, background, which makes pronouncing foreign names infinitely easier for obvious reasons. Anyway, I’m digressing, but just listen to this little piece of the interview with Wizard and it might all become more clear….

From: Spotlight on Wizard of Loneliness

A quick Google check showed me that winesap apples do indeed exist and yeah, I thought that was really funny and the rest – 🍎➡️🍏 – you should be able to figure out. Because, having to actually explain it, kills the joke, but I did feel some explaining might be in order for some of you. You see, I had been thinking about how to announce me becoming Nana – yes that’s the chosen name – on my socials, because I was only going to do this once and it had to be good, well, at least a bit funny. Just shot that to pieces didn’t I?

When people were asking me how I felt about becoming a grandmother, I had to really be careful not to simply shrug and say something cold like: ‘I don’t know, I don’t really think about that’. Of course it was exactly how I reacted 😂 I guess I just always expected myself to react just like my Mom did. As mentioned, she adored her grandchildren, but there was no fooling her. So all the time I just basically kept my cool and said to myself: ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I get there’. No hysterics for me, I already said I might seem like a coldhearted bitch, but hey.

We were never the kind of parents to put any pressure on our kids about ‘when they were going to make us grandparents’. Please. We did, of course, joke about it now and then and I do remember a specific moment – we were sitting in a large restaurant, which was basically empty and there came this young family, including a cute baby, sitting right next to us. As on cue, the baby started crying and did not stop during our lunch – when our son said to me: Mom, whenever I am talking about wanting a kid, please remind me of this exact day and moment!  Aah well. Mind you, our son is very fond of kids and apparently, they love him too. He was once called a baby magnet whahah.

Our daughter always knew she wanted to be a Mom and she even did an internship in a daycare, where she had to take care of babies and little kids. The experience gained there is certainly a big help now. We’re really proud of how she’s doing! I remember when our son was born I basically had 2 left hands and was lucky I had Steve – who had loads of experience with his nieces and nephews – as well as maternity care for the first week.

I really had no idea how I would react the moment our grandchild would be born and that’s another thing I kept saying, because it was the simple truth. As ‘cool’ as I might have been throughout our daughters pregnancy, I had no clue as how I would feel when the big moment arrived. Well, let me assure you, I’m Not That Cold. I did shed a couple of tears when I saw that first picture of our newborn grandson and actually, I expected a lot more when I would finally hold him in my arms, but no, that didn’t happen. (Yet?)

So how Do I Feel being Granny Smith? First and foremost, we’re grateful both daughter and grandson made it through the pregnancy well and are healthy and happy. Hardly anything beats that. Looking at him on one hand feels like he’s always been with us and on the other hand, it is still a bit of a dream. He is absolutely amazing of course, sleeps A Lot, hardly cries, has funny baby smiles – who says babies don’t smile – and eats as any worthy family member should do. It’s very easy to love him 💖 – or should I say, it’s impossible NOT to love him – and that’s really how I feel: I simply Love him. He’s a part of me/us and that makes the bond one of irrevocable and everlasting love. This should say it all, it surely includes everything for me.

If possible, Steve is even more in love with our grandson than I am and it’s so funny to feel like we’re going back in time, because of course, having a baby in our arms again after so long, brings back sweet memories. We consider it a big blessing, we are able to see the start of – our – next generation and whether or not more will follow, nobody can take this experience away from us anymore. This baby is a little treasure and we will do everything in our power to keep him safe and happy. The real Granny Smith might be quite the sourpuss, but this Nana is sweet on her grandson!

Source: Common English Bible – Requested by a Proud Mom

Wishing y’all a very Cuddly Weekend, I’m sure I’ll be doing some!

Spotlight on Lexton

Special Feature 5/14/2021
Lexton

Meet Lexton: A house music producer & artist from the UK, who found music production in 2017, after being inspired by artists and producers like Avicii, Martin Garrix and Madeon. Recognized by his catchy melodies and tracks bursting with energy, his music is sure to make an impact on the listener. Lexton made his debut December 2020 with his first track “You make Me Feel”. Lots of new music is expected in 2021 with elements of house and funk music throughout. Source: About Lexton, Spotify.

My Kind of Music, with Lexton.

It’s all About How YOU MAKE ME FEEL.

It all started when 2021 was still fresh. To be honest, I cannot precisely remember how it all came together, but I will share the story as far as I recall it.  The 2nd of January I got in contact with my guest of the day, Lexton. I had listened to his debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’, released 12/10/2020, and posted it in my IG story. I told him I really liked the track and would add it to the next update of my Some Groovy Medicine Spotify playlist. Though my go-to music will forever be funk/disco, I do love me some House/EDM in the right dose, as well as other genres 😎

We started talking about his music and it became clear he was already working hard to be able to release more new music this year. I basically immediately told him I would be interested in doing a Spotlight, whenever he felt he would be ready, because hey, gotta take the opportunity when it presents itself right?

Lexton then sent me some of the music he was working on and so I had a little preview, which I always feel honored about. It was just confirmation for me, that I did the right thing, asking him for that future interview. I was excited about what he’d sent me, and I told him I would be looking forward to new stuff. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves 😅. Btw, always nice to get a look in ‘the kitchen’: wanna see how Lexton cooked up his debut single? Find it on his Instagram page!

Lexton’s debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’, is one happy house track! He is not exaggerating at all, when he mentions his melodies are catchy, because you only have to listen to the song once and it will get stuck in your head, in the best way. It feels like summer – which was pretty nice in cold January – and reminded me of hot beaches and nights out dancing in the club. Believe me when I say, that was a loooong time ago for me lol. The melody of the track is basically the earworm, working its way into your mind. The tempo makes you want to literally jump for joy and the only negative thing I can really say about it…it’s over all too soon. ‘You Make Me Feel’, has some classic house elements for sure, but because of the funky varnish it’s a shot straight to my disco-spoiled, heart. It’s ALL about How You Make Me Feel.

A couple of days after we ‘met’, Lexton asked me if I would know any artists who would be interested in collaborating on ‘the same funky synth music’ as he was working on. Well, I did gave him a couple of – previous Spotlight – suggestions to listen to and decide for himself if he’d thought they would musically fit. I was pleasantly surprised to hear he was already in contact with a couple of them and working on some stuff. He also sent me another preview and was looking for a vocalist to finish the track. I discovered it can be a bit of a trial to find the right vocalists sometimes, but it is all part of the challenge that’s called producing music, I guess.

Lexton asked me if I by any chance played any instruments / sing, or write lyrics. Ahah, well, I love to do both, but there’s nothing professional about it. Somehow any lyrics I write always end up being a bit on the serious side. It’s more like an outlet for things that are going through my mind. We also discovered we have been enjoying holidays in the same place in Spain for several years, though during different time era’s 😉. It’s always nice to find you have things in common.

Fast forward to March, where Lexton informed me, it would be a good time to get prepared for the Spotlight, since he was going to release a new song coming May. Now things were getting real for me! He mentioned he was getting a couple of collabs out as well as – hopefully – some music on his own. One of the other collabs would be with a previous Spotlight, so keep your ears peeled for that one! But the one we’re going to talk about now is ‘Never Really Liked You’, released 5/7/2021. It’s a collab with Zomando, under the label of none other than…Wern Records! If you’ve followed the Spotlights, you know they are one of them! It’s nice when a plan comes together, though I didn’t plan this, it just happens.

‘Never Really Liked You’, is a Tropical House track. I would almost say, semi-happy, because the lyrics obviously are talking about a relationship that has fallen apart: ‘Oh boy I never really liked you, I’ve been saying all this shit to spite you‘ 🤐 But don’t let that discourage you, the song has all the ingredients of a well prepared dish and is clearly making a finger to whoever thought to mess with love. Great vocals, as well as lyrics, carried by a definite, though slightly mellowed – Tropical House beat. It reached 3K+ streams in a week and I think that’s pretty good!

I believe Lexton is off to a great start, and I am definitely looking forward to more of his music this year. For now, I can only let him take over to hear what he’s got to say about his music and expectations / dreams toward it. BIG Thank You, Lexton! It was nice meeting you and to see your enthusiasm. I wish you all the blessings for all the new things that are coming your way and hope you will grow more and more successful along the way. I will add you to the Spotlight page asap, where I will do my best to update any new release. Here you go!

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Lexton? When and how did you start making music? Do play any instruments yourself, or sing?

‘Hi I’m Lexton, a 23 year old music producer from the UK. I started producing music around 3-4 years ago but only more serious the past year.

I was put off the first few times trying to make anything in FL Studio due to the software which I struggled to understand how to use it, but over time I found myself going back to it time and time again! Nowadays I’m using Logic Pro and I’m finding it much more suited to my workflow.

I’ve played piano since I was 8 years old but unfortunately I don’t sing, though I wish I could as it’d save a lot of time and money searching for singers to work with!

The name Lexton was created from a mix of both my first and second name. It came about during lockdown as I decided to create a name after spending so much time trying to think of one to release my music under. I was unsure on the name in the beginning but I think I’m starting to warm to it’.

Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where do you get your inspiration from? How would you describe your music?

‘My biggest influence and reason why I’m producing today is Avicii. Like many producers, his amazing melodies and incredible songwriting are what inspired me to start producing music. It’s fair to say his music had a huge influence on me and many others. Other inspirations are Madeon, who I’m a huge fan of, and also Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, Alesso… the list could go on.

I find inspiration to be mostly fleeting but sometimes even just sitting down for and working on something for a few minutes can quickly turn into hours. It can depend on many things. What mood you’re in, whether you’ve had a life experience or sometimes even a melody or idea will pop into my head which I’ll record in my voice notes app on my iPhone which I’ll later get down on my DAW. That’s a tip I picked up from YouTube videos from Martin Garrix and also Charlie Puth, as they both utilise the voice notes app to record small ideas before you forget them.

My style of music will always have a big focus on melodies and be bursting with energy. At the minute I’m currently exploring different genres to see what I like to make best but I’d say there’s elements of house and even funk in some projects I’m currently working on’.

Or listen to Lexton’s Monthly Mix and hear what he’s been listening to the past month! It’s just one of his playlists.

Is there a genre you feel most comfortable in and if yes, why is that? Or do you like to experiment with other genres too? Which ones would that be?

‘Currently I’d say I’m most comfortable with melodic house music like my release “You Make Me Feel”, however my latest track “Never Really Liked You” with Zomando is more towards Tropical House, which is another genre I like to produce. I’ve been experimenting with elements of funk in a few tracks lately, which I’m sure you’d be happy to hear! Mixing the house music with funk/disco creates a very danceable mix. I’ve always been a big fan of Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder so I think there’s some influence there and also love the sound of vintage synths like the Juno-106, so you may hear something incorporating that soon!’

How does your creative process work, do you have certain steps you follow, or do you ‘go-with-the-flow’? What do you consider the most fun part of producing and what is the hardest part for you?

‘I usually start with a template that I’ve altered over time which gets me producing an idea pretty quickly. I try to make an effort to sit down and produce each day but this can lead to burnout if I don’t actually feel like producing. Sometimes I start with the verse and other times the chorus, but firstly I’ll try making a nice chord progression to base the track around.

The most fun part for me is experimenting with different synths and sounds and coming up with an idea I really like. There’s something very satisfying about creating something and that’s the best part for me. I’d say the hardest part for me is mixing and mastering. It’s something I’ve always thought of as an afterthought as I just like producing the music. However, I know it’s an essential part of the process for those that produce electronic music and it’s something that I’m working on!’

After your debut single ‘You Make Me Feel’ last year, your next single is a collab with Zomando. Can you tell us a bit about how that came together? Maybe give a little background info about both songs?

‘“Never Really Liked You” with Zomando came about from an idea I had sitting on my hard drive for a while. I loved the melody but it was just one of those tracks that was left unfinished. I actually spoke to PW Music, who runs Wern Records, and he recommended Zomando to collaborate with on the track. Zomando has a tonne of releases with Wern which I’m a big fan of, so I reached out and he loved the idea so we got to work on finishing the track together.

“You Make Me Feel” was made at a time where I was struggling to produce much that I liked. I think at times I put a lot of pressure on myself that every idea should be great and that’s really not the case. I went into that session with no expectation and pretty much got the whole idea down in a few hours. I then found a vocal sample from Splice that I made into some vocal chops and I found them pretty catchy and the track was pretty much good to go!’

Can you share at least one highlight from your producing experience until now? What would be the ultimate dream come true for Lexton?

‘As my project has only just begun the past year, I don’t feel like I have too many highlights but it’d have to be just starting to release music, which I’m hoping to do so on a more regular basis going forward. It’s also been great to speak to likeminded people in the community and collaborate on tracks.

The ultimate dream would be to release music to a professional standard and one day play it out live. I’m sure I can make it happen if I keep working hard at producing and one day pick up some DJ skills’.

I noticed you’re pretty busy with ‘educating’ yourself further in regards to producing and stuff, how is that going?

‘It’s going pretty good thanks! I mostly watch Youtube tutorials and that’s mainly how I’ve learnt how to produce in FL Studio and Logic. As for making the music, learning piano from a young age has helped hugely!

Sometimes I feel it’s easy to get caught up with watching tutorials and it’s much better to just experiment with different sounds and plugins and watch tutorials another time when you’re lacking inspiration as they might spark something’.

What’s next in store for your fans? Anything new coming up soon you can share a bit about? Anything else you wish to add / share, with your fans / the readers?

‘For now I’m working on a lot of new music and focusing on improving my mixing skills. A couple are collaborations with some great artists which we’re hoping to get finished up soon and released, and there’s a few that I’m working on my own too, so I’m excited to get them all out over the coming months. Other than that, thanks to anyone who has supported or streamed my music. It’s great to see how many people have listened so far but I’ll be working hard to improve and release more in the future!’

Again, Big Thanks to Lexton! And you readers, if you wish to like more, go and find Lexton! He really deserves a larger audience!

Follow Lexton on: Spotify SoundCloud Instagram Twitter

Wishing y’all a great weekend! Enjoy some new music will ya!

My Mom, the Warrior

5/6/2021
Mom and I

My Mom, the Warrior

(or how I sometimes wish I could just pick up the phone…)

Next month it will be 10 years since her passing and recently it should have been her birthday. My Mom was an amazing woman, wife, mother and grandmother. Sometimes I wish I could just call her and hear her voice one more time. I am dedicating this article to the greatest woman I’ve ever known and was lucky to have in my life for so many years.

My mom was born on the 3rd of May, 1945, in Indonesia, at the end of the war. It took a little longer before it actually ended there, the Japanese suppression was still in full force. I am ‘lucky’ to have a couple of stories from my great-grandmother (!!) from that time. The one that is most touching: she had to flee from an air attack, with my Mom – a little baby – in her arms. Jumping and running to get to safety from the bombs that were dropping from the sky. Her life was saved for us 💖

I don’t know much about that time, safe from what my parents remembered and they were both pretty young when they left – read: fled from –  Indonesia, to come and live in The Netherlands. I’ve never known my paternal grandfather, he passed away too young, in Indonesia. I was never close to his wife, my grandmother on that side. My maternal grandmother was married to the a Dutch head of police, stationed there. Unfortunately, I never really knew him too, since my grandmother had to ‘escape’ her marriage because of the abuse she was experiencing. Though I wonder if I would have had a good time getting to know him, knowing what I did. I remember meeting him once, while I was still very young.

[If you’re interested in how the situation in Indonesia was, I recommend you keep an eye out for Steve’s blog, which I will share when the time comes. He is diving into the whole Indonesian/Dutch, history and how this affected people. This history has multiple sides, and he will specifically look into what this meant for his people: the Moluccans].

Safe to say, my grandmother wasn’t very fond of talking about that time either. She did however open up a little when I got closer to adulthood. The bits and pieces she shared were of a a beautiful country, where she basically lived like a queen, with servants and all. You could say she was kind of pampered. My Mom was her firstborn – she got 4 more children after her – and after they came to Holland, she was basically running the household with my grandma, since the latter wasn’t really used to anything. My mom was barely a teenager at that time.

Grandma, granddad, my Mom & younger sister in Indonesia. And yes, my Mom was a blonde!

The other things my grandmother shared, were about the war and how it affected them. How the men  were captured by the Japanese and sent off to work camps, most often to never return again. How they had to get to safety multiple times, how lucky they were never to have been captured by them as a woman…

It was (and still is, though maybe less nowadays) custom that, families consisting of several generations, lived together in one home. When they moved to The Netherlands, my great- grandmother moved along and she lived with her daughter, until her last day.

My grandmother finally got divorced, which was considered a great sin, because their marriage was blessed in the catholic church, which she was banned from afterwards. My parents were also married in the catholic church, since my Mom wished a blessing, but she and my great-grandmother took it upon their selves to go and find another, better, place – read: church – where they could be free in their faith and follow God. My Mom always seem to have had that drive to search for God and the Bible says, whenever we really search for Him, He Will listen. She found Him for sure.

As with most people from that generation, talking about past experiences and how they felt about it, was not really a thing. Apart from what she may or may not have remembered from Indonesia, talking about her youth in Holland did not happen often. But it was not hard to understand, she was carrying a lot of responsibility from a young age. All this made her the woman she was when she got us, her children and I don’t remember her any other than being a strong, loving person. Never complaining, never sick, except for a common cold now and then.

As soon as she was allowed, she got to work as a hairdresser and one of the most told stories about that time was about her own hair: She had very long hair – so my daughter and I did not get that from any stranger as kids – but since she also had to model for her colleagues, they decided to one day cut it short, as in SHORT. Having seen pictures of that, I thought she looked great, but apparently my grandmother was Not Amused. Hence the repeated storytelling, even years later.

Mom’s short hair looked great! Their engagement photo.

Of course she has been my personal hairdresser – as well as for a lot of other family members – for most of my life. I told you, she would curl my hair ever since I was a little girl, it was just something she loved doing – and doing it well! – and a part of who she was. There’s a saying in Dutch, that goes like this: ‘As long as your hair looks good, everything will be fine’. She certainly felt that way. Every evening, before my dad came home from work, before she put the dinner on the table, she would check her hair and general looks. I cannot really say make-up, since she hardly used anything. She was a Lady. Unfortunately, that might be something I did not inherit…

Now before you think I will paint her a saint, I won’t.  Though I am biased, she wasn’t perfect and I acknowledge that fact as the truth. Being the oldest daughter – though with 2 brothers above me – as well as the oldest great/granddaughter, brought its own challenges along. I’ve made it no secret, how I kind of always went my way, which wasn’t always looked upon as wanted. But I loved my great-grandmother and grandmother and stayed with them often on holidays, when I was a kid until I was about 18 years old. That year, my great-grandmother passed away and a lot of things changed.

Everyone in our family always mentioned how much I outwardly looked like my Dad. Of course I did not see that myself, though referring to character, I think I did. The older I got, the more I realized I really started to look like my Mom though. Looking at pictures, people are now actually saying, how much I resemble her. Behavior included. Funny thing this. But I can only say I wear it with pride.

My Mom was a Silent Force. She was not one to put much attention on herself in any way. She was just always there, doing what she felt she was called to do: loving us and taking care of us. Through the years her faith had grown strong and fairly unshakeable. I am wholly convinced this is what kept her going all her life, even when she was still young and did not fully understand how it worked, she held on to a Greater Force and she prevailed. She was a Warrior in her own kind, fighting for what she believed was right and righteous. Fighting by means of prayers most of the time. Silent Force.

My Mom, the Warrior

It wasn’t until we all got older, married and settled, we could hear her voice more often, when things were discussed. It’s not that she did not voice her opinion before, but she just got more fierce about things. At least, that’s how I experienced it. This also caused that there came moments, we clashed so hard, screaming was not unheard of. She never was one to hold a grudge though and she would not allow me to hold one too long either. Though she always gave me time to myself to cool down, or whatever it was I needed. There have been times we did not speak for a couple of months, just because I couldn’t/wouldn’t, deal with my parents. I told them this straight out. I am pretty sure it was because of her, this was respected.

In a way, she always was a mediator  – or at least, she tried to be – in our family. Even in tough times and disagreements, she would always try to take the first step towards mending relationships. And I did talk about, how her faith convinced me, to go to her whenever I needed my own little miracles. Her prayers always worked. This eventually convinced me, I had to get that for myself too. I am working on that every day. It’s a Work In Progress that never ends. It’s definitely comforting to know, I will see her again some day.

February 2011. Steve had another job in Ireland, while the kids and I were still in The Netherlands. He was home for the weekend and my parents stayed with us too. My Mom did not look sick at all – not that she would ever give in to that easily- though she said she had been feeling nauseated for a couple of days and she wasn’t even able to keep a couple of sips of water inside. We were surprised, though happy, she said she would make a doctors appointment after the weekend. She wouldn’t visit if she’d thought it was really nothing. To be honest… Those first weeks after that appointment are kind of a blur in my memory…

Though she had received her own miracles too – I told you about one: her restored eyesight – February 2011 she got sick and little did we know, she would be gone only a couple of months later. The woman who fiercely believed in a Healing and Loving God, the woman who had seen healing take place while praying for others, was not healed when a deadly cancer took hold of her body. A woman who was never sick, surely not enough to keep her in bed, always stayed positive and loved her family with her life, placed God above all else, without losing sight of reality, got sick and passed away almost in the blink of an eye.

Their Wedding Day

As much as I often couldn’t get along with my, then, boss – remember the shoe store – he definitely had his good sides. When my Mom was first admitted to the hospital, he decided he would drive me there – I did not ask for anything – to visit her, a 2,5 hour drive away. He just did it, for me. God works in Mysterious ways, it’s true! I worked full time and there wasn’t much opportunity to just go and visit my Mom. At that point they still weren’t sure what she was suffering from, although cancer was getting more and more a possibility.

It took the doctors a couple of weeks to find out what was wrong, but it was too late already. It was not operable and they did anything they could do to lengthen her time, keeping that quality of life and ease any pain as much as possible. She should have been in pain for weeks, most likely months already, but she never felt anything wrong, Thank God. Probably one of the things that had the doctors confused. We later learned, pancreatic cancer is also known as an assassin, sneaking up on a body, without being noticed until it’s too late, though pain is inevitable at one point. The fact my Mom had not experienced any, was a big blessing in a way. The pain indication would not have prevented the illness from taking her away.

Saying she did not suffer is not true of course. The examinations in different hospitals, the treatments… One would only have to look at the amount of hospital equipment she was hooked on, to understand there was no easy way for her. She never complained. I don’t know how else to explain that, but for saying God must have given her Grace to fight through it all. Lots of it. A Warrior, my Mom.

In between hospital stays, she was at home and there had been some good days. However, there were enough moments, we could see and feel, she wasn’t really with us anymore. Though time indeed heals wounds and lessens pain, writing about this is almost choking me up and I can’t stop tears from falling. We were lucky to all have been able to say goodbye to her, together, knowing she was already in another place at that moment. Her eyes were looking into another, better, world and we felt at peace letting her go.

Four generations! My Grandma, me with Loïs and my Mom

Until that moment – in a space of about 4 months – we never gave up on believing Divine Healing as a possibility. We’ve seen it happen, it Was and Is a reality for believers. Whatever doctors can’t do, there is Someone Else Who Can. How to deal with the fact it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen for someone who obviously deserved a miracle like that? She would be the first to tell us, she did not ‘Deserve’ anything. The foundation of our faith lies in the knowledge, we live by grace and she held that high till the end. She was also not afraid, because she knew she was ready. I am sure she had always been ready.

She knew. She knew it was her time. It is the only way I can think of why she specifically asked me to be a help to our father afterwards. It was the most unreal moment of my life, sitting at her bedside in the hospital and hearing her ask me, ME, to help my Dad with all financial things he had to take care of. Not my forte at all. Now I don’t wish to take away from all the things my brothers and sister helped with, but this, she asked me. This was the last hospital she was in, she was sent home, to spend her last days in her own environment.

A couple of days after we said our goodbyes, I got the message she had passed away. Another unreal moment for me: I just came home from work and started cooking. After I read the message, I just went on cooking and sat down to eat dinner. Like I said, we had already made peace with it and really, what else was there to do? Of course we went there first thing the next day and we sat down to discuss her funeral. It was decided my brother would lead the service and I immediately said I wanted to share something too, although I really had no idea what precisely. Words will always come when the need arises.

While the rest of my family returned home, awaiting the funeral, my oldest brother and I helped our Dad through the first hectic days, filled with paperwork and other things that needed to be taken care of. We also ‘celebrated’ my Dads birthday together, since my Mom passed away just 2 days prior. I am still very thankful my brother was there too. My other brother and sister were making plans to take my dad along with their families, on their already planned trip to the USA, after the funeral. It was a trip my Dad had always wanted to make with my Mom, to visit his only sister and her husband, who lived there.

The night before the funeral, I got all the words I needed. I Know when God Speaks to me. Because there is no way, I could have come up with all that I wrote down that night on my own, in honor of my Mom and how she would have wanted her funeral to be. She was Home and we needed to make the best of our lives, without her. She would expect nothing less. We were not supposed to hold on to our grief forever. Past our grief, there should always be joy, because of love.

Source: Common English Bible – My Mom’s favorite flowers

A lot of people came to the funeral and after us kids sang a couple of her favorite songs – how, is a little miracle on its own –  and the grandchildren had their say, it was my turn, before my brother took over. We had not discussed what we were going to share individually, but we both knew God would gave us the right words. Afterwards, his first words to me were: ‘You basically stole my sermon’, with a smile on his face. You see, we believe when God leads, it all comes together. Our words were made into one and that was the last blessing we gave our Mom.

A couple of days later, my family, including my Dad, left for their trip and my oldest brother returned home. While my Dad was away, Steve and I  – and the kids – stayed at, now, my Dads place, to clean and clear out my Moms stuff. My Dad wanted it all gone, saying he would not be able to look at it. My Mom was visible in every room, but we decided we would only go so far. We would not completely erase every trace of her existence from the house. It took us a couple of days, sleeping in a house that no longer felt like a home – it’s the place where we all grew up. It was mentally exhausting, but we don’t regret it.

I am so thankful my Mom lived long enough to see all her grandchildren into their teen years – she was a fairly young granny – she adored them, though she wasn’t fooled by any of them lol. They all adored her too. Now I am on the verge of becoming a grandma myself and I hope to be just like her. Her love and determination to live her best life, are the best examples to live by. She was no angel, we did not always agree, quite the opposite sometimes, but she was always There. Her faith carried us through a lot of storms and she never gave up on us, on me. She’s in the best place and fully taken care of. She will forever be remembered as the Loving Warrior to me.

10 years later, the grief has surely lessened, but I do still miss her, especially on certain days. Her birthday of course and the day of her passing, which was not long after she turned 66. Yes, the pain has lessened a lot and I do not think about her everyday, but every once in a while, it just hits me hard and if I could only just call her and hear her voice one more time…

Love you Forever

Wishing y’all a very Loving Weekend. Cherish the Love

Flowers Galore

4/29/2021
Sometimes I wear Flowers instead of my Halo

Flowers Galore

(or how I bloomed in the midst of the bulbs)

Purrettyy Colorrss

I was 11 years old when I started my first – and only for about the next 5 years – summer job. Growing up in a country that is famous for its flowers, I was right in the middle of it 🌷

Some of you know I grew up in between the famous flower fields in The Netherlands, right at the – west – top of this small dab of a land. If you’ve ever saw those pictures of fields stretched out with the most colorful tulips, you know what I’m talking about. There were other flowers of course, but the tulip is as much a symbol for Holland as are the wooden shoes – never wore those exact ones, though I did others – and the windmills. The latter strewn about the country and definitely a part of the scenery where I was living.

Other common flowers littering the fields would be, hyacinths, crocuses and daffodils. The scent I can still remember and the colors were overwhelmingly beautiful this time of year. Spring time could be magnificent, even if the weather wasn’t cooperative most of the times. For someone who’s kind of obsessed with colors, there hardly could have been a better place to live 🌈 Driving to the next town to go shopping was a joy, what with all the lovely views.

It took me years to actually understand the basics of how the flower business sort of worked and I was still very young when my brothers started their first summer jobs there. At that time, age was not looked upon very strict, as long as you did your job and did it right. They started with topping the flowers in the fields, in full bloom – actually taking off the flower from the stem – which was quite a tough job as far as I could tell. This was done to actually make the bulb grow bigger. This is now mostly done by a machine. However, my summer job only came into the picture when they started another one: ‘peeling’  flower bulbs.

The topped daffodils were saved and stringed to long, very long, garlands, which were used later: At the beginning of May, around my Mom’s birthday, the village was decorated during a week long of ‘flower days’ – for a lack of a better translation. Our street used to participate in that and stringing those flowers together was a total drag, though the end result was awfully pretty. The hyacinths were also saved, the petals plucked and used to make the loveliest mosaics. We used to either take a walk or a ride to look at them. This was an annual contest and some of them were freaking amazing 🏆

Now I’m speaking in past tense, but this is still done to this day, although I know a lot has changed in the process of how it’s done. The peeling was done inside and I will try to describe what it looked like and how it was done back then.

11 years old and eager to earn some money, which I could spend during my summer holidays preferably the ones in Spain. It was The Best Thing: after having worked real hard a couple of weeks – mostly 4 – the reward would be bringing my own money to a land where I could spend it all on things that were way cheaper and more exclusive, than the things I would find in my hometown 🇪🇸 Not that I didn’t spend some there, during those years, I already told you about some of my most prized possessions: a fancy red bike and a freaking boombox. I enjoyed both so much, because I knew all too well what it had cost me physically. The reward!

With a multitude of farmers who were into growing flower bulbs around us, there was enough work for all the young (and older) people in the region. I guess it is still a much wanted summer job, since it will only last so long and will make sure you end up with some serious money – if that’s still the case 😅 By the time I started, my brothers had found a farmer that was really friendly and fair to their workers, because yeah, that clearly wasn’t always the case. They had already spent a couple of summers there, so it felt pretty safe for me to go and ask if I could have a job too.

Now I’m fairly sure I will not relate my memories in chronological order, but you’ll get the idea. Inside a big hall, there were large wooden crates filled with flower bulbs  –  a volume of 1 cubic meter – spread around. On each side was a ‘table’ attached, where 2 people could be seated and work. The crate had slides, opening to both sides and letting the bulbs fall on the table. And that’s when the work started: picking up bulb for bulb and peeling them, gathering the peeled ones in another, smaller crate, which were placed on pallet. This pallet would carry 8 crates at the most, before they were moved to another hall, to keep the bulbs cooled and prepare them for shipping.

It’s definitely done a bit differently today, but at that time it was a pretty physical job, especially for an 11 year old sprite of a girl 😂 Not the peeling itself, which was done seated – or you could stand if you wanted to – but moving the crates and stuff, luckily there were always the farmers sons or others, to help out with the lifting of the crates.

At the beginning, the farmers wife, a sweet but strict lady who basically ruled the hall and all the peelers, would check if I did everything correctly and as soon as she was satisfied with my work, I was left on my own. See, peeling doesn’t sound too difficult, but you could obviously damage the bulbs and when done repeatedly, that would make them lose a lot of money. In short: you had to remove the little stalk and attached roots, which was considered garbage, as well as the newly growing little bulbs, which were added to the neatly peeled ones. They would be separated later by size and the small ones were obviously to be planted again.

It took a little time to get the hang of it, so I was really slow when I began. Time was of the essence, seeing I was paid per crate, but there wasn’t much I could do, but go on and gain speed while getting more experienced. My brothers could easily do 15-20 crates per day and there were always a couple of real show-offs, who could do 20+ crates per day. Ka-Ching! 💰 It also depended on the sort of bulb we had to peel, since they obviously differ in size. It was generally known, the smaller bulbs would pay better, since it would take more time to fill up a crate. Another important detail was how dry the bulbs were, the dryer the bulbs, the easier to peel.

Though I did peel crocuses sometimes – the start of the season – I mainly worked with tulips, which always contained the largest part of the farmers fields. And yes, these also come in different sizes, but even the smaller ones, aren’t as small as crocuses. I also peeled hyacinths once, which are a real pain, since chances of getting itchy all over are real and the smell can be a tad too much. Basically, peeling bulbs will make you feel like one: the smell and the dust – sand – creeps into your clothes and skin and your nose will not be able to smell anything else for hours. At the end of the weekend, you might have just lost it, only to dive into it again starting the new week. But hey… No Pain, No Gain.

Wearing protection for your hands was imperative, I don’t think I ever saw anyone working without any. The more experienced people would cleverly wrap their fingers with a specific brand of Band-Aids. I tried that a couple of times, but for me that just wouldn’t do and not only that, the time spent on getting that right and the mess of it in the end was not my cup of tea. They most often didn’t even last the whole day, which meant people had to re-do it after their lunch break. Just No. Rubber gloves were taking care of everything just fine 🧤 That was, until holes appeared, first in one finger, slowly spreading to the rest, which would still leave my fingers wet, cold, well they were always cold, and very dirty – the bulbs were hardly ever dry, coming straight from the land. It was an especially rude awakening, when you got your hands on a bad – read; rotting – bulb. Just had to always make sure there was a spare pair in my bag.

Speed and I never went well in one sentence, and I think getting that very first crate filled was nothing short of a victory, it took foreeeeever. If I remember correctly, the first days I managed to get 2 crates done and then I slowly got to 4-5 crates a day, half a crate was accepted. I maintained this for a long time, which in my opinion wasn’t all that bad. It still meant I was getting about 70 euro’s at the end of the week, a lot of money for a kid those days lol. And a lot of money at the end of the season!

Once I got used to it, the work was boring as heck, but it definitely helped if I had a nice enough ‘neighbor’ sitting next to me. Must have been weird for most people, since they were all older than I was. A nice neighbor could be helpful in more ways than one, it also spurred me on to up my game and become faster. Nothing more frustrating, than seeing someone next to you peel away 3 times more crates in the same amount of time 😤 I was in awe when people got several pallets driven out even before the morning was done.

What also helped A Lot: the radio was playing the whole day! Me and Music whaha. There wasn’t much choice back then, but luckily the farmer had it tuned on the most popular station, playing top 40 songs throughout the day. It was particularly funny, when peeps started to sing along out loud, when one or other hit was on. We did everything to make the job more interesting than it actually was.

Through the years I got faster of course, earning more money every summer, which made it possible to buy some stuff I really wanted and was not getting from my parents. At some point, we almost made it a family business, since more family members found this an easy way to earn some extra bucks to enjoy the holidays afterwards. One year, one of my aunts joined the club and we used to cycle to our job together. I’d just gotten her old bike – yes this was way before I bought the fancy red one – a pretty purple one, with a little basket attached at the front. 

It took about 15 minutes to get there and we had to cycle alongside a ditch with a fairly steep slope, on a pretty busy road. When some crazy driver passed us way too close and started honking at us too, we got startled, which lead to our handlebars getting stuck in each other – thank you nice basket! 🤐 – and me heading straight down that slope. I barely managed to keep myself from diving head first in that lovely ditch, but it was cloooose. After that, we got to work in one piece, but with shaking limbs.

It was always nice to see some familiar faces return every year and by then most of them knew who I was too. The end of the season/work, was always celebrated with a treat by the farmers wife: she would go to one of the best bakers in a village nearby, to buy the most wonderful, very Dutch, cakes. They were still warm when she was handing them out to us. And as if it was devised by a higher power, the end of the season also meant the annual fair that would descend upon our village. Such a great way to spend all your hard earned money in a couple of days too haha. Apart form the fair, nothing really spectacular ever happened there, so yeah…

Our kids had a go at it too, a couple of years ago, but they didn’t have to fill crates anymore. Standing along sort of an assembly line, they were paid per hour. The smell didn’t change, but I guess rules and regulations became more important. It was still a nice pay for a job that only lasted a couple of weeks. I do miss the sight of those lovely fields this time a year, there’s really nothing quite like it. Flowers Galore. Colorful Expressions For real 🌷

Source: English Common Bible

Wishing y’all a very Flowery Weekend, surprise a loved one, but not with the bulbs. Though that might actually work. Leaving a comment below would be a surprise too

Spotlight on SDR

Special Feature 4/28/2021
SDR

Meet SDR: SDR began as an outlet for the funky feelings of this UK based producer/musician. The project keeps evolving from dancey bops to more emotional, ethereal synth-pop they’ve produced for others such as labelmate and long time collaborator Alex Edwin and Rob Clemz. Sharing musical spheres with the likes of Fibre, Discoholic and Camino 84, SDR infuses contemporary production with an extreme detail on the post-disco and boogie of the early to mid 1980’s. Stay tuned for more exciting work, coming very soon… Source: About SDR, Spotify.

My kind of Music, with SDR.

Music Like YOU WON’T BELIEVE.

Aaand whe’re back in the UK, where my guest of today, SDR, resides. I first heard about SDR at the end of 2020, when his single ‘Won’t Believe’ was released (12/11/2020) under the Montaime label, yes indeed, one and the same where Fibre is leading the troops. Just to give a little insight as how one thing always leads to another at the Colorful Expressions headquarters 🙂. Or rather, how following one artist always leads to following another and another and…well you get it. Though I had already started updating my weekly playlist, this track had not yet been added. “Shame!” You say. Well…Maaaybe.

I did however add a remix of ‘Missing You’. The original, a collab with Rob Clemz, was released 11/28/2015 and also appeared in 2017 on Rob Clemz’s album, ‘Looking Up’, in 2017. Remixes appeared in October 2018, when Rob Clemz released the album ‘Looking Up (The Remixes)’. Here you can find the SCU remix as well as the mentioned Doktor Plekter remix , from ‘Missing You’. I couldn’t help but being intrigued when I recognized that name, because it’s always very nice when things come together on my blog: By then the Spotlights on Doktor Plekter and Discoholic were history and the one on FIBRE was in the pipeline.

If I find  the nerve, I will ask Camino 84 for a future Spotlight, to make SDR’s little list of ‘shared musical spheres’ complete, but uhm… Maaaybe… Anyways, so happy to say today’s guest is a quick responder – how I love that – and here we are! In a way it’s been a good thing I had not yet added ‘Won’t Believe’ to the Some Groovy Medicine playlist, it just means I can do it with the next update! The song has some interesting background info, which you can hear SDR talk about in the interview done with Montaime 12/18/2020. A couple of details: he started creating ‘Won’t Believe’ in 2017, his partner gave him a deadline to finally finish it in 3 days in 2020, which he did! Aaand the song has vocals from when he started as well as newly added ones. Can you believe it?

‘Won’t Believe’, is showing off SDR’s talent for sure. The opening makes me feel I’m diving in head first and I love it when a song does that to me. As with all lyrics, interpretation is up to the listener, but the part: ‘You won’t believe what I’m feeling‘, could be a true clue in any universe. I think it’s pure creativity, when you can come up with a song that is definitely new in every aspect, but still makes me feel as if I’ve known it all along. Great hook and all that. Fresh and nostalgic at the same time, I think SDR captured what his Twitter bio says, I quote: ‘Always working on my boogie‘.

I recommend you listen to the whole interview on SoundCloud, where some interesting questions are asked and SDR is going into detail about, for instance, mastering. Together with the little interview below, you can get a good picture of what SDR is all about – and also find out his previous alias 😉 On SoundCloud you can also find a couple of older songs/remixes, made by SDR, which you won’t find on Spotify. These were from before he made a new start as SDR, which are his actual initials in real life. Pretty good stuff!

Just around that new start in 2017, SDR got in contact with Fibre and he released ‘Want You Here’ under the – at that time, new! – Montaime label. Kind of going full circle, starting and ending there, well almost… Because it didn’t end there. Listening to this song, it’s definitely giving that 80’s vibe. Great synths, soulful vocals, that combination really feels like a groovy 80’s marriage. His voice sounding is if he indeed went back in time to catch that specific timbre. Yes, yes, big word for a great voice, which btw is another fact SDR shared in the Montaime interview: this was the first time he actually sang. So, WOW. And since I’m never sure if the vocals are actually done by the artist self, and I only discovered this after sending the questions, I pretty much spoiled this one for ya. Sorry-not-sorry.

Going through SDR’s social media, brought me a couple of fun facts too: He visited Amsterdam during the summer of 2015 – and y’all know as a Dutchie, things like that make me smile. Even better: when I noticed a couple of posts referring to his Doc Martens, I just HAD to ask him, how much he loved his shoes. His reply, I quote: ‘I really do love them! Wish I had more 😂’. See, now we’re talking! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: me and my Docs, will never part! Double score for SDR in my book!

Anyways, back to his music. I know, chaotic me never seems to go through the songs in order of release, but that’s basically because I never really listen to the artists music that way. If you do, you’re weird. You’d never want to go shopping with me, because I never succeed in going through a store following a logical path. Which in a round-about way brings me to SDR’s latest release, ‘Love Under Pressure’, released 4/2/2021 – under the Savona label –  which I DID add to my playlist a couple of days after the release. It also gave me the perfect excuse – do I need it – to tag SDR, get in contact with him and throw the inevitable ‘if-you’re-interested-I-would-like-to-do-an-interview’ bomb. Again, sorry-not-sorry. No Pressure at all.

The song is an absolute banger, dealing about, well obviously, a love under pressure. Singing about a relationship that slowly seems to deteriorate, it bugs the heck out of me I still can’t pinpoint of whom SDR’s voice reminds me. I’m sure it must be someone from the past and the closest I can get: he’s sounding like a fusion of Freeez and Hall & Oates. If that’s offending, I’m sorry. At any rate, his voice is very recognizable and that is a most welcome feat. Next to amazing vocals, the song is carried by the synths/keys, melodies taking me straight back to the 80’s indeed, with the guitar tickling in the background. Groovy Heartbreak.

Going back in time again – whiplash much? – when a couple of collabs and SDR remixes were released, the most recent one being ‘Cheque’, a collab with Nukumachi, released on the album ‘Atsuko’, but also as a single 4/23/2019. A funky tune about a love in which anything is possible: ‘So tell me what you want babe, close your eyes and make a wish. Anything you want baby, I can check it off your list‘. Who doesn’t want to find a love like that huh? Synths through the roof and a bassline dreams are made of. SDR magic? Cheque!

Which leaves 3 others, which you can find below.

Released 12/5/2015

Released 12/18/2015

I can only say I am very much enjoying SDR’s music so far and I am very curious as to what he will release in the future. So that’s about it from my side, it’s time to let SDR speak, but as always I want to say: BIG Thank You SDR! I am very happy you made some time to be part of my blog and I hope to hear new stuff soon! Wishing you all the blessings and creativity on your musical path. I will add you asap to my Spotlight page, where you will stay indefinitely and I will do my best to update all your new songs!

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is SDR? When and how did you get started making music? Do you play any instruments / sing, yourself? Do you write your own lyrics?

‘I started making music when I was about 11-12 years old when I found this free software where you make music online called ‘Audiotool’. I learnt so much just messing about in there, engaging with the community of others, and from there it just grew and grew for a few years until I discovered Ableton Live – everything changed from there. 

I used to make music under a previous alias but that ended, now SDR is my outlet for all things eighties disco/synth-funk. I learnt guitar when I was young but I always wanted to play the piano because my sister did, so I taught myself! Yeah! I do sing, I was quite scared to sing on my songs but I realized I should just try and have fun with it and it just works!’

Who have been / are, your biggest influences? Where do you get your inspiration from? How would you describe your music?

‘My biggest inspiration is Daft Punk but it’s not the most obvious when you hear my music. I love everything they make but also their journey because I share the same thing. I initially got into electronic music, the more aggressive stuff. Then started really listening to french house and from there…the samples. I started just listening to those original samples, 70s & 80s funk/disco! So really all the big players in that field: Kashif, Chic, Change, D-Train and some Yacht Rock too: Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Airplay, Lee Ritenour and Michael Franks etc’.

Your Spotify bio says, I quote: ‘SDR infuses contemporary production with an extreme detail on the post-disco and boogie of the early to mid-1980’s’. Sounds really cool, but can you please elaborate on that? And why this particular era?

‘There’s something fascinating about that era to me. Early digital. There was a great breakthrough in technology and music was shifting at the time. Listening to music that blends from those worlds that crossover from analogue to digital, I find it so satisfying. There was also a magic to the musicians of that era, just after the peak of the LA studio musician and just as disco recesses into a niche, post-‘disco sucks”. 

How does your creative process work? Is it a ‘go-with-the-flow’ thing, or have you developed some kind of plan you follow? What do you consider the hardest part and what is the most fun part of producing?

‘I love being technical but the more and more I’ve made music over the years, I’ve realized my feelings really need to come first. I have to ask myself…what am I trying to say/feel? and that isn’t always an easy answer! My more technical side has helped me though: it stops me from having to think about how to do something but now just ‘what do I want to say’. The hardest part for me is saying stop and not ruining what is great about the music’.

I know you’ve released your last single ‘Under Pressure’, under the Savona label, but can you tell us a bit about your relation to that label and what it means to you?

‘Savona means a lot to me. Rob (RobClemz) has been a friend of mine for many years and was one of my first music friends I met online. We’ve worked on so many projects together and he has really inspired me creatively and has kept me on track to make music regularly! In late 2019/early 2020 he kept suggesting I could help out with Savona and after I graduated with my degree in music technology I said yes! So I have been helping him out, running his one-man show to a two-man show!’

Your Instagram bio says, I quote: ‘Aspiring Mastering Engineer’, can you share a little about your vision regarding this? What has been your most prized achievement so far? What would be your ultimate dream coming true?

‘I came into my university degree with (what I thought) was a lot of music-tech knowledge. My degree really helped me show the many different paths you can take in audio. I became fascinated with mastering, the final step of making music. The more I did it, the more I loved it. It’s often seen as a dark art in the audio world and I wanted to demystify it and really learn from those who’ve come before’. 

What’s in store for your fans in the (near) future? Anything new you’re working on, you can share something about?

‘Actually quite a lot is coming up! I’m working on about 5 songs simultaneously, some solo tracks, some collaborations. I am very excited since it took me a while to start regularly releasing music, but now I’ve started, I want to just keep productive and let the music flow!’

Is there anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who’s listening to my music, and if anyone is in need of a mastering engineer – hit me up! (@shawisure on insta)

Thanks’

Again, Big Thanks to SDR, I love all the artists that have been an inspiration to you, but mentioning Lee Ritenour goes straight to my heart! And to you my readers, if you haven’t found SDR’s music yet, get a move on will ya!

Follow SDR on SpotifyBandcampSoundCloudInstagram TwitterFacebook

Or Follow Savona !

Wishing y’all a week like You Won’t Believe, Peace

My Kind of Music (1)

7/2/2020 REVISED 4/21/21

My Kind of Music (1)

(or how Jazz Rock colored my life – am I the only crazy person playing the same track for days?)

I grew up in a rather music loving family.

Having a father who once played in a band together with his brothers and friends, music has played a great part while growing up. As far as playing any instrument myself, the only one I tried in elementary school, was a flute. Although I kind of liked learning to play it (and driving my family crazy while doing so), I only managed to keep it up for about 2 years. So nothing really interesting here. Which left me with singing, nothing big, but definitely enjoyable, especially after Gospel (and believe me there is funky Gospel too) entered our scene.

Our love for music was evident in the amount of vinyl records and music cassettes – evolving to CD’s – we owned and listened to. There was always something playing in the background. When I mentioned I grew up with slightly different customs, our taste in music was surely a part of that. Now, I am not saying I was totally aware at first what kind of music was ‘the norm’ around me- I mean, me and ‘norm’ just don’t seem to go in one sentence – but it  became perfectly clear, that ours was deviating from that. No, I grew up with what is still known as Jazz Rock, Jazz Funk or Jazz Fusion. Or in short Fusion. Let me google this for you;

David Sanborn – As We Speak just one of the artists I grew up listening to, always loved the cover art.

Jazz fusion (also known as fusion) is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll. Source: Wikipedia

Alternative Titles: cross over, fusion. Jazz-rock, also called fusion, popular musical form in which modern jazz improvisation is accompanied by the bass lines, drumming styles, and instrumentation of rock music, with a strong emphasis on electronic instruments and dance rhythms. Source: Britannica

In my own words this would translate to; very funky, happy, dance-able music. Carried by heavy bass lines, strong keyboards and drums. Our music wasn’t even always accompanied by vocals, a large part of it was instrumental. I guess if classical music is your thing, this does not sound weird at all…, but I did not know any classical music lovers either – ** remember “small-town” **

How it looked like, where I grew up

From the age of 11, I was able to work in the flower (-bulb) sector during school holidays. You see I literally grew up between the famous Dutch flower fields and yes, I had to work if I wanted anything ‘extra’. Can you even imagine what one of my first purchases was? Yasss, a freaking boombox.

I am not even sure if they called it that at that time, but after the ‘revival’ – I think somewhere in the nineties? – the name boombox stuck. Now I could listen to the radio, record my favorite songs on cassette tapes (yeah…) and listen to them some more. Creating my own mix tapes – what a blast hahah. I could not imagine going through my day without music. I still can’t by the way. My love for music carried me through the lovely school years, when Pop and Disco became rather popular. Because these were mostly happy and dance-able too, they were easily added to my favorites.

Lyrics

At this point lyrics became more important to me. Lyrics appeal directly to our soul and spirit. Of course we all know thousands of songs, but we do not like all of them. The difference could be well made by the lyrics that accompanies the song. Knowing a song by heart and singing along can give me a personal boost and feels like I am actually sharing the joy with the artist. Singing is another way to express myself, it’s freeing in its own way. And I dare say, when a voice is really blessed, it can go a long way to a persons heart and soul. The song below is happy and funky, but is still carrying a serious message. Awesome combination!

Funk LeBlanc, Ft. Madeleine Wood – The Fix (Champion Edition hyper Fighting Mix)

A voice like an angel? Ah. No. I don’t think that would apply to me. It was not until after we had kids, I got some singing lessons while living in Spain. However I must say through the years I have found that prayer actually empowers my voice and my range increases. And yeah, practicing helps too 😉

Growing up within an Indonesian infused culture, meant that when there was a party – and there were many – music was always provided by family members. Uncles, aunts, cousins, we had musicians and singers at hand and ready to play. And I can in all honesty say, certainly when I compare it to what goes around nowadays, we were pretty good!

And man… we had to be, or no one would hit that dance floor and shake their booty. This was always a source for great fun; of course through the years our (rather large) family was a mix of Indonesian and Dutch – and many other mixed origin – members. As soon as the music started people would dance – because that’s what we do – the differences became visible on the dance floor. Have you any idea how hard it is to actually dance off beat?? Believe me, I tried….

Within the family, we all were familiar with the same repertoire. This also included some real classics: like for instance The Eagles ( I actually sang ‘Lying eyes’), The Doobie Brothers (Of course we had to perform ‘listen to the music’) these were kind of mandatory. ‘Each and Every One’ by Everything but the girl, was one of my favorites to sing also. The last wedding we joined forces with nieces and nephews, we played ‘Mas Que Nada’. I can tell you it was great fun singing in Portuguese!

Rehearsing Mas Que Nada

Even going through high school, I could not find one person, who was familiar with the same music. ** remember “small-town” ** Of course the more contemporary pop and disco, were easy to share. Not so much Jazz Rock.

In case you are now wondering whatever artists I listened to while growing up, let me throw you a couple of names;

Marcus Miller – Lee Ritenour (see below **Just for fun!) – Spyro GyraDavid Sanborn The ReddingsThe Rippingtons… I could go on, but if just one of these names is meaning anything to you, we are destined to be besties! Luckily, we also had loads of Michael Jackson ( I mean, come on….) who was at least the most known of all times – King of Pop.

Funk LeBlanc – PYT Remix

It was not until I met my hubby Steve, that I found a kindred music spirit, by that time I was 19 years young and what a revelation! There were actually other people out there with the same taste in music! Even better, my husband to be, had been playing the bass professionally for years. Later on I discovered he also played the guitar and drums…. Yeah, my flute was long gone by that time…. It was a joy he had the opportunity to play at our wedding.

Steve (husband) on bass, Marcus Miller was and will always be, his idol on bass

A couple of months after we got married, we were invited to join The Continental Singers for their French tour – yes for our group, every song was in French.

Well, to be honest, Steve was invited to play bass and because we were newlyweds, the tour would last 6 weeks and this was a chance of a life time, he asked if there was room for me too. Hilariously, all the singing positions were filled, but “the light and media technician (!! 😂) role was still open”, if I wanted to? Just my luck that after only a couple of nights performing, our media projector was stolen…so far the media part…believe me, taking care of the lighting was challenge enough.

We had a great time, touring through France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland. Performing in another city every night and being hosted by strangers who were all equally wonderful. My French was heavily tested – Awkward!! We ended the tour with a grand finale together with several other groups, in Rotterdam.

The power of music was always clear to me. I mean, everybody knows that  music can lift your spirits and comfort you when your down. When it’s raining all day, some sunny tune will get a smile back on your face. Or maybe at some point, some sad, theatrical music might get you through some depressing times, by being depressed along with you. Sometimes we just have to wallow in (self-) pity right?

As far as choices go, my preferred one would always be the more up-tempo kind. This will never fail to make me want to move my feet and dance whatever negativity is trying to defeat me, straight out the door.

THIS

In no way am I a professional dancer – though I would love to take hip-hop dance lessons when I grow up – but it’s just another way to express what is inside me. I am not performing for anybody, I am doing it purely for the joy of it, getting rid of any stress along the way is a big bonus.

Music is also helping me through my (daily) workouts. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter how hard my body is telling me I need some exercise, my mind might just not agree. To be honest, in this case I am not even totally sure which part is more opposing, because at the same time, it’s my body that will complain as soon as I start said exercise. Music is making it way more fun at least. While I am writing music is playing, Thank you Funk LeBlanc! I am very happy I discovered that the soul of disco is not dead, although I believe it has been upgraded pretty good! Its funkier than ever and feels like a pretty good mashup of my childhood music.

Fun fact; we kind of dumped the same music on our kids. Of course they developed their own taste, we tried to keep up and it is so much fun sharing new tracks back and forth. I loved seeing Bruno Mars with our son and Ariana Grande with our daughter.

The power of music should not be underestimated. As much as it can encourage and lift us up, it can also bring us down. Now I could get into the whole Illuminati / music thingy (which is quite disconcerting really) and if you would want me to, let me know, but that’s not what I am aiming at here.

We consist / are created, of three parts, some would say; me, myself and I, but no;

Body – Soul – Spirit

Body = (obviously) skeleton, flesh and blood

Soul =  feeling, mind and will

Spirit = intuition, conscience and faith

= God created us after His Image, also consisting of Three – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is our spirit that is able to connect / communicate with His Spirit =

And isn’t it great how music relates to all three of them?

My body wants to dance as soon as I hear some groovy beat – bye bye stress and hellooo workout.

My (soul-) feelings can either calm down or get enthusiastically encouraged with the right lyrics – my mind stops fussing and worrying and my will looses its importance and gets into perspective -‘I can let go’ – this will result in;

My (spirit-) intuition takes over, my conscience stops judging and analyzing and all in all I will connect to the vibes that will make me feel better, maybe even great.

Source: Common English Bible

Later in life, the above got even more interesting, when I found what Gospel music could do for my soul and spirit. I firmly believe, that a blessed voice and inspired instrumentalists can bring forth magic or rather, miracles. We had the opportunity and pleasure to sing and play for a couple of years in church and I have clearly seen what inspired music can achieve in peoples life’s.

There is healing in music. That’s My Kind of Music.

If it is on a superficial (shake- that- booty), or even more profound spiritual level, that’s up to us to allow. Either way I believe music is one of the greatest assets in my life. It most definitely still brightens and colors my every day!

Wishing y’all a very Your Kind of Music week!

See also: My Kind of Music (2)

Special thanks to Funk LeBlanc (bff – best funky friend 😉)

Funk LeBlanc is a Funk / Nu Disco / House DJ and Producer from San Francisco, CA. Funk LeBlanc likes to “Keep it Real”, which means a lot of analog equipment and real instruments are used in the creation of these tracks. This creates a more authentic sound, opposed to building songs strictly “out of the box”. Funk LeBlanc is initially known for a remix Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” which currently has over 420,000 listens and peaked at 4th place on Hype Machine’s most popular tracks list. Funk LeBlanc’s cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was featured in Ryan Seacrest’s “Best Drake Cover Contest”. (source: Youtube)

**Just for fun and to reassure myself my childhood music was not that weird at all

Funk LeBlanc – Need Beijo 100% (Funk LeBlanc Mashup) (EWF & Marcus Miller Mashup)

Lee Ritenour – Is It You (Funk LeBlanc Rework)
Funk LeBlanc – Waves (La Felix Remix) LOVE THAT BASS!

Follow Funk LeBlanc on SpotifyYouTubeSoundcloudBandcampInstagramFacebookTwitterWebsite

See also Spotlight on Funk Le Blanc

Spotlight on Strawberry Station

Special Feature 4/17/2021
Strawberry Station

Meet Strawberry Station: a Future Funk Artist from England and currently living in Toronto, Canada. Muddling his way through life and trying to make tunes that people vibe to in the process! He’s always had a love for happy music and that’s his over-arching vibe, but you will occasionally hear more melancholy stuff in here as well. Like everything else in life, it depends on his mood. Source: About Strawberry Station, Spotify.

My Kind of Music, with Strawberry Station.

MOMMA LIKES FUTURE FUNK & STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE.

(Ain’t that the truth!)

We’re going to Canada! It’s a bit of a cheat, since my guest is only temporarily staying there, but hey, I’ll take it! I am happy to introduce this artist to you all – unless you already know him of course. Reading through his bio ( the above is just a part of it, please feel free to look it up and read the rest!) I can only say: he’s not exaggerating. Strawberry Station’s music is destined to take the grey clouds away, make your head bob and your body sway. Okay, laaame, but with a name like that and several mouthwatering song titles, who can resist??? I’m. Not. Joking. People who know me can testify, strawberry is my favorite flavor and there’s only One Milkshake for me:

I first heard of Strawberry Station, little under a year ago. Yes, that would’ve been when I started to get more active on Twitter. Now you all know I’m pretty bad with names, so It helps a lot when artists names are standing out – thank you very nice – as is the obvious case here. Add in my love for the fruit and we have a winner. Hah, that’s not where it ends honey, we’re just getting started. My first encounter with Strawberry Stations’ music, was with the album 128 State, released 9/27/2019. To be honest, the cover art really spoke to me – so sue me – and I had my first listen. I was pleasantly surprised for sure, but you gotta understand one thing: I only just got started with my blog and my head was spinning from all the music coming my way. So Strawberry Station got on my ‘waiting list’, but here we are and you know what? Now I can say for real: Momma Likes Future Funk.

Yes I know, that song is Not from the album 128 State – it’s from ‘Strawberry Streams‘, released 5/3/2019 – but humor me will ya, gotta make this story a bit fun. It took me about a half year to get up to speed – I might be a bit optimistic here 🤐 – and get my head wrapped around the genres I was getting really interested in. Most of you know I come from a Jazz-Rock/Fusion and Funk background, which flowed into other funky stuff, mainly Disco. Anything with a groove and very important, is dance appropriate, will catch my attention. Basically music that will make me feel good and yes, Strawberry Station’s got the recipe. From the moment my eyes caught that album cover and I had my first listen, I started to follow him and slowly but surely, his music got a place in my heart and thus, my playlist.

I am from another era lol, so when I first heard about Future Funk, I had a good laugh. No offense, but I grew up with a lot of the originals, which are now coming back to me, chopped, seasoned and refreshed. Before you start throwing those tomatoes, I am not trying to belittle anyone or any genre, it’s quite the opposite: I am Thrilled to recognize bits and pieces of a funky past! It’s like ‘giving life back to music’, pun intended. The way – not only – Future Funk shows appreciation for the Groove, makes my heart sing. I do love my vintage. And wine, I love wine.

Then one day I made the Some Groovy Medicine playlist on Spotify, initially meant as a ‘Feel Better’ card for a previous Spotlight, but when people asked if I would keep updating it, I thought: Why Not? It was December by then and I can only say, it’s as much joy, as it is a challenge, to find new music every week. Rediscovering golden oldies is a definite bonus and though there are enough ‘big’ names in music I like, I aim for the ‘smaller’ ones to add.  Linking the playlist to my blog was an obvious next step and there are always some interesting artists, who might end up as the next Spotlight. It’s a win/win for me 😅

Some artists – including Strawberry Station – I follow on social media have become real inspirations for me: the way they keep an open line to the community, showing honesty when things get tough, as well as the positivity they share, it makes everything very Real and I Love that. Fun certainly has a place in all of this, which makes it all the easier to connect to them and their music. Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel about it. While in the past, my musical heroes were basically unreachable, I can now almost talk to them on a daily basis – still trying very hard not to stalk, sorry-not-sorry, old habits die hard.

I got a bit more organized with all the stuff concerning my blog and how to manage the time I spent on it – it’s almost a full time job 🙄, but a very happy one. Listening to music takes up most of my attention, since I love to deep-dive into all of the artists’ music, to get the whole picture. I couldn’t in all honesty write about it, if I did not make the effort to actually listen to it all and by the beginning of this year, I started to add Strawberry Stations songs to my weekly playlist. When I listened to this next song, the opening had me laughing so hard, it just HAD to be the first. Of course the beat only confirmed my choice, funky stuff for sure.

Of course I had to work my way backwards after that, but hey, having listened to everything Strawberry Station has to offer, that wasn’t a real hardship. If you want to throw a dance party, his music could easily fill the program and spread the right groove. And talking about the fun part: when I had the opportunity to join the Disco Forever livestream the 13th of February, I got more than I hoped for. This was my first chance of seeing Strawberry Station in action and I was not going to let it pass, so lemme just share it with you:

Strawberry Station – Live at Disco Forever | Future Funk & Vaporwave Online Festival

Safe to say I was not disappointed! People were going wild in the chat, it was hilarious. I had previously read some of the stuff Strawberry Station posted regarding the personal things he was going through, as well as about his stay in Canada, and it was great to see how much fun he was having himself. BTW, on his YouTube channel, you can also find video’s about his experiences abroad. Very entertaining and at times just as hilarious, especially when he says things like, I quote: ‘..the gravy is thinner than the amount of content I’ve got for my next album..‘ 😂 Well Alright Then. (Of course this was before Future Funk 2021 was released and we all know that came out quite allright).

The next song I added to the weekly playlist was from the album ‘Smoothie Sounds’, released 11/6/2020. You see, it wasn’t very hard to choose songs, or, depending on how you look at it, it could have been, since I like almost every Strawberry Station track. If you’re anything like me, and upbeat, danceable music is all you need in your life, seek no more. We can all safely agree 2020 did totally suck and we’re all trying to make this a better year, I am just suggesting it will be infinitely easier with Strawberry Station’s music. There’s enough to share and have a good time, I think y’all deserve it.

Another fun thing is listening to the little mixed-in ‘extra’s’ – excuse-you-me, I don’t know a better word, I’m trying here – in some of Strawberry Stations songs. I found the best one in this next single, released 5/2/2019. An absolutely driving track, called ‘Anita’, and if I have to believe her, she just got her bubble busted, when she came to a cold realization: ‘What? What do you mean you don’t like Disco??‘ I mean, there’s no surviving after that, Ok. Bye 👋

If I remember correctly, Strawberry Station mentioned not so long ago, something like: How many times can you use strawberry/ smoothie/ jelly etc. in song / album, titles? This is not a literal quote, but you get the idea. I get this can be a challenge, but I wouldn’t mind making a few suggestions, if he needs a couple. Nearing summertime, visions of cool shakes and smoothies are always on people’s minds. Though our biggest dream is probably to be actually able to enjoy the coming season. I know new stuff is coming and I am very curious as to what his imagination has come up with. Keeping it fresh and fruity certainly lured me in!

Well, apart from repeating myself and telling you to please listen to Strawberry Station, while the season is getting hotter and you might need some refreshment, I basically told you all about how his music came to be a part of my life.  I do want to add, it was such a pleasure for me to see how genuinely enthusiastic Strawberry Station responded to my request of doing a little interview. Though I like to give the artists all the time they need, sometimes this results in never hearing from them again. Not Strawberry Station though! I received everything- the answers + a lot of material to work with! – back within a couple of days, Amazing!  Always makes me very happy 💖

So it’s time to hear what The Man himself has to say, but before we go there, I would like to end with: A BIG Thank You, Strawberry Station! Again, such a pleasure working with you, and such a pleasure working on this article. I wish you all the blessings for the rest of your stay in Canada, as well as with all your musical endeavors and I am looking forward to new stuff from you. I will add you to my Spotlight page asap, where you will be mentioned indefinitely together with all the previous Spotlights and where I will do my best to update every new release. Let me finish with a literal banger, Here We Go, Finally!

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, Who is Strawberry Station? When and how did you start producing music? Who have been / are, your biggest influences?

‘Hey everyone! I’m Strawberry Station, an electronic musician specializing in Future Funk! I’m from England, but currently living in Canada as part of a working holiday I decided to take in a moment of madness the year before last. 

I’ve dabbled in making music for at least a decade now, but it was after discovering Vaporwave and latterly Future Funk in 2017 that things really started to get serious. I was a latecomer to both scenes, but I fell for them hard and before I knew it the community was my lifeblood.

It was hearing Cherry Pepsi from Saint Pepsi for the first time that really turned my head, but since then a few other artists have really driven my enthusiasm. I have taken a lot of influence on my own sound from folks like Mélonade, Mr. Wax, クリスタルKITSUNE and more recently SUPERFLAT. For me, it’s all about that old-school, fun-loving vibe and being able to whack a tape in a boombox and take the party anywhere’.

Your Spotify bio mentions, next to Future Funk, you also dabble in Vaporwave and Lo-Fi sounds, but before you discovered this scene, you were a ‘classic rock kind of person’. Quite the evolution, can you tell us a bit about how that came to be? Where do you get your inspiration from and what makes Future Funk so special to you?

‘Well, growing up the music around me was always there in the back of my mind. My stepdad was very into rave music in the 90s and used to play stuff like trance, garage and Chicago House from the garage, which he’d tape straight off the radio. My earliest music memory is grooving in the garage to “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited, which I used to pester him to play for me as a snotty-nosed 4 year old!

Mum was a child of the 70s and her tastes varied from Disco to Punk – she lived it all at the time, and some of the earliest records in my collection were copies from her collection I dug out of the attic: stuff like Never Mind The Bollocks and her old Clash singles. It was also about 2002 that I discovered music on a serious level, so pop punk and other bands around at the time went onto my rotation and stayed there – I got a lot of my stage persona inspiration from Justin Hawkins of The Darkness and Dick Valentine from Electric Six. The latter of whom I’m now friends with on Facebook, somehow.

Those records of Mum’s set me off collecting vinyl and getting into rock music, but I always had an eclectic mix of tastes – you’d be just as likely to find me spinning Michael Jackson, Gary Numan or Kraftwerk as you were Black Sabbath or ACDC. French House in pop culture happened when I was just getting into music too, so I have fond memories of summer holidays in the early 2000s with stuff like Modjo and Stardust on the radio.

A lot of those background influences – the French house, the disco, the electronica – were always there in the background for me, and so when I make Future Funk or anything else like it, it brings up a lot of personal nostalgia for my youth’.

Can you name a couple of highlights and tell us what this meant for you / your music? Did moving to Canada change the way you look at your music in any way?

‘Well, after a year of miss-steps and deserved ridicule for my early attempts, putting out Strawberry Dreams and catching the attention of Alan at Coraspect Records was a huge turning point for me and really set me on my way to becoming who I am now. That was incredibly validating, because it was the first time I realized that I was making something with appeal to others, rather than just the personal escape I treated music as before that.

I have a lot to thank Alan for. He didn’t have to take a chance on me, not least because I didn’t exactly have a reputation as a serious artist at the time. But his support helped me grow, build a fanbase and realize that this was something I wanted to get deeper and deeper into! I eventually made up for it when I met him in real life by buying him and his daughter a pint. It’s the British way of saying thanks.

Organizing Groove Horizons back in 2019 was huge too. It was a lot of work, but between me, Mélonade, Alex and the lineup of amazing artists, we put on the first true Future Funk night in the UK and proved the viability of it as a live scene! That night gave me a few firsts too – it was my first ever live DJ set and it also introduced me to the My Pet Flamingo guys too, who asked me to put out an album with them while running the merch stall. That ended up being 128 State, which became my first vinyl release – another life ambition fulfilled through the Future Funk scene!

The Canada trip has given me a lot of time to reflect on how far I’ve come and what I want from this. I would admit that my output has been limited – it’s hard to stay inspired when stuck in lockdown for so long – but more importantly it’s let me realize that this feeling – of being self-made and part of something I enjoy and which brings joy to others – is something I don’t ever want to stop doing.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Future Funk is probably the reason I moved to Canada in the first place. It gave me a core of online friends around the world, including folks here in Toronto like IndyAdvant and Pan!c Pop. More importantly, it gave me the self-confidence and sense of purpose I needed to take the plunge. And I’m excited to see where it leads me next’.

You mention in one post (IG 2/14/2020) you worried too much about what other artists think of you / your music, but end with saying you appreciate all the support your getting. At the start of this year you talk about personal growth. How did this affect your music and has the idea of feeling you need validation from others changed?

‘Well, 2020 was a tough year for us all, but with almost nothing to occupy me except the scene, I think I started to place too much importance on my social standing with other artists. I was isolated and going stir-crazy, and it led me to think and act irrationally. I’ve always had issues with imposter syndrome and questioned my own worth as an artist, but there were times throughout last year that were definite low points.

It all culminated in me finally accepting I needed a breather, and I dipped for the last two months of the year. It was very cathartic to turn inward for a little while and realize that a lot of it was all in my head. I’m really lucky to have some amazing friends and fans in this scene, and I needed reminding – and to remind myself – of that fact. Nobody should ever feel obliged to stay active if it’s affecting their mental health. It’s good to take breaks, and that was my first in three intense years. I’m in a way better place now’.

Can you tell us a bit how your creative process works? Do you have a general plan you follow or do you ‘go with the flow?’ which parts do you think are the hardest and which part is the most fun for you?

‘It’s always just been a case of making tracks whenever the mood takes me! Sometimes I’ll hear a groovy sample, or go dipping through my tape or vinyl collection looking for them, and then yeet them into FL Studio and go from there.

I start with a small bit and then add kicks, snares and so on. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, but I can usually tell pretty quickly if what I’m making is gonna turn into a feasible song or not. It’s like a freight train – once I get going there’s no stopping me!

So yeah, finding that perfect sample is the hard bit, but also one of the most fun – I have discovered so much cool stuff and so many new artists on my crate digging adventures!’

You also state ‘at its heart, my music is all about good vibes and happy memories‘. Having joined the ‘Disco Forever’ live stream, I can say it was very much fun to watch – next to the great music of course. What do you feel would be the ultimate goal for your music to reach, when people are listening to it? Do you ever receive such positive feedback that made you feel you reached that goal?

‘Aw, thank you! The set for Disco Forever was great fun to put together – IndyAdvant and Prenoko threw down some amazing backing visuals and I went absolutely ham on the costume changes – eight or nine in one half-hour take I think? It was a pleasure to be part of. Tires me out just watching it back though – I was sweating buckets by the end of the set!

I just wanna make people smile and remind them not to always take life too seriously. If you do, you just end up sad and stressed – kinda like I was at the back end of last year. It makes me feel wonderful to know my songs and performances make people feel good, and I plan to keep doing it for as long as people want to listen and watch!’

What’s in store for Strawberry Station fans, anything new on the horizon you can share with us / we should be on the lookout for? What’s the next dream for you to chase? What would be the ultimate dream to come true in the near future?

‘This is actually a super-exciting time for me. At the time of writing, I’m just two days away from my final shift in my current job, after which I’m going to be focusing full-time on Strawberry Station. That means more regular output, hopefully a few full album releases this year and some more livesets!

I’m currently super-busy planning out the relaunch of my Twitch Channel, with a liveshow called “Sunday Funky Sunday” on April 25th. We’ve got a great line-up: I’m being joined by Snowdream, Mr. Wax, Aeronexus, Moka Yume, クリスタルKITSUNE and Groovy Kaiju for a big party! If it goes well, I’m hoping to make that a regular thing, perhaps monthly, with new guests every time!

On the Patreon front, as of next month I’m introducing a new Cassette Club tier – the plan is to offer quarterly releases to anyone signed up, following on from the success we had with A Song To Show You at Christmas time. That will keep me busy! There’s already a lot of content backed up – we’re doing a B-Sides and Rarities collection for the first release this summer, and after that I’m planning to drop my original Vaporwave album from 2017, イチゴ駅, in the Fall for its first ever physical release. I can’t wait to get everything up and running!

Otherwise, there are a few projects I have on the go at the moment – no specific plans for an all-new album just yet, but I’m planning to drop a MiniDisc of Yesterday’s Jam with Wave Racers Collective on June 5th if all goes to plan. We’re in early discussions for a Smoothie Sounds vinyl on Pacific Plaza Records, which I’m going to be opening a remix contest for shortly (including a digital album release of all the entries!) There will be a few singles over the summer too.

Oh, and I have a super-secret project I’m working on right now which will drop on a well-known label in the Fall. I can’t reveal anything else, but let’s just say it’s gonna be the best thing I’ve ever released. The stuff of dreams.

It’s a massive moment for me – taking my passion full-time for the first ever time. I’d never have gotten to this point without the support of my fans, friends and especially my wonderful Patrons. Thank you to every single one of you!’

Anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I just wanna give another huge thank you to everybody who has taken me this far on my journey so far. All the artists that helped me get started and helped me improve – a process that is still ongoing of course! All the wonderful fans, without whom I wouldn’t be sat here now, about to take Strawberry Station full time. And all the amazing people around the Vaporwave and Future Funk scene who have helped keep it vibrant, alive and most importantly growing through these unprecedented times.

Stay safe, stay funky. I’ll see you all in the club soon! 

Or, failing that, in the Patreon Discord, lol’.

Again, Big Thanks to Strawberry Station! And to you, my readers, better go and find his music and give him a follow, which you can do here:

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Wishing y’all a Very Future Funky Week(-end), don’t forget to leave a comment waaaay below & move those feet!