Interview: Ben Lindell and Doug Larsen Talk "Shuffle"
Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:43:43
"It's just big," smiles Ben Lindell when describing the sound of EMW Music Group's new album Shuffle.
His summation is more than a propos. Along with partner Doug Larsen, the duo crafted an elegantly catchy collaborative record dipping into various genres, while maintaining a delicate songwriting prose. It's simply a must-hear for 2013. Simultaneously, the proceeds benefit VH1's Save the Music Foundation, making the project even cooler!
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Ben Lindell and Doug Larsen discuss Shuffle and so much more.
What was your vision for Shuffle?
Ben Lindell: That plays a little bit into my and Doug's background. We started off trying to be a synth band two or three years ago. That fell through. Doug and I kept on making music. It was very electronic quasi-pop music. We had all of these tracks we were making and we kept doing that for a couple of years. We did a lot of "for hire" production work. We were making money, but we weren't really putting out the awesome music of our own that we wanted to. Randomly, last November, both of us showed up to a friend's concert. We literally both had the same idea we wanted to make an album. We came to the gig with the same exact ide in mind. We were like, "Holy crap! We've got to do that!" We made a lot of great tracks with some great co-writers. However, it wasn't going much further than our hard drives. Nothing was happening yet. So we said, "Let's make something happen for ourselves". We have access to all of these great studios, artists, and producers. We decided to do it for a good cause. That's where the charity idea came up. The more we thought about that, we felt like that was the ticket. That was what we wanted our focus to be. We have the ability to make music so why not go ahead, give back, and be something great? Rather than just make an album and do what everybody else does let's do something different.
Musically, what threads the album together?
Ben Lindell: The thing we really like about how we do our music is that it's basically pop, but it has this size to it. There's an epic-ness. Doug and I have very musical backgrounds so we add musicianship to it. We like to think we're making epic and musical pop that's very unique. We try to make things sound bigger and wider. Adding all of these different voices and artists on top gives these songs a very unique touch.
What was the curation process like for picking the artists?
Ben Lindell: A lot of these artists are friends or past clients we've met out here over the past five years here in New York. We'd worked with most of them together. We hadn't worked with Amanda Brown before.
What's your favorite song from the record right now?
Doug Larsen: One of my favorites might be "Fly Away" with Amanda Brown. It was actually one of the last songs on this album. Some of these songs had been put together over the past two-plus years. That one was put together in the last ten days [Laughs]. We literally wrote it ten days before we sent it off to the mastering engineer. It's such a cool unique production.
Ben Lindell: I have very similar feelings for that one. At the same time, I'm the biggest fan of "15 Seconds of Fame". It's not just because I played all of the guitar parts on it [Laughs]. Melodically and the story of that song are very unique and timely. We've decreased attention spans. Instead of being "15 Minutes of Fame", it's now "15 Seconds of Fame". Things have evolved. So many people are striving to be famous, and they'll do anything for it. Even the chorus of the song is involved in the story. It moves along and tells both sides of it.
Why did you choose to team up with VH1 Save The Music Foundation?
Ben Lindell: We both came from awesome public school music programs. That's who we owe being able to do music professionally to—the opportunities we got when we were younger. Besides being one of the biggest musical charities, it was applicable to what we were fortunate enough to have and what we wish more people in the future have as well.
Have you heard Shuffle?
Purchase the album at emwshuffle.org!