Ellie Hewitt, - on 5/7/12
Possibly one of the biggest electro-swing artists in the world at the moment, Ellie Hewitt speaks to Parov Stelar about writing music for adverts, running his own label and writing with Jimmy and his gang.
How would you describe the Parov Stelar sound to people who've never listened to your music before? It is a wild mixture of different styles and samples.
The Parov Stelar 2012 tour is called 'The Princess', what's the story behind the title? Who is 'The Princess'? In my opinion “The Princess” represents glamour, glitter and everything that people associate with life as musician. At the same time however, the title stands for much darker aspects which you might not notice at first – the pressure of being stuck in a certain role, and the need to fulfill expectations of this role, while at the same time trying to break away from it. People perceive someone the way they want them to be, while the princess just lives in her tower.
What do the coming months hold for Parov Stelar? A lot of work! Making remixes, shooting a documentary, working on the debut album of my wife Lilja Bloom and another major event, our first baby which we are expecting in August! I do not think I will be getting bored so quickly. [Laughs]
You founded your record label Etage Noir Recordings back in 2003, what is the ethos of the imprint? Etage Noir stands for quality and personality. We’re a small team and simply do what we like. I studied graphic design and I like all kind of art, so the label Etage Noir Recordings is open for all different kind of art and creativity.
The majority of your releases have been on the label, was the initial idea for it to be a specific outlet for Parov Stelar? At the beginning I founded my own label because no other label wanted to have my tracks; so it was the only chance for me to establish my music. Now the label is much more. It should be seen as a springboard for great artists, especially Austrian artists – who have the necessary basic conditions under Etage Noir Recordings to spread their music and increase their fan base. We also have a booking department so we try to organize shows for our artists as well as publishing contacts. I have great artists like La Rochelle, Mr. Wu, Dj Alex Ryba and DJ Pat Poree, who are around in various territories.
How do you go about picking track titles, are there stories behind each track name? 'Jimmy's Gang' and 'Sally's Dance' - are there real people that the releases are named after? Of course there are stories behind each track, or some special feelings, circumstances or experiences which inspire me to make this kind of song. Jimmy for example is the boss of my eight cats at home. He often joins me while I am working in my studio. One day he stayed in the studio for a couple of hours longer than usual and in this time I produced a song which is now called “Jimmy’s Gang”. The lyrics of Sally´s Dance are from my vocalist Cleo Panter.
Your music has been used widely for numerous different TV adverts and soundtracks, do you ever think that using a track for advertising purposes can take away from the music (would you be upset to think of a piece of music being forever associated with a Renault Megane for example)? To be honest I think this is a great chance to spread your music, especially in territories where you haven’t had the chance to tour. We’ve never received bad feedback from a commercial. Of course you really have to be careful who uses which song in which context, but I think we’re pretty good in what we do, and we decide everything ourselves. It’s similar to selling T-Shirts, I wouldn’t sell a shirt I wouldn’t wear myself, and we wouldn’t license a song for an advert or a label we didn’t like.
If you had to be a musical instrument, which one would you be and why? I would prefer to be a computer…because as you can see you can produce incredibly good music with it. [Laughs]
Parov Stelar & Band will play in London on September 14th at London Pleasure Gardens. Tickets and info here
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