#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with John Gibbons

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I recently had the privilege of doing a Skype interview with Irish producer and remixer, John Gibbons, following the release of his latest single and cover of the massive 1994, ‘Hotstepper’.

We spoke all about how some of his cover versions came to be, who he’d most like to collaborate with, what his passions are outside of music and one of his most embarrassing moments on stage. It’s all here…



John Gibbons‘ releases are all available:


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#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm 🌪

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people’s differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, “They yell, they preach, I’ve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I’ve heard it before.” It’s definitely a track that’s going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, “Let’s live like we’re immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,” is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, “Hey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.”

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, “I want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,” which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or join the conversation via our social media.


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#Two4Tunesday: Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’ & Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown


   

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Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – ‘The Middle’

Zedd‘s latest track, ‘The Middle’ features the American electronic music duo, Grey (aka brothers Kyle Trewarth and Michael Trewartha) and vocals by American country singer, Maren Morris.

This track may well have come out at the start of 2018 but 10 weeks later, it’s still at Number 10 in the UK charts, following the success of 2017’s Stay with Alessia Cara, however this track performed even better than that.

It’s a fun, uplifting track which has a very similar feel to ‘Stay’ with it’s combination of raw, powerful and digitised/vocoder vocals, atop a blend of 90s pop sensibilities and modern EDM vibes, making for a very distinctive sound.

The video is great fun too, with it’s stunning set and extravagant use of visual lighting. All-round this is just a fantastic piece of modern pop that will undoubtedly get stuck in everyone’s head; a true favourite of mine right now!


‘The Middle’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-middle/1336771022?i=1336771388



Lil Dicky – ‘Freaky Friday’ featuring Chris Brown

The second track this week is Lil Dicky‘s Number 1, smash hit, ‘Freaky Friday’, featuring guest vocals from Chris Brown.

The track itself is a combination of  hip hop, pop and comedy (think similar to The Lonely Island), centring on the film(s) of the same name and continually references Chris Brown himself, throughout.

Whilst this track is intentionally comedic and works hilariously with its accompanying music video, there’s no doubt about it that this is one heck of a catchy tune too; it’s easy to see how it’s managed to top the UK Charts!

The music video itself parodies the 2003 film Freaky Friday (starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan) and features cameos from Jimmy TatroEd SheeranDJ Khaled and Kendall Jenner. It’s a must-watch video but also, I defy anyone not to end up singing along to this earworm of a track!


‘Freaky Friday’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freaky-friday-feat-chris-brown/1351005381?i=1351005400


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with John Gibbons


   

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Fresh off his set at Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival, I had the opportunity to chat to producer and DJ, John Gibbons, about the success of his recent single, ‘P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)’ and what he’s got in store for us in the coming months. We also had the chance to talk about who he’d really like to work with and what other passions he has, outside of music. It’s all here…


Hey John, how’s it going?
Really good thanks. Have just finished my set at Electric Picnic festival in Ireland, which is always a major highlight on the summer circuit so I’m in buoyant form and ready for the winter club season!

So you released ‘PYT’ back in April and the reception seems to have been incredible, how exciting has that been for you?
Very exciting indeed! The reaction to ‘PYT’ has been phenomenal all over the world and it’s immensely gratifying to receive constant feedback from so many people who feel it has done justice to the memory of Michael Jackson – something I was very conscious of whilst producing the track. I can’t wait for the next single now!

What future plans have you got? Any new singles or an album in the pipeline?
The most immediate plan is the release of the follow-up single to ‘PYT’. It’s an original track rather than a cover this time and will be out in the next couple of months so I’m looking forward to stepping things up another gear – it’s a banger! An album will follow at some point but for now the priority is the next couple of singles. I’ve a number of interesting remixes coming out soon too so keep an ear out for those.

Where do you take inspirations from when creating your music?
From all over. I listen to all styles of music and have done from a very young age so I like to draw inspiration from that diverse musical background. I also like to put a little of myself into each track so the direction of much of my music is also influenced by what’s going on in my life at any given time and sometimes past experiences also. Overall though, I want to make people feel good about themselves and transport them to a place where they can leave the world behind for just a few minutes while listening – expression is important but sharing the experience is even more important in my opinion.

If you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
The Weeknd
. I’m a big fan of him and vocally I think he’s so perfectly suited to what I do that he’d be foolish not to collab with me – our track would undoubtedly be the biggest moment in both of our shows – hit me up Abel!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
In terms of dance music I’ve been listening to and playing out a lot of the new wave of latin-influenced house that’s been shutting down shows all over this summer – hit up my radio show every week to hear loads! Otherwise I’ve been listening to loads of Huntar, a UK artist who I’m a huge fan of and is gonna be massive, also Irish band, Walking On Cars, lots of UK grime and I’m also really enjoying Australian artist, Wish I Was, at the moment too.

If you had to cover/remix a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
I think ‘Glorious’ by Macklemore. The energy in that track is tailor-made for a big piano-house pop cover and his vocal would slot in deliciously. I can picture the live show together too – a high-octane match made in dancefloor heaven!

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
My big passion is tennis. Whilst I don’t play anything like as often as I used to in the past (which was all day every day as I grew up!), I’m still a huge fan of the sport and in particular Roger Federer – the guy is an inspiration on so many levels. I also love languages and am generally in the middle of learning a new one. At the moment it’s Polish!

What really grinds your gears?
The fact that most people in Western society spend too much time time looking outwards rather than inwards and down when we should be looking up. I feel the world would be a much better place if narcissism and vicariousness were replaced by quiet introspection and positive action.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
The Truman Show. I know it’s not a recent movie but I watched it just yesterday. It’s my favourite movie of all time, closely followed by They Live. Two movies with mind-blowing messages for those with eyes to see…

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Leonardo di Caprio – sure we already look practically identical!

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
A Star Bar. That’s the direction I’m always reaching and where I’d be most at home!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Read between the lines…


John Gibbons‘ releases are all available:


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#WildCardWednesday: Ben Phipps – ‘Mrs Mr’ featuring Lizzy Land


   

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Ben Phipps is a twenty-six year old music producer hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden with a unique style of production that draws influence from both deep house and mainstream pop music.

His latest single, ‘Mrs Mr’, is a collaboration with LA-based singer/songwriter Lizzy Land, whose soaring vocals work effortlessly in line with Ben Phipps’ tempting melodies and layered electronic arrangements.

No music video has been released yet but there is something in the pipeline – in place of a traditional music video, Ben Phipps aspired to produce and direct a live-action lyric film taking place in his home, and across New York City. The piece was filmed by local filmmaker, Christian Lucas, and will be released September 4.

This is definitely an artist who knows what he wants and how to achieve it – he is one to watch out for!

What are your thoughts of this producer’s house track? Have you got your own #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Mrs Mr’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/mrs-mr-feat-lizzy-land-single/id1263893256


#Two4Tunesday: Justin Bieber – ‘Friends’ (with BloodPop®) & Rod Stewart & DNCE – ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’


   

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Justin Bieber – ‘Friends’ (with BloodPop®)

Justin Bieber is back with his first new music since his 2015 album, Purpose, and his new single, ‘Friends’, (with BloodPop®) is one heck of a banger!

The track is everything you want from a summery, club banger and it is unashamedly so. The EDM-inspired tune has rocketed straight to Number 2 in the UK charts – just where it deserves to be!

No official music video has been released yet, but the rather cool lyric video can be seen below.


‘Friends’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/friends/id1271990063?i=1271990076



Rod Stewart & DNCE – ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’

Rod Stewart has re-recorded his 1978 hit, ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ with Joe Jonas– fronted band, DNCE and it’s thrown it straight into the 21st Century, whilst still maintaining its funky feel.

It’s not changed too dramatically, which will keep Rod Stewart‘s fans happy and the addition of DNCE is sure to bring the track to a new audience – a great new rendition and a track I’m loving right now.

No official music video has been released as yet, but you can see the funky lyric video and live performance at 2017’s VMAs, below.


‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/da-ya-think-im-sexy-feat-dnce-single/id1273235980


‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’ Live at 2017 VMAs

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Cazzette – ‘Handful Of Gold’ featuring JONES


   

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Swedish electronic music duo, Cazzette, have recently released an exciting new track that is catching a lot of people’s attention, particularly from the dance music community.

‘Handful Of Gold’ features London-born vocalist, JONES, who released her debut album last year. The track features a rather light beat, enhanced with dreamy guitars before dropping into a rather intense, horn-sounding slam. The whole track is topped off stunningly, by JONES‘ soaring vocals. It’s a song I can picture massive crowds dancing to at big dance festivals this summer.

The track will also be featured on Cazzette’s upcoming EP, ‘Time’, which is scheduled to be released on June 23rd 2017. No official video has been released but for now, we have another video featuring the track, below.

What are your thoughts of this club-like banger? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or your own song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Handful Of Gold’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/handful-of-gold-feat-jones/id1223012347?i=1223012349