Chicago based folkster Musikanto is readying himself for the release of his second album.
We caught up with him to talk music, tennis and purple pajamas!
Here is what he had to say…
How old were you when you realised that you wanted to make music?
I went to a public school with a really good music program so at 10 yrs old I joined the school band. I didn’t so much choose an instrument as the band teacher told me I was the new sax player. I didn’t practice very much so I never learned if I had the ability to be any good but it was a good introduction to music. It wasn’t until I was about 12 years old that I stared playing guitar and really enveloped myself into learning an instrument.
And when did you first start writing your own songs?
I was always making up silly songs with funny words since I started playing guitar but I was very frightful of singing until I was 19. I pretty much just focused on learning the guitar and accompanying others in high school bands. A few years later I started listening to people like Nick Drake and Gillian Welch and decided that I wanted to write songs and sing them as well. I think because songwriting came second to playing lead guitar it still feels like a new art to me. I’m always amazed by how much melody you can put over a few chord changes.
Can you remember what your first ever song was about?
Haha. My first songs were pretty stream of consciousness songs. I think my first official song was called ‘Purple Pajama Man’ which I wrote while playing guitar late at night while my father who was wearing purple pajamas.
You have a new record coming out next month called Sky Of Dresses. Tell us a little about that record.
The album was recorded over several months with producer and friend Will Phalen. We worked in Chicago and at his home studio in Milwaukee. I had a vision of how I wanted the record to sound and he was right there with me from the beginning. I think our ultimate goal was to have as much of a live sound as possible while still utilizing the magic tools of studio recording. There are over dubs and cool spacey effects that were layered into each track but the heart of the songs were generally recorded live. We kept the roster of players to friends and people who had played live with me for years. Another important element of the sound was to keep the vocals loud and upfront. Even tough we used a lot of textures in the songs we wanted the core of the song to be the most present.
How excited are you about the album coming out?
I’m very excited about the release of the record. It’s been finished for a while and I’m ready to hear what the world thinks. This record is very different from my last release (2009’s Ghost Pain) and I think it shows a different side of me.
Do you have any plans to tour this record after it’s release?
I am definitely trying to do as much touring in the States as possible. I am currently putting fall tour dates together now.
Speaking of touring, what is the one thing you enjoy most about playing shows?
I love playing shows more then anything. Recording can be very meticulous and stressful but with shows every night is its own experience. There is no chance to hit delete and re-play your mistakes. You are at the mercy of truly living in the moment. Being able to connect on a personal level with the audience is super important to me.
Who is the best band or artist you’ve ever seen play live?
I saw Rage Against the Machine at Lollapalooza a few years back. The energy in the crowd was absolutely amazing and the intensity of the performance was unparalleled to anything I had ever seen.
What else do you like to do besides music?
I have always drawn or painted since very early childhood. When the music doesn’t come its definitely my go-to medium. Lately though I have been playing a lot of tennis. By a lot I mean I’ve played 4 times and don’t know how to serve yet.
So when are you going to come over and play in the UK?
Hopefully soon. I have always wanted to play in the UK but have not had the opportunity yet. Playing in Europe has been a goal of mine for a while.
Finally then, this is the part where you can say whatever you like to our readers. Knock yourself out!
I’m truly excited to release this record and hope to expand my audience to the uk. I really appreciate Tonight We Dance, Tomorrow We Cry taking the time to interview me. I hope to visit you in the UK soon!
And we certainly hope he get’s over here soon too.
We’re massive fans of Musikanto and we’ll keep you right up to date with him, including a review of his excellent new record a little later in the month.
In the meantime though, wrap your ears around this little beauty and see for yourself why we’re so excited!
Musikanto – Every Which Way