Megatrax has added two new volumes to the Top Charts series in its flagship library, MX325 Top Charts 7: Urban Pop & Soul and MX327 Top Charts 8: Indie Pop Anthems. The former is urban pop, funky neo soul and sultry diva ballads, and the latter is uplifting, inspiring pop and rock songs with positive lyrics. Both albums feature full vocals, radio-ready and chart-worthy.
We talked with Kenny Korade and Jamie Candiloro, two of the songwriters who helped make these releases what they are, about their artistic process and the tracks they produced. Kenny’s music has appeared in national ad campaigns such as Gatorade, Sprite and Cadillac, and hit TV shows such as The Voice, Hawaii Five-O, Gossip Girl, and many others, and he has crisscrossed the world performing with multiplatinum artists like Courtney Love. Among may other things, Jamie recorded and mixed the Luscious Jackson album Fever In Fever Out, has worked with Courtney Love and R.E.M. and worked with Ryan Adams during a period which included the albums Rock n Roll, Easy Tiger, Follow the Lights, and Vol. III/IV.
Here’s what they had to say about Top Charts 7 & 8:
MX: Where did you draw your inspiration from?
KK: I am naturally an Indie Rock guy so this batch of songs fit squarely on my home turf. I wanted songs that soar and also songs that rock in an Indie rock, quirky kind of way. I wanted them to fit with the up-to-the-minute crop of Indie Rock bands, with my own twist. I enjoy sonic experimentation, and I draw a lot of inspiration from the sounds themselves, basically just messing around with things and seeing where it takes me. When I hit on a sound l like, ideas can flow from that. Maybe that means vibes through an old Marshall or maybe heavily filtered vocals or feeding back analog delays or any number of things. I know I can’t get too out there, this isn’t a pet art project, but I like to have some of that experimental flavor in there. Also lyrically, some of my real life attitudes are in there, if you were to look at the different songs you’d get an idea what I am about, probably too rebellious for my own good and at the same time striving to live by higher values.
JC: I’ve always been after the idea that organic and contemporary production can work together. These songs were a study in that for me. I also was interested in writing universal and positive lyrics that people would be inspired from. I’m more excited to put that out into the world these days.
MX: is there anything special we should be listening for?
KK: In one song I used a trumpet for the first time ever, so that was a real highlight. So fun! Kye Palmer recorded it; he played in the Tonight Show Band. I’d never seen a horn chart in my life, so luckily I was dealing with actual professionals who could translate my mad ramblings into actual music. I absolutely love the result, kind of what the Beatles would do if they were using a trumpet in an anthemic Indie Rock song. Thanks Kye!
JC: Ryan Hanifl and Bekki Friesen were both amazing to work with. It’s really great to see your ideas filtered through a great singer who can get the ideas to come to life.
MX: Do either of you feel like your approach to production music is any different than it would be to radio-ready music?
KK: My production approach is the same, I have the same attention to detail and hold everything to the same standard. The only difference is that I am going for a sound that is specifically TV, which is kind of rebellious but still tuneful, energetic and current. I love doing production music because it allows me to work on all kinds of different styles, which I enjoy tremendously. When you are in a band, of course it’s important to have a very specific cohesive direction. A lot of thought goes into that, and often songs get jettisoned for deviating only slightly from that direction or vision. In production music on the other hand I could be working on swampy blues one day, pop the next, hip hop the day after that and a string arrangement the following day. This I love!
JC: Everything I do is approached the same these days. Even if I’m making a demo I assume some of it could end up in the final mix. I look at art as always being an opportunity to master your craft so I’m always trying my best.
MX: What’s next for you both?
KK: I am starting to work on trailers, which is fun for me because I love string arranging and also sound design. I’ve got all kinds of wacky boxes sitting around my studio, I love to plug a few things in and just see what happens. If you aren’t supposed to do it, I want to try it. I guess I am still a 2-year-old at heart! (That statement won’t surprise my wife.) Also I have a female-fronted Indie rock project in the works that features some crazy sounds—one of my favorite things. Kind of The Kills-meets-early Bjork-meets-Katy Perry. I’ll keep you posted!
JC: I’m mainly producing a band these days or writing with a new artist. There is a lot of talent in L.A., so I love being inspired and meeting new people. There is something fun about walking into a studio barely knowing a person with the pressure of having to make music. I’ve also been recording more live performances, which I’m happy about for the music industry!
MX325 Top Charts 7: Urban Pop & Soul and MX327 Top Charts 8: Indie Pop Anthems are available at Megatrax.com now. For more radio-ready tracks in this vein, check out MX309 Top Charts 6: Pop And Club Hitz, MX240 Pop Culture, MX210 Positively Retail 2, MX273 Top Charts 2: Indie Rock and MX176 Indie Rock Vol. 2!