| Band: Q*Ball|
Interviewer: Julie Johnson
Q*Ball's new album "Fortune Favors The Bald" is now out and I invite you to check it out as soon as you're done reading this great interview. The new album was 2 years in the making and you also might here Q*Ball's music on some of MTV's most popular reality shows The Real World and Road Rules.
Hey Q, how are you doing?
I look sexy & I feel sexy.
How does it feel to have your new album "Fortune Favors The Bald" finally out?
Considering how long it took to make, and all the trials & tribulations involved in its creation, I'd say "relieved" is an understatement. I'm also very anxious to see how it'll be received by the masses because I'm very proud of how it turned out.
How would you describe the overall vibe of this album?
It's much more mature than my first album ("Q*Ball In Space") - both musically & lyrically, I think. "In Space" was more of a fun, happy-go-lucky effort - I was in a different place in my life at the time. This is more of a reflective album - a lot of things that happened in my life over the past 2+ years came out on this album, but I still made an effort to include a lot of the tongue-in-cheek, Saturday morning cartoon elements that make Q*Ball what it is.
I recently heard a few song of yours during MTV's Road Rules. How did you come in contact with them, and how were songs selected?
My guitarist & partner-in-crime, Bumblefoot, had a relationship with MTV & with Bunim-Murray, the company that produces all the Real World & Road Rules shows, for his own solo stuff - and when "Q*Ball In Space" was done, he sent copies over to his contacts & they dug it. Basically, I signed a contract with them to use whatever songs they liked on whatever shows they liked. It's purely up to the music supervisors for each show, so it's pot luck. But always fun when you hear your stuff on television.
Have you noticed any more interest in Q*Ball's music because of the songs on The Real World Paris, and San Diego?
It's purely background music, so outside of people who already know my stuff, it's hard for anyone new to pick up on who I am & what my music is. Does it look great on a musical resume, tho? Absolutely. Am I making some decent bucks from royalties? Sure. My hope is that the new album will get even more exposure on commercials & in movies - that's where my stuff will stand out more, not to mention make me some decent casheesh.
Will we be hearing any of the new material from Q*Ball on any more shows?
MTV already has copies of the new album, so I'm hoping it's only a matter of time. If you hear anything, let me know :)
The new CD was in the making for awhile, what was the making of the this album like?
I spent most of 2002 & 2003 promoting "Q*Ball In Space" - I endured some personal stuff in my life that definitely made writing music more of a chore than a fun experience for me, so it wasn't til late 2003 that I really went balls-to-the-wall to get "Fortune" out. My longtime girlfriend & I broke up right when the first album came out, so the first few songs that I wrote for this album - 'Everything,' 'Who Said Chivalry Is Dead?,' 'John Hughes' were pretty much about me dealing with losing her & being single for the first time in a long time. There was a definite point where I decided, "I can't keep writing songs like this & call it a Q*Ball album." So, despite still being a bit heartbroken, I made a concerted effort to write more upbeat, Q*Ball-style stuff. I got angry & channeled that into the music. Bumblefoot also played a huge part in the songwriting & producing aspects, and it shows - many a long night in the studio were spent with him tweaking drum sounds & mixes. I can remember at least 5 occassions where I passed out on the couch at 3am while he trudged on. He's irreplaceable.
How you tried any new sounds out for "Fortune Favors The Bald"?
I'm a big organic synth guy, so we used very little in the way of MIDI & computer-generated synths. I'm also very loyal to the boards I like, so once again, it's a lot of Nord Lead & Korg sounds. I used a lot of MicroKorg sounds, too - it's a great cost-efficient keyboard, and I got to break out the vocoder on the last track, 'Goodbye.' There's always a lot of layering in my songs, but a good portion of the new album is pretty minimal, which worked out just fine because the production is still super solid.
Where did you draw your inspiration for the new CD?
On a personal level, my breakup was a huge focal point - you're supposed to write what you know, and I was smack dab in the middle of a nervous breakdown for a good part of the recording process. It was life-changing & scary & depressing - and music, though hard to write during this time, has always been a security blanket of sorts. Playing piano or messing with string sounds at 3am is the best remedy when you can't sleep because you don't know what to do with yourself. It's either that or wander the streets in your bathrobe.
Musically, I was determined to outdo "Q*Ball In Space" - the moderate success of that album made me realize that I was in it for the long-haul. This was no longer an expensive hobby - people cared about my music, and I cared that they did. It's very motivating to be accepted by people all over the country who buy your album, to know that your art is appreciated at a time where most ears & eyes are turned to reality TV crap & pop culture is dominated by pseudo-celebrities & flash-in-the-pan acts. I'm comfortable right here in my own little electro-pop niche, as long as I have that core group of fans & the checks keep comin in.
And of course, my love of music - I heard a lot of inspiring stuff during the 2 years I was making this album - Beck's "Sea Change," Coldplay's "A Rush of Blood To The Head" both spoke to me on a personal level. I listened to a lot of UK pop (James, Travis, Radiohead, Doves, Elbow, Keane) & electronica (Underworld, Chemical Bros., Moby, Crystal Method) to get the blood flowing.
What is your favorite track on the new album and why?
I'm proud of every track, but 'A Different Age' is probably my fave. It's a very personal song about being noble during a time of great pain - and trying to move on from that. About not wanting to be the bad guy, even if someone else feels like you are. I may be many things, but I'm not a bad guy. I wrote 'A Different Age' at the tail-end of the recording for the new album & I got some heat from people close to me because they thought I had moved on from this type of mindset - but I think it'll always be part of me, just like when someone's parent dies or when you witness something spectacular or terrible - it becomes part of who you are. 'A Different Age' is who I am. And I love writing songs on the piano - it's such a great instrument to listen to.
How is this new album better then the first release "Q*Ball In Space"?
I think both Bumblefoot & I learned a lot from the first album from a technical standpoint. How to record vocals properly, where to layer stuff & where to let it breather. We also had 2 years to get a feel, and opinions, about which were the strong songs on the first album & work to those strengths. I think "Q*Ball In Space" definitely has more "album track moments" than "Fortune" - songs you can live with or without. I wanted every song on this album to make a difference, and I hope we achieved that. I also think that when you're singng about something more personal, you usually sing better - and considering the personal themes on this album, I think my vocals are a lot stronger this time around.
How far do you think this new album will go, could be charts, fans, countries, etc?
It's so hard to predict, but obviously I hope there's no limit to how far it goes. I have a label behind me now for distribution, Digitone Records, so hopefully their contribution will expand upon the success of "Q*Ball In Space." Radio play is something I don't rely on, but it'd be huge if I could get a song like "John Hughes" to commercial radio. I'm also hoping to play more shows in support of this album, which will hopefully help boost the exposure. I never expect to sell more than a few hundred records, but the first one did over 1000, and I don't see any reason why I couldn't at least double that this time around.
I always said that I didn't need to see my face on MTV or hear my voice on Top 40 radio to be able to do this for a living, and I still feel that way - being my own boss, and not having to cater to major label insanity has its priveleges. It's truly a labor of love, one that with the help of only a handful of people like Bumblefoot, has become the focal point of my life. And isn't that what it's all about? Spending your days being able to do what you love?
How has the internet been for promoting Q*Ball's music, especially for this new album?
The 'net is an unbelievable resource. Q*Ball probably couldn't have existed in a less technological age. I do most of my correspondence on a computer, I write most of my songs on a computer, I'm able to stream my tunes on sites like IUMA & Acidplanet & Vitaminic so people can check out what I'm all about. As an independent artist, my website is such a vital hub - everything you need to know about me is right there for the taking. Being able to sell my CDs on CD Baby & Amazon & A Different Drum is huge! And Internet Radio has just been a godsend.
Where can we hear Q*Ball on the radio or any internet stations?
All over the place! I host a weekly 1-hour show at 8BallRadio.com, Fridays at 4pm (EST) in which I play stuff I love. Those guys give me license to do whatever I want & I am eternally grateful for their support. Other internet stations like RadioMojo.com, Slothradio, The Mix USA, IPM Radio have been very supportive from the start. Satellite radio has been great to me, too - Sirius Satellite Radio spun the hell out of "Edith" last year on their electronic channels. Commercially, it's harder - you've gotta find your specialty shows, your local music shows - electronic shows like The Shape of Things To Come on WFDU have been cool as far as playing my stuff, even tho it's not traditional "goth" or "industrial." You've gotta have an open mind if you're gonna program a radio station! Visit my site (www.qballmusic.com) & click on the Q On The Radio page under Links & support these stations - they've been my lifeblood.
What stores can we find "Fortune Favors The Bald" located in?
It's currently available on my site, on Digitone Records online & at CD Baby. It'll be at the A Different Drum online store soon, and Digitone should have it in retail outlets in major cities, like Tower Records & Borders, next month. It'll also be on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster & all those fun pay-for-download stores soon.
What is next for Q*Ball?
Promotion, promotion, promotion! Gotta get this show on the road, so to speak. I'll probably do a few shows up & down the Northeast that the label's setting up. I'm also hoping to surface for some shows in Ireland, Canada, & China - don't overlook your international audience! Otherwise, you can find me at home writing some new ditties, eating tacos, watching Family Guy & porn.
Anything else you would like to add for our Grave Concerns E-zine readers?
Thanks for accepting a non-very goth bald freak into your goth world. I'd like to think my music falls into a lot of different musical categories, and thanks to Gothgirl's support, I hope I've made a few fans here. And don't forget to drink your milk. It does a body good.
|< Prev||Next >|