Shoot me with your Winter Canon

Winter Canon by Sofia Talvik

My annual Xmas single is released and I’ve already gotten some great response to it. It’s funny though how my little pun with the cover and the title seemed to pass people by ūüôā The song is written in a manner that is called “canon” in musical terms. Wiki explains the canon like this: In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration (e.g., quarter rest, one measure, etc.).

But as it sounds just like cannon, I put a little cannon shooting snowflakes on the cover.

Winter Canon by Sofia TalvikPost
Winter Canon by Sofia Talvik

Here’s some links to the reviews that’s out so far:

Sofia returns to her Indie folk pop roots on a very pretty down-tempo number with beautiful imagery of the season. ¬†It’s entitled “Winter Canon”, which is a cute title but doesn’t really express how lovely the song actually is. ¬†About the only thing wrong with this single is that Sofia didn’t include her picture on the cover art.
(read more at) Stubby’s house of Christmas

She’s definitely one of the finest Swedish singer-songwriter, and there are doubtlessly many good ones. This year’s song is called Winter Canon and it matches the expectations easily. Her soft, bright voice makes this tune really special.
(read more at) Lie in the Sound

“Winter Canon” has a very old-fashioned American Christmas feel to it….I recommend giving it a listen, downloading it and going out of your way to do something for someone else.
(read more at) The Useless Critic

Get the single for free here!

Interview with Akribi

Akribi photo by Alexa Andersson
Akribi photo by Alexa Andersson
Akribi photo by Alexa Andersson

Soon the last part of H.A.T.E will be released by Swedish metal band Akribi. We managed to keep them still for a few minutes to ask them some questions about the meaning of life and metal…

Hi Akribi! You guys are doing “E – Part Four of H.A.T.E”. How has the experience been so far?
Definitely different. We’re not at all used to interpreting other musician’s materials, nor working with such tight deadlines, but it’s been a very fun and rewarding experience so far.

Great! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re a female-fronted progressive metal band based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The band started out back in 2003, based on the idea of playing ambitious metal with strong songwriting. It’s an ideal that has remained intact through countless lineup changes over the years. As a consequence of this, we like to work with a slightly expanded palette of scales, chords and time signatures in our music. Oh, and let’s just get one very common misconception out of the way… “female-fronted” in this case does not mean “gothic” or “operatic”.

Just like Badmouth you’re releasing this EP only a few months after your
album release. Are you always this productive?
Given the right circumstances, sure. As hinted above, the band has had a bit of a rough history with lineup changes and whatnot. We have begun writing the next album and it’s going surprisingly fast so maybe we’ve learnt a thing or two about efficiency.

Did you think it was hard to interpret Sofia’s songs into your own style or did you get ideas straight away?
We decided to transcribe the chords and scales that Sofia used. After we had done that we stopped listening to Sofia’s versions and began working. We sent note sheets with ideas to each other; ‚ÄúCould this be something?‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúWould this passage sound better if we changed scales to Lydian?‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúWhat happens if we add this chord there?‚ÄĚ and so on and then we tried playing the ideas. We changed a lot, added riffs and details to make it more Akribi. It took us about a month and then we recorded it, sent it to our mixing guys in Brazil and voil√†.

Which of the songs are you most pleased with and why?
It’s difficult to pick a song. It sounds weird but when you live with a song in the intense way that’s required for writing and recording it it sort of becomes your baby. The song we play the most often nowadays is The Garden. The guitar solos are great and Alexander gets to play his Chapman Stick and that always makes him happy. Our songs are usually pretty long and that makes set lists tricky to do so it’s good to have a shorter-than-four-minutes-song up our sleeve.

What’s your favorite gig memory?
That must be the first time we were on stage and the audience sang along with our song Carry the Rain. It’s an incredible feeling. But if you’re looking for an awkward anecdote it must be when the guards didn’t let our drummer back into the building after a sound check. He tried to convince them that he was in the band but the guards told him ‚Äúyeah right, that’s what everybody says‚ÄĚ. The rest of us were backstage ready to go on stage not knowing where he was.

Can you tell us a little bit about the recording sessions and what was most fun with being a part of this project?
Well, the recording workflow was the same that we always follow. When we’ve written the chord progressions, melodies and overall structure of a song, we record (or in this particular case, program) a drum track and have everyone record their parts individually to that. All recordings are then assembled in a sequencer and a rough pre-mix is done. Feedback is sent out, obscene words are exchanged, and adjustments are made. When everyone is sufficiently satisfied, the tracks are sent away for mixing. The most interesting and fun part of this project was that is was far out of the realm of what we usually do. Apart from on a few auditions, we don’t play or record external material. Oh, and we finally got to put a growling part in a song, courtesy of Rafael Basso of “Unlit Face”.

What’s next on the agenda for Akribi this winter?
In October we got a new drummer and we’re in the process of getting to know each other musically and he’s learning all our songs. Parallel to this we’re in contact with booking agents and promoters around Europe. Music is always better live and life on stage is great so we’ll play live as much as possible.

If you would record a Christmas metal album, which three songs would be on your list?
Hey, we’re a metal band! We don’t do Christian things ūüėČ

Thanks for hanging out! We look forward to hearing the songs ūüôā

Listen and pre order E – Part Four of H.A.T.E by Akribi here! You’ll get an instant download of one of the songs! The EP will be released December 1st.

Listen to all the EPs of the L.O.V.E vs H.A.T.E saga here:

L.O.V.E VS H.A.T.E
L.O.V.E VS H.A.T.E

E – Update #2

Notes for "If I had a man" by Sofia Talvik
Marcus playing the guitar on "E - Part Four of L.O.V.E"
Marcus playing the guitar on "E - Part Four of L.O.V.E"

“E – Part Four of L.O.V.E” is coming along nicely! Here’s some pics and videos from our first recording session. Marcus was a bit annoyed with me for making him have wine before recording but we had a good time and as you can hear it sounds great too ūüôā

Notes for "If I had a man" by Sofia Talvik
Notes for "If I had a man" by Sofia Talvik

Please help ups make this EP by pledging here!

Here’s how it works:

The EP “E – Part Four Of L.O.V.E” is the last part of a four piece saga called “L.O.V.E” – Help me fund them today!
http://www.sofiatalvik.com/v-part-four-of-l-o-v-e/

“L.O.V.E” consists of four separate EP’s with four tracks each, that will be released every 3 months during 2011.

I had a great response raising the money to release the first 3 EPs, not only were the fans influencing and enabling the releases, they also got access to the making through exclusive videos, demo releases, blogs and my musical journey.

This is how you can be a part of this:

1. Make A Pledge
Invest in an exclusive package from the list on http://www.sofiatalvik.com/v-part-four-of-l-o-v-e/. The packages includes signed memorabilia and other personalized treats.

2. Enjoy Updates
I’ll be posting exclusive videos, mp3’s, photos, and blogs throughout our journey. You’ll be able to comment, so if you have any interesting ideas, let me know.

3. Receive the download first
Once completed, you’ll be the very first to receive the download of the album. I’ll then be making all of your items, and the Pledge project will then come to a close.

I run my own label, produce everything by myself and I’m very hands on with the music and everything around it. All the bundles are endorsed and personally produced. They represent a personal part of me and I want to share that with you.

Please do keep checking back for updates and you can always hang out with me on http://www.facebook.com/sofiatalvikmusic and I look forward to our journey together.

xoxo
Sofia Talvik

H.A.T.E is all around us

Ball Of Mayhem

L – Part One of the L.O.V.E saga was released in February. We’re working on “O” which will be released in the beginning of summer. But you might not have known that the L.O.V.E saga has an evil twin called H.A.T.E …

H.A.T.E will consist of 4 EPs, just like L.O.V.E. They will even contain the same songs. So what’s the difference? Well H.A.T.E is the rock version of L.O.V.E. Four rock bands will make one EP each. First out is British band Ball of Mayhem. I managed to get a little interview with Dave Chrisp from the band, and here’s what he’s got to say about their upcoming EP “H”.

Ball of Mayhem
Ball of Mayhem

Hi David! You’re part of the rock band Ball of Mayhem that is about to release the first EP “H” in the H.A.T.E quadrology. We’re so excited for the release! Tell us a little bit about your band!
Hi.Well Ball Of Mayhem started about ten years ago then under the name Slugfist by my brother Terry (Lead vocals, rhythem guitar) and Stephen (Bass). Since then it has had a few line up changes. I joined about three years ago and our Drummer Jack and Lead guitarist Zac joined just last year. We are all from and are based in the North East of England. Our name kind of represents the sheer variety in our sound, while all of our songs are what you would call heavy there is a big mix of catchy power metal songs with soaring vocal harmonies to out and out stomping metal with monster riffs! We like to keep our sets so you just dont know what is coming next.

How did you get involved in the project?
Well I’d like to say it was something rock and roll like we got talking backstage at Glastonbury or something but it was actually through Facebook.¬†I saw Sofia’s post asking for Metal bands to be involved in a project so I replied to that and here we are!

Sofia’s music is quite different from Ball of Mayhem’s. Have you listened to Sofia’s music before and what was it like to interpret the songs?
Yeah I was familiar with Sofia’s music for a long time before this project. I’m a fan of Bernard Butler and first heard of Sofia after they did “It’s just love” together and have always kept up with what Sofia has been doing.

It was a lot of fun working on the songs, we got to work as soon as we received her EP. Me and Tez (Terry)  just sat in his conservatory listening to it over a few beers and straightaway had a good idea as to what form each song would take. Once we started arranging them it was pretty obvious that they were going to work really well as metal/rock songs.
Usually it’s the other way around, singer/songwriters that turn rock songs into sweet mellow versions. Do you think it’s harder turning an acoustic song into a rock song or why do you think that is?
I dont think it is, in a way I think it gave us more scope for arrangements¬†as metal/rock is so broad and there are so many different styles of it that can be¬†applied. We were able to add to the basic structure of the songs while not making them unrecognizable¬†from the originals. It would of course be easy just to speed everything up, put loads of guiars on and scream all the way through but we wanted to keep them as¬†“Proper songs” so we went for that big¬†metal anthem sound on all of them.¬†¬†I think if you are going to do a cover you really need to put your own stamp on it otherwise what is the point?

How is this EP different from what you usually play?
While we do have catchy songs in our set I would say that these are generally more melodic than what would would normally do. We would perhaps keep a catchy melody/hook for a chorus or a break but these songs have that throughout. The subject matter is not something we would normally sing about either! I dont think any of us would dare turn up to a practice and say “Hey I’ve wrote this really heartfelt song about a love lost¬†that I want us to try…..”

Which is your favorite of the 4 songs and why?
Tough question as personally I¬†have favourite bits of them all. Sofia’s versions I’d say Nothing quite so gentle, it just¬†sounds like a single and is a great vocal, great melody, this was probably the easiest to cover.

Our versions¬†I’d have to say Bittersweet bliss, the chorus is a really nice lift after the almost spoken verses, this one really rips along. But the intro to Everyones favourite concubine is a¬†real band favourite, when it kicks in it is just huge with Jacks thumping doubles on the drums with the pounding guitars yet still has that nice little riff that is being picked on the original. We actually had an idea for a song that we never used that started like this and it just fitted perfect when we tried it out.¬†We’re planning on playing this¬†live in a couple of weeks as a set closer¬†and we’ve already had people pop in at practice saying how awesome it sounds.

Listen to a preview here: Bittersweet Bliss version by Ball of Mayhem

What’s next for Ball of Mayhem?
We’ve just came first in a Battle Of The Bands competition which was great for us, we are starting to get more widespread gigs now which we hope continues as we are starting to get a nice little fanbase now. We’re hitting the studio to record our next EP next month which we plan to release later this year. We have some really¬†big songs that we cant wait to get recorded.

After that who knows, maybe take over Sweden?!, I’ve heard it’s nice there.

You can listen to Ball of Mayhem here: www.myspace.com/ballofmayhem

Santa – reviews

Sofia Talvik annual Christmas single "Santa (can you bring me someone else this year)"

My new Xmas single “Santa” has only been out for a day but I’ve already got some lovely reviews:

Women’s Radio has written a fun review:

“Santa” has that 80‚Äôs music vibe that will make listeners bob their heads unknowingly.¬† Imagine Santa Claus bouncing around with a Mohawk, jean jacket and tight leather pants.¬† It is a cheerful, bubbly and hope-filled piece that will bring positive energy to Talvik‚Äôs cause this year.
Read the full review here.

Free Christmas Music Blog says:

“This year’s single, “Santa (can you bring me someone else this year)”, was just released today, and it’s every bit as good as I expected it to be (which is a relief, because I often worry when my expectations get too high for something). Musically, “Santa” is a fun, synthesizer-based pop song that would not sound out of place on a mid-80s Madonna album.¬† If you’re a fan of songs like “Last Christmas”, this song is a must hear.”
Read full review here

Santas Working Overtime has chosen “Santa” as song of the day! Thanks!

Wears the Trousers magazine did a nice little write up – check it out here! .. as did the lovely blog With Music in My Mind!

Stubby’s House of Christmas wrote in their review:>
“I love this woman. ¬†And every year Sofia Talvik releases a free Christmas song, so what’s not to love? ¬†This year’s effort is a fairly uptempo danceable indie track, even if the lyrics are the “I’ve been alone since we split up” type. ¬†It might be her catchiest yet.”

Read the whole review here

Fab Womens Radio has already put “Santa” in rotation and writes on their website:
“Highlights?¬† Just about every single track, but why not start with this week‚Äôs FEATURED FEMMEP3, a glorious new track from our favorite Swedish singer-songwriter, Sofia Talvik, titled, ‚ÄúSanta‚ÄĚ.”

Download your copy of “Santa” here

Sofia Talvik annual Christmas single "Santa (can you bring me someone else this year)"
Sofia Talvik annual Christmas single "Santa (can you bring me someone else this year)"