Make sure to check out our recent feature of Pablo Embon‘s newest album Funky Side of the Road.
In this interview feature, we chat with Pablo about his new project, being an indie musician in a digital world and more.
Hey Pablo! Welcome back to MTM. How have things been going since your last release?
Thank you, Josh. “Funky Side of the Road” has been keeping me busy and focused for the last 8 months, with just the creation of the concept of the album took me about two months, but having a lot of fun with it. The making of the album was just like an amazing road trip with all its joy moments and challenges.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Were you trying to accomplish anything specific?
This album is a significant departure from my previous albums from the musical perspective in the sense that I have incorporated new styles such as Funk music in my arrangements and plenty new fusion-jazz concepts for which there is no precedence in my music. I have spent a significant amount of time challenging myself learning these new jazz styles and incorporating them in my playing. These styles innovations are a big music renewal for my “Comfort Zone” style I’ve been composing in for the last few years.
“Funky Side of the Road” was also created with a mindset to stress the importance of being able to walk down on the brighter and happier side of our lives even at difficult times – as visualized in the album art work. We always have the choice which side we can walk on, but eventually we all get to the same place. This is how the concept fits into the different music styling embedded in the album.
Do you have a favorite song or arrangement on this album? Which song and why?
I always say to myself every single piece I create is like a child of mine, and you can’t really say you love one better than anyone else. They all have a purpose and a reason in life as they are being created, and each and every one of them has a different “message” encrypted in the music. With that being said, from the technical perspective, I love the concept that I developed in “2222” which becomes one of the most “hybrid” fusion jazz pieces in the album. I believe I have accomplished blending the most of the jazz style beauty with other emotionally loaded music world genres in a manner that everything fits together seamlessly and naturally. I also like the results of suggesting some space music style which opens up your heart and mind, such as in “Midnight Blues”.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
I have been an Independent musician for over 30 years in different places on this planet. Seeing a different approach to this concept, I have adapted quite well to the environment. As everyone is aware of, it is a huge challenge to blend in the music industry in today’s world, a fact that it is not necessarily connected to the talent of the artist. Most independent musicians are driven by the personal need to share music as a form of art, even though based on economic considerations, it may be not justifiable from the effort and time spent perspective. Also: for most musicians, the music is a big part of our lives, if you stop playing music, you are internally dead, regardless of whether you can make a living out of it or not.
Even though there has been a significant improvement in audio technology due to the digitalization of music, there are some downsides of this digital age. Several years back, the only way of having access to music was by actually purchasing vinyl records (or cassettes) at the music store, as opposed to now, having the music readily available for listening over the internet.
The other aspect of digital music is that records dynamics in most of modern music today is all gone. Digital processors allow now to increase the overall volume of the tracks by over compression, mostly during the mastering process. There is currently a production rule governing most of the music market driving the idea that if you don’t sound huge and loud, your record should not be streamed in radio or other medias. On the other hand, vinyl records recordings, in general, sound much better because of the music dynamics they’d kept; as the dynamics are the heart and soul of any piece of music.
How do you feel about streaming services? Any romantic attachments to the physical formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs?
I started off my first recordings in the early eighties using 8-track tape recorders in studios in Argentina. This brought in me a lot of excitement: the recording studio, the tape rolls, the analog systems, the early MIDI work. I truly loved those times. However, the streaming systems today have the great advantage in that entry level unsigned artists still have a chance to a great exposure over the internet which was not available at the “old” times, when you were primarily relying on live performance and radio stations plays if you were lucky enough.
I truly believe that the world must move forward and we should take advantage of what we know now and we didn’t know years ago. However, I also believe that we need to keep the original essence of music, which is – besides entertainment – to be able to move you in a certain way and create an impact on you. That is the mindset I have every time I create a piece of music, if it doesn’t say anything to me, then it is a good candidate for the trash can.
Anything else before we sign off?
I’m particularly excited about the release of “Funky Side of the Road” on Dec 19th. This album has been a great journey and experience for me. I really hope that the listeners can enjoy it as much as I did bringing this album to life.
I also want to give a warm big thanks to all the people who support and engage with my music. Also, thanks to MTM for hosting me this time.