This Life interview

14.05.2016

"I kinda wish I was this age in the late '60's or early '70's. I think music was less of a commodity back then. If you had it in you, people seemed to appreciate and relate to it more than they do today."

That's one of the first things that Razvan Albu, an independent musician from Bucharest, Romania, told us as we sat down for a coffee and short interview in Miami Beach, Florida. Razvan is currently on vacation and will be returning to his hometown in about a week's time, to resume his professional activity.

"Music is a hobby for me. That's all it's ever been, really. And I'm finally ok with that since what I play - you know, rock with a bluesy edge, or something in that direction - is anything but popular back home. I'd be starving if I were a professional musician. Playing standards in pubs every night doesn't do it for me, so I wouldn't be playing at all."

Razvan will be launching his new album entitled "This Life" on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. The album will be available exclusively via Bandcamp, a place where independent musicians can promote and sell their music without breaking the bank.

"My previous album was up on iTunes and Amazon. It was a learning experience which taught me that pre-paid services aren't worth it when it comes to underground artists. You may think you get more visibility by simply being there, but that's not the case at all; you have to create your own exposure. I'm not a promoter, I'm a musician. I've no idea what I'm supposed to do in order to make my music visible to someone living in New Zealand. I used to worry about that, but anymore. Now I just want to put my music out there and whoever finds it and likes it will listen to it."

When asked about the production process for his new album, Razvan smiles.

"It took about 2 years to complete. The music itself was done last year, but the corresponding artwork took a while. A couple friends helped me out, did it in their own time, so there were no deadlines. But the waiting was worth it."

Who was involved?

"Musically, a lot of people. I collaborated with a British guitarist, Jason Falloon, who previously played with Roger Taylor [Queen drummer]. He has this kind of mojo where he makes my music sound like it was played by the Rolling Stones, but without the mistakes. Then there were these drum sessions by Steve Ferrone [Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, etc.] which I purchased and molded into what I wanted and they sounded great. I had 4 bassists on the album, the most famous of which is Adrian Ciuplea from a big Romanian band. The other guys aren't big, but did a good job nonetheless."

How did the creative process work?

"I'd record a demo centered around vocals, acoustic guitar and drums, send it to everyone involved and they'd just build on that. There was creative input from all the musicians, starting from my ideas. Only three songs were co-written; two of them were done in a band format with Scarlet Starlet [Razvan’s previous band] and one with a keyboardist at rehearsals."

Razvan says he didn’t rush it. Sometimes he waited months between songs.

"Everything you hear on this record is supposed to sound like that. That's one reason why it took so long. I wanted to have the mixing done by Bruce Valeriani from Blue Bear Sound. He opened up my sound in a very hi-fi manner. I actually felt like it was too hi-fi and he just laughed at me, but made the changes I asked for nonetheless. Then the mastering was done by Brad Blackwood from Euphonic Sound. Whoever knows anything about mastering has heard of him. He's great."

Was the album expensive to make?

"I guess so, yeah, but it didn't really feel like it, since it was done over such a long period of time."

Finally, Razvan says he's quite proud of this album.

"It's my most ambitious project to date. I don't expect it to be huge or anything - I did this mostly for me. But I'm pretty sure that whoever digs into it will run into a few surprises. There's a little reggae on there, some rock 'n' roll, a few slower pieces and acoustic stuff... and it kinda fits. It was a lot of work and you may not hear it on the first listen, but that's the beauty of it, it just flows."

Razvan wants us to credit a few people, namely Vladimir Gheorghiu for the photographs, Dragos Fotache for the Bandcamp cover art and Facebook graphics, and Felix Barca for the YouTube artwork and creative input.

We hope you enjoy this terrific little album as much as we did.

 

Andreea Catana