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Interview with: City Cowboy

This month Swedish artist, City Cowboy spoke to us on his music process, influences and future work he wishes to accomplish, it was a pleasure speaking to him

How are you today, City Cowboy? 

CC: Great, thanks!

Would you mind telling us your story of how you entered music? 

CC: Sure thing! Growing up we had a piano in our home and my older sister took lessons. I used to sit by the piano too (when she wasn’t there) and just play around and gradually found that I could play too – without lessons! It turns out I have a pretty good ear when it comes to identifying notes and chords, but not perfect pitch. As a teen I bought my first synth, a Roland D5. I remember making my first multitimbral tracks with Steinberg pro 12 and 24 on an Atari ST. The excitement of first recording a bassline for instance and then adding strings, then drums and so on was great. Such a creative joy. Then I tried to add some vocals along with the background. The lyrics for my first songs were really pathetic. One early track was a real “bohoohoo-story” called “Turned down again”! My music making “career” had thus begun. Many years later, I started making music with a Yamaha Motif workstation that I still use today and under the name City Cowboy. And here we are!

How long have you been writing music?

CC: Since 1989

What types of music do you write? 

CC: I guess I would call it pop or synth pop. I solely use a workstation synth so I don’t include any other instruments, even though I do play the guitar and bass for instance. I like EDM and sometimes I do more electronic stuff, like the two Kraftwerk covers I have done so far. 

What processes do you use to create music? 

CC: I start with an idea for a song, it could be that I start with a chorus for instance. I play it on a keyboard and try to come up with words too. If I like it enough I try to compose a whole song with verses, bridge etc. When I know how I want the song to be, roughly at least, I do the sequencing on my workstation. I then record it onto my Tascam multitracker. Last, I work on the vocals and mix and master.

How are you involved in the Indie scene? 

CC: I try to make myself heard through diverse channels, my music can be found in various places on the net. I have also done some local “publicity stunts” here in my home town. (Even as a Santa…) As part of WEATNU records, I agree with Almark’s vision that everyone deserves to be heard. If there’s any quality there, it should eventually be discovered, one hopes.

What is happening in the music scene around your area of Sweden? 

CC: Well… I think the best place to be here in Sweden is probably Stockholm, our capital, or another of the major cities. That is not the case for me, I like country living so I try my best from here… Cowboy style…Yeeehaw!

Are you playing live or do you wish to online, perhaps through our label? 

CC: So far, City Cowboy hasn’t done any live performances at all. That would take some practical arrangements so to speak. But who knows in the future?

You just released new music, would you like to talk about that or something you might be working at the moment?

CC: My latest release is called “Down the Aisle” and it’s a bouncy, happy track celebrating love and marriage. As a Christian, I do believe that marriage is the highest form of union between two people. Something to cherish these days. For this Christmas I plan to make my version of the medieval song Veni Immanuel available to my fans. It’s an absolutely delightful song and I chose to do the lyrics all in Latin. So beautiful. I hope folks will appreciate it and that they won’t think my interpretation of it is too modern.

Are you working professionally or for the love of music? 

CC: Well, this “ol’ cowboy” has a regular day job and does his musical cowboying in his freetime! What I would really like is for the whole world to listen to my music. To really have people’s attention! The best thing is when I get a personal message or mail from someone who has been touched by one of my songs. It happens now and then.

You said you began with Atari ST, that’s interesting. 

CC: True. With a built-in midi interface, the ST was launched as more of a professional musician’s computer than the Commodore Amiga I believe. I played my fair share of games on it too of course! But that’s how I started sequencing songs.Delightful stuff.

What kinds of music are you passionate about when you listen in your quiet space? 

CC: If someone really had me in a stranglehold and FORCED me to choose just ONE favourite group, I think it would have to be Pet Shop Boys. Just for the sheer quality of their output through so many years. Their songs are really atmospheric I believe, and they always pay attention to lyrics. There’s often a melancholy touch there. Having said that, I do also give ample credit to Depeche Mode, Erasure, Jarre, Kraftwerk and Jay-jay Johansson for instance. That’s just within the synth genre. I do like other genres too and know quite a lot about classical. Bach is a favourite of course, Mozart too, but also romantic era stuff like Grieg. Early Music is also interesting. I dig jazz as well and hiphop. Some genres don’t interest me very much, including country, blues, soul and R&B.

How does the music begin, in your mind or outside? 

CC: In my mind I would say. Or by playing around on some kind of keyboard. It doesn’t have to be a synth of course, it could be an acoustic piano too. I’m quite a skilled player if I may say so myself! 😉 I never, EVER use any “ready made” beats or grooves or anything, I do everything on my own. If I do stuff that’s hard to play right, I might slow things down while recording of course. This kind of music does take some quantization. Other genres don’t need to be so rhythmically correct. 

Music theory or by ear? 

CC: I play by ear exclusively, although I have an understanding about score and musical theory like intervals, chords, rythm, your dominants and subdominant parallels and stuff…

How did you come up with the name “City Cowboy”?

CC: Well…first off, you need an artist name, right? Although I find that at least here in Sweden, a surprising amount of people actually use their real names as artist names. That definitey doesn’t suit me, as the person behind City Cowboy is very private and secretive… So…the cowboy is one of the most iconic male “figures” in the western world, right? And I thought the contradiction of a cowboy in the city was quite interesting. What does he really do there? He can’t work with his live stock, now can he? He probably wears a hat, but he can’t strap on his gun belt. Does he go to bars and drink? I don’t know, I just liked the name.

This is our 5th year: where do you see weatnu records going for 2020?

CC: In 2020 I think WEATNU Records might be ready to lift itself from the shades of relative obscurity and become an important player, really becoming the voice of smaller, upcoming artists.

How is #WEATNU helping artists from your point of view?

CC: WEATNU helps artists by being a fair label, a radio and now also a Digital Magazine. Great with this threefold power.

Marmite or Nutella? – Trick question.

CC: I never eat Nutella. The other I don’t know what it is! Not sure it’s available in Sweden. Try to eat healthy stuff mostly!

Thank you City Cowboy for doing this interview with us, good luck to you and your music. May your Christmas be well and Happy New Year!

CC: Many thanks for interviewing me!

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2019

Follow City Cowboy on Twitter: @CityCowboooy



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Interview: Jason M Norwood

‘This month: Jason M Norwood, native to London, ON, Canada and long-time veteran here – was kind enough to give us his words about #WEATNU, his former artist name, Minutes After, and his latest release under the Berlin School music he creates.’

Interview by: Almark

Hello Jason, please tell in your own words what #WEATNU has done for you. Tell us a story of your own?

JN: I like to search for new music a lot, and I can’t remember for the life of me how I discovered her, but I discovered an artist named Adryelle, and reached out via Twitter to mention I was a fan.  Almark and I got talking through Twitter threads, and I discovered that he ran this enterprise called WEATNU.  Running a tiny little label myself, we got talking on that score, and at the same time I was looking for a home for Minutes After, a techno-based solo project of mine that didn’t fit with my label’s aesthetic.  The rest is fairly normal—I sent Almark some music, he liked it and asked about releasing it, and I signed on.  I liked the concept of WEATNU being an artist-helping-artists collective, which is something I’ve always strongly believed in.

It’s funny, because I’ve since devolved my label into an artist collective.  Minutes After is shelved, but for the first time I get to release my 25-year-long solo project (stuff under my own name) with WEATNU—no talk of “I want another Minutes After” album, just support for the broader sense of what I do.

I get to talk to a like-minded label head, I get to support an idea that I agree with, and I get to be a part of a community where I can offer my skills and bounce ideas off of others.  What’s not to like?

How did you first find out about #WEATNU and what were your thoughts initially?

JN: I think I got drawn into #WEATNU because I saw a kindred spirit in this unwieldy thing called the music business.  I’d been running my own thing, Hope Mansion Recordings, for a while, and it was nice to see something in operation that was designed to help artists.  At the same time, I had a rare side project called Minutes After, which was heavily techno-based and didn’t sit right on my own label, so I decided to give it a home I liked and respected, where it would be a little cozier.

I can’t say there was anything specific I wanted out of #WEATNU going into that.  Out of head-to-head conversations between two people trying to do something different in music, the whole conversation seemed to develop naturally.  I also liked the idea of supporting something whose ideals I agreed with.

Fast forward to now, and although Minutes After has ended, we’re talking about releasing the Berlin-school electronic music I release under my own name.  It’ll be the first time in 25 years I’ve put that project out under a different label, which gives you an idea of how I get along with #WEATNU.

What do you feel #WEATNU is doing for the modern indie artist, how is it serving them, because now we have our magazine once again?

JN:  I think the word “flexibility” is the first thing that comes to mind.  In a world where artists can be independent and make good quality albums in the comfort of their own personal studios, sacrificing things like artistic control isn’t really necessary.  Also, technology has led to a lot of possibilities as to how a label can operate.  So, #WEATNU doesn’t look to sign people to take control, I think it’s about asking the artists “What do you need?”  It’s all there, but you have the freedom to operate on a loose alliance or a full signing, and everything in between.

I’ve always felt the most interesting independent labels are the ones where you like one artist, you get curious and start crate-digging through the label roster, and #WEATNU has that in spades, but also it uses what’s there to give artists a platform to talk about what they do—hence, the magazine.  Not only putting out music, but providing the story behind it in a way that fans want more of now than they ever did.

Where do you see #weatnurecords going, now that we are nearing our 5th year?

JN: I think the label will continue to do good things!  I think the fact that its different approach is what gives it prominence—this idea that artists and labels can make the goals a common drive rather than have an employer/employee relationship is healthier, and it will allow the artists on #WEATNU the chance to show what they can do without having to change themselves or their art.

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – Nov 2019
Proofing: Jason M Norwood

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Interview with: Victoria Bourdeau

“Canadian native, Victoria Bourdeau has been playing on WEATNU [OUR] (main) for some months now. We finally had a chance to get an interview with her this month. Her music comes from an influence of modern dubstep, Electronica, Deep House and Nordic pop.”

Interview by Almark

How long have you been a musician?

Victoria Bourdeau: You know, that’s an interesting question! I first started writing song lyrics in 2005 when the dream really came alive in me to do something outside of the box, and it’s become the greatest creative outlet for me besides drawing. When I got my first guitar on Christmas morning of 2009 I played it immediately, however something felt off, realizing I was a left handed guitar player with a right handed guitar I simply turned the guitar around and played it upside for two months until I got my father to help me re-string it.

What does music do for you when you create it?

VB: It opens up every possible door for creativity, and self-exploration, it’s like giving birth to a new way of embracing life. With different styles come different sounds, and with that you challenge yourself to become a better writer, and artist.

Any new material at this time?

VB: Yes! I’ve just finished recording a new track Called “Captive” and I hope to have it out shortly. Besides electronic music, I am constantly writing, EDM is just one side of what I do.

I understand you play the guitar and you also create electronic music using iOS apps?

VB: Yes, that’s correct, I create the electronic music from my phone, usually starting with the bass line and building the track around that.

Is WEATNU helping you to be noticed as an artist?

VB: Of course! Ever Since I’ve had contact with WEATNU the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received over Twitter and through the community of connected artists as well as through this WEATNU Records has been truly astounding to me. I still can’t believe all of the things that have happened this year, it’s just mind blowing. Also I want to take this time to thank friends and family that stayed by my side when things got rough, Thank you!

You have some pop elements in your music, does that somehow create a bigger picture for your electronic sound?

VB: I’ve never really thought of it in that manner to be quite honest with you, when I started out and still to this day, I’ve just wanted my sound to be unique enough, but familiar enough to the general public so that they get to experience a new vibe from my work. The intention was never to gravitate attention, it has always been simply to lift people’s spirits up and to inspire them.

As far as the area you live, is there a scene in your part of Canada?

VB: Honestly everybody just does their own thing which I think is cool.

What goals do you have as a musician?

VB: I try not to set goals because i feel they can make a person close-minded, I just go with whatever feels right for me in that moment, and just embrace every moment as it comes about, good or bad.

You also sing, are you planning on releasing anything in the future with your vocals?

VB: That may be a possibility for me one day in the future but for now I prefer to just let the music speak for itself.

Do you have any fav artists under WEATNU or WEATNU Records?

VB: Mm hmm, One of the artists that stands out a lot to me in not only style but class as well is Em Baker (Plike). Her sound is dark and atmospheric but leaves a very genuine and delicate impression on listeners.

What do you think about the current scene of electronic / DIY musicians these days?

VB: I think it’s wonderful, although I’m saddened that not more are recognized in the way they should be.

You’re a passionate and poetic person, how does music fit into your background, how did you begin?

VB: Music has always been apart of me. Just before I was born my father would crank up music to find that I was keeping perfect time to the harsh and violent beats of Motley Crüe . At just four months I was whistling, and by ten months I would hum myself to sleep.

I began music by studying the way different artists portrayed and conducted themselves on stage in a way that would get the crowd going, bringing the fans into that moment with them. If the artist was disconsolate, you felt it, if exuberant you felt that! It’s all about finding your path and growing from there.

Being one of the youngest of WEATNU, what do you think you can bring to your generation?

VB: I hope to be able to give back to people through my music and to inspire people to go after what they want in life contrary to what they believe they can succeed.

What influences you as an artist / musician to write?

VB: That’s a hard question to answer because everything in life inspires me to write, the bare leafless tress of winter clinging to life for one more season, the light of the moon at night, the miracle of life, the tides of the oceans and how the sea creatures respond to the different levels of water in their environment. Every little aspect of life is truly miraculous and breathing taking for me so it’s hard to answer that completely. I’m sorry.

Dreams of becoming?

VB: Someone who is able to inspire at least one person.

Tell us more about your new EP?

VB: Captive? Well It takes the form of many styles some of which are mixed. Deep House, Trap, EDM, Heavy Bass, Nordic Pop ect. For me it’s all about pushing the limits and not staying in one square box, because in time if I want to focus on one platform, it’s not something that wouldn’t have been familiar in my other music. The point is to stay as original as possible but also to constantly change it up, to have it be that no two songs are alike. I want each song on its own to speak for itself. That to me is how to keep things alive and is what the songs on my coming EP represent.

If there was one thing in life you could be remembered for what would it be?

VB: Being a risk taker.

Where do you see #WEATNU going in the next decade?

VB: I see it becoming a world-wide spread community of thriving artists.

Bagels or Donuts?
VB: Why do you do this to me!! Both are great but I’m afraid I have to choose Donuts, I’m so sorry Bagels!!

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Jan 25, 2016

Follow Victoria on Twitter:

With all respect: We lost Victoria in 2018, she was a greatly talented artist and one of us, she will never be forgotten.’

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Interview with Corbin Roof

A most prolific and unique musician. Corbin Roof comes from South Carolina with his genre-jumper electronic music. Now transitioning into sleep therapy and ASMR. Part of the #WEATNU machine, promotional indie supporter and music lover.”

Interview by Almark

Being one of the leading supporters, promoters of #WEATNU in a whole, you also write your own special style of electronic music. Would you like to talk about what it means to be a genre-jumper?

CR: It’s a term I coined as I started creating so many different types of musical pieces as a solo artist. I used to focus on just one type of genre per piece I was writing, but eventually I decided to starting putting two opposing styles together per song. Eventually I started writing more electronic rock music as it is easiest for me to produce with what I have readily accessible as far as instruments. The next album will also contain some electro-acoustic.

It’s a very cool concept. I hear all kinds of things, like a mid 90s sound, Fatboy slim, Dust brothers, NIN in your music, did you listen to a lot of those bands during that time?

CR: Fatboy Slim and his videos by Spike Jonez were a staple for me back in the 90’s. I saw NIN live in Columbia with the Jim Rose circus sideshow opening for them. I’ll never forget the level of stereo effects in that concert as sounds seemed to bounce from every sector of the crowd. I didn’t start wanting to create that kind of music though until after “The Fragile” album finally came out.

I hear a very NIN driven influence on Crowd Mover, along with a early 90s hip hop synth melody happening in the background.

CR: I bought a bass effects pedal that had great distortion patches. For some of my earliest albums I had would forgo guitars completely and just use distorted bass.

The album Sampler: ElectroRok is very speaker punishing, kicks you in your arse pretty hard.

CR: I LOVE DISTORTION (if you can’t tell)!!!!!!! I use the Scream distortion effects processor on Reason for literally most of my drums. Gives a more rounded sound quality to add distortion with some other clean percussion.

Are you using a heavy hand on the low EQ freqs in this album, really shakes the room on subs?
Though as you can guess, not everyone has access to subs. True, the distortion is very punishing on this album. How many instruments are you playing on the album?

CR: That’s that sub bass!!! I take it upon myself to listen to my music over at least three different sets of speakers before allowing the public to hear any piece. I usually start out with the Roland monitors while creating and mixing. Then playback on the iPhone6 to examine clarity over very small speakers. Then I have a small Bluetooth speaker that adds a little bass to it. Lastly, I listen to the piece over the car stereo; that also is equipped with sub bass, and test overall quality and peak volume.

Also, I’m playing seven different instruments over that album. Just bare in mind The Sampler albums span the last nine years, and I had a lot of different equipment back then.

So it’s a work as you go type album?
How did you happen to make all tracks sound like they were recorded in the same time period?

CR: That is due to a process I fine tuned for recording and mixing using Sonor and Reason. I had a PA system that I was running all the recorded instruments through. There is a faint hum or hiss in the background, and when I had an older DELL laptop I would occasionally get some bleed through of static from the computers audio processor. Something I couldn’t get a round with that recording process but now that I’m using a different laptop and recording process, I have lost that static.

You’re an advocate for the indie artist, what do you see happening in #WEATNU? 

CR: I see a lot of unclaimed opportunity for those not understanding why promoting others works most effectively for artists not willing to pay for promotion. If we started charging for promotion packages, like the spam I get and disregard all the time on Twitter, our movement would implode in a short time as members decided to weigh other options. WEATNU is what we as a whole make of it and as more join in I’m seeing that there are more and more serious supporters that are willing to promote other WEATNU artists, and the radio helps as well.

What is missing from #WEATNU that could possibly be corrected to further the advancement of this movement? Allowing us to reach the masses as this is our goal?

CR: Well I am forgoing the video for UNSTOPPABLE for a little while to work on two promotional videos for the WEATNU movement. I was actually waiting until this interview to unveil this idea to you and the rest of our members: artists placement. In the second year of WEATNU’s existence I would like to get more involved with each of the artists that are willing to take part in artists placement. And by the third year actually put artists placement into effect. There are some extremely talented musicians and minds in our movement and those that are dedicated from the beginning of their membership until the very end should be given a chance to find placement in film, TV, and advertisement if they so choose. It will show a real commitment from the movement to find placement for their music and in turn if they truly understand why the movement works so effectively for those willing to support it they will be more inclined to donate their time and money to its cause.

That’s a great idea, how would you go about giving them placement in tv?

CR: Well sites like Music Clout make you pay for a subscription through them to get “opportunities” to submit to various movies and advertising. This would NOT be a subscription or membership… It would be an opportunity for those that have seriously donated time and or money to WEATNU. I would talk personally about this to each member that fits that criteria and work on outlets for them on an individual basis. Each of the opportunities that are on those sites are posted all over the Internet, if you know where to look or even more importantly have the time to look. Weatnu Records is where I would start. I may not always have the time, as a father of soon to be 2 little girls, to make music, I will still devote my time to helping others.

It seriously just depends on what the opportunities posted are looking for. Some are just looking to fill a library of music for whatever is needed at the time the agency needs it. The problem is that our members are sitting on a LOT of great music that needs to get out there, but they don’t necessarily have the time to put into finding where it can go and be heard or hopefully heard.

So you’re working on yet another album, this time under Roofy?

Yes, but not under Roofy, only Corbin Roof. It’s an acoustic electronic album, “I’m starting for next year.” Roofy will have TWEAK YOUR PATH finishing out this year and then REWIRED next year & a few here and there collaborations. While I’m focusing on Corbin Roof branding next year to get into position for the children’s album 2017.

I figure shooting for a goal that far ahead will help to solidify the brand by that point as the sleep aid/ambient ASMR albums have been selling pretty well in comparison thus far.

You’ve also been writing on a new blog through tumblr called The Greatest Unknown musicians of our time, how is that going?

CR: I sometimes feel like I need a huge office with a cheap yet highly functional IKEA desk. Just got in all the musicians info for their spotlights on November’s blog, and already got the next batch of musicians together for December. So if anyone is interested, they can contact me and get on the waiting list. I have decided to contact Jordan Pier of Leaving Richmond at the last minute as his EP just came out (which is amazing) and really needs some exposure. “Just doing my job…” or something to that effect.
I have decided to just delve into everything I can possibly to continue the campaign for Roofy and start branding Corbin Roof with the goal of doing some “street” performances of my up coming album “The Semi-Hollow Box”.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Oct 29, 2015

Follow Roofy on Twitter:

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