Today marks the release of Michael Whalen’s “Future Shock“. We bring you an exclusive interview with Michael where he talks about the inspirations behind the album, music production, and his love for jazz/fusion and Prog rock!
“Future Shock” is available here: https://fanlink.to/michaelwhalenfutureshock
BT Fasmer: Tell us about how “Future Shock” came to be. How did you and Bob Magnuson, Simon Phillips, and Tony Levin work together? Could you work in the studio, or did Covid19 lockdown play a part here?
Michael Whalen: Actually, a lot of modern albums are recorded at a distance. COVID didn’t affect at all how things were done. I did my parts, Bob did his parts, Simon did the drums and Tony did the bass once all the final drums and loops were done. When I got all the finished tracks back – I adjusted a lot of stuff and replayed MOST of the keyboard parts.
BT: The title and the cover artwork are a bit “in your face”, Avatar style. Did you set out to make a high-energy album like this, or did that just happen?
Michael: I LOVE the movie “Avatar” and I am very happy at the comparison. Yes, it’s a very high-energy album. I finished all the writing and recording in the Fall just before I had major surgery. So, I was excited about the music and really nervous about the procedure. As an artist, having the creative outlet of getting stress out via music made a HUGE difference. If you don’t think that my “distorted” synth lead sound came from my surgery – – you would be wrong! (Laughs)
BT: I’m impressed by the many references to the late 1970s and early 80s, and yet it sounds genre-defying and even futuristic. What are the inspirations behind the album?
Michael: I love Weather Report, Return to Forever, and Prog Rock music. From the “Keith Emerson” organ sounds to the jazz/fusion formatting, this album is literally dozens of influences in one recording. Obviously, Herbie Hancock’s 1984 album “Future Shock” was a huge influence. I love how he fused his jazz vocabulary with the “break dancing” sound of the early 1980s. Wonderful. I am trying to use sounds and techniques from pop music along with my love of jazz/fusion.
BT: Every time I get to “Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss”, the last track on “Future Shock”, it leaves me wanting more. Do you see yourself making more similar-sounding albums?
Michael: From the 2019 album “Michael Whalen & The Fire Brigade” I did a tune called “Blues for You” which turned out to be one of the most popular songs on the album. Yes, I think would do a romantic album like this… It’s a really fun musical mode to explore.
BT: Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to answer these questions! Best of luck with the release.
See our complete Michael Whalen coverage here: https://newagemusic.guide/tag/michael-whalen/
Make sure to read our review of “Future Shock” too. The album is playing on all our playlists, including New Age Stars Radio/Live365.com!