BUBBLE GUM ORCHESTRA
Out Of This World
(BGO Records)

 

Back in late 1971, the original Electric Light Orchestra was an act of pure musical genius and, of course even the later period ELO was a major force in the music world. Following a brief reunion in 2001, and despite still selling millions of CDs, ELO retired from the music world. Thankfully a new musical force has convened to pick up from where ELO left off with prog-pop classics like “Telephone Line” and “Calling America”. The group known as Bubble Gum Orchestra rise to the occasion with their 2012 CD called Out Of This World. BGO leader Michael Laine Hildebrandt might not possess the same guitar skills or legendary pop chops as ELO founder Jeff Lynne, yet as he proves on the first BGO CD, as a singer and a songwriter, Hildebrandt clearly has what it takes to synchronize his 21st century ELO-inspired synth pop sound in a unique way. Amazingly, like Lynne, Hildebrandt can and does play every instrument on this CD including lead guitars, keyboards, percussion and more making himself sound like a one man band at times, with assistance from his brother Douglas Hildebrandt on rhythm guitars. The 17 track Out Of This World CD is superbly packaged with a late period ELO look, with that electric violin looking musical spaceship cruising through the milky way. Sounding like a kind of concept album, the songs on Out Of This World are infused with a sonic synth and string-laden bubble gum prog beat that meshes into a ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s musical combination that can best be described as out of this world musical futurism. A bunch of BGO tracks become instant favorites including track 7, the stately, funereal cosmic synth sound of “Goodbye My Old Friend”, with its ELO meets Buggles sound and the instrumental based “Sunrise In Spain”. Marvel at the artwork and packaging, but listen for the music. www.BubbleGumOrchestra.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with

MICHAEL LAINE HILDEBRANDT of
BUBBLE GUM ORCHESTRA


mwe3: It sounds like you succeeded at creating a concept of sounds on the Bubble Gum Orchestra CD Out Of This World. Where and when was the album written and recorded and how do you describe what you set out to create sonically and scenically with the first Bubble Gum Orchestra album?

MLH: Out Of This World was written and recorded in Blue Violin Studios which is located in Lewisville, Texas USA over a two year period. Sonically, my goal was to get a nice, very clean up front vocal mix which would also feature all the other instruments plus the orchestration to give the listener a somewhat soothing listening experience. After creating the BGO blue violin mother ship seen on our CD cover, my intent was to give the listener something from Out Of This World to view and read as they listened to all the songs. If you set your mind free for an hour, you can go on a musical and visual journey through space and time exploring life and love with this CD.

mwe3: What’s been the reaction to the album so far and are you taking the Bubble Gum Orchestra global? I think they’d like this in Japan and Korea!

MLH: The reaction has been fantastic so far to the people we have reached. The goal is to get BGO introduced to the masses and go from there. We are currently doing everything possible to get heard all over the world…I agree, Japan and Korea would really like BGO!

mwe3: Is there a single from the album that you’re pushing? “Goodbye My Old Friend” sounds like a hit single to me. What are some of your favorite compositions that you wrote for the CD? Also the instrumental “Sunrise In Spain” is great. What was behind that track?

MLH: The first single is “Night In Shangri-La” and BGO is currently having renown animator Dale Hemenway from England bringing this song to “life” with a music video. The storyline is awesome and Dale is working hard in his animation lab in Cheshire creating all the characters and graphics. The story tells of a lonely man “the last man on Earth” traveling throughout the mighty universe and space in a classic love story trying "oh so hard" to be with his eternal love in Shangri-La no matter what he has to do to obtain his passion. This video really tells a beautiful story. BGO’s official web site and Youtube channel will feature the video when it comes out. We will keep you updated. I too would love for “Goodbye My Old Friend” to be a hit single; it is a strange, cool little song that I really like a lot. The lyrics get deep if you let them take you there. All 17 songs on Out Of This World are very close to my heart so picking a favorite is impossible for me. I love them all. The instrumental, “Sunrise In Spain” was basically just a fantasy song that I composed while dreaming what the sunrise would look like in that beautiful country being serenaded by a guitar and a string quartet overlooking the ocean. I would love to experience that one day…who wants to go with me?

mwe3: How about gear, your choice of guitars, keyboards and other sound enhancers and can you shed some light on the recording process? Also great to hear about your Warwick bass endorsement!

MLH: Everything on Out Of This World was recorded in Pro Tools with the latest computer technology. All instruments are live actual instruments except for the orchestra which is human played (sampled) recorded violins, cellos, violas etc... I personally perform all the instruments myself except for the rhythm guitars in which I recruit my brother Douglas who always does a great job for me. I use Ovation 12 and 6 string acoustic guitars plus my Fender 6 string Stratocaster ran through whatever desired effects needed for a particular song. I like to run the Strat through my Fender Champion 600 vintage amp to achieve some light distortion from time to time. I have introduced the Tom Scholz (Boston) classic guitar sound to some of my new songs. I am getting some killer tones! I also play a Korg XL Synthesizer/ vocoder along with a Mini-Moog , DB 33 and mini grand piano on various songs. For bass guitar, I only play my trusty Warwick 4 string “Thumb” bass. I’ve been playing Warwick and Warwick only since 1989 and actually just got an endorsement deal with them! I am super excited about this because I have been so loyal to them over the years and now I am one of their artists. I am much honored to be part of the Warwick team! Christopher Kunitz (Warwick USA artist rep) who runs the Warwick New York Custom Shop will actually be in Germany for a couple of weeks in March taking photos of the building process of my new one of a kind bass. We will share those pictures on our web site as we receive them. The Warwick custom shop in Germany is currently building me a custom “blue” Thumb bass that definitely represents BGO!

mwe3: Can you say something about your early years, where and when you were born and grew up and where you are living now? Also how about your early exposure to playing music and your music studies?

MLH: I was born in the Mississippi river town of Muscatine, Iowa and grew up there until moving to Dallas Texas at age 27. I started playing bass guitar around age 20 and writing around 22. I am self-taught and surprisingly never had a music lesson in my life. I don’t read music but I understand the theory behind it. For me, it was about writing a song from the heart and not from what I learned in a book. Everyone has their own style and approach, and the path I have chosen works well for me.

mwe3: Can you fill us in about your favorite musical influences including Electric Light Orchestra and other symphonic rock bands and some of your favorite albums? The ELO sound is quite omnipresent in the BGO CD. And what younger artists do you listen to on CD these days?

MLH: I have many, many musical influences that really vary depending on my mood. Here are just a few very random picks. I grew up listening to and loving early pop like Smokey Robinson’s “Tears Of A Clown”, The Jackson Five, The Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, The Alan Parsons Project, Rush, Boston, Journey, Styx, Toto, Foreigner, The Cars, Loverboy, Queen, Kansas, The Tubes, April Wine, YES, The Human League, Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, The Babys, and of course... ELO. If I were stranded on a desert island and could choose only one album to listen to for the rest of my life it would definitely be ELO’s Out Of The Blue. It has everything musically I would need to survive. For younger artists, I like Owl City. Adam Young reminds me of a younger me with his approach to writing and recording.

mwe3: What does the future hold for Bubble Gum Orchestra as far as performances, writing and recording of new music?

MLH: The future of Bubble Gum Orchestra? Let me check the almighty BGO crystal ball... BGO will go on tour if the right situation presents itself. It would be a blast to bring this thing to life and play live around the world. Only time will tell. I have just finished writing and recording song number 10 titled “A Trillion To One” for BGO’s second album due to be released worldwide later this year. Ninety five percent of the music has been recorded and the next step is vocals, then backing vocals, then mixing, off to mastering etc…etc. I will be living in the studio for the next seven months completing everything. The new album has more of an overall upbeat tempo feel to it with some heavier guitars. Not too heavy though. I am really excited about all the new songs and look forward to sharing them with the world later this year. If you liked the first album, then you will love this second one! Steve Howard (former) Paul McCartney and Wings trumpet player (1975-1980) recently came into Blue Violin Studios and played his trumpet on a new BGO song titled “Blowin’ Away”. Steve played the same horn he had recorded "Silly Love Songs", "Let Em' In" and "Coming Up" with Paul McCartney in Abbey Road Studios back in the ‘70s and the one he played every night on the Wings Over America and Wings over Europe tours. We had an awesome afternoon recording his trumpet and talking Wings! The present is bright for BGO and the future will even be brighter. God put me here to share my passion of music, so that’s what I will do.


Thanks to Michael Hildebrandt @ www.BubbleGumOrchestra.com



 

 
   
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