his follow up album to the late 2011 / early 2012 CD release of Out
Of This World, singer-songwriter Michael Laine Hildebrandt
returns at the end of 2012 with Bubble Gum Orchestra II,
the second album from his band Bubble Gum Orchestra. Although
somewhat younger than his mentors from the original classic rock crowd
of the late 1960's to the mid to late 1970s, Hildebrandt maintains
a healthy 21st Century reverence for the classic bands from that era
including The Beatles , Electric Light Orchestra, The Buggles, ABBA
and loads of other top 40 favorites and he gets to live out his sonic
fantasies once again with BGOII. An inventive sonic multi-tasker,
Hildebrandt's upbeat musical demeanor is quite contagious on tracks
like Today Is Beautiful, Oh Can We Save It
and Loving One Another. Sure you can hear traces of upbeat
Steve Miller meets The Buggles meets Jeff Lynne musical vibes but
theres also a cool futuristic thing in play on the 2012 BGO
CD. The CD packaging of BGOII is eye-popping and the enclosed
lyrics booklet shines a light on just how well Hildebrandt combines
words and music. Power pop fans and prog-pop fans, don't miss Bubble
Gum Orchestra. www.BubbleGumOrchestra.com
presents an interview with
Michael Laine Hildebrandt
mwe3: It was just last year ago that the first Bubble Gum Orchestra
album came out and now BGOII. What was the plan behind the
making of this late 2012 BGOII follow up album and when was
the music written and where and when were the tracks cut?
I started writing songs for BGOII over a three month period
after the release of our first album, Out Of This World which
came out world wide in late September of 2011. I was feeling really
creative and "Distant Song" came first. All the tracks were
recorded in Blue Violin Studios here in Dallas, Texas. The plan behind
BGO II is to reach as many people as we can to share our love
mwe3: Theres a few tracks that would work as singles including
Carrie In My Dreams which is great. What is the first
single off the new CD? Is there a theme or concept for the new BGOII
MLH: The upbeat and worldly "Loving One Another" is currently
in preproduction for video being made by the very talented Aaron Fairooz
of Fairooz Imaging here in Dallas so I would have to say that "Loving
One Another" is officially our first single. Also, talks are
underway for an upcoming video for "Carrie In My Dreams".
Is there a concept or theme? I like outer space, time travel, aliens,
stratospheres and orchestras...so I guess there are several themes
happening on BGO II's art work.
mwe3: The art work of BGOII is amazing. Who designed the CD
packaging? It should win some kind of grammy or something! And that
pic of you on the inside of the tray card where you look like Captain
Marvel. (lol) Is there a visual theme based around your music? Of
course the ELO comparison is inevitable, especially since todays
younger artists seem keen on carrying forward the classic rock traditions.
MLH: I came up with the initial concept design for the album. My graphic
designer and brother Douglas Hildebrandt brought everything to life
via his computer and he also came up with many of the awesome visual
effects we were going for. I agree with you, Douglas should win some
sort of award or at least a trophy or something. (lol) The visual
theme I wanted and achieved was to have an alien find a beautiful
happy world and have BGO and all their friends living there. The "Alien"
theme continues through out the CD artwork and then you see the picture
of myself, with my hands morphing into a green Alien. I left the overall
interpretation up to the viewer. The Captain Marvel reference is very
close. Douglas came up with the 1950's Universal movie's style, outer
space look for my personal photo. I am thrilled with the results.
else worked with you on the new BGOII CD, discussing including
what your brother brought to the table and other musicians and or
anyone in the production? I know you had Paul McCartneys trumpet
player on a track. How did you meet Steve Howard?
MLH: I was honored to have had two guest musicians and personal friends
alone with my brother Douglas to come into Blue Violin Studios and
lay down some awesome tracks on BGO II. The legendary trumpet
player, Steve Howard, former of Paul McCartney and Wings from 1975-1980,
came in and recorded in February of 2012 and played on the song, "Blowin'
Away". Steve actually played on the very same trumpet that he
played on tour for all the Wings over America and Wings over Europe
tours in the 70's. This is also the horn he played at Abbey Road Studios
for the studio recordings of those classic Wings songs: "Silly
Love Songs", "Let 'Em In" and "Coming Up".
Steve told me that recording with BGO reminded him of being at Abbey
Road Studios with Paul and working out the trumpet parts and then
recording them. I met Steve 11 years ago and he lives very close to
me here in Texas and I see him on a regular basis. I was also honored
to have singer, songwriter and piano extraordanaire Les Farrington
of Sugarbomb fame to come in and play the piano solos on the opening
track, "Today Is Beautiful". Also to note, Les and I have
collaborated and recorded the classic song, "Girl" made
famous by Davy Jones and will be releasing it on BGO's official website
as a free download hopefully by Davy's birthday in December of this
year to honor him. My brother Douglas Hildebrandt brought a lot to
BGO II. He came in and played rhythm guitar on every song that
required guitars on them. His playing is awesome and I could not do
it with out him!
As far as gear goes was there any new addition to the guitar approach
on the new CD? What guitars did you turn to mostly on the BGOII
album and are you still working with Warwick basses? Would you say
BGOII is more guitar centric or keyboard based?
MLH: I did get some new gear for BGO II. I found some old vintage
Tom Sholtz, of Boston fame, guitar effects and incorporated those
classic tones into some songs on this new album. I have always loved
the vintage "Boston" sound and wanted to get that into some
of our orchestrated pop songs. "Carrie In My Dreams" has
it along with "A Trillion To One" plus a couple more. I
wanted to go a little heavier with some songs but not take it too
far and get away from the "pop" feel I love so dearly. That
being said, I believe that there is definitely a more "guitar"
oriented and upbeat feel on BGO II. We used my trusty Fender
USA Stratocaster along with an Ovation 12 string acoustic guitar along
with our Ovation 6 string acoustic guitar. I love the sound of those
guitars and they never let me down. Let's talk about Warwick bass
guitars... I have been playing them all of my adult life and I am
very blessed to be endorsed by them. There is no other bass that sounds
as good as a Warwick! I would be playing them regardless if I was
endorsed by them or not. I recorded all the songs with my neck through
four string EMG loaded "Thumb" bass and that growl is unmatched.
I was fortunate to be in New York City recently and went to the Warwick
USA Custom Shop in the East Village. Meeting my US artist rep Christopher
Kunitz was awesome and their shop is amazing.
mwe3: Is there a story about how you first became interested in pop
music and becoming a recording artist? My mom was always singing and
she would always buy some great broadway play soundtrack Lp back in
the 1960s. Who in your life brought music to life for you? Were there
some key memories about your early musical exposure? What musical
era did you grow up in and what musical era would you have wanted
to grow up in?
MLH: It's funny, our Mom, Carole Ann Thompy always says she has no
idea where my brother and I got our music abilities from! We never
took any lessons, can't read music and we are definitely not "hooked
up" like most people which maybe explains some sort of artistic
side to our music approach. The world may never know I guess. I grew
up listening to my sister Patty's Beatles albums which explains a
lot to where my musical influences started. Thank you Paul, John,
George, Ringo and Patty! Hearing the Beatles at such a young age really
defined me as a lifelong fan of them and their style of music. That
being said, the Beatles era of the 60's and all the pop music during
the 70's are the era's that I truly love the most. I am fortunate
that I grew up when I did , I wouldn't change a thing.
Seems like youre laying the groundwork for the future of BGO
with these first two albums and ideally what kind of musical future
would you envision or hope for the planet, the music world and your
fans in the next few years?
MLH: I love the whole process of writing, recording and ultimately
getting a final product to share with the fans of BGO. It's what I
do. I was given the "gift" of creating music so that is
the path I will continue to follow. I have already been writing and
recording for the next BGO album due out sometime in late 2013...I
hope. A new song titled "Evil, Evil Girl" will set the tone
for BGO III aka, "The Discovery".
to Michael Laine Hildebrandt @ www.BubbleGumOrchestra.com