sunnudagur, júní 15, 2008

Bang Gang by WIHO

Artwork #3: Bang Gang / Barði Jóhannsson (12 x 12 cm)

And there is more:
Bang Gang in the Spotlight @IMX
Barði Jóhannsson has been performing under the name Bang Gang since 1996. His first outing was the atmospheric You (2000), which was followed by two simultaneous albums in 2003: Something Wrong, and Lady & Bird, a side-project involving Jóhannsson and French songwriter Keren Ann. Since then Barði has toured, co-directed a short film (Red Death, screened at the Pompidou Centre in 2004), produced and wrote lyrics for several Icelandic artists, and composed a soundtrack (Haxan, 2005). Now he returns to the songwriting foray with the third Bang Gang outing, Ghosts From The Past, which ranges from bittersweet melancholy pop to opera-infused melodic rock. The new album features a song written by your Lady & Bird collaborator Keren Ann: have you two got more work in the pipeline?
Since we met we’ve done the “Lady & Bird” album, music for short films, written a book, made music for advertisements and wrote one song on each other’s records. We will definitely have more stuff coming.
The title of the album, Ghosts From The Past - what does it refer to?
The title refers to all the ghosts that are following us. Ghosts are the experiences and stories we have heard through our life and that follow us or haunt us.
It's been five years since you released the last Bang Gang album, What have you been up to in the meantime?
I released a classical record called “Haxan”, a soundtrack with the band Mínus under the name MÍNUSBARÐI for the movie "Strákarnir okkar". I also toured, wrote music for lots of advertisements and TV shows, and produced a few songs and records. Everything except sleeping.
Did you have any particular concept in your head when you started writing Ghosts From The Past?
I had lots of different concepts, but ended up not following any of them. I just let the record go in its own direction.
Esther Talía Casey has been a major feature of Bang Gang over the years – is she still involved in the group?
She did some backing vocals on the new record. Otherwise she is now focused on acting.
Who else was involved in the LP, and what did they do?
Keren Ann wrote and produced one song with me. Anthony Gonzalez did two more. I had a great drummer from France called Denis Benarrosh playing on most of the songs. Daði Birgisson did lots of keyboards, he has a great touch and understands my universe. Great guy and my favorite keyboardist. Laurent Vernery did most of the bass - I try to work with him when possible, when recording bass. Axel "Flex" mixed the record. Védís Hervör and Ester did some backing vocals. And many others.
Do you think any of the songs will be pop hits - a new "So Alone?"
When I write music, I just write something that sounds nice to me. Pop hit or non-hit. All my songs sound like hits to me.
Which Icelandic bands have impressed you most in 2008?
Eberg, Our Lives & Singapore Sling.
Which international bands have influenced you most over the years?
Death, Destiny's Child, Velvet Underground, The Stranglers, Ennio Morricone, Alice in Chains, Lee Hazelwood, Sonic Youth, Spiritualized and Michael Jackson.
What sets this album apart from previous Bang Gang outings from your perspective?
I sing on all the songs, except I have two friends, Anthony Gonzales & Keren Ann, helping me with the vocals on one song each. The sound is more open then on the other Bang Gang records. Also I use less electronic instruments.
Will the album get an international release?
Yes. Discograph will release the record in Europe.
And will you be touring off the back of the record?
I am touring some European festivals this summer and then I am doing a European tour in September and October. The tour dates are coming in slowly on the Bang Gang myspace:

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