BUBBLE GUM ORCHESTRA
Sticky Love Songs Volume 1 & 2
(BGO Recordings)

 

The American musical outfit known as Bubble Gum Orchestra have won over pop fans with their critically acclaimed albums and in 2016 they return with album number 5, Sticky Love Songs Vol. 1 & 2, a veritable double album worth of new songs from the pen of BGO main man Michael Laine Hildebrandt. Compared to BGO’s 2014 album Beyond Time, which dealt with the topic of futuristic science fiction ideas, 2016’s Sticky Love Songs goes back to the tried and trusted topic of love songs. The album, spread over one 79 minute CD features 20 songs and there are enough classics on hand to make the album of interest to fans of the acclaimed Texas based BGO. With all the music written and produced by Michael Laine Hildebrandt, BGO’s Sticky Love Songs is one part Electric Light Orchestra and one part early 1960’s Phil Spector productions. That sense of Spectorian precision and that futuristic ELO beat is just the sound that has made Bubble Gum Orchestra such a favorite among music fans. Once again, Michael Laine Hildebrandt's brother Douglas Hildebrandt adds in some tasty guitar work with guest singer Lannie Flowers adding vocals on a track here. There’s no major societal themes here, but the concepts of unrequited love is alive and well in the songs of Sticky Love Songs Vol. 1 & 2. Power pop fans looking for 20 fresh tracks of sonic ear candy will find plenty to like about Bubble Gum Orchestra and their futuristic approach to 21st century sounds.





mwe3.com presents an interview with
MICHAEL LAINE HILDEBRANDT
The Sticky Love Songs interview



mwe3
: How did you arrive with the concept of Sticky Love Songs and why did you decide to make it a double album? You said you were inspired, writing 20 songs for the album. It’s interesting that the 2014 BGO album Beyond Time was a concept album about the future. So Sticky Love Songs is more “earth-based”, if you consider songs about love to be earth-based because some might say the planet Venus is often involved!

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: My all time favorite songs growing up have always leaned towards love songs for some unexplained reason. That being said, I really wanted to pursue the topic of love throughout every song on this new BGO album. I started writing Sticky Love Songs during the mixing of Beyond Time and wanted to go in a completely different direction than Beyond Time. I wrote the first five songs in three days and had intended to write a total of ten or eleven for the album. I stayed super hyper-inspired and got it all out of my system at song twenty. It’s earth-based, Texas-style.

mwe3: Did you really place the tracks on the album as you wrote them? That might be a first. So the Sticky Love Songs album has a certain continuity to it? Are you also releasing it on vinyl or only on CD and download? Are you amused by the resurgence of vinyl? Jigsaw Seen released their last album on cassette! That said, you have made a brilliant double album with Sticky Love Songs. Might it not be easier to absorb over the course of 4 sides or have our ears (and eyes) grown beyond the traditional double album look and feel?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Yes, when I finished writing the last song and started to get deeply involved in the mixing I realized I just couldn’t rearrange the song order. I had become too attached to the order and the meaning of the order so I decided to respect that and leave it all the exact same way as how they were written. It might be a first. Probably is. I’ve never heard of it being done before. Sticky Love Songs explores in depth the good, the bad and everywhere in between sides of love. It all came very naturally and was really a great and fun experience. The continuity came naturally once I started writing the songs. Sticky Love Songs is being released on CD and download only through our official website at bubblegumorchestra.com and nowhere else on the planet. Vinyl should have never gone away in my opinion and gave way to CD’s MP3’s etc. I won’t get started on sound quality but technology did not make music audio a better place. The kids listening today are clueless on what sounds good and are just lazy and want the easy, quick MP3 download to listen through their EMO ear buds. I won’t even offer any BGO music on MP3’s anymore. I would love to release these new 20 songs on a double vinyl album recorded on 2” tape and in a perfect world I would. In this rigged so-called music business, it would be virtually impossible to recoup the investment. I do BGO for the love of the songs and for ME.

mwe3: Tell us about the Sticky Love Songs 1 & 2 cover art. As usual for BGO, the album concept art is totally brilliant. Where did you get the concept for the BGO Motel and who came up with the artwork concepts this time? Was your brother, the talented Douglas Hildebrandt involved in the album artwork again?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I knew once I started writing Sticky Love Songs the artwork would have to be something special and “just right”. I played around with at least several ideas over the almost three year writing and recording process and thought a great place to have these love songs happening would be a sleazy motel. It all started to fall together over the last few months and the final ideas came together and then brought to life visually with the talents of my brother Douglas. He did a great job as always. I wrote the song “BGO Motel” last based on the Motel artwork. I visually wanted the album to be about a fantasy place so the listener could imagine where all these Sticky Love Songs are happening. You will find no picture of me anywhere, it’s about the songs, not me.

mwe3: Did you write the Sticky Love Songs from your own experiences or did you look outside yourself for the new songs? God only knows there’s enough information on love, and divorce, out there these days!

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I knew that question would inevitably be asked. I would love to tell you they were from observing other people and their relationship issues but I cannot. I write from the heart and gut so yes, they are for the most part from my personal experience. It’s not a word for word relationship biography, but close. It’s nothing every other breathing human hasn’t felt or experienced at least one time or another, it’s human nature, it’s life. Every human soul will be able to relate to these 20 songs in one way or another. There wasn’t much looking outside of myself for content on this one.

mwe3: Did you write these new songs in the studio or did you enter the studio with the new songs already written? When you write a song do you tend to record it right away?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I sat down at the piano and wrote every one of the 20 songs one at a time in Blue Violin Studios. After I write a song, I jump right in and record about 85% of it except for guitars and then I bring my brother into the studio to record the guitars last.

mwe3: How is your brother Douglas doing and how did you guys share the guitar work on the Sticky Love Songs 1 & 2 CD?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Douglas is doing well. He comes into the studio usually after I have recorded most of the other instruments and plays and records the guitars. Couldn’t do it with out him!

mwe3: Do you both tend to favor the same tones and settings on your guitars? What’s new with Warwick Guitars as far as getting new tones and sounds to incorporate on the new album? Any other news in the guitar / gear world these day that is catching your attention?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I get the guitar tones later during mixing unless I have pre decided to use some of my vintage Tom Scholz out board gear. My Warwick bass guitars are great and very reliable in every way imaginable. The tone is so sweet. It’s the only bass guitar I’ve played since 1988. No news in the guitar/ gear world for me these days. If it ain’t broken…

mwe3: Getting back to the concept of Sticky Love Songs, what songs were easiest to write this time around? Some of the songs on the album are more hopeful and others are clearly more regretful. Did you cover all the bases and is there a single or two from the album that you’re promoting this time?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: They were all easy to write. When you live some of it, the songs come naturally and they came quick for me. At times I couldn’t write the words fast enough while trying to remember what just popped into my mind. It was great. Singles… many! The first one is “You’re Not The One That Got Away”. “You Gave Up On Love” will be second featuring pop sensation Lannie Flowers from Spyderpop Records on lead vocals on the bridges and at the end of the song. I’m planning on releasing 10 or more singles from Sticky Love Songs: ”Peppermint Smile, “BGO Motel” and on and on.

mwe3: Why do you think love causes so much trouble for people yet we can’t live without it. I’m thinking of the first track on Sticky Love Songs, “You Called To Tell Me” which sounds like a Ronettes song from the early 1960s. Do you feel the song has a kind of oldies feel played with modern hi-tech gear?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: The only trouble with love is when one of the two parties starts lying or being deceitful. “You Called To Tell Me” started from a text to me that read, “I’m lonely”. That is what sparked the writing of the song and for the most part the entire album. I think the call and answer backing vocals gives this particular song a ‘60s vibe.

mwe3: The lyrics are truly great throughout the album. “You Called To Tell Me” starts off with that great introduction where the “Dreamer dreams of a world of everlasting love” but it’s “Just a dream filled with Sticky Love Songs!” That is pure genius. Are you underrated as a lyricist? I hope you printed the lyrics with the CD but so many artists don’t these days!

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Thank you for the compliment on the lyrics and the intro of the opening song., I like to give the listener a good story they can relate to. This goes back to me listening to my favorite artists growing up. I always got lost in their lyrics and interpreted them how I wanted to. It would at times bum me out to find out years later what the real meanings were to some of them. Underrated as a lyricist? No. All the lyrics to Sticky Love Songs will be viewable on our website as soon as the album is released on September 20th. I have added the lyrics in the last four BGO CD’s. Not this one. If someone wants to sing along please go to bubblegumorchestra.com and sing away.

mwe3: Are love songs easier (as you say in the song) to write than songs with more complex topics? “It Was Gone” is a real heartbreaker. Is that a song one can only write from experience or did you write it about some other people? Seems you always pack in some great sounds towards the end of your songs.

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Love songs have always been fun for me to write, it’s what I do. You are right, “It Was Gone” IS a real heartbreaker. I wrote that in about five minutes…it came so fast I couldn’t keep up with my pen. It’s 100% about my experiences. I like my songs to start strong and finish strong and memorable.

mwe3: “To Someone Else” is one of your great songs. Is that one of the rude awakening love songs on the album? Tell us about that amazing guitar solo in the song.

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Thank you. “To Someone Else” came fast also. It’s a true story word for word. I played the solos on this one and thought the note selection enhanced the song and fit in well. It’s all about fitting in the right melodies and making them work together as one.

mwe3: “Peppermint Smile” is classic BGO. Is that a different kind of BGO song? How many layers of songs are on that song? It has a kind of Wings type sound to it. How did you associate peppermint with a girl’s smile? Great chord changes again. Have you been honing and working on your cool chord changes? I think they call it mastering creative key modulations. Another great guitar solo. You or Douglas?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Thanks! Another single to be released somewhere down the road. A lot of layers and harmonies going on in this one. This entire album I experimented with different vocal technics. “Peppermint Smile” was written based on meeting the love of one’s life, ones fantasy you might say. The one person that fits just right. Girl+ candy+ sweet+ love = “Peppermint Smile” Some Donnie Iris and the Cruisers influences going on here. Chord changes are essential to a good song. You start throwing in too many minors as an example and you start sounding like other people. I wrote the guitar leads and Douglas performed them. It’s a nice melodic lead that turned out great on tape. Some reversing of the guitars and bass on the fade out make it interesting. It’s the time spent on the small things that make a song work for me.

mwe3: Track 8 “I’m Not The Man” is a great song yet it’s also one of the more sensitive songs on Sticky Love Songs. What’s your frame of mind there? There are some brilliant chord changes on the song. It sounds like you added some trumpet sounds towards the end of the song. Did you stretch out on some unique chord changes on the track?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Thank you again… when my brother heard this song completely finished for the first time a couple of weeks ago he said it brought a tear to his eye which was a big compliment in that it had evoked that kind of emotion. It’s a deep song with a deep message. My frame of mind and message is to be yourself and never change who you are or try to live up to what someone else thinks you should be. Don’t try to adapt to someone’s chaotic lifestyle and poor life decisions just to fit in with their crazy scenario, every day existence. If you do try this impossible task, you will write this song or go mad. The chord changes really make the song musically different and especially at the end when the notes keep modulating up one step at a time. The multi tracks of trumpets add a nice Beatles or Wings touch. I thought after writing it, it had a Boston, Tom Scholz feel to it kinda sorta.

mwe3: “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” closes out Sticky Love Songs 1. Why did you choose to close Vol. 1 out with that track? What is the meaning of that song and “Firefly’s” which proceeds it?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Because there are ten songs in each volume and that was the tenth song I wrote which concluded Volume 1. “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” is about someone dreaming of their perfect mate and then waking up the next morning knowing they will only see them again when they go to sleep and dream again. I really love this song! “Firefly’s” is what I call my “vocoder” love song. Very minimal instrumentation…talking keyboards, clean guitar, drum beat and vocals. A friend heard it and started weeping saying it was the best song he had ever heard from me. It must have struck a chord, pun intended, in his psyche to make him feel that way. It was very humbling. Another “single” release for both “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” and “Firefly’s” will happen.

mwe3: What was your sentiment in “Hard Nights”, which leads off the Volume 2 half of the album?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I thought the title was somewhat relatable to me so I went with it and the rest of the song followed quickly. There are some nice chord changes and Douglas played the Rickenbacker 360 12 string electric guitar in the bridges. I only slightly dodged your question. Listeners should listen to this album and relate the lyric content to something in their lives.

mwe3: Is track 12 “Find My Way To Heaven” the upside of living with a broken heart? Thinking hey, I’ll get over this… in heaven… hopefully...

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: That could be someone’s scenario but the meaning went a little deeper for me. Probably some mortality issues going on with this song and pondering what lies beyond the great beyond. This entire album has many heavy-hearted issues weaved through out disguised in melodies.

mwe3: “Every Day Of The Week” is a bouncy little track with an unusual guitar sound. It’s very upbeat anyway.

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I thought the title was just so “obvious” that I had to go there and write it. It is a bouncy song that just worked out really well. The guitar tones are pretty straightforward. Fender Strat into a Marshall 100w stack with some delay and verb.

mwe3: “You’re Not The One That Got Away” is different in that you play acoustic or Spanish guitar on the song. If only every love song was this easy or cool to write.

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: More people do need to hear this. It has a great message to whomever you want to apply it to. I came up with the title and thought it was cool and straight to the point so I wrote the rest of the song around it pretty quickly. The guitars are acoustic with an acoustic lead solo all played brilliantly by Douglas. It felt really good to write this song knowing that a certain person would hear it.

mwe3: The same that could be said for “You’re Not The One That Got Away” could also be said for “I Used To Love You, Now I Don’t”. Is that about accepting love is lost and gone for the better sometimes?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: “I Used To Love You, Now I Don’t” was another obvious title that was a follow up to “You’re Not The One That Got Away”. The song title says it all, apply it to whomever you’d like. It’s a universal theme of love and hate, hope and despair etc…

mwe3: Can you explain your mindset and approach on “Like A Merry Go Round”? Kind of giving in to the mystery of love?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I thought the song title up first and then got inspired enough to write the music and words around it. It’s my version of power pop with strings I suppose. It has a musical carnival atmosphere around it while the lyrics tackle the ups and downs of a relationship. Nice guitars played by my brother Douglas and a melodic simple piano riff through out completes the song. It’s like dropping your cotton candy on the ground.

mwe3: “I’m No Good For You”, is that a good way to avoid a broken heart? If only some were as honest as your song intends!

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: This song is about someone telling their lies over and over and then you realizing that you were never any good together. That’s about as honest as it gets.

mwe3: “The BGO Motel” is a great theme song to close out the Sticky Love Songs CD. Is the “BGO Motel” symbolic of something bigger? Tell us something about “BGO Motel” and how it relates to the overall album concept? How does the “BGO Motel” artwork fit in to the song concepts on Sticky Love Songs?

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: “BGO Motel” was the last song I wrote for the album. I was out running and I came up with the line, “Tales of exhilaration and devastation, that’s what goes on every night at the BGO Motel”. I wrote the rest of the song around that imagining that the BGO Motel was the location that all 20 of these songs and scenarios were taking place every night. You can sit back with the album artwork in front of you and listen to the Lp and just get lost in your own imagination. The BGO Motel is a cool place to visit but I wouldn’t want to stay there too long. I barely made it out alive on this 20 song venture.

mwe3: It’s great that you were able make this incredible double album. What are you hoping listeners will come away with after spinning Sticky Love Songs 1 & 2. Now that Bubble Gum Orchestra built up an impressive following with the four albums you’ve released thus far, is it onwards and upwards from here on out for you? Knowing you, you’ve probably already got ideas for BGO 6!

Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Thank you for your kind words Robert. I started writing BGO V almost three years ago and it was the most fun I’ve ever had writing a Bubble Gum Orchestra album. It was also the most mentally draining one by far. When you live some of these songs you get very attached and they almost become therapeutic so when you have to let them go it gets a little tricky to do but necessary. I know what these songs mean to me and the listeners will absolutely be able to relate to every song if they have a beating heart. I would like to think that they come away with a smile on their face or maybe a tear in their eye after spinning these 20 sticky love songs.

Yes, you know me by now… I got inspired earlier this year and have written 8 new songs for BGO 6. The working title so far is “Living On Earth” and I am really excited about it. 2017 release maybe? 2018? I’m in no hurry, I’ll just let it come naturally like I always do.



 

 
   
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