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 BGOs 2014 album Beyond Time, which dealt with the
topic of futuristic science fiction ideas, 2016s 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, BGOs Sticky Love Songs is
one part Electric Light Orchestra and one part early 1960s 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.
Theres 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
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. Its 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. Its earth-based,
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
Michael Laine Hildebrandt: Yes, when I finished writing the
last song and started to get deeply involved in the mixing I realized
I just couldnt 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. Ive 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 CDs MP3s
etc. I wont 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 wont
even offer any BGO music on MP3s 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.
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, its about the songs,
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 theres 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. Its not a word for word relationship biography,
but close. Its nothing every other breathing human hasnt
felt or experienced at least one time or another, its human
nature, its life. Every human soul will be able to relate to
these 20 songs in one way or another. There wasnt much looking
outside of myself for content on this one.
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. Couldnt do it with out him!
mwe3: Do you both tend to favor the same tones and settings
on your guitars? Whats 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. Its the only
bass guitar Ive played since 1988. No news in the guitar/ gear
world for me these days. If it aint 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 youre 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 couldnt write the words fast enough while
trying to remember what just popped into my mind. It was great. Singles
many! The first one is Youre 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. Im planning on releasing 10 or more
singles from Sticky Love Songs: Peppermint Smile, BGO
Motel and on and on.
Why do you think love causes so much trouble for people yet we cant
live without it. Im 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, Im
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
its 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 dont these
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 CDs.
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, its what I do. You are right, It Was
Gone IS a real heartbreaker. I wrote that in about five minutes
came so fast I couldnt keep up with my pen. Its 100% about
my experiences. I like my songs to start strong and finish strong
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.
Laine Hildebrandt: Thank you. To Someone Else came
fast also. Its 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. Its 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 girls 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 ones 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. Its a nice melodic
lead that turned out great on tape. Some reversing of the guitars
and bass on the fade out make it interesting. Its the time spent
on the small things that make a song work for me.
mwe3: Track 8 Im Not The Man is a great song
yet its also one of the more sensitive songs on Sticky Love
Songs. Whats 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. Its 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. Dont try to adapt to someones 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.
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 Fireflys which
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! Fireflys is what I call my
vocoder love song. Very minimal instrumentation
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 Fireflys
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, Ill get over this
Michael Laine Hildebrandt: That could be someones 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. Its very upbeat anyway.
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: Youre 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 Youre Not
The One That Got Away could also be said for I Used To
Love You, Now I Dont. Is that about accepting love is
lost and gone for the better sometimes?
Michael Laine Hildebrandt: I Used To Love You, Now I
Dont was another obvious title that was a follow up to
Youre Not The One That Got Away. The song title
says it all, apply it to whomever youd like. Its 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.
Its 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. Its like dropping your cotton candy on the ground.
mwe3: Im No Good For You, is that a good
way to avoid a broken heart? If only some were as honest as your song
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. Thats about as honest as it gets.
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?
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, thats 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 wouldnt want to stay there too long. I barely made
it out alive on this 20 song venture.
mwe3: Its 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 youve
released thus far, is it onwards and upwards from here on out for
you? Knowing you, youve 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 Ive 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
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? Im in no hurry, Ill just let it come
naturally like I always do.