BUBBLE GUM ORCHESTRA
Sixthoverture
(BGO Recordings)

 

Following albums that pertained to futuristic science fiction (Beyond Time) and the tried and trusted topic of relationships (Sticky Love Songs), American pop maven Michael Laine Hildebrandt and his entourage / moniker Bubble Gum Orchestra takes on somewhat deeper psycho-social issues on the 2017 CD release of Sixthoverture. Regarding the raw emotional content of Sixthoverture songs like “Living On Earth” and “Lower Than Low” Michael tells mwe3.com, “I was so glad to get Sticky Love Songs out of my life just from the emotional standpoint. I let myself go into somewhat uncharted BGO territory and started writing what was to come for me... a thrilling, emotional and super positive journey of 11 songs. The mood reflects just some of the chaos going on in this crazy world today. A friend told me the album art was ‘dark yet beautiful.” Musically, Sixthoverture features the Bubble Gum Orchestra retro / futuristic pop sound throughout, yet with earlier album concepts of outer space and sticky love songs well done, is Sixthoverture a different kind of BGO album? Decked out with haunting and harrowing album artwork, Sixthoverture is yet another thrilling BGO album filled with soaring pop melodies—Hildy's usually upbeat tracks fueled by lyrics that looks straight into permanent human conditions like love and life. Also on Sixthoverture is a fine Beatles' tribute, to which Hildy adds, “More than any other previous BGO album. I guess I was feeling a little experimental. “The Beatles Made Me” is not my deliberate tribute to The Beatles though. It’s a relationship song about whomever you want it to be about, bringing two people back together through the joy of music and the band that just happens to be doing that is The Beatles.” Music fans who have been hip to BGO since their early breakthrough album Out Of This World will find much to like about number 6—Sixthoverture. Aided and abetted by BGO guitarist Douglas Hildebrandt and guest vocalist Les Farrington of Sugarbomb, Michael Laine Hildebrandt and Bubble Gum Orchestra takes pop-rock to a higher state of the art on the spectacular sounding animated groove of Sixthoverture.





mwe3.com presents an interview with
MICHAEL LAINE HILDEBRANDT
of Bubble Gum Orchestra (BGO)




MWE3
: How are things in Texas? I know it’s a huge place, as is Florida but what are you making of the Harvey event? Seems like these things are every other week and season of the rooster is coming full circle. I hope BGO is able to escape the worst of this tropical madness!

MLH: All good here in Dallas thankfully. Down South got hit hard with the hurricane and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.

MWE3: Sixthoverture is kind of darker and more reality based than Sticky Love Songs. What does the mood of Sixthoverture mean to you and what kind of response are you seeking from the listener on this album?

MLH: You are spot on with your observation except for some of the reality parts. I just want to let everyone know I am doing very well and not to worry about my state of mind on this new album. Not to ruin the mood here for anyone but 99% of these songs are not about me so everyone take a deep breath… I’ve been getting a BIG laughable kick out of people concerned that I was at rock bottom, down and out, depressed and writing about it. Don’t hide the knives just yet! Paul’s not dead and neither is Michael.

I was so glad to get SLS’s out of my life just from the emotional standpoint I let myself go into somewhat uncharted BGO territory and started writing what was to come for me a thrilling, emotional and super positive journey of 11 songs. The mood reflects just some of the chaos going on in this crazy world today. Unfortunately for a lot of people, life is not a sunshine drenched, cotton candy, happy go lucky heard it a million times power pop song type existence and I write about those individuals in my songs sometimes. I LOVE to compose as the third person. The listener will hopefully take away what they want out of Sixthoverture… after hearing it.

MWE3: The concept of Sixthoverture is enhanced by the cover art with the tornados and the blue cellos burning in the landscape. Is it kind of apocalyptic especially in light of the hurricane attacking Texas as we speak? The devil gets his way…

MLH: The Sixthoverture cover and back cover art represents a violent storm rolling over a cello graveyard. It has nothing to do with any hurricanes. There are six cellos because this is the sixth BGO release. I went with a monotone landscape with a splash of blue in there. I basically wanted something I had not done before on a BGO album cover. No spaceship, no big theme going on…just different. I don’t even know what it all means…I just like it. It reflects a little bit of the mood I was in at times during the writing sessions of this new album. A friend told me the album art was “dark yet beautiful.” A very good description indeed. Let’s just go with that…

MWE3: Is “A New Kind Of Love Song” a kind of modern day protest song? Seems like we’re still fighting the devil to get to some place new? Kind of The Archies meets Phil Ochs? Have you written another song in this spirit before? It would make a great single. You sound a little depressed… as we all are.

MLH: I wrote “A New Kind Of Love Song” for two reasons. One, the last album was so slammed full of some real life situations occurring in my life at that time I just wanted to hear “A New Kind Of Love Song” so I wrote it. The choruses were written around those thoughts. Secondly, the verses are a totally different beast going in a somewhat dark direction reflecting all the terrible stuff going on in the world today. Bullies, the Devil seemingly getting his way are all covered here. Depressed about the bad guys in this world killing innocent people on a daily basis…hell yeah!

MWE3: “You’ve Been Hurt Before” is very ELO influenced. Is there a story behind it? The guitar solos near the end are by Douglas. How many tracks is Douglas playing on the new album? Speaking of ELO, you must have been happy to see ELO in the Rock Hall. It was long overdue.

MLH: I thought the title was a nice one so I wrote the music around it. I’m sure there is a deep meaning lurking around in there somewhere, but I’m not gonna start digging around to find it. Did that on the last album. Douglas played all the guitars on this album, fantastically I might add. The RRHOF is good in theory but it has many obvious flaws. ELO should have been in there years ago. Kelly Groucutt being omitted was a crime. His vocal contributions are a major part of ELO’s iconic heyday sound. The RRHOF is fucked up. It’s just stupid how they vote on who gets in and who doesn’t. I won’t get into how I really feel!

MWE3: Is “The Beatles Made Me” your long awaited tribute to The Beatles? What parameters did you set out with as there have been other Beatles tributes songs… You only mention Abbey Road nearly ruined you? Is that because it was over by then? Abbey Road was underrated but then you had the Get Back / Let It Be album to deal with just around the same time. But Abbey Road might have ruined me too! How did you arrange the chord structure in that song, there’s some interesting key modulations. You don’t do that kind of thing enough!

MLH: A friend gave me a vintage 1976 Rhodes piano just before I started writing Sixthoverture. I wrote most every song on it. That being said, “The Beatles Made Me” started out on piano and was then transposed to guitar along the way. It starts out in the key of C and goes where it goes from there. The Sixthoverture album has many key changes and modulations happening. More than any other previous BGO album. I guess I was feeling a little experimental. “The Beatles Made Me” is not my deliberate tribute to The Beatles though. It’s a relationship song about whomever you want it to be about bringing two people back together through the joy of music and the band that just happens to be doing that is The Beatles. So, it’s about 90% relationship oriented and 10% my nod to the Fab four. The Abbey Road part is the 10% nod.

MWE3: Is it difficult to write a troubled lyric like “Living On Earth”? It seems it fits in with the general gothic nature of the album. Does it make for good songwriting? Who is the singer singing to? It has a kind of Kinks feel although it’s pretty authentic.

MLH: It’s not difficult, just somewhat troubling. The verses of this song reflect real day-to-day life for some folks on both sides of the human coin. Uncertainty, doubt, wondering what tomorrow will bring, not having money, having money. The chorus takes a turn and ponders life without someone you love and what it might be like with or without him or her. Whenever I get inspired by something it always makes for good song writing. I generally write as a third person making life observations about others. That’s what I did on this one. It’s authentic, original and non-gothic.

MWE3: “Lower Than Low” is also sad and somber. Are you writing about yourself? Better to let bad vibes out in a song right? Lennon did that a lot.

MLH: Melancholy is beyond sad, it’s Lower Than Low… It’s not about me though, it’s about a friend. This friend was going through a long time relationship breakup and was feeling very sad and everything that comes along with that sort of thing. After speaking with him, I felt so bad I went right into the studio around 12:45 a.m. and sat down at the piano. I actually channeled that conversation from my mind into the piano opening and the first two verses as if it were him. I wrote it through him as being on the borderline of desperation and lost love. It was a first for me and I really enjoyed that new writing process. The chorus continues the sad storyline but I threw in a curve and surrounded the lyric tone with the most upbeat music I felt appropriate. The mixture of sad and happy really clicked and I love how it turned out. It was a great way to end side one of the album.

MWE3: What brought on “God Is Good” and it’s interesting that it follows “Lower Than Low”! Is that your new mantra for the 21st century or are you saying something else?

MLH: Another song I started and wrote on piano. It’s about a guy and girl in separate life scenarios so down on their luck that they are thinking about ending it all. They read a verse out of the bible and it changes their life around for the better and ends up saving them. No preaching or statements being made by me, just an observation. It was a nice ultimate uplifting message to write about. Positivity, heavy guitars and hope is what I’m saying. I thought my friend Les Farrington of Sugarbomb and solo artist fame would be perfect singing lead on the second verse so I called him. He was “all in” so we got together in Blue Violin Studios and went for it. We had a great time and it turned out so very cool. It kind of has a Sugarbomb/ Jellyfish vibe in the verses… mostly a BGO vibe though. Les played piano on the BGO II and BGO III albums here and there. I hope to have him sing and play on a future BGO album.

MWE3: It’s good that “The Other Side Of Midnight” is another upbeat, song. Long forgotten romance is always a good subject matter for songs, no matter what decade right?

MLH: I thought “The Other Side Of Midnight” was an interesting tile so I wrote a song around it. I incorporated a nice key change and a modulation which really mixed things up and made it a really fun upbeat adventure. Modulations and key changes through out. I like it a lot! It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it or think about it.

MWE3: How about “Remember Me”? It’s too early for your obituary or is it another long lost lover memory resurfacing?

MLH: I had that title bouncing around in my head for awhile and wanted to approach it delicately without people thinking it was some morbid downer song or about me. It’s not gender specific and is basically stating “Remember Me, I don’t want to ever be forgotten…forever by you.” It has some tempo changes and nice musical break-downs here and there. The message is universal and applies to just about anybody with a beating heart. I want the listener to hear it and get what they want out of it. I don’t want to spoil someone’s perception of this song by saying that I just made it up…in which I did.

MWE3: “Elizabeth” is brilliant!

MLH: E- liz - a - beth had four syllables and sounded just right in the chorus plus the fictional verses really had some depth to them. It’s deep and has a nice melody through out. One of my favorites for sure.

MWE3: You save the best for last as “Have I Told You” would be a great single from the album. Did you want to go out with a bang? Again, the best guitar solo on the album? Two minus One is the loneliest number… classic.

MLH: “Have I Told You” was the first song I penned on Sixthoverture. For me, it’s a bang from the “get go” on all my albums so ending with this particular song just seemed the right fit. The line, “A simple deduction of the total sum of the reasons that we still try…two minus one is the loneliest number that we know so well” is very telling for many people out there. A very upbeat chorus and troubles verses. I love that mixture…it’s how I write.

MWE3: Six albums in and another six coming from BGO? Does Sixthoverture give way to Seventh Heaven? When does the Sixthoverture CD come out and are you pressing vinyl too? Is being a musician like being an athlete in training? Anyway with all these storms around you better take out some insurance on your cellos! Who’s, I mean what’s next?

MLH: Yes, six amazing albums and so many wonderful memories since 2011. I’m blessed to be a little prolific at this and still very inspired. It never feels like work and I never write unless I feel an idea is worthy. In this fucked-up so called music business that is going on out there I’m debating releasing CDs this time and definitely not vinyl, just the download. The music heroes I grew up loving can’t sell CDs these days…how can I? My brother had to pretty much talk me into even releasing this album. I do this for ME and if it stays with me in the studio and never gets released …so be it. My worth as a song writer is not dictated by “clicks” and “likes” or some negative, spiteful people saying I worship the ground Jeff Lynne walks on blah, blah, blah… Just to let you all know…Jeff Lynne is Not GOD!

I will never let the decline of the music industry and cheaters file sharing out there diminish my true love of writing and recording BGO. It’s beyond obvious that the cream doesn’t rise to the top of the music world anymore. The next 10 song album is titled “ZENTOPIA” and is 95% written and recorded except for vocals and backing vocals, mixing etc. The BGO spaceship is found after disappearing centuries ago on the Beyond Time album. I’m busting with excitement during these “Z” recording sessions. Life is great here in BGO land. I’ve eliminated all the “middle men” trying to take a cut of my hard work and time spent on my compositions. Sixthoverture will be released on September 19th 2017 “ONLY” at bubblegumorchestra.com.



 

 
   
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