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Interview: ANGO

Jul 30 2012

Canadian singer and producer ANGO has released his new album, Serpentine, entirely for free via LuckyMe Records. The album is 10 tracks of solidly produced beats complemented by equally impressive vocal performances by Andrew Gordon McPherson. We also see Andrew teaming up with long-time friend and collaborator Jacques Greene as well as UK sharp shooters Kuedo and Numan. Serpentine is chilled out midnight pop magic that explores the intersection between R&B and electronic music, and the result is a soundtrack-like feel that radiates with seduction.

Nancy Lu: Where do you draw your inspiration from lyrically? Is it easier for you to work with a backing track first or have lyrics down and then put them to a track?
Andrew Gordon Mcpherson: The music and the lyrics are usually created separately and it’s about 50/50 as to which inspires which. I write a lot of “raw material” and lose concepts that I start pairing with beats as they take on a mood, or I’ll build the beat around a certain hook. The lyrics are usually dramatizations of stuff from my life and people close to me but sometimes they’re purely fictional.

NL:When did you first get interested in making music?
AGM: I used to draw a lot as a kid which I think stemmed from a desire to create the things I didn’t have. When I began to enjoy music seriously I think that creative urge just carried over.

NL: What made you decide to release Serpentine for free?
AGM: When the project started it looked a lot more like a mixtape. The idea was for me to focus on my songwriting and singing and less so on the production by singing over edits of stuff I liked. I wrote a lot of material and a lot of good friends started sending me beats. By the end, the best tracklisting really only had one of those “edits” on it. So the idea to give it away was there from the beginning. I also just wanted to put out a larger body of work for people to sample and get a taste of what I’m doing.

NL: There’s definitely different energy between live sets and DJ sets. How would you describe the difference for you and how do you keep the crowd engaged in each situation?
AGM: I get booked with a lot of DJs on club nights so I tend to structure my sets more like a DJ set by focusing on my higher tempo material and mixing the tracks live. I think it’s engaging in that context to see a dude mixing and singing, but in the future I will probably start doing a more traditional show with breaks between the songs and hilarious banter (sic).

NL: How would you describe your sound?
AGM: I would say it’s pop. Synth pop if you like. This project takes some heavy influence from the pop music of the 80’s and early 2000’s, so obviously that includes R&B and hip hop, but at the end of the day, it’s hopefully just pop.

NL: There’s increasing crossover between R&B and electronic music, probably the most obvious being the collaboration Usher and Diplo on “Climax.” Where do you see the future of the two genres going?
AGM: My first record (“Another City Now”) was heavily influenced by the mid 80’s production of Prince and Nile Rodgers who were pioneering the electronic/pop sound. It’s been happening for a while. Now we’re in this place where the stuff that sounds like old remixes of mainstream radio artists is what’s on mainstream radio in North America(i.e. Guetta et al) which I don’t really call R&B just because it has R&B singers voices on it. If Iggy Pop sang over Benny Benassi NOBODY would call it punk. I think “Climax” is a bit of a turning point. I’m not sure how long high energy, high tempo dance fueled pop music can sustain North American audiences. So yeah, there’s this misconception that there’s a huge trend of “R&B” happening right now when really it’s just a bunch of people who wouldn’t listen to it embracing very few underground R&B artists, underground producers sampling R&B and mainstream pop using the celebrity of people who have made real R&B records in the past. Electronic music is getting a bit big, funny, absurd and maximal and I think the pendulum will swing back towards something minimal in the next few years.

Serpentine Tracklist:
1. The Lie
2. Aquaphobia
3. Make it Count
4. Really Really
5. True Blue (Prod. by Jacques Greene)
6. Paralyzed (Prod. by Prison Garde & Eames)
7. Out Of Your System (Prod. by Kuedo)
8. Anchor (Prod. by Numan)
9. Losing You (Prod. by Mike Din)
10. Woman, Get Out Of My Life

Canadian vocalist Ango covers Sade’s massive track “No Ordinary Love”, the production sees an update by Jacques Greene and this is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

ANGO (birth name Andrew Gordon Macpherson) is the latest in a long line of producers from Montreal to break into the spotlight, his debut EP “Another City Now” was just released by excellent tastemaking Scottish label LuckyMe. The EP sees ANGO draw on influences ranging from 80’s pop, early 90’s house and r’n’b to create a striking balance between upbeat and deep, vintage and modern, uplifting and heartaching.

ANGO – ANOTHER CITY NOW by LuckyMe Music Art Parties