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Mustodamus [January 19th 2007]

Dwight: Where is the name Mustodamus derived from?
Mustodamus: "MustoĒ, my surname, and "Damus" the last part of Nostradamus, I put these two together and we have mustodamus. I thought it sounded like a pretty cool name, although I'm not so sure I can foresee things like Nostradamus did.

Dwight: How did you get started in music producing?
Mustodamus: As far as I can remember I started to produce in 1988, not for commercial purposes though. When my father bought himself an Atari 1040 computer and a Roland d-50 synthesizer, together with a sequencer program, I quickly learned how to master the program and how to produce backgrounds with a lot of different sounds. I really felt that I could express my feelings through my music, from a whole different point of view, since this way of making music was totally new for me. But when we're talking about producing music for commercial purposes, I started in 1997, when my companion and me started a production company together, and bought some studio equipment, as we got our first publishing deal with SONY/ ATV.


Dwight: You have a number of artists whom you have produced work for. Can you tell us whom?
Mustodamus: Iím currently working on many different projects, spanning over many different genres like r'n'b, soul, jazz, hip-hop and experimental pop. The only thing is that all of the artists than Iím working with are debutantes, except Paula Lobos, whoís about to release her second album. My main focus right now is I-kay, an English artist that I got in contact with through my present publisher. We started to work together in June 2005 (before that, he was the lead singer in an r'n'b group called "FORTEĒ, that I also produced eight songs with) after he decided to go solo and we're currently working on an album, hopefully to be released for summer 2007. I'm also working with Parasto, my favorite and most creative project ever, a very talented young lady, that I got in touch with in august 2006,who writes her own lyrics and melodies. We decided to work towards a jazzy, still soulful sound and we're just about to begin the recordings of an album. Liniz, another talented girl, started to work with her in October 2003.This project is more pop/experimental/ambient oriented from all the other artists than Iím working with. Paula Lobos, an r'n'b singer I met in April 2003. The biggest difference between her and the other artists is that me and another producer called Carl Jonsvik, have finished an r'n'b/pop album with her, entirely in Spanish and we are now looking for a major record deal for her. Helen Hagos, singer/writer, that I started to work with back in October 1997,who has the feeling for neosoul and r'n'b vibes, to write tracks to pitch for other artists and projects around the world. Douty, a French artist, who sings dancehall/r'n'b, which I have produced four tracks on his upcoming album, coming out in spring 2007.

Dwight: As a music producer, do you think there is a sound difference between the soul music from North America and Europe?
Mustodamus: First of all, I must say that the biggest difference of them all is the U.S tradition on sound engineering!! What impresses me the most is how incredible everything sounds and it doesn't matter if we're talking about a base drum, hihat, guitar, live string or a live choir, everything always sounds so well balanced! But about the sound of the music itself, I think that, r'n'b music coming from Sweden, or Europe, is without a doubt on par with the American runís. I would say that runís and soul music coming from Europe has a little bit more of a funk-to it, but still very influenced from the American runís vibe, no doubt!

Dwight: Have you traveled outside Sweden or Europe to produce any artists or songs?
Mustodamus: No, I haven't done that yet, but with the technique that we have today with the internet and the ability to create music on the computer, Iíve been working with several French artists, by sending them beats over the internet and they've recorded vocals on top of them over in France, the same thing with artists from England. Hopefully, in the future, I will travel to other countries to work and produce other artists!!

Dwight: Which artist would you love to produce or work for if you have the opportunity?
Mustodamus: I would really love to work with artists like Joe, Mario and Avant with the "neosoul" vibe. With more "soulful" artists it would be an honour for me to work with Musiq/Soulchild and John Legend. I would also love to work with female artists like Jill Scott, Mary J Blige and Faith Evans. First and foremost, if she were still here with us, my no.1 favorite female artist to work with would be Aaliyah. If we talk about the old school veterans, I would say Stevie Wonder, I mean, who wouldn't like to work with such a legend?

Dwight: Describe a typical workday for Mustodamus.
Mustodamus: As soon as I wake up, I open my eyes and think to myself: Ok I wonder on which track I should cut and edit the vocals today? And that's because Iíve got so many songs recorded from all the artists that I'm working with. But usually Iíll rush to the studio, sit down for a minute when I arrive, going through all tracks that I still got work on to do and then Iíll start with all the vocal editing, effects processing, things to add and things to remove! Normally, it takes around three hours just to edit all the vocals on a track, depending on how much vocals each song has, of course. For each recording session, I always make sure that all vocals that we need are recorded, so there won't be another session to complete the song and all this takes about 3-4 hours of producing and editing, but together with a vocal recording session, weíre talking about 6-7 hours just to put down all the vocals.

Dwight: Some of your tracks such as ďFeel the FreshĒ are superb. What gives you the inspiration to create such tracks?
Mustodamus: I would say that my main inspiration comes from life itself, of course. All impressions that you get from what you can see and from what you can feel. Normally Iíll just go with the flow, without starting to think about what chords I should take, or what kind of sounds to use, I just do, I love to build up something from scratch, without knowing how it all will end or sound like. So basically, everything I do, is actually based on improvisation and what mood I'm in.

Dwight: Describe the RíníB soul scene in Sweden and in Europe as a whole.
Mustodamus: The soul and runís scene in Sweden and Europe is big, most clubs plays it and I get the feeling that almost everybody is listening to this kind of music. We get a lot of American acts performing over here, but unfortunately, the market for this music is not as good in Sweden and Scandinavia as it is in other countries in Europe. Piracy has become a big problem, due to the big amount of broadbandusers, being able to easily download everything at high speeds, therefore killing a big part of the music industry, especially the runís and soul part! But big territories in Europe for urban music are still France, England and Germany, where artists still can sell between 1-3 million copies of an album.

Dwight: Who would you say are your musical influences?
Mustodamus: Strangely, when I was younger, I never listened to the radio or bought any records, until I got my first cod player, when I turned 22 - and that's the truth! But my father used to play in different bands during the 70's, as a guitar and bass player, so Iíve been literally forced to listen to all of his practicing during my childhood and today, Iím so grateful, because that really gave me my interest for music! My musical influences are many, but since I really got started with soul and runís music 11 years ago, I would say that Blackstreet, R-Kelly, Joe, Aaliyah, Mary J Blige made a big impression on me! I also love the real old school soul like Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Bassey and many, many more.

Dwight: I have always had an ongoing debate with my friend about music producers who sample older music. What are your thoughts on sampling? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it a sign of creativity or lack of it?
Mustodamus: I think that sampling is cool, but very often; the sample itself does the whole track! What I mean is that the sample is often the main sound in a song that keep going on throughout the whole song! Why take something that already sounds so good, when you can play all the instruments yourself and try to put something down and tweak it until it sounds like your own sample? And even though you're good at cutting up a sample, I personally think that it lacks a little bit of creativity, because even if you use a sample, everybody can put some drums and a baseline on top of it! To me real creativity is when you play it all by yourself and take your own imagination from there!!

Dwight: Do you plan on your releasing your own on work an album?
Mustodamus: No, I think that Iím too dedicated to my artists and all the other projects that Iím working with.

Dwight: Besides producing music and creating beats, what else do you do?
Mustodamus: I'm working part-time job that pays the bills. I love spending time with my friends, of course, even though I must admit that most of my precious time goes to my music and since all of my friends are in the music business, it suits me perfectly. I also love to exercise at the gym, but unfortunately, I don't go very often.... guess Iíll have to change that!

Dwight: With all this work, do you have time for a social life?
Mustodamus: If only one day had 36 hours, but somehow, I actually do!! I always do my very best to give it all to everything and everybody, finding a balance, without getting overworked myself!!

Dwight: Any last words to our Just Soul members?
Mustodamus: I just want to say thank you all for giving me this chance to do this interview, for me it means a lot!! I wish you all the best of luck with your individual projects and that you look out for "MUSTODAMUS" productions in the future. Always keep the music alive and warm, because music is one of the keys to happiness! Hope to hear some fresh, new music from all of you out there soon!

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