One I did with Pink Martini for the ‘Hey Eugene’ album release
Pink Martini by Huwston
Portland, Oregan based 14 piece orchestral lounge act Pink Martini have just released their third album Hey Eugene on Inertia Recordings. 3D World’s Huwston is whisked away by founder Thomas Lauderdale for a sexy time!
Most people will be familiar with the sweeping strings that backed Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ dance routines or the wonderful orchestral punch that made such themes as Peter Gunn or Mission: Impossible such great big hits for writers like Henri Mancini or Lalo Schifrin. With this in mind it’s easy to see why an act like Pink Martini are so successful in 2007.
‘The whole point is to create songs with beautiful melodies and hopefully beautiful lyrics and it’s sort of like old fashioned song lyrics, maybe songs like in the thirties, forties, fifties and early sixties, and there’s a general shortage of that in popular music these days,’ hey says. ‘The idea is to create these sort of, really approachable and beautiful and lush and romantic landscapes.’
Sure, beautiful song writing will always prevail, but how does this kind of music have relevance these days? Acts like Gotan Project or Bebel Gilberto have had an unofficial partnership with contemporary beat culture for many years, which Pink Martini have similarly enjoyed, yet never had to employ the use of synthesisers or samplers.
‘Its about sexiness and atmosphere. Everyone wants to feel sexy, so the music that we’re playing does have that… it’s modern in a sense that there’s all of these different languages and different rhythms from all different parts of the world under the one repertoire,’ he says. ‘It has the sweep and the lushness of the past with a modern sensibility. It does have the sort of sweep of a Hollywood musical from the forties or fifties but with the realisation of what it means to be a citizen living in the year 2007, which is modern.’
The link to artists such as Manu Chao or the aforementioned Gilberto or indeed the greater ‘world music’ bracket is something that the group does not shy away from. With influences ranging from Russian, Peruvian, Japanese and Arabic on the new record, they wear the tag proudly.
‘We’re living in a time in which there is an increasing awareness of world music,’ say Lauderdale. ‘Ten years ago, you go to a world music section in an Amercian music store, it was slim pickins! Now, they have grown exponentially.’
Having shared the stage with Al Green and Sergio Mendes, this group is as comfortable at the Cannes Film Festival as they are at the New York Museum of Modern Art, which is a huge string in their bow. They enjoy touring immensely and have covered almost all corners of the globe, except Australia.
‘I hope we would be well received out there,’ he says. Given the way these guys’ records sell out here, it’s a safe bet they would be.
Hey Eugene is out now on Inertia Recordings.