Artist: The Urban Renewal Project Ft. Gavin Turek
Single: "Armor Love"
How did you come up with the name for your new single "Armor Love"?
The title was actually Gavin Turek's idea. We had originally approached her with a fully written song to record with us, but she ended up rewriting most of the lyrics by the time we did our final studio session. "Armor Love" comes from the chorus, and my understanding of the song is that it's about the emotional barriers we construct around ourselves as a result of baggage from previous relationships. Sometimes it can be difficult to let someone new into your life, and "Armor Love" is about overcoming that to find true love.
Tell us how this 13-piece musical collective came together.
The Urban Renewal Project actually started as a talent show for me and my friends back in high school, with the idea that we'd perform in the shape of a jazz big band but play popular music. I decided to reform the group in L.A. with professional musicians back in 2010, and the rest is history.
What sparked your aural addiction?
I personally grew up taking piano lessons and playing in middle school band before I ever really even got into listening for pleasure, so once I was old enough to combine the two into recreational music making, it was a no-brainer to become a performer.
How long does it take the band to write and produce a single track?
We usually work on multiple tracks concurrently because it's a more efficient use of studio time, but this time we actually produced "Hide" from start to finish before working on the other 9 tracks from our forthcoming album 21st Century Ghost. "Hide" took about 2 months from writing a draft to recording the band and vocals.
Are there any genres of music you would like to try or avoid?
No, not specifically. The entire purpose of The Urban Renewal Project is to blur boundaries in unconventional ways, and I think one of the underlying philosophies of the band is that all music is essentially the same. Artificial constructs like "style" and "genre" are simply nuance.
You've got some awesome collaborations on your new LP, who would you like to collaborate with next?
I would love to work with a creative, experimental music producer who could work with us all the way from the writing phase through the final mix to create fun, interesting songs with unprecedented, carefully produced sounds. Two of my personal favorites are probably Danger Mouse and RAC.
What was the first album you ever bought?
The first one I remember getting was Dizzy Gillespie's Greatest Hits from RCA Victor. I think I needed to listen to it for a school project, but it turned out to be a great buy. Not only was he an amazing trumpet player, but this CD had an excellent mix of jazz, big band, and Afro-Cuban music on it that informs my own writing to this day.
What is currently on your playlist?
Childish Gambino's Awaken, My Love! is the most recent thing that I've really liked. This week, Spotify informed me that my top artists for 2016 were Gorillaz and Badbadnotgood.
If/when you're lacking inspiration, how do you kickstart your creativity?
That depends on if I have a deadline or not! If I don't have a deadline but am still not feeling very creative, I'll usually try to do something a little out of my comfort zone. Nothing crazy— going on a hike, reading something new or catching some live music I might not normally go see. It gets the juices flowing and forces you to think about the world differently.
On a deadline, I like to hop onto an instrument I don't usually play to see if its tone or mechanics will unveil a new idea for me. In producing this album, I bought a melodica, toy piano, and steelpan to help in this regard. They worked so well that the toy piano actually ended up in "Armor Love."
What is your favorite type of performance venue?
You can't beat the vibe of a well-designed nightclub.
Anything you'd like to add?
Don't sleep on our other singles, "Don't Ask Y" featuring Camp Lo and "Hide" featuring Elmer Demond, also available on SoundCloud!