‘First Contact‘ is the debut album of Papilon Rising released by Future 80’s Records in August of 1988 2016. With an amazing funky/groovy flow, the tracks wander by beautiful melodies and retro synth tunes, as part of an impecable production. Today you will know these tracks under the perspective of P. and EFF, the guys behind the band.
01 – Papillon: We wanted to kick off the EP with a strong statement. Something like a futuristic homage to the funk of the 70s and 80s that we were so strongly inspired by when we time traveled there. P.’s hook line came first, he just woke up with it one day. That’s rare, because we usually start with the music, but EFF built the groove around it and even added some west coast hip hop flavor.
The track had to be cool and kinda “gangster”, but at the same time positive and uplifting, because it was gonna be our “introduction” song, basically saying “Papillon Rising is about to give you a hell of a good time”. So for example, we didn’t shy away from the major chords in the b-section, and we gave time and space to details like the “Relax” quote or the climactic c-part. The demo had actually been finished for a while, but when we worked on “Do Ya” with Mr. Neal, we recorded some talkbox takes for “Papillon”, and he really put the icing on the cake.
02 – Things Are Looking Up: One of the things we enjoyed most about pop in the 80s was the lightness and the “shameless” fun. We chose TALU as the first single, because we considered it the most “hooky” of our songs. Getting so much love from the “cool kids” of 2016, i.e. the Synthwave scene or the New Funk community, felt somewhat rewarding and reassuring.
The production involved the recording of more live instruments than usual: bass, 2 guitarists, and a saxophone solo. Lyrically, we’ve pretty much got a classic message song. As you may know we’re all about having an impact on the future, so it won’t suck as much as it did when we left it.. We wanted to step on the present scene with a strong positive attitude, but without lecturing. We always try to make music you can just funk out to, but if you happen to pay attention to the lyrics, you’ll find substance in there.
If you haven’t checked out the music video yet, you should definitely do so, as it documents our arrival in 2016:
03 – Do Ya: Whereas Funk pro Mr.Neal just came in to adlib on the finished demo of “Papillon”, “Do Ya” was a planned collaboration.
EFF built a beat and recorded Mr. Neal improvising licks on his Yamaha DX7. P. added chords and we structured everything into a proper instrumental.
The bass line was layered three times and we kept many of the variations to keep it organic and alive. In the writing process we went for something easy, light, and purposely old school – like pretty simple and forward lyrics about love and sex. But of course, we had to put our twist on it, which we hope at least a few people caught. You know, the whole “I wanna do you”. “No, wait! I wanna do you right!”, “No, wait! I wanna do you right now”.. Kinda sad to explain the joke like that, isn’t it? Haha..
04 – Leading Man: In fact, it was the third track we did together! (The first two will be on the album in 2017)
Pretty soon into production we were already very satisfied with how the track sounded so funky, poppy, and 80s all the same time. We call it a “fortunate combination of sounds and frequencies”. We committed to the poppy lyric concept of the movie-metaphor and made the track our own personal homage to the world of film.
Yet again, the music video pretty much tells the next chapter of our story: After arriving in 2016 (TALU) we had to find an “in” into the entertainment industry and went undercover on the set of a tv-show pilot. We gained access to the film studio and used the equipment after hours to shoot a tribute to some of our favorite film and tv characters. The video will be out very soon.
05 – Amplifier: Apparently, people have mixed feelings about the track. For us, it’s probably as far towards the 90s dance sound as we’ll go, haha! It’s our “ode to every 80s/ 90s kid’s favorite fun fair ride and their juvenile dreams of becoming the best robot-dancer on the block”. Of course, we also nod our heads to Africa Bambaata and the Freestyle era with that break down part. The track came about in a session with Tim Crudu, a very talented up and coming producer based in Frankfurt, Germany. And frankly, we felt kinda inspired by Chromeo‘s “Frequent Flyer“, in terms of wanting to transport some kind of retro feeling but at the same time sound very electronic and clubby, even for a contemporary music taste.
Here’s a little fun clip of us in the studio, working on “Amplifier“:
06 – Lost In Time: We have to give a little prequel story to that one:
When we released “First Contact”, we already had more than enough tracks to fill an album. But since we started on a rather small (or let’s say “non-mainstream”) platform, we thought it might be smarter not to put out everything at once and risk “wasting” our entire material on a record that wouldn’t be noticed. So we decided to start with an EP, and then we almost went crazy over having to pick 6 tracks. To make it make sense, we decided to keep it all in the realm of rather funky, synth driven 80s sounds. To clarify – everything we produced so far is heavily 80s inspired, but we have tracks that sound more modern, we also have two slower tracks and even two that carry influences of 80s rock. So, “First Contact” was gonna sound 80s, funky, poppy, and rather electric. When we signed with Future 80s records, we had one spot left and decided to give something to the Synthwave fam. With “Lost In Time”, we wanted to create a darker, more score-like contrast to the otherwise poppy EP. It’s untypical for us to change keys, tempi and musical themes multiple times within a track. In the first two verses we used some original audio from our time travel adventures, and basically tell our origin story in a “dramatically poetic” way, haha! Then it all concludes in a triumphant finale, and we kinda even thought “if we were a tv-series, what would our theme sound like?”
We wanted to really give and share as much as we could. Musicians and producers should be able to listen to the productions more closely if they’re interested in doing so.
Secondly, we feel that our music works in two ways: as pop songs with a signature production sound, or as instrumental music combining 80s feeling with future fatness.
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