We’ve asked bands/artists to share with us their highs and lows of 2016 and what they hope the New Year will bring to them. Here’s the year in review with musician and record producer Gordon Raphael, who is best known for his work on The Strokes’ Is This It and Room On Fire, and Regina Spektor’s astonishing debut Soviet Kitsch.
On a scale of 1-10, how was 2016 been for you?
It was a 10 for me personally, as it was the first time since I moved to Berlin in 2005 that I got to stay here for most of the year and still work recording bands, develop my own album, learn to make videos and have a great time with family and friends. All the other years I have been traveling so much to produce bands, that I’ve spend maybe 2-3 months at home, so I was really ready for this!
Have you learned any life lessons this year?
There is a huge amount of amazing music being created in the world these days. I had truly thought (being bombarded by very boring techno music and bland pop music here in Berlin) that perhaps the ability to make interesting music was a lost art in the age of “going viral and getting lots of likes”. BUT- I went to Seattle and turned on KEXP radio in my rental car, and was blown away by about 75 songs I heard during my 2 weeks trip there. Thats music to my ears! ha ha…
What was the highlight of 2016 for you?
Finishing my own solo album, and creating 7 videos / short films. I have so far released Substitute Music as a video/single and it’s 3 short Variant Films. I made a pretty funny documentary about my band Absinthee from our New York days entitled Kaleidoscopes, and the upcoming video for the first single off my new album, to be released early 2017.
Any low points for you?
The combination of more mediocre music emerging in the world, and watching certain humans acting like monsters in the political sense. The Dakota Pipeline events, every gun violence in USA, inhumane wars. Yes, the 2016 version of the continuing saga of how certain people want to treat life on planet earth.
What was the most overhyped thing of 2016?
Startups, Apps, Sneakers, Lots of laptop music, Make ‘Murkah Grate again.
Worst of 2016?
US elections, Wars, The closure of St Marks Bookshop in NYC.
Best of 2016?
Visiting Warsaw with Sub Pop’s president Jonathan Poneman, Discovering the astounding vegan food and coffee in Leipzig Germany, specifically ZEST. And hearing loads of new exciting music in many genres!
Best albums of the 2016?
mmm, I can’t say I heard a great album in 2016. People still seem to have trouble maintaining interest, poetry and artfulness over a collection of songs- sorry to say. Since I have actually heard many REALLY great albums (In a Silent Way by Miles Davis, Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, Extrapolation by John McLaughlin- for examples) – at least I can still rejoice that I heard some really fabulous songs. Two of my favorites are As Long As We’re Together by Lemon Twigs, and Her Turn by Fjer (as well as the incredible remix of that by Non Sequitur)
Worst albums of the 2016?
Thankfully I didn’t hear the worst albums of 2016, because I have a psychic sense of what I ought to allow into my ears. Bad music is like rotten, pesticide laden food for the soul! One song I heard repeatedly in Berlin taxis coming home from late night studio sessions was some neutered, sterilized laptop version of Chaka Khan’s amazing song Ain’t Nobody. Every time I heard it, I felt violent and nauseous towards that person who was responsible for such a boring sin.
Any new year’s resolution for 2017?
Gonna find more amazing bands and artists to record,worldwide- and put every effort I possibly can into releasing mynew album in the best way possible! Thank you.
Gordon Raphael is currently working on a new album which he recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina to be released next year.