Yes, it’s been a bit of a while since we did this column, and it’s my fault that it hasn’t been as regular as it ought to be; but I promise that it’s going to be this year.
Well, we thought we’d kick off with someone who’s a little familiar but not so familiar at the same time. You probably know him as a producer, one half of Don and Drew, Mark’s brother or the son of Brian. But there’s more to Don Richmond than meets the eye. We got him to spill the beans about his music.
In five words, describe Don Richmond. The most extroverted introvert around.
You’re known for your production work with artistes as diverse as Budak Pantai to Mark Bonafide. But how would you describe your own music? I’ve always been a music fan from young. I take in whatever I hear around me regardless of any genre. There’s good and bad in everything. I take all aural influences and as I write, they get spat out in what is known as my music. My music is really the amalgamation of every genre of music I’ve heard since childhood: folk, hip hop, rock, pop, doo wop, country, rock and roll. It’s just a matter of songs taking on a life and genre of their own. I just write and let the songs dictate the rest.
Is that the musical direction you’re taking now? I try my best to serve the song as much as I can and don’t think too much about genre specific stuff. A song I wrote recently had elements of the Beach Boys’ harmonies coupled with Abbey Road influenced instruments with a hip hop attitude towards the mix. Whatever ingredient the song needs to materialise… I find it and resolve that.
What are your musical influences? Growing up in a household where music was our business definitely helped shaped my taste. I am very lucky to have loads of records on hand to listen to whenever I can. The Beatles, James Brown, U2, George Michael, Guns and Roses, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Prince… The list goes on. I am still discovering old classics till this day and it gets me excited every time something unfamiliar gets unearthed. I am first and foremost… a huge fan of Music.
What in your opinion is the most challenging thing about being a local musician? I think we still lack a healthy culture of seeking out venues and people who play original music and actually give them a couple of minutes of your time to just listen. We have people making a living in bars and clubs playing covers (a lot of close friends of mine are cover musicians) but there needs to be a cultural hunger to hear something that you can call your own. I’ve just been a little lucky to actually have a small bunch of people who like my music and will give me the time of day. The biggest challenge facing a local musician is to stand up and take what you want and not wait for someone to hand it to you. The days of record labels having a good A&R department is over. We need to know what we want out of this and be our own record label, marketing, promotion vehicle and still satisfy our instinct for our art. It’s a mountain to climb but on the bright side the power is completely ours now.
What is your plan for world domination? A mixture of cyanide and clever science… Oh wait… Did I just give out the plot to a really good Robert Downey Jr movie?
Your dad mentioned a remix of a song by an oldie local band The Cyclones’, called The Dew. Are you interested in remixing old local music? I was in the studio when my studio partner (Jason Tan) was re-mastering a series of old ’60s local music and it’s amazing to hear how good these bands actually were at that time. I will be honoured if I ever got a chance to remix an old song from our past.
Is there anyone who’ve yet to work with that you’d like to? I look forward to all my collaborations. I will however get really greedy and say I would love to sit in and just watch U2’s The Edge craft his sonic architecture bit by bit, write a song with singer Ray LaMontagne and produce a song for Beyonce.
Will you be releasing a new album? Yes, I will be releasing another album in 2010. First single to be out in Feb and hopefully the album to be launched in June.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? Waking up each day with ideas, penning them down and pushing the record button. I really can’t ask for more… anything more will just be very very sweet distractions.