Michael Badal: Now That We’re Human Interview
The culmination of nearly four years in the studio with collaborators across seven cities, Michael Badal finally releases his debut album “Now That We’re Human” on April 27, 2015 on Black Hole Recordings. 12 progressive house and trance tracks feature the vocal talents of Jan Johnston, Sue McLaren, Haliene, Ellie Lawson, Tiff Lacey, Lotte Kestner, Shanokee, and Zoe Sky Jordan, with co-writing credits by Plumb and Shift Four, each contributing to an atmosphere that celebrates the intimacy of life.
With this in mind, we wanted to sit down with Michael and ask him a few questions about this album that’s he’s put his heart and soul into. You’ll want to hear what he has to say…
What does the title of the album mean?
The album title came about from me reflecting on what really matters about this album… the songwriting. With this being an Electronic Dance album, I believe that my collaborators and I were able to preserve the human element in what makes us music creators. Almost as if we’re saying, “Now that we’re human… here’s an electronic album!”
How did you connect with the singers/songwriters on these tracks?
The biggest blessing for me in this album was the singers and songwriters. Without outside influence, I admired each and every one of my collaborators from before working on this project and I’m still thrilled that we all came together to make this record together. Everything was done using file sharing over the internet and the only collaborators I’ve had a chance to meet in person are Plumb, Lotte Kestner, and Haliene.
Why did it take four years to complete and how many songs did you produce for it?
I had a very clear focus as to what direction I wanted the album to go in. I already knew who my mastering engineer was going to be from the very first song I finished. Because of this I really only had to cut 18 tracks down to 12. To be completely honest, vocalists and legal are the reason for the four year stretch. Granted, this didn’t involve any of the vocalists on the record now, but rather ones that had me wait in order to ultimately drop out of the project. It was a lot of “hurry up and wait”.
Michael Badal’s Original Tracks
What’s it like working with Black Hole?
They have been such a dream to work with. I’m truly humble that this team of people believes in my music so much to where they have given me their trust and freedom to see my vision of the album through. They’ve consulted me on every aspect of the album and have allowed me to bring on my own remixers and mastering engineer to the project. With Black Hole’s help, this album really feels MINE.
Any interesting stories about the process of working with any of the vocalists?
The story of how “Fly (Never Come Down Again)” came to be is an interesting one actually. This track was a collaborative venture between Tiffany Lee (Plumb) and myself. We wrote the song together, had her record it, and had a finished album version only to have her label disallow me from using her vocal for music business reasons involving her new album (which is awesome by the way). From there, Tiffany and I were left to find a suitable replacement for her on the record. I was in the car listening to the Chemical Brothers’ “Push The Button” album when “Hold Tight London” came on. I immediately knew I had to find this vocalist. With enough googling, I found the lovely Anna-Lynne Williams (aka Lotte Kestner) and she agreed to re-sing the song for us. And the rest is history.
Was everything worked on over email or did you have any face-to-face time in the studio?
Everything was worked on over email. Without the internet, this album wouldn’t have come to be. My collaborators are all from Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Canada, Ireland, and England with Haliene being the only LA-native.
Which song means the most to you and why?
This is a very difficult one to answer. I love all of the tracks the same as they’re all extremely special to me. However, the one that sentimentally stands out to me is “Human Beings”. Haliene and I had finished this song right around the same time my cousin, Swiny, had lost her 11-year battle with cancer at the age of 26. Unrelated to this particular event, the words that Haliene wove together were really comforting during my time of mourning as it has a very uplifting tone and touches on the resilience of the human spirit. The music video coming out on April 10th will convey this whole experience of mine.
What’s the overall “theme” of the album? What do you want listeners to take away from it?
When you listen through the album, the lyrical content and atmosphere really focuses on the intimacy of life. The songs are about love, closeness, and our humanity and I hope the album brightens the listener’s day if even for a moment and that they realize life is beautiful.
02. Fairy Tale (with Tiff Lacey)
03. Recapture (with Sue McLaren)
04. Fly (Never Come Down Again) (with Lotte Kestner)*
05. Unmissable (with Jan Johnston)
06. Closer (with Ellie Lawson)
07. Inner Sanctum
09. Human Beings (with Haliene)
10. Blue Skies (with Shanokee)
12. The Room (with Shift Four & Zoe Sky Jordan)
* – co-written with Plumb
04.25.15 – Fresno, CA – Arena
05.16.15 – Austin, TX – V Nightclub & Lounge
05.30.15 – Fresno, CA – Sun Kissed Music Festival
06.05.15 – Los Angeles, CA – Ascension
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