ATSUI– PRODUCERS NOTE by RONAN CHRIS MURPHY
When I first heard the demo for “Atsui,” it was already a fantastic track. Kathleen and Arthur had the foundation of something fun and energetic that fused elements of dance and Latin. We never had a firm idea of exactly where it would go, and often at sessions, it would be a bit of an afterthought. If we had some extra time with a musician, we would try having them play on it. When the rhythm section of Victor Bissetti and legendary Motown bassist Tony Newton laid down an organic foundation, combined with Degnis Bofill’s percussion in Cuba, the track had really come to life. With horns from Danny T. Levin (who has a new co-write with Post Malone), Synths from Arlan Oscar, Soulful backing vocals from Teressa Tracy, and the evocative Bajo Quinto from Rubén Luengas Pérez in Oaxaca Mexico, “Atsui” was sounding groovy. It was a super fun song with hot playing from notable musicians, and we had a great vocal from Kathleen…but something was not right…
“Atsui” sounded like a killer funk rock track with some Latin influences, and in most cases, that would be enough. It was great, but it was not Project Electrico. A guiding principle for Project Electrico has always been to create new sounds by combining elements from a range of influences and places. As much as we loved the song, it had not lived up to that principle. In my studio in California, we were trying to figure out what to do with the music almost done. Kathleen noted that the song’s title and the hook came from a Japanese word, so maybe we should consider Japanese elements. We brainstormed and had the idea of letting a Japanese acquaintance of hers go at adding something. Mari (M. Kamakura) was not a musician I knew anything about, though Kathleen mentioned she was a brilliant ballroom dancer, and we thought it would be fun to try it.
We sent Mari a rough mix of what we had so far to do whatever she liked, and I would try and figure out a way to make it work in the song. I was expecting that it was going to be a lot of work. When we got Mari’s vocals back, our jaws hit the floor. It was fantastic! We cheered and danced…and I had virtually nothing to do to make it work in the song. Mari had instinctively delivered what we needed. My only challenge was we had a song where Kathleen had done vocals I loved through the whole music. Mari had given us excellent material throughout the entire piece, and I had to make the tough choices about which parts to keep…
ATSUI – ARTIST NOTE by KATHLEEN BLACKWELL
Oooh-Weee! We have ourselves one “hot-hot-hot” song on our hands, and I am thrilled with our collaborative, heartfelt love that genuinely went into the making of ATSUI. Did you see our list of collaborators? Mighty fine, indeed.
Since I’ve blabbed a bit earlier about the importance of honing in on our blinks and what they can mean, in a blink, I’ll finish out by posting the song lyrics for fun. I really hope you get a chance to watch the video (Directed by Ronan Chris Murphy) or listen to “Atsui” on one of your favorite platforms!