A COMPILATION VIDEO WITH EXCERPTS FROM THE DVD BILLIE RAY MARTIN'S 'FIVE TAKES (A SONG ABOUT ANDY)
DETAILS AND BUY AT: WWW.BILLIERAYMARTIN.COM
Billie Ray Martin releases this 8 panel deluxe DVD, featuring five movies inspired by Andy Warhol‘s Screen Tests and printed in colour and silver metallic. The song ‘On Borrowed Time’ deals with Andy’s fictional confession, in which he reflects on his existence and a life he always experienced as less than real. With music by electronic producer and soul singer Waterson, who is riding high on the airwaves with his single 'When You Tell Me That You Love Me'.
Billie: “Colin and I wanted to create a track that's based mostly on drums and noise. Colin had created a lovely track with different keyboard parts. I kept telling him to remove it all and just keep the 'weird bits' and do 'more of those'. What Colin then came back with surpassed all my expectations. I was immediately inspired to record my usual five takes, that I record of any vocal. I never rehearse songs or vocals after they've been written so this was the perfect vehicle to illustrate the process. Lyric sheet in hand, not knowing what I was going to do, we recorded the vocals.
I'll let Colin tell the rest of the story.“
‘The project started out life as a traditionally structured song, with chords, on a piano, comprising verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, coda. From this point, I deconstructed the piece until there were no 'pretty bits' left (as per the brief from Billie), and had the basis for Take One. That initial song is part rhythm, part sound design, part field recording and part music. Everything fills a space to create the whole but no one thing overpowers the other.
I then set about altering each take by starting with 'faders down' every time. It was a great way to create different versions because everything seemed fresh and gave a new sonic identity (with familiar components) to each new mix. I evolved the initial process from the first take where Billie had kept suggesting I drop more and more elements, and kept finding myself with ever more interesting versions.
I also started to hear a thread throughout all five takes, as if the versions were supporting the story of the song in an overall story - like a concept. I love the sadness and bareness of the last take, where it sounds almost 'like a vigil' (Billie heard it too), and the way it ends hopeful and transcendent. I followed the original brief in terms of 'taking things out' and also followed my internal guide in a stream of consciousness approach.
Some of the sounds are actually field recordings from the streets of New York (the spirit of Warhol can still very much be felt in Manhattan) and it's not every day one would able to use all five, unrehearsed takes of a singer, but with Billie Ray I was - and then some. I feel the arrangements of each version match and mirror the characteristic of the accompanying vocal, as if talking to one another.‘
Billie: “As far as the five films go Joern Hartmann, too, surpassed all my wildest expectations of what could be achieved. Of course my brief was to do something inspired by Screen Tests, hence I had arranged a shoot with the Art'otel Berlin, a hotel dedicated to Warhol and featuring over 220 of his artworks. To my surprise Joern took it a few notches further. He researched what old film material looked like when exposed to light, left sitting on shelves too long etc. He then went to get the effects he needed and created his own variations on the given themes. During the shoot itself, it was comforting to be able to relax into my performance, knowing that Joern's lighting would always be perfect. Carl Stanley’s make up just flowed without even a discussion and Felipe Rojas Llanos' clothes were just as perfect as I had expected. Not to mention the laughs we had in the suite upstairs consisting entirely of Warhol imagery when I nerded out and we made up silly lyrics to 'Chelsea Girls' with me giving renditions in my best Nico voice. “
Five Takes (A Song About Andy)
On Borrowed Time (take 1)
On Borrowed Time (take 2)
On Borrowed Time (take 3)
On Borrowed Time (take 4)
On Borrowed Time (take 5)
Written by Billie Ray Martin and Waterson
Music produced and mixed by Waterson
Movies directed by Joern Hartmann
Executive producer: Billie Ray Martin
Note to Editors:
Billie Ray Martin
Dubbed the "queen of electronic soul", Billie Ray Martin first came to prominence leading the acclaimed deep house act Electribe 101, her unique voice hitting both the house scene and the charts with a strong infusion of soul. Electribe 101 scored a brace of hits including the classic "Talking With Myself" before Billie departed to continue exploring fusions of electronic music, pop and soul. After releasing the thoroughly scary "Persuasion" with Spooky and the monumentally beautiful "Four Ambient Tales" with The Grid, Billie found herself with a worldwide number 1 in "Your Loving Arms"; now considered one of the all-time classics of dance music. Three more hits and the album "Deadline for My Memories" followed.
Since then Billie has worked with Ann Peebles, Carla Thomas and members of Aretha Franklin's band on her album "18 Carat Garbage", and has continued to release cutting edge electronic productions, including hit collaborations with DJ Hell and Slam and solo releases such as 2008's "Undisco Me" which hit the top spots in the UK and US dance charts.
Billie's epic "Crackdown Project" released in 2010, featuring her takes on the Cabaret Voltaire’s classic album "The Crackdown", reinforced her unique position as an artist who appeals to both the ueber-cool mags like Flux Magazine, Wound and The Wire as well as the pop mainstream achieving 'Song of the Day' status at Popjustice. 20,000 downloads in a matter of days, plus overwhelming press and DJ feedback confirmed her vision.
2011 proved to be a vintage year for BRM releases, starting with the solo single 'Sweet Suburban Disco', a kind of personal reinvention of Italo disco. With mixes by Vince Clarke of Yazoo fame amongst other dancefloor greats, it quickly attracted support from the world’s key DJs from Black Strobe to John Digweed.
Hot on its heels was the ‘Sold Life’ E.P. by Billie Ray Martin and Hard Ton, including a cover of the classic ‘Fantasy Girl‘. Back to Billie’s old school house roots, it created a serious buzz, charted by everyone from Laurent Garnier to Kim Ann Foxman from Hercules and Love Affair. This was followed by the ‘Rainy Days & Remixes‘ EP by Billie’s project The Opiates, serving as a prelude to their long awaited full-length album ‘Hollywood Under The Knife‘ in October. The album met with massive support from DJs, press and blogs alike including a four star review in Metro and many ‘album of the year’ entries in major publications. An expansive remix collection ‘Hollywood Cuts‘ was released in February 2012 as a beautiful double CD album, assembling an impressive array of names from the dance and electronic music world.
Billie is currently working on her next solo album and has a series of collaborations just released, including the dark and sexy ‘Make Me Feel‘ on Terranova’s new album ‘Hotel Amour‘ plus ‘Hyper Lust‘ on Motor’s new album ‘Man Made Machine‘ which is set for single release in June 2012. She DJs around the world with growing success.
Glaswegian singer, songwriter and producer Waterson was recently described as "...soul of an electronic persuasion..." by Ross Allen. His solo hit last summer, 'When You Tell Me That You Love Me', was caned in the clubs, on radio, blogs and hype sites alike, with re-release imminent on Meltdown Music Recordings. He is currently collaborating with Billie Ray Martin, EVM128, Silkie, Kris Di Angelis, Farley & Heller, Victoria Wilson James & Aerea Negrot on a plethora of single, album and duet projects.