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PREMIERE: Gideon King & City Blog Unveils Live Session of “Upscale Madhouse”

NYC-based musical collective, Gideon King & City Blog have return with their full-length release Upscale Madhouse, featuring appearances by musical luminaries such as Grammy winner Grace Weber (Chance the Rapper), legendary guitarist John Scofield, Conrad Sewell (Kygo), Elliott Skinner (Third Story), Danny McCaslin (David Bowie), and more.

Today they are teaming up with VENTS for the premiere of their delightful live version of the title track that captures the essence of the band to perfection.

In addition, we get to discuss with the band about the song, the video and what’s coming ahead!

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

GKCB is alive and well, whatever that means. Felt good to say it.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Upscale Madhouse”?

Yes, but then I would have to kill you. Also you might fall asleep because yet another artist would be talking about their work.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes, everyone is insane. Completely insane. So it is not so much an event but a collective state of being.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was cool. Different. I get kinda nervous when I know I am being filmed playing guitar.  But that is nothing some Sake can’t fix. Brendan did a great job. That guy can sing his heart out. Very talented.

Why naming the album after this track in particular?

The whole album is about madness, bull shit, sadness, and the brutality of living with so many competing emotions. This song sort of captures all that to me. Also the song is not about any particular person or concept or love affair. It is just a series of expressions that somehow came to mind.

How was the recording and writing process?

Truth is I try to work with the best musicians. Jake Goldbas on drums. Alita Moses and Sonny Step on vocals. Brendan Fletcher on lead vocals. Leon Boykins on bass. Bryan Reeder on keys. When I write music I always envision these sorts of excellent artists laying their fingerprints on my idea. I never know exactly how it will play out, but I have the confidence that the end result will be good. Its like a fast break in basketball, with great players heading towards the hoop; you don’t know the exact path to the rim but you know you will get there somehow. That was a sports analogy by the way which is clearly not really appropriate. Sorry.

You brought some special and iconic guests to help you – did you handpick them or how did they come on board?

I send people the music and then beg and plead. If they say yes I get them in the studio quick before they change their mind and work with someone more talented.

What did they bring to the table?

Since they are mostly jazz musicians they tend to bring texture and color and ideas to the music. They are intellectually loose and feel it is their job to be active as opposed to deck mates on a ship doing what they are told. Slightly rebellious artists that also have skills make things better.

What role does NYC play in your music?

Gotham city is the ultimate inspiration. So much posing. So much desperation. So much intelligence juxtaposed against so much intellectual dishonesty. But it’s the coolest city in the world. Where else can you see art installations that are terribly misguided visited by so many sheep? Where else can you get all these different types of food? Where else can you find so many educated savvy people sharing exactly the same viewpoints  without questioning the fact-free and shameful sameness of  such opinions. Where else can you go hear the best jazz by simply hopping on a subway, or in a cab. New York embodies the old saying “truth is stranger than fiction.” Love it. Fun.

What aspect of Jazz music did you get to explore on this album?

Well this music is not jazz. It has elements of jazz. Harmonically there are many references to jazz. There is also improvisation which is a key attribute of jazz. Of course the definition of jazz and what is now described as jazz are changing so who the hell knows. I guess to answer the question I would say there are strong references to jazz in terms of chord structure and improvisation.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

New York City. Getting older and having certain moral constructs shattered in my mind. Certain ironies floating around. The destructive reality of social media. Certain expressions. Abstractions that when stapled together seem to make sense. Lots of things.

Any plans to hit the road?

Maybe, but travelling is a pain in the ass.

What else is happening next in Gideon King & City Blog’s world?

Nothing much matters except writing the best music I can write and playing it live with the best musicians in NYC.  Also we will be playing the Super Bowl. That’s not true. We were invited but we declined because we wanted to maintain artistic integrity. That’s not true either. We were never invited. We just want to get more streams on Spotify and likes on Instagram. That’s the meaning of artistic life. That’s all that matters; the ingredients of contentedness are Instagram, the Calm App, and having a palette of emoji’s to choose from instead of actual expression.

Thanks a lot for listening to our music. Seriously, we appreciate it.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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