Interview with Michael League


The founder of Snarky Puppy and multi-instrumentalist Michael League, and cossover piano icon Bill Laurance has recorded a brand new album that take us to an imaginary place full of beauty, peace and energy. Burak Sülünbaz interviewed with master musician League about the brand new album “Where You Wish You Were” released via ACT Music. We have received information on many subjects about the story of the album to the recording process, from the influences to the comments of the listeners.

“Where You Wish You Were” is kind of new adventure for us as we compare the previous projects and Snarky Puppy’s musical perpective. Why you would like to walk this new paths?

I think that musicians are diverse creatures and have many sides to their musical personalities. I tend to be associated with larger, louder ensembles and wanted to form a project that allows for more freedom and intimacy. This duo does exactly that.

In this recording you are trying to push the boundaries between jazz, oriental and Mediterranean music. What are the similarities and differences between these genres? What did you discover for the new works?

You know, there really was no agenda or mission in terms of composing/performing within genres. Bill and I simply wrote music that intrigued us and felt genuine, without much consideration for what it would be called. Of course, it is influenced by the music that we love and consume, but we weren’t trying to refer to anything in particular- only discover new things in the duo format.

I know you are familiar with Turkish music. Is Turkish music has any influence on your new album?  -If so, which artist you were listening to (in Greek, Turkish or Spanish?)

Yes, for sure. I would say that the Secret Trio had a particularly large influence on this album, especially in terms of composition. But I’ve been listening to Mediterranean music for years, so naturally, that influence is very present.

We can hear some very deep melancholic melodies in this new album. What’s your main motivation for this new mood?

It’s just the music that came out when Bill and I were writing. It seemed to work very well with the instrumentation and with our personalities as players. We both have a soft spot for this emotional color, and Snarky Puppy isn’t always the best context for it. We tried to take advantage of the more intimate duo environment in this respect.

Photo: Txus Garcia

What are the first reactions from your musician colligues, mentors, friends for this new album?

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the album, quite frankly. People seem to be enjoying it deeply on an emotional level- it’s really reaching them. You never really know how people will feel about your album when it comes out, so it’s been heartwarming to get so much positive energy back.

It’s the first recording for ACT Music. Why did you choose this recording label? And how you feel about recording process?

I have my own record label, GroundUP Music, and relationships with a variety of labels around the world. But we chose ACT because we felt that their ethos and aesthetic fit the musical nature of the project very well, and the fact that they are based in Europe (where we feel this music has the most opportunities) was alluring to us. The recording process itself was wonderful- we did it at my home studio (Estudi Vint) in Catalonia, northeastern Spain. Recording at home always makes the process more relaxed- cooking every night, making fires, recording in your pajamas… I love it!

Is there any duo tour plan scheduled for “Where You Wish You Were”?

Yes! Starting in the fall, we will be touring extensively until the end of 2024.

What will be the next project? Are you planning a second recording or completely new one?

There’s a new project in the works, yes! But we can’t say anything about it yet.

You can buy “Where You Wish You Were” from THIS LINK

Burak Sülünbaz

Co-Founder, Jazz Writer // Kurucu Ortak, Caz Yazarı

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