IT is exciting coming across an artist who…
goes beyond music and creates their own universe. I have been learning about MURDAH SRVC and what the project entails – and how songwriter CHE brings elements of Asian culture and Anime into his world. I ask about the story behind Icarus – the new single – and shooting the video in London; whether there is going to be more material coming down the line – when Japanese art and culture came into his life.
MURDAH SRVC discusses influences and where he goes from here; whether there are any tour dates coming up; whether the intrepid artist has a favourite memory from music; advice he would give to new artists – ending the interview with a fantastic song.
Hi, MURDAH SRVC. How are you? How has your week been?
Pretty good. It's been an eventful week. Working on the latest release, Icarus, and arranging the next one...
For those new to your music/work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is CHE and I'm a singer/songwriter. I've been doing music for a while now. In 2017, I started my new project, MURDAH SRVC.
MURDAH SRVC is an audio-visual project inspired by Japanese culture. When did your love of Japanese art/culture begin?
I grew up watching Japanese Anime on T.V. during the 1990s.
I was so into it that I started drawing Manga myself. I wanted to do this for a living until I went to college. So; I got a Bachelor degree with a Major in Japanese Language, Literature and Culture - then moved to Japan for a while.
Icarus is your new track. What is the inspiration behind that track?
MURDAH SRVC is music and Manga. So, every song is related to the Manga and the other way around. You can read the Manga or listen to the music separately but, when you do both, you get the whole picture. Musically, the track takes inspiration from artists like Massive Attack, SOHN; The Weeknd, Frank Ocean - and it talks about the struggle of the main character to leave his comfort zone and go the extra mile.
You worked with producer Marco ‘John Lui’ Pettinato on Icarus. What did he bring to the song?
Marco produced all the tracks for the MURDAH SRVC project. I went to his studio with demos, most of them only piano and voice, and he added his vision to the table. I wrote like, eighteen songs: we chose five. We come from different backgrounds, so I'm very glad I had the chance to work with him - because it was very exciting to compare ideas and I think the result is (pretty) unique with a distinct sound.
The video was shot in London. Was it fun to do? Do you feel London’s diverse landscape and people is the perfect place to explore your love and fascination of Asian culture?
The video for Icarus was shot in London last December by London-based director Giovanni Musumeci. It was a lotta fun to go to Chinatown and shoot in the middle of the street with people taking pictures of me. London is a melting pot of cultures and, if there's anything you might be into, you’re gonna find it there.
Is London somewhere you gravitate towards? Is the city the perfect place for an ambitious artist to create and thrive?
Definitely. London is inspiring for every artist and it's one my favourite cities in the world. The competition is crazy because there's so much talent and, every night, there is an open mic with amazing musicians. So, to me, this is very challenging...
It makes me wanna perform a better show than the night before.
Is it true Icarus is part of an E.P. arc? Will there be more songs coming? What is the idea/narrative of the E.P.?
In a moment of time when people attention span is very low; I decided to release this E.P. one song at the time with a video along with it. The first single is Running on the Surface and the video, edited by Colla/Vinilica, is a collection of Anime frames from some of my favourite series: Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion; Akira and newer ones like Ajin and Your Name.
Icarus is the second single - and, soon, I will release the third one called Medusa (and so on).
The songs are all about the characters of the Sci-Fi Manga which I've been drawing myself and will be released later this year - in episodes of thirty-two pages each.
Can you tell me how music came into your life? Which artists did you grow up on and idolise?
I was into singing since I was a child but, in my teenage years, I heard the voices of Marvin Gaye, Al Green; Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder - that completely changed my perspective and taste. Then, when I was a little bit older, I fell for Electronic music as well; so that's why I define my genre as ‘Future Soul’: Soul music from the future.
IN THIS PHOTO: Goldsmoke
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Lately; I discovered a duo of brothers from London, Goldsmoke. They make very good Funk/Soul with an Electronic vibe to it. Nick has an amazing voice!
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
In 2017; I had gigs in U.K., Germany and Italy. Now, I'm concentrating on new releases - but I'll start touring again soon; so make sure you check my social media to be updated.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
As a musician, to tour as much as I can to bring this project to as many ears as possible. As a human being, to be a good father and husband…and to learn new things…always.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
The first time a crowd of hundreds sung all the lyrics of a song I wrote. That made me understand how powerful and uniting music can be.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Be well trained. Don't copy anybody else's sound. Find your own vision and stick to it: if it's something genuine, people will recognise it and follow.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
As I said before; when I was growing up, I wanted to be a professional comic writer. Now, I draw for the MURDAH SRVC project - but it's more a therapy for me. To relax. Other than that, I love to travel with my family, try new food; see art exhibitions and read.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
I Believe in Music – Donny Hathaway
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