The wait for a new Bond movie will be long, but fret not, because till then we have ‘The Meta4 Revue’, an up-and-coming band that has graced the music industry with their latest album ‘Magnum Opera’ during this pandemic & believe me, one listen to it on Spotify & you’ll instantly be transported into a Bond movie!
Their music which is inspired by legends in the field of jazz & blues like Prince & Ray Charles feels like it could easily fit into the soundtrack of a spy caper & as a music lover, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you, dear readers, to this fresh new eclectic Soundtrack Blues music project known as ‘The Meta4 Revue’ which is currently based out of New York, but originally has roots in Toronto.
In their own words, the band combines elements of blues, art pop and electronic music into sleek and soulful lyricism, while exploring a bespoke charm delivered in an elegant, melodic artistry. Furthermore, it sets the stage for a tailored adventure of silken romance, and distinguished flair. Honestly that description alone feels like music to the ears!
Speaking more about their debut album, ‘Magnum Opera’, was released in May 2020, encompassing an Ian Fleming style and class, cut from a New York City debonair fabric and woven into a polished, electro pop musicality. In this interview with ‘The Meta4 Revue’, I delve into what inspires their songs, as well as their inspiration and whether an outing with 007 will be on the cards in the near future.
- First and foremost, how did you come up with your band name?
The full name was inspired by the old RnB shows of the 50’s and 60’s, where a Revue was a sequence of performances within a show – for instance “The James Brown Revue” or “The Ray Charles Revue”. When starting out, the name I used was “Meta4”, and when creating this to be reflected as an opportunity for a band type setting, I went with “The Meta4 Revue”.
- Wow, that sounds cool! And what was the inspiration behind your album ‘Magnum Opera’?
‘Magnum Opera’ was actually conceived while looking to complete another album that was originally scheduled to be released in Fall of 2019, and with the deadline approaching and the demand of the vocal performance required – there was a series of songs that started to form, starting with ‘Retrograde’.
After I realized that there was potential with the sonic palette for the album, I realized that I had always wanted to create an album that was inspired by pleasures of the flesh, sensuality, and tying that into soul music. In addition to this, I knew that I always wanted to someday write the music for the 007 franchise, as I’ve been heavily influenced by the aesthetic, the films, as well as the novels all throughout my life. I knew that I wanted to have a brand that was able to be effective with the same impact in some capacity as the Bond franchise, and Magnum Opera helped me realize what direction I was going to take formally.
While the music hints at elements of that world, I like to think that my music could fit within the Bond world, but is still very much who I am.
One important fact I came to realize recently about selecting the track listing – ‘Magnum Opera’ is the Sonic lifespan of an affair. I didn’t realize that at first and was selecting the track listing from a purely dynamic standpoint, but it made sense to me recently as to why it makes sense if I were to add more depth to this. ‘Maltese’ being the mysterious first encounter, to the fresh and intense first hook-up ‘Chocolat’, to the slow realization that you’re giving away some control to what this “thing” is in the mesmerising ‘Femme Fatale’, to the intense climax which is ‘Crawling Up your Spine’, to the realization that things are heading down but you’re still sexually invested, to the end days in which both people don’t want it to end but still know it will in ‘Apollo’, and finally with ‘Retrograde’ it is the introspection and almost dark regret for what was.
- Has the city of New York itself been an influence in your music?
New York has been a huge influence on my music and has also allowed me to execute so many ideas and creative endeavours that I’ve wanted to over the years. The speed of the city, the duality of the anything is possible aspect, between the bad and the good – it’s all here. The energy that’s here can only be explained once you set foot here for the first time, and especially when you choose to live here. I think that carries over into the music quite often. I find myself a pretty self-motivated individual and creatively abundant, but I would say that this has been the most productive time in my life creatively with putting out content officially to the world.
In addition, which ties to the first question – things in New York move so fast even within our interpersonal lives, so as quickly as things come to be, they also fall apart just as quickly. This can be devastatingly beautiful, and also brings a very human element to the chaos.
- What makes ‘Maltese’ the hit single?
While we do have 3 singles – I feel that ‘Maltese’ captures the spaciousness within the production, and sets the tone for the world of ‘Magnum Opera’. The hypnotic pulsing synth that speaks the opening notes, and then the sultry vocals that drop in with the beat – all the way to the multi layered vocals for the ‘Maltese’ pre-chorus that kicks in. Also, I find that it effectively brings together the world of 007 and soul music in a modern arrangement.
- In your own words, what would you describe your music as?
“Soundtrack Blues” is the genre I’ve coined – which basically reflects the music being cinematic, yet steeped in Blues, Jazz, & Soul. Not necessarily reflected in this album, but 90’s grunge, 90’s hip-hop, and of course the genres mentioned before tie the whole sound together.
- Could you clue us in on your creative process?
The creative process as it traditionally stands is writing the music first. Whether it’s at the piano or the guitar, it generally starts with a chord or a series of chords that instantly creates a mood or feeling. From there a theme or concept comes out of it because of “synesthesia” – and that concept leads to a topic which inspires lyrics. Once all of that is completed, then it comes to arranging the song and producing it for the recording process. Last but not least, it’s the vocals that are recorded.
- Which song is your personal favourite?
For me, my favourite song is ‘Retrograde’ because I think it is the most meaningful song on the album – and it was also the first one I wrote which kicked off the entire theme for the rest of it. The moodiness, the slowness which almost brings your pulse down to have to reflect, and the hypnotic synth that lets the vocals be that much more impactful.
- Which song was the most fun to record?
‘Chocolat’ was the most fun to record, for the simple fact that it was written and recorded two weeks before the music was sent away for mixing. Such a simple song, but figuring out effective ways to build it up in that short of a time period was thrilling.
The official music video for ‘Chocolat’ is out now and can be watched here.
- If you wanted to collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would it be?
Right off the bat and not in any particular order, but for those that are alive – Seal, Jack White, Quincy Jones, Steve Jordan, John Mayer, Derek Trucks, Charlie Hunter, Pino Palladino, Shooter Jennings, Citizen Cope, D’Angelo, Chrisette Michelle, Nikka Costa, Zero 7, Jill Scott, Adele, Rick Rubin, Joshua James, Kamasi Washington, and Nas – to name a few. For those that are no longer with us, the list would be too long.
In addition to this – there are visual components that would be a great opportunity to collaborate within. Utilizing existing music and writing new music for luxury brands, and most notably being a part of the James Bond franchise would be at the peak of the collaborative horizon in the near future. Having one of my songs be the opening theme one day, or even the B-side to start, would be a dream come true – and it would be interesting to see ‘Retrograde’ be included as the B-side/outro song for the upcoming film “No Time to Die”.
Working with David Arnold who composed for the Bond franchise at one point, would be amazing even outside of the franchise setting as well.
- I also noticed on your Facebook page that a plethora of music composers & movie soundtracks inspired your music. Could you elaborate on that?
The visual component has, is, and always has been an important part of the inspiration for not only music, but for context and stimulating the senses. The storytelling aspect of art is always what gets through to people at our cores – so that also inspired me when approaching the music and the brand that has now developed. A big influence on me from a young age was films, and there were certain franchises where I felt that the Visual and Sonic palettes were perfectly married. I was always drawn towards music that was blues/jazz based, and I also heard and recognized those styles subtly included in film scores.
The 007 is the oldest, and most successful franchise to achieve this, and the composer who created the sound for that franchise was John Barry. This is a huge influence – since he was brilliant at marrying jazz with and orchestral sound, and create such a sexy and confident sound for James Bond.
Thomas Newman, Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, Danny Elfman, Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone, were all other influences on my music.
- Do you have any upcoming projects lined up?
Yes. The same project that I was working to complete in 2019 “Death of a Salesman”, is the next album that will be released after this one. Right now, the current release date is set for Spring of 2021, and the only thing left to complete is vocals and have it mixed. There’s also a two-song project that will be released in the next 2 months, which is inspired by writing songs to 2 pieces of artwork created by a friend from high school. In addition, we have a lot more visual content that will be released related to ‘Magnum Opera’.
And that brings the curtains down on my interview with ‘The Meta4 Revue’. You can find their music here on Spotify
Or give it a listen on all other major platforms here.
My personal favourite from the album, of course, is ‘Crawling up your spine’ which takes a slight detour from the jazz and blues flavour of the album & has an electrifying chorus that crawls up my spine & ends up being quite the foot-tapper & head-banger. But, of course, every inch of this album is pleasing & clearly, there’s a whole lot of experimentation with regards to genre in this album and it not only touches on jazz and blues, thus appealing to everyone’s music tastes.
P.S. ‘Magnum Opera’ is best relished with a martini (shaken, not stirred) in hand.
The band would also like to take this opportunity to highlight members of team that aren’t a part of creating the music, but who are an important part of bringing the brand to life:
Graphic Designer – Matt Gomes, who is responsible for all of the artwork for the Album and singles being executed as per the vision of the band, who also Directed the music video for “Chocolat”. IG @vismattic
Digital Advertising & Marketing Lead – Dev Tejwani, who is responsible for the Digital advertising and marketing campaigns – so that the music and all the associated content have the widest reach to our audience, and so that they hit the right markets as needed. IG @devtejwani
Brand Relationship Manager, Asia – Ishan Sanyal, who is the newest member of the team and is responsible for connecting us with this opportunity with HOLR Magazine, as well as managing all brand partnerships to help the awareness grow.
Last but not least, I’d like to credit the gentleman who sonically mixed this record, Ghislain “Gee” Brind’Amour, who carried out the mixes in record time and was able to sonically translate my intention to what you all hear as the final product. IG @mixedbygee