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article imageHarriet Stubbs talks new classical album, technology, Patti Smith Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 24, 2018 in Music
Classical artist Harriet Stubbs chatted with Digital Journal about her new album "Heaven and Hell: The Doors Of Perception," working with Marianne Faithfull, her dream collaboration partners, and the impact of technology on the music business.
On her breakthrough album, Stubbs said, "It came about as a culmination of my life's interests and a serendipitous meeting of Russ Titelman. Russ is a multi-Grammy award-winning producer traditionally of rock and roll and jazz, who has worked with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Elton John, George Benson, and James Taylor. I met him through our mutual friend and creative, Julian Tepper at Barney Greengrass. Russ and I became friends, and a year later, we came up with the concept of an album."
Stubbs continued, "We started recording at Jacob Burns in Pleasant Ville and then just carried on. We later recorded at Lincoln Center and the Samurai Recording Studio. I am a William Blake lover and the idea of bringing in both a literary and rock and roll reference to the album that would also guide its narrative. The concept of 'The Doors Of Perception' was originally Blake's and later taken up by Aldous Huxley, and then by rock band The Doors."
"Marianne Faithfull opens the album reading that Blake and I curated from several plates to describe the narrative journey of the album," she further added. "Therefore, creating an illumination of the synthesis between literature, classical music, and rock and roll and cleansing people's perception of classical music."
From this project, Stubbs listed Marianne Faithfull's narration over John Adams' "Phrygian Gates" as one of her personal favorites. "It is a pretty unique and special track to me," she said.
On her future plans, she said, "I am excited about seeing where I can take this album in terms of interdisciplinary performance, guest artists and crossing boundaries. I am also working with Mike Garson (David Bowie's pianist originally hired during the Ziggy Stardust Period) on his Bowie transcriptions and other compositions."
Digital transformation of the music business
On the impact of technology on the music industry, Stubbs said, "Technology has, as in most fields come with its advantages and disadvantages with regards to the music business. The creation of a musical narrative has turned from that being created by the artist in the form of an album being listened to in its entirety to the listener searching to create their own via playlisting. This has in itself changed the way in which we consume music as the album in physical form would come with a 3D experience of information about the artist, lyrics in some cases, photographs, and liner notes to accompany a listening of the full album."
She continued, "Discovering other artists is made easier by playlisting, suggestions from Spotify or Apple Music on other artists that we might like and on suggested playlists. So broadening outside of our immediate music library is made more readily available to us. We are also able to do soundbites and display segments of music on platforms such as Instagram to flash content to those who may not have time to sit and listen to an album there and then but who have their attention caught by it."
Regarding her use of technology in her daily routine, Stubbs said, "I certainly use it to record myself practicing. I find it really helpful. I also Skype teach from all over the world (including the Arctic) so am very reliant on technology to make that happen. Technology means that I can spontaneously play my programme through pre-concert to anyone I choose or create as close to a real audience feel as possible by live streaming it on facebook a week prior to a performance. I, of course, use social media to keep everyone up to date with where I am and what I am doing for which is really useful when you are time poor and have a lot of people with whom you would like to communicate."
For aspiring musicians, Stubbs encouraged them to not be afraid to do it alone. "Every music conservatoire on the planet have teachers with plenty of opinions about how to play, but few pieces of advice or experience in how to handle yourself in the industry if you get there. Take what's useful and leave the disparaging behind. Don’t lose sight of yourself as a human being outside of music," she said.
On her dream duet partners, she said, "I am very excited about the potential collaboration with Mike Garson. David Bowie would, of course, have been up there. Some further work with Marianne [Faithfull] would be fabulous. Patti Smith is intriguing and astute. I would be fascinated by a project with her."
For her fans, Stubbs concluded about the new album, "Listen to it as a whole. Marianne sets it up so beautifully for that."
Read More: Digital Journal reviewed Harriet Stubbs' debut classical album.
More about Harriet Stubbs, Album, Classical, marianne faithfull, Patti Smith
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