FFO: Jazz, Cool/West Coast, Saxophone, Salsa, Music Videos
Imagine a place where music and fun take priority over the matters at hand. The gateway to this special location is as close as hitting the play button. Considering ongoing conditions affecting the situation most everywhere, the spirit of unfettered sights and sounds are well received. The music video for “Crazy Times,” from saxophonist, vocalist, composer and producer Kim Cypher provides such a space, where enthusiasts can gather over great musicianship and an inviting, party atmosphere.
Influenced by the pandemic’s lockdown and related social distancing rules, Kim Cypher does the opposite in bringing viewers and listeners together under the friendliest of conditions. The “Crazy Times” video is 4:26 of the finest escapism, complete with engaging saxophone leads, pulsing percussion and contemporary spoken lyric lo-fi-ish vocals. Premiering Nov. 20, 2020 on YouTube, colorful graffiti, lots of dancing, groove setting congas and a Harley Davidson® motorcycle add to the video’s festive atmosphere. Cypher’s certainty of fate and a what will be will be philosophy translates to freer music in both performance and viewer appreciation.
Of course, musicinterviewmagazine.com eagerly welcomed the opportunity to speak with Kim Cypher.
An Interview With Kim Cypher
Musicinterviewmagazine.com: How exactly is “Crazy Times” inspired by lockdown during the pandemic?
Kim Cypher: When the COVID pandemic hit the world, my husband Mike and I, Mike is also our drummer, were in the middle of my Love Kim X album tour with a full diary of gigs across the United Kingdom. Life was based on performing our music and we were out playing maybe five or six times a week. Suddenly it all stopped. We found ourselves stuck at home with no gigs but still full of creative energy. As always, my creative energy sparks compositions. So, “Crazy Times” was created as an expression of the confusion and frustration felt as the world was plunged into lockdown. It’s a track that is solely performed by Mike and me, as we wanted it to reflect our isolated situation. We laid down each track, in turn building up the full ensemble of instruments until we had the sound we wanted, a mixture of drums, percussion, saxophone, vocals and bass, with quite a few sound effects added in for extra interest.
Is the music video for “Crazy Times” choreographed or improvised as you went along?
The basic structure for the piece was planned out based around the main sax riff that starts the track off. We planned the progression from the solo sax into a drum-percussion feature and then continued building with a sax solo and lots of harmony layers. We envisioned a high energy, carnival style piece with a Latin Salsa vibe. From that point, the music was improvised. We also wanted to get a strong positive message across using spoken dialogue as well as the sung vocal line. The spoken dialogue was recorded completely spontaneously in our kitchen. I just spoke from my heart about how I was feeling and how I viewed the situation. In my mind, I thought it would just be a rough guide recording, to be re-recorded at a later date. As it turned out though, we kept the initial recording because it just works so well.
Is that Mike riding in on the motorcycle?
Ha, ha…no. Mike can only wish he owned such a cool Harley Davidson®. The bike rider is a friend of ours, Barry Benham. He is very much a key part of this whole “Crazy Times” story as he, along with many others, became connected with us when we started a daily live coffee and chat show on Facebook at the start of lockdown. We decided to put together a daily show to enable anyone who felt isolated to join the chat and have some company. We started it in March and it ran daily for 11 weeks, getting us all through the darkest days of lockdown. The response was incredible as we built up a wonderful community of people who tuned in every day, locally and from all over the world. When we came up with the idea to film a music video to go with the track, we decided to bring that amazing community spirit into the video, involving so many people in the video, which made it special for us.
Do you think “Crazy Times” reflects what you want life to be post-COVID?
Well, that’s a very interesting question. I think “Crazy Times” reflects two extremes of life during COVID: the negatives and the positives. It highlights the life we are all having to live as we go through these crazy times, a life with social distancing, virtual hugs, handshakes becoming a thing of the past, celebrating keyworkers and trying to let the music play on. Then there’s the incredibly positive side of life during COVID, the overwhelming community spirit, compassion, kindness, working together to embrace our sense of unity and making it through together, all with an emphasis on the fact that the music will play on. So, there is much positivity to come out of this and I would most certainly like life to have more kindness, compassion and community spirit and unity post-COVID and of course it’s essential the music plays on.
Besides the wonderful saxophone work, you also perform the spoken word portions. Who came up with the lyrics?
As mentioned earlier, the spoken lyrics were recorded spontaneously. It had not been planned to have spoken lyrics in the track, just the vocal line. The music inspired me to speak from my heart and communicate a positive message of getting through this together. Much of my music comes about spontaneously like this, being inspired by something I feel strongly about.
While close to your heart, raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, including “All For You,” from the For Mum music project, can listeners anticipate any more of this music?
My For Mum project was amazing to do. It was an absolute honour to pay tribute to my late mum and to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. The track and video for “All For You” is very much in a swing band style and the animated video is set in a jazz club – street procession setting. It was so much fun to do. I love performing in this style and there is much of the same incorporated into my live performances. I feel sure there will be more of this music in due course.
With a full video for “Crazy Times” now available, what is next for Kim Cypher?
Well, who knows when we will return to our normal schedule of live performances? In the meantime, I am certainly inspired to create more music. I actually composed a couple of great new tracks last week and cannot wait to get back into the studio to record them. There’s a definite vibe of bluesy contemplation going on, so I think it will be great to put out these new tracks. I am feeling a desperate need to get out there doing some more gigs though. Playing is like therapy and I’m having withdrawal symptoms from blasting out some funky sax at the moment. If more gigs don’t come along soon I may just have to head out to a secluded countryside spot and play. So keep an eye out for me. For now, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I’d love it if everyone can check out “Crazy Times” and follow my music. It’s always so nice to know that people are enjoying and appreciating my music. I’m trying to ensure the music will play on in these crazy times.
For more about Kim Cypher, please visit:
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.