Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: HMI World
|Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:24 pm Post subject: EDDY ST. VIL OF ZIN!
|KM: Eddy, what are you up to these days? Any new project you want to let the fans know about?
EDDY: For the last few months, I have been working very hard in our music studio (ALAB Studios) trying to finish the KRYS project. At the same time, I have been putting the finishing touches on some songs for the new ZIN CD. In addition, the band has been rehearsing at least once a week to add some new flavors to the already beautiful songs of Alan's new album.
KM: We know about the Christopher project, tell us when you think Zin will have a new CD on the market? It sure doesn't look like this year is a possibility with all the different projects you guys are working on individually.
EDDY: In terms of material, we are ready to do the ZIN album. But because we are working on so many things right now, it is hard to predict a release date. All I can say is that we are going to do our best to release it this year.
KM: You have the opportunity to work with several people, including some well-known artists who would probably not mind working with you. Why did you choose KRYSTOPHER to help bring your musical magic alive on record as your next project? When will the Christopher CD be released?
EDDY: Krys (Christopher Pierre) has been working with ZIN as a background vocalist for quite some time now (since the Manyen w album). After I finished the Shirley project, Krys asked me to record an album for him. I was supposed to help him write and compose a couple of songs, and also sequence and arrange those songs. He was also going to hire some other musician to work on the project for him. Then I was supposed to help him find an executive producer. But once I started working with him, I realized that I was putting so much into the job (composing, writing, arranging) that it was becoming more and more like MY PROJECT. So I said to myself: "why not?"
That's when I told him that this was too much of myself to have somebody else take credit for it. He was too happy to hear me tell him that I was going to put him under my wings and produce him just like SHIRLEY. I have to mention that just like the SHIRLEY project, the ZIN family is also involved. Alex Abellard is writing, composing, arranging and producing two songs on the record. Salazar (ZAZA) Jean-Baptiste is co writing, co composing, co arranging and co producing a song with me. Alan and the rest of the crew are also going to do their parts. The way things are going this record should hit the market before the end of the year.
KM: We all know that the last project that you did was a huge success with Shirley Desgrottes. How did you feel when she departed the band? Were you expecting it, or was it a total shock? Would you ever work with her again?
EDDY: Shirley's departure from the ZIN came as a total shock to me. Her future in the band at the time looked so bright that I never thought she would leave the band and worst, leave it without a warning or anything. So, I was extremely disappointed. But because I had such a wonderful time working with her on that project, I can say there is still a possibility that I could work with her some day.
KM: Why do you think Zin has been able to last for so long in the market? They have also managed to remain on top of the New York market for a long time. New York is basically your town. What do you say about that?
EDDY: We in ZIN are very dedicated to our work and we are always working very hard to please the public. We try not to let our fans get tired of us by being a different ZIN every time around. We are always improvising. We make it a must to always come up with new and original material. When we play a new song from a new album, we very quickly add some new flavors to it. And no matter how beautiful these new parts are we will only release them on a "live" record and not make a new song with them. That way, a "new" ZIN song is indeed always a NEW song, never a compilation of "live" material. Because we're always coming up with new and original materials, we stay NEW and ORIGINAL.
We are also very hard on ourselves because we always want to improve and be the best. Today we want to be better than we were yesterday and for tomorrow, we're looking forward to be better than today.
KM: Your opinion on Georgy no longer being in the band. Does the band lose some of its spark up front, or is it better for the group? Please explain your answer.
EDDY: Georgy has not been in ZIN for over a year now and the band is going stronger than ever. The band has not lost a bit. If anything, we've gained a lot including a lot of new fans. Daphne and Virginia work very well together and the public have responded only positively to their singing and dancing.
KM: Who is Eddy St Vil's Haitian music idol? Why?
EDDY: I cannot say that I have one idol but I can say that I have a few guitar players that I loved listening to while I was growing up and they in many ways have had a big influence on how I play today. These players are Robert Martino, Eddy Wooley, Claude Marcelin and Dadou Pasket.
KM: Any favorite Haitian bands on the market besides Zin?
EDDY: Again I cannot say I have one favorite band besides ZIN. I love music so I really listen to everybody. However, I have a preference for bands that produce beautiful love songs since I mostly write love songs.
KM: How do you feel about the "Digital band" revolution that is sweeping the Haitian music industry? Are you for or against it? Does it add to the spice or does it tarnish the legacy of Haitian music?
EDDY: The "Digital band" revolution started more than fourteen years ago. It is now getting increasingly popular simply because when a "Digital Band" is successful, it is more profitable to the individuals in that band due to the reduced number of players in the band. When ZIN first started, we also were a "Digital Band". Then we grew up to be half "Digital" and half "live". Then we became a totally "live" band. Through it all, ZIN have always maintained its originality and played only its own materials.
Having been through it all, I cannot say that I am against "Digital bands". But I can definitely say that a "live" band is a lot spicier than a "Digital band" because a "live" band can do a lot more. "Digital bands" do bring diversity to Haitian music but I honestly think that because of how easy it is to start a "Digital band", the "Digital band" revolution has in many ways negatively impacted Haitian music and this, a lot more than "live bands".
To support my theory I can tell you that before the start of the "Digital band" revolution, music bands were only playing their own original materials. Each of the most popular bands had their own sound and style. Only the bands that could not make it to the top, the bands usually referred to as "ti djaz", the bands that were playing in the smaller clubs, for very small crowds, only these bands were playing other people's music. They imitated and sounded like the most popular bands. These days the "Digital Bands", due to similarities in programming and playing style besides other things, do sound alike. A lot of them do play the same materials, the same hit songs that do not belong to them, including carnival songs.
In addition, most of them, if not all, not only play other people's materials, they also release other people's materials on their "live" CDs. I can safely say that when Bossa Combo released "accolade" which was a string of Haitian music hits, they did not mean for music bands to start playing other people's hit songs and make a fortune with them. These days, with the right marketing strategy, a "Digital band" can be financially successful without ever making a hit song. Some "Digital bands" even started their career by making a "live" CD with only other people's music. I don't and won't ever have a problem with a "Digital band" or any band for that matter that is achieving success making and playing its own original music and I also don't want to sound like I envy those bands that are making money while they hardly make any music of their own.
My fear is that if this "easy money Digital band" trend continues, less and less new and original material will be created and Haitian music will as a result suffer and continue to decline. I think that once a band reach a certain level of recognition and success, the members of that band need to start thinking about the future of our music, not just about making money. The emphasis should always be on making beautiful music that is going to be played and remembered twenty, fifty years from now
KM: How did you like Zin's performance at the Compas festival in Miami?
EDDY: The public reacted extremely well to our performance, which made us feel really good. However I was not satisfied because I know we could have done a lot better. Most of us in ZIN felt that way.
KM: In the early years of Zin, you were basically known as "the hitmaker" of the group. In other words, ALL or MOST of the major hits used to come from you. Lately it seems that Alan Cave has been helping you in that category. Does that relieve some of the pressure you probably felt earlier in the band's existence because people always really used to look at you when the band needed a hit?
EDDY: Well, I don't think things are any different now that they were before. Alan has had big hits songs on our earlier CDs: Ma Rose, Lage m, Manyen w to name a few. I never really feel like if I don't come up with a hit song ZIN is doomed because the feeling among us is that we know we're all capable of making hit songs. The pressure we all experience comes from the fact that we're trying to be better day after day.
KM: What is the formula to composing a very good song in the Haitian market? We think you are qualified to let us know what you try to do with your hit songs. Please explain.
EDDY: I don't know if there really is a general formula for making a hit song. Anyway I'll tell you how I go about making a song from scratch.
When I have an idea for a song I try to get it onto something (paper, tape, computer, etc) immediately so that I don't forget it. That idea or ideas could be just some lyrics or a melody or a chorus.
Now let's say I am trying to compose a love song. It is a story that I am going to write and bring to life in my music. I become the character or characters that I write about. If the characters are going be happy, I have to really feel that happiness and if they are going be sad, I have to feel their sadness. I am the writer, the composer but I am also the critic, the listener. I decide on the style of the song, that is the chord progression that I think fits the story best, the speed of the song (slow, medium or fast), etc.
Another important thing is that I only write and compose music when I feel a certain way. When I feel "it" (I don't really know what "it" is), I start working on the song. One important thing is that you cannot force it. If you cannot find the right words or the right melody, it is better to wait till you feel "it" again. That waiting period can be anything from a split second to a minute, to an hour, a day, or even a month and sometimes more. I have songs that I have started long ago (I don't even remember when I started them) that I still have not finished. When I feel "it", when I have "it", everything (lyrics, melody, music) comes along smoothly, one after the other.
Now all of this is not a recipe that guaranties a hit song. I sometime go through all of this and at the end I don't feel happy about the song. If the song does not "hit" me as a listener or something in it does not really touch me, then I am not happy with it and I look for ways to make it better, sometimes by changing or adding a few things, sometimes by doing the whole song over. So far in my career when I do it right, I know it's right. I cannot really tell you how I know "it" but I just know "it".
KM: Which group or MUSICIAN that is currently in the business that you would like to compose a song for, or work on a project with? Why?
EDDY: I have sometimes, just for the joy of it, composed songs with a different group in mind or a different singer in mind. If I had the choice I would definitely want to work with Robert Martino on an oldies project (a Gypsies like project with a modern touch). Although I was a Difficiles de Petionville fan, I always enjoyed listening to the Gypsies. So I would definitely enjoy working with him and seeing him do his things and I would try to come up with some stuff that would hopefully get him to shake his head in approval.
KM: Any words of advice for anyone that wants to start a career/band in the Haitian music business?
EDDY: It is a very tough business. If you have the talent, before jumping into the business, get the facts. The Haitian music business isn't as glamorous or as profitable as the American music business. If you want to do it for the love of music I think you'll have a much better time and much greater chance of succeeding. Think music first, the money will come if the music is there.
KM: Any final words?
EDDY: It's been a pleasure for me to provide these answers to Kompa Magazine and the fans of ZIN and Haitian music in general. I would encourage you all to continue supporting ZIN and Haitian music in general by buying the CDs (the legal CDs, not the bootlegs), by coming out to watch the bands perform and also by letting us know how you feel about us. The Hit Music Factory: ZIN is working very had to please the fans. We have a lot in store for them. There are a few CDs that will be released this year that will come from our studio (ALAB Studio): ZIN, CARIMI, WUDJANI, KRYS. I hope you make them all part of your CD collection.
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