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Maria "Miss Funkyflyy" Granditsky: Hello Lynden!
Lynden David Hall: Hi.
I know we don't have much time, you've got loads of interviews to do after mine, but before I jump start to the questions I just have to say that I think your "Medicine For My Pain" album is absolutely brilliant. It's the best album I've heard in a long time.
Ohh, thank you. Thank you.
It's so good to finally be talking with you. I've been trying to "hunt you down" for a couple of months now, but it's been extremely hard to get an interview. I guess you've been very busy, back home in England?
Yeah, I've been doing tons of press, gigs and stuff like that.
I don't know why, but I have a feeling that you're a perfectionist. Are you pleased with the "Medicine For My Pain" album yourself?
I am a perfectionist. I just challenge myself, you know? But I am happy with it. "Medicine For My Pain" captured a moment in my life. But now I'm moving on, basically. I'm writing for the next album.
I like all of the songs, but my top three favorites are "Sexy Cinderella", "There Goes My Sanity" and "100 Heart Attacks". What impresses me is that you wrote, played and produced the album and on top of that you have a great voice. And you're not "over-wailing" (laughs).
(Laughs) I know what you mean. I just sing in my own way. I like to give just enough. Not too much.
Another thing that sets your album apart from so many others is that you've paid so much attention to the details. Like on "There Goes My Sanity" you have these, almost P-funkish, keyboard sounds.. Very sophisticated instrumentation.. You use real, live bass. And you use guitar! No one plays guitar on R&B records these days! Where on earth did the guitars go (laughs)?
Right. (Laughs). Yes, it's been missing and it's strange to me because the people that I listen to, there's loads of guitar in there. I listen to a lot of Blues as well and R&B came out of Blues, so the guitar was right up there. But then, all of a sudden, it became obsolete. It just disappeared, which I think is a little strange. I suppose that's one of the things that make my album stand out. There's lot of guitar stuff on there and it's just because I love to play the guitar. I wasn't doing it as a conscious thing to be different. I've always played guitar, so I just did it.
Tell me a little more about yourself. Where in the U.K. are you from?
I'm from Wandsworth, South London.
What other things besides music do you like to do? Or are you totally into music?
I'm totally into music at the moment. But I do other things in my spare time. I write and I play. I've turned up on some Jazz jam sessions in London, just brought my guitar and played, which is cool. I can do that in little clubs or pubs in London, just be totally anonymous. Just be some guitarist. But, I write a lot. I have a studio at my house, The Soul Cave, where I just chill, listen to music and write. Music is like an obsession at the moment, but eventually I want to get into some other things. But for now, I am young and full of fire and I just wanna do this music.
What does the title "Medicine For My Pain" mean?
It's a song on the album, but, uhm. You know, music is like escapism for a lot of people. That's kind of what it's about. But "the medicine" for me is also God, it's a spiritual thing for me. That's the only way I can out it. It's more dealing with spirituality.. Relieving the bad times, basically.
Were you having love problems when you did this record?
Yes. Not just then. Throughout my life, it's been that way. But I guess we just remember the sad times more than the good. We remember more times that we cried than times that we smiled. These things are in the fore front when I write. But I don't want to depress anyone with my album. I think I put it all in a positive light. It's just like an exorcism for me.
Have you lived all these songs?
Yes, more or less the whole album. The whole album is more or less like a condensed autobiography. All the stuff that I put out is very personal. I can write songs which does not particularly have anything to do with me, and I have a load of those that I give to other artists. But the stuff that I do, I have to be able to honestly interpret it. So yeah, everything on the album is me. Everything on there is true.
Hmm.. Well then I have to ask you about, "Jimmy Lee Story". It describes a rather interesting relationship, or is it a menage-a-trois.. (laughs)
(Laughs). Yeah, I got part of "Jimmie Lee" from a dream. It's kind of mixed up with reality. One day I just woke up and wrote it down. I wrote that a long time ago. I found the four-track demo just the other day. It's from 1990, or something like that. It's basically untouched since then.
"Jennifer Smiles" is a little different than the other songs. I take it, not as a love song dedicated to a woman, but to a child. Is that wrong?
Ohh, no. That's more or less on the head. It's really like a lullaby. It's quite a dreamy thing and it's one of my favorite songs on the album. It's just because of the personal thing behind it. Jennifer is a sister of mine that died. She was born before I was born. You know how you just imagine someone to be perfect.. That's what the song is about. She took on a guardian angel type role in my life.
Is it difficult for you to be this personal , Lynden? I mean, you have written songs that are so private. If I had done that, I could imagine it would feel quite uncomfortable to sit like this and discuss them in such detail..
Yeah, that is very true. I've done a lot of interviews now, so there are things I can talk about now that I would maybe not have gone into a few months ago. Like what "Jennifer Smiles" is about. But now I'm like, the songs are out there. They're not mine anymore. But I like the fact that people can interpret it whatever way they want. I really don't want to say: "This is what it's about, it's not about anything else". It's about whatever you take from it. But yeah, sometimes it can be hard; going back to those places where you were when you wrote the stuff.
I read that you got into music when you were 15. That's pretty unusual. Most artists got their start at a much younger age..
Yeah. I was kind of just roaming about before then, not really having any kind of focus or direction. Then I did a lot of things that I wasn't particularly proud of and I kind if fell into music accidentally. I did music as a lesson in school, just messing about, just to fill up my time table. It was like the last thing I picked. There was playing guitar in that lesson and that's when I first picked up the guitar. Around that same time I was really getting into Prince and Sly Stone, Sly Stone's "Fresh" album. I used to stand in front of the mirror and pretend I was Prince (laughs). I started writing from there, learning Beatles' songs and all that stuff. It developed from there. At the same time, I started hearing the music in my own head. I could really hear songs, but I didn't have the skills to put them together. I thought: "well, let me just try it and see if I can do it". As it turned out, I ended up doing it, year after year, and this is what I really wanted to do. I didn't have the courage to do it at first, to sing anyway. I was just writing songs and I wanted to get into the engineering side of things. I thought that if I could establish myself as an engineer then maybe I'll be able to write songs. That didn't happen, but here I am.
I read something interesting in the first interview you gave Blues and Soul, when "Medicine For My Pain" came out. You talked about how you as a teenager were heavily into early Hip-Hop, people like Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Sequence Girls and Sugarhill Gang. So was I, and I could not agree more with what you stated about today's Hip-Hop; back then Hip-Hop was 100%, positive, feel-good party music. Rappers could talk about how they were gonna kill their competitors with their lyrics, but it was never about guns..
Yeah, yeah, yeah! That's how it was. I got into
Hip-Hop when I was about ten or eleven, that was the only music that kind of interested
me. When I was fifteen was when I started getting into working out the samples from other
music and got interested in other music. When, say, Public Enemy was out there, sampling
James Brown's music, I would go and check some James Brown or whatever and that's how I
eventually bumped into Prince's stuff. But yeah, Hip-Hop's changed a lot. Now it's getting
a little more creative, I think, with some positive people like Timbaland and all that
stuff. At least they're trying to be different. There were many years when it was the same
old, same old, and everybody was just copying each other. Back in the day it was about
being original and if you sounded like someone else you were really wack (laughs). But now
it's like it's cool to sound like someone else. But it ain't! That's my whole mentality;
I'm doing my music and sounding like someone else is not cool. I'm not denying my
influences, wherever they come from, though.
© Maria Granditsky