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Background3 - My Life on TVAll the Singing, none of the Stinging!
Conrad De Souza explains his new musical project: Macrowasp

Tarantino Panda catches up with Conrad De Souza (who has previously talked to us about the art of songwriting and home recording) to find out what is behind his new album ‘Byte Size Matters’ and his intriguingly titled virtual band ‘Macrowasp’.

So where did Macrowasp come from?

“These names and ideas spring from the weirdest places! My wife Yessica has never been a fan of flying stinging insects and one day, in her native Spanish, she loudly christened a particularly large and terrifying creature that was troubling her round the swimming pool, as a ‘Macrowasp’.

I carefully stored the name at the back of my mind, thinking it was a great name for a band or project. I recall us sitting in a pub in one of my favourite towns, Bath sometime later in around 2009 and over a large glass of red wine telling her how I had big plans for the name!”

What exactly is the concept?

“When I first started thinking about Macrowasp, I had grandiose plans to make an album of my own songs, but differently to my previous outings. I toyed with inviting numerous friends and musicians I had worked with in the past to contribute to the songs. In effect Macrowasp could be a musicians’ collective rather than a band or specific group of people. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think through the practicalities of such an endeavour. Much of my love of recording comes from having a studio at home that I can crawl into at a moment’s notice whenever I have time and slap some tracks down in my pajamas if the mood takes me. Involving a raft of friends and fellow musicians, although exciting, means a good deal of planning, rehearsing and some loss in the spontaneity (and after all, they probably wouldn’t want to see me in my pajamas!).

As a result of this and over time, Macrowasp morphed into something else more akin to what Damon Albarn did with Gorillaz or Paul McCartney did with ‘The Fireman’. It became a vehicle for me to freely explore a direction that I may not have pursued as vigorously on a typical ‘Conrad De Souza’ album. In essence Macrowasp is very much a musical alter ego.”

Psychiatrist ThumbnailSo what direction did Macrowasp take you in?

“On my albums to date there have always been at least one or two tracks that sit more firmly in the ‘Electro-Pop’ bracket than my staple British Guitar Pop. Although bands like the Beatles were my initial and biggest inspiration and the guitar is my instrument of choice, my formative teen years were submerged in glorious and colourful electronic 80’s pop and in many ways that has had a major influence on my perception of a cracking pop tune.

I decided that through Macrowasp, I would surrender to that 80’s influence and combine it with my current style of songwriting and arrangement using the plethora of studio tools available to me in a 21st century home studio.

Songs are at the heart of all my projects and irrespective of musical style, the words and melodies are the most important thing. The new album will be accompanied by a handful of lyric videos including this one called ‘My Life on TV’, which I hope will help listeners delve into the lyrics a little further and let the story stimulate the imagination.”

What else can we expect from the new album ‘Byte Size Matters’?

“As the title suggests ‘Byte Size’ is a direct reference to the increased electronic ingredients on the album. That said, you will still hear some funky guitar and what I hope you will find both infectious and catchy tunes with intriguing lyrics and a satisfying groove! IMacrowasp album cover 2 - CD Baby Proof have aimed at creating an unpretentious, (possibly guilty!), pleasure that listeners will enjoy and want to listen to again. Many of the tunes are new, but I deliberately hand picked a few that I actually wrote back in the 80’s, when I would have been directly influenced by the sound and culture of the time, in order to give the album a little more authenticity and depth. There is an album sampler on You Tube for anyone that wants a quick tour of how it sounds. I just hope that people ‘get it’ and enjoy the fun vibe and tongue-in-cheek nature of some of the songs”

Are we likely to hear more from Macrowasp in future or is it a one-off?

“It’s hard to say at this point. I suppose it’s like asking Daniel Craig if he’ll do another Bond movie when he’s just finished the last one! I feel like I’ve come to the end of the chapter and its time to move on to the next project.

Back2 - Monday Morning MiracleI already have over half the songs planned for my next ‘Conrad De Souza’ album and those are by no means ‘Macrowasp tunes’. I expect I will veer away from the electronic to a more raw and acoustic sound on my next release. It’s good to keep things fresh.

I think the reality is that Macrowasp will return, but only when I have a song or songs that I feel fit that concept and production style. I can’t imagine another whole Macrowasp album for quite some time, but if this one finds an audience, I’d like to think the black and yellow buzzy thing will release the odd single from time to time!”

Byte Size Matters, the new album from Conrad De Souza & Macrowasp was released on 8th April 2016 and is available to download or stream from most online music providers including iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, CDBaby and Spotify.

The Panda is definitely buzzing!

TP

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16adTP - office party

The Advent Panda

16th Dec 2015: Office Party ‘Panda-monium’.

Tis the season to be jolly, but not too jolly eh?

Love it or hate it, it’s time for the minefield that is the company christmas party. Some Do’s and Don’ts to consider….

DO:
-Turn up. Be part of the team, even if only for a short time.
-Enjoy yourself at the company’s expense (if possible) – you deserve it!
-Take the opportunity to tell your colleagues and those who work for you that you appreciate them.
-Talk to one or more people that you would not normally work with. It’s amazing what you find out!

DON’T
-Take the opportunity after some alcoholic courage to tell your boss everything that is wrong with the company.
-Embarrass yourself. Stories involving vomit, losing clothes or physical altercations will amuse your colleagues for years, but may result in your career circling the toilet bowl.
-Snog the person at work that you’ve adored from afar all year, without thinking carefully about what will happen when you see them at work tomorrow.

Ignore my words at your peril.

TP.

14adTP - doctor & river

The Advent Panda

14th Dec 2015: It’s Christmas Time (Lord).

Since it returned to our screens in 2005, Christmas TV in the UK is now gloriously and unshakeably wedded to the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Peter Capaldi has his second seasonal outing and having lost his faithful companion Clara, he could really do with having his wishes fulfilled by Santa. Unfortunately, that already happened last year, accompanied by the appropriate amount of running up and down corridors.

This time round, he will have to be comforted by his wife (yes wife!) River Song, played artfully as ever by Alex Kingston.

The BBC’s not giving much away, but I expect we won’t get too far into the episode before gruff Doctor 12 is River’s ’sweetie’ once again.

Anything else would be ’spoilers’!

TP.

10adTP - radio times

The Advent Panda

10th Dec 2015: Where IS that Radio Times?

Yes that bumper Christmas issue with two weeks of tv and radio crammed into one magazine. You’d think that in the age of DVR planners and catch-up tv, things have changed. However, I bet many an average household still fights over it and over who is going to circle and highlight the holiday season’s viewing.

It always amazes me that it actually survives the fortnight, although admittedly by the end, its normally coverless, dog-ended and laced with brandy butter grease stains!

The joy of opening a newly bought copy is equalled only by the sadness of reaching the last day’s tv page and knowing that you are returning to work or school imminently.

TP.

06adTP - xmas album kylie

The Advent Panda

6th Dec 2015: The infamous Christmas album.

There comes a point in every musical artists life, when they must release a Christmas Album – it’s the law.

Yes, its never going to compete with Phil Spector or the Rat Pack, but they have to do it anyway.

I’d like to be cynical and sarcastic about it, but I can’t. So there.

I believe that this year its Kylie’s turn and who doesn’t want a bit of Kylie at Christmas…?

TP.

05adTP - wiz oz ruby

The Advent Panda

5th Dec 2015: Fly My Pretties…Fly!

The most famous Christmas film, that is not a Christmas film!

To understand how that happened, you have to be of a certain age and remember what television was like before the internet, before catch-up and especially before satellite and cable.

Back in the days when the UK enjoyed 3 channels and although ITV could afford to show a relatively recent Bond movie, the BBC (when not showing its home grown entertainment) was forced to raid the old film archives for its festive fayre.

Every year without fail as children, we were urged to celebrate as ‘Ding Dong’ the Witch was dead! It took years for it to be moved from prime time, but I bet even this year it will be hidden in the schedules somewhere….just click your ruby slippers and all will be revealed.

TP.

03adTP - elf

The Advent Panda

3rd Dec 2015: Elf’s a musical??!

When it comes to good-hearted silly Christmas films that have you in hysterics, then ‘Elf’ has to be up there doesn’t it?

Ever since watching it the first time, I’ve had the desire to fling myself at a christmas tree with no regard for my safety or those of the fragile baubles  (decorative or my own for that matter)!

Unfortunately, subtracting Will Ferrell and adding songs does not fill me with enormous optimism.

However, trying to avoid the word ‘humbug’ and in the spirit of Christmas, I am very much open to being convinced otherwise…..

TP.

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