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Interview:
Electronic artist Bonobo feels at home on stage, in recording studio
 

By GARY GRAFF
For Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Five albums into his recording career, British electronic musician Bonobo has mastered the dichotomy between studio recording and live performance.

"I don't really let the studio process be informed by whether or not (the music) is going to work live," explains Bonobo (nee Simon Green), who's performing with a six-piece band to promote his fifth and latest album, "The North Borders." "If anything, this record is less live than the last one (2010's 'Black Sands'). I make the records first and then figure out how I'm going to do it live.

"And the way the music's made, even though it's sample-based, I'm playing a lot of instruments. It's kind of a solo thing, obviously, but then I give it the musicians and we deconstruct the tracks and build them up again. Its a very natural process."

"The North Borders," meanwhile, features several guests, including Grey Reverend, Szjerdene and Cornelia. But the one that's raising the most eyebrows is Erykah Badu, who joins Bonobo on a song called "Heaven For the Sinner" and adds a bit of big-name sheen to the project.

"I was lucky to meet her last year," Bonobo, 37, explains. "We got to chatting about stuff, and musically we had a lot in common, so it seemed like something we ought to do together.

"(The song) started out as a very simple beat, and then it was a case of exchanging ideas. She'd send me a rough melody idea and I'd rearrange it and send it back to her, and we went back and forth for a couple of months before we arrived at the end, which is the song you hear. We both really enjoyed it."

Bonobo and Shigeto perform Friday, April 19, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 day of show. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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