In a new series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.
Ever since I first released the original 'City Lights' album, I have been planning a sequel, hence the 'Vol. 1', and later 'Vol. 1.5', in the title. I knew that I wanted it to be another collection of instrumentals, and I knew that I didn't want to simply repeat the formula, and so I wasn't quite sure in what direction to take the sequel. This all changed when I got the chance to visit Tokyo (Japan), in November of 2006.
I was invited to Tokyo by my good friend and publisher GG (of Premium Blend), to deejay for one of the artists that he represents, Germany's premier rap artist Curse. Curse was getting ready to release a Japanese edition of his album 'Sinnflut' (including the new track "U Know Me", produced by yours truly), and a showcase had been booked in downtown Tokyo to promote it. I would in turn have an opportunity promote the Japanese version of the 'Here' album that had just come out. You'll understand that I didn't exactly need a lot of time to think about the offer.
The five days that I ended up spending in Tokyo were incredible. We stayed in the heart of Shibuya, one of Tokyo's busiest and trendiest neighbourhoods, and, despite the heavy jet lag, took in as much as we possibly could, documenting things along the way with a simple point-and-shoot camera. When I came back to the States, I immediately locked myself up in the studio and came out with several new tracks that all felt different, but fresh. At that point, it really hit me. If I wanted to begin unlocking my true potential, I had to open myself up completely to whatever ideas would present themselves to me.
That breakthrough led to a 'City Lights' sequel in the form of a musical tribute to Shibuya, and was a driving force behind some of the more 'experimental' songs on 'Leave It All Behind'. In fact, the track that later became 'Daykeeper' was in the first batch of tracks that I recorded after returning from Shibuya.
Fast forward almost two years, and we are counting down the days until the official release of 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya', Tuesday September 15. A shout out to my partners-in-crime in the Foreign Exchange Music movement, Aimee Flint, our Director of Operations, for holding down the back-end of the organization, and Phonte, for his invaluable help in making this album the absolute best it could be. More about his contributions to the album in the next 'Postcard From Shibuya', about "Lose Your Way" featuring Carlitta Durand, the first single that you can still download for free by clicking here. And last but not least, shouts go out to my good friends GG and Curse. You'll hear more from and about the latter in the next installment of 'Off The Shelf', that is scheduled to go up later this month.