Earth Wind & Fire - Interview

Earth Wind & Fire

Earth Wind & Fire - Interview

Earth Wind & Fire - Interview
Contactmusic.com spoke to Bass player Dean White from the almighty band Earth Wind & Fire as they ready themselves to release a brand new album Illumination on September 19th and single “Show Me the Way” on 12 th September

So how is your day going?

Well we are in Las Vegas at the moment so my day has only just begun! We are doing a private show this evening but we have to head back to Los Angeles tomorrow morning because we have a rehearsal for the Emmy awards on Friday. We have the opening slot so it’s going to be about a 15 minute slot. We seem to have a lot to do in a very short amount of time!

How did you pick the people you wanted to work with?

Well of course it was the brain child of Philip Bailey, Maurice, Ralph and I. We all really liked the idea of working with different producers such as Jam & Lewis and combining Earth Wind and Fire with people like Will I Am from Black Eyed Peas, Music Soulchild, Floetry etc. It came out really great. It sounds just like Earth Wind & Fire ought to sound, for a first time at attempting a project like this we were all really impressed with the way it turned out.

You picked some good artists to work with; you guys must still enjoy listening to new music, what do you think of music at the moment?

Especially with the bands we picked, a lot of their music reminds me of the early seventies soul movement. It’s all really organic and it has a really good message behind the lyrics too. I think it’s a very conscience movement at the moment but it’s still very hip.

When did you finish recording?

We finished recording around February time. It all seemed to flow very well, as soon as we started the project it all began to come together very smoothly.

How did you guys find it making an album where you obviously contributed but didn’t write any of the music?

It actually worked out very well; it felt that we were all in one big band with whoever we were working with at the time. Everyone who had been in a band before I think understood it a little easier because they already understood the concept of being in a band. We were also brilliantly A&R’d by our A&R guy Damien Smith who did a really good job.

Was there anyone who you didn’t work with who now looking back on it you would have liked to?

No, actually we got everyone we wanted to work with! After we finished recording and word started to spread of what we had been doing people started to call us up and ask us why we hadn’t called them up to ask them to contribute!

Does this mean there will be a part 2!?

Yes, I think we might just do that.

So I see a second part to the album. Excellent!

Yeah, exactly! I think we will. I think what is good about it is a lot of the younger fans who are just finding out about us are going to love it. On the other hand I think all the older people who used to be our fans and would be a little more skeptical of us working with other people will be a nicely surprised and quite pleased after they hear it.

All your album covers do have a certain recognizable symbolism. Who did all your artwork?

Maurice came up with the whole concept for the artwork. I think it really reflected our view of the world. The globalization of the world, the things that are happening today, and what we see all over the world with wars and other things. We have always been conscience of what our world view has been so our album covers have always reflected that. Obviously we tried to communicate that through our music too but the covers always gave us a visual aspect too.

Most records from around the disco period now sound quite dated and a bit flat. When you put on an Earth Wind and Fire record, even going back to your really early stuff it still sparkles and is very much full of life. How did you manage that?

It was always about the music. At times we had been referred to as a disco band; I don’t think that is particularly true. We were around at the same time as disco music and I guess we were part of the scene. I guess you could say we were at the party but didn’t get on the dance floor.

We always kept it about the music. We always remained open to music. Even through the periods where people didn’t really care for our work we still tried to remain focused on our objective. I guess if you have a career as long as ours everyone always goes through periods of people not being so attracted to your work. If you can survive it then people will love you more for it.

You have had such a long and successful career, especially with funk music how important do you think image and style are?

We have been very fortunate with our career. I don’t think there has ever been a group of colour like us that have been successful for this long on this level. We are still really busy with new work. Our image back in the day was part of what was going on, big hair & costumes. Our image has obviously changed over time but I think it is still strong and it still hits you as being Earth, Wind & Fire. I think we have the 70’s to thank for our image coming about. It all seemed to work very nicely back then.

Have you lined up something special to wear at the Emmy’s?

I haven’t quite figured that one out yet!! I keep on going through my wardrobe trying to find something to put together. I hope it will be something pretty cool.

You’re adoration for music is obviously huge! What else are you really passionate about?

Yeah yeah, I’ve always been passionate about music; I bet you can tell that by the tone of my voice? I’m still trying to keep it low tone because it’s still pretty early in the morning over here. Other than music Yoga is a real passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for about 20 years when it was still quite a strange thing to be doing. I just got into it by accident, I went to a class and I loved it so much I stuck at it. I do it every other day. Other than that I think my family and 5 dogs always stay quite high on the list too. I love dogs, mine actually run the house.

What has been the most defining part of your career so far?

We’ve had so many! If you were to ask me 10 years ago I could pick one but now we have moved on so far. 10 years ago it would have been things like getting gold and platinum records but now it has to be things like traveling the world and seeing lots of brilliant places. The main thing now though is the fact that people appreciate us for what we have done. I guess that has to be the biggest thing for any band.

What’s next for you guys?

Well we do hope to do a European tour and then go back to Japan. We haven’t quite figured out how to take it on the road as yet but we will find a way.

As you get older does the funk get easier?

It flows very easily. It always has. It’s got to be a very fluid thing.


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