Monday, September 19, 2016

Vintage Music in 2016 - David Gasten Interview (Producer of: This is Vintage Now Compilation Series)

Being located in the heart of Hollywood on Sunset Ave, we have many interesting & accomplished customers coming into Copymat Hollywood daily. One of those customers is David Gasten, producer of the This is Vintage Now compilation series.. An enthusiast, expert & entrepreneur in vintage music, David is quickly becoming a key figure in current vintage culture. We linked up with him to discuss the vintage movement & his involvement in its recent resurgence. 
What is the Vintage Movement and how did you get into it?

The Vintage Movement is an interest in resurrecting the lifestyle and culture of the mid-century era, in particular the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  There has been a fascination with this period ever since it left us in the late 1960’s, starting with Sha Na Na at Woodstock.  It has taken a lot of twists and turns, but now it is centered in reviving and reliving the atmosphere of the time. My first connection with this period was in looking at anthologies of newspaper cartoons like Krazy Kat and Dick Tracy as a kid, but it was my love for silent movies and my involvement in the 1990’s swing revival that got me hooked and made me realize that this was for me.

Why the 1950’s? What makes this period so interesting to so many people?

The 1950’s in the US were a period that should have ended in a horrible, devastating Third World War against Russia and China. But instead, it became a period of unprecedented entrepreneurship that created an extraordinary amount of success and wealth. Young couples would commonly surpass their parents’ wealth in as little as three years, and even some of the lowest positions paid well enough to support a family. Many of the innovations that were created in the period—hi-fi, chain restaurants and motels, time saving machines like the dishwasher and the electric iron—are the basis of modern culture as we know it today. You look at the memorabilia of the period—movies, TV, music, magazines—and there is this optimism, this joie de vivre and “anything can happen” excitement that is contagious and makes people today want to relive those times. The Vintage Movement is pretty much the sum result of people looking at things today, saying, “Stop the postmodern world, I want to get off”, and looking to immerse themselves in a more optimistic period. And that is where Vintage music, culture, and events come in.

What role does your This is Vintage Now compilation series play in this?

The This is Vintage Now series exists to collect together in one place the best and most authentic musical artists who make 1940’s, 50’s and early 60’s-style music. We select the best tracks from these artists, and assemble them together in a way where the songs flow from one track to the next and take the listener on a little journey. The goal is for the series to be a “depot” of sorts where people interested in this style can go to learn about all the best new artists, and also hear a few lesser known artists from the original period as well. We also want the series itself to be an escape portal that people can just immerse themselves in. 



What kind of music do you feature on the series?

Most of the music we had on This is Vintage Now Vol. 1 was vocal jazz, jump blues, and what is today called “bachelor pad music” or “space age pop”. We had the honor of being the first American entity to license the music of Dutch singer Caro Emerald, who has since become a sensation in the UK and Europe; she’s had a #1 album on the BBC charts and plays large venues like The Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Theater now.  We also had a hand in helping people discover the music of Beverly Kenney, an original 1950’s singer who is kind of like the Nick Drake of jazz; her version of  “Tea For Two” is one of her most popular songs now because we featured it on our compilation.

The upcoming album, This is Vintage Now Vol. 2: Happiness is a Way of Life, is a theme album about happiness; it’s a very relaxing record that sounds like you are getting lost in your thoughts at a mid-century modern resort hotel far away. The tiki scene has really taken flight since we released This is Vintage Now Vol. 1, so the album will feature a lot of great current exotica and tiki artists.  We will also be featuring recent material from the recently departed exotica legend Robert Drasnin and 50’s lady jazz vocalist Sue Raney, as well as a fantastic song from the English singer Purdy who has worked and toured with Jools Holland in the UK.  

Your first edition of This is Vintage Now came out in June 2011.  What has changed between then and now?

We were really making something out of nothing when This is Vintage Now Vol. 1 was first released. We first compiled This is Vintage Now Vol. 1 in 2010 when the UK was having a breakthrough year with the popularity of Vintage, but the interest was largely around fashion and lifestyle, and there was no Vintage Music per se.  There were artists doing the Vintage style (or trying to do the style) all over the world but none of them were talking to each other. So I tried to collect the best and most authentic material I could find and assemble it together in one place.  Since then, a scene has come together and has gotten a following.  This new audience is demanding more and more authenticity, so the artists are really being stuck to it to deliver. This has given us more material to work with, so future volumes of This is Vintage Now, including This is Vintage Now Vol. 2, will achieve an even more authentic mid-century experience.

What are some other things in Vintage that people should be checking out?

There’s so much, but here’s a small list.  There’s a TV show called Vintage America with Ginger that is based here in LA and has just filmed its first season—it’s going to be fantastic.  There is a new dance event here in Hollywood called The Panther Club that takes place at the Sassafras Saloon on Fountain and Vine—it’s packed with people and a whole lot of fun. There’s a lady jazz vocalist named Laura Ainsworth based in Dallas to watch out for. She is getting ready to release an album called New Vintage that is going to be her breakthrough; I’ve heard rough mixes of about half the album and I cannot believe how good it is.  There’s a jazz piano player in Long Beach named James Spencer that is the most prolific creative mind in all of Vintage; he is probably the only piano guy who knows how to get that old 50’s style piano sound across that you hear on old records. He is getting ready to release a box set of film noir recordings and is working on an ambitious 15-disc set called The Cocktail Piano Hour.   Also there’s some great radio podcasts like Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation out of Sydney, Australia and The Exotic Tiki Island Podcast with Tiki Brian that are a great way to keep up with all that’s going on.

And where can we find This is Vintage Now?


This is Vintage Now Vol. 1 is available on Spotify and on iTunes and Amazon MP3. You can read more about the artists on the album and about the Vintage scene in general on our website Thisisvintagenow.com.

This is Vintage Now Vol. 2
is not out yet; we are planning to release it on digital next year as early as we can, and then follow it with a party album called This is Vintage Now Vol. 3: Good Times, Good Tunes! Songs for When You’re Feeling Good.  We are also planning to release This is Vintage Now Vol. 2 as a deluxe Japanese-style mini-LP CD with exclusive content.  There is a wonderful Vintage magazine whose name I can’t mention yet that is planning to utilize the mini-LP CD as a subscription builder for their VIP subscriptions.



In the meantime you can listen to a preview from This is Vintage Now Vol. 2 right here:

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