High browed house music: Cultured clubbing for the masses

To display Synthony show
Classical music by laser light.

By Ryzer

If you’re not familiar the “Potbelleez” or with the name Ilan Kidron, chances are, if you have ears, you’ve heard something he’s had a hand in.  The Potbelleez, with album and single sales of over 750,000 here in Australia, have left their mark on the Australian electronic music scene. 

Recently teaming up with ASO Music Director and Conductor, Peter Thomas, one of NZ finest selectors Erika Amoore and the Synthony, it’s about rocking concert halls rather than filling dancefloors these days.  

Ozclubbers.com.au had the chance recently to catch up with Ilan to shed some light on the tale…

Though you are most known for your work with the Potbelleez, you’re quite prolific writing & arranging for others, most recently “Carry On” (From The Original Motion Picture “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu”) ‎by Kygo and Rita Ora.  How did you become involved in this project?

When you live in Los Angeles as a songwriter, you get put in some crazy rooms with incredible minds and open hearts. More than often this bears unusual and beautiful fruit. “Carry On” is no exception. But the writing was just the beginning. The song, as sometimes happens, got passed around and was recorded by so many huge artists that kept getting more and more popular. For it to land with Rita was insane. It was a real credit to all those involved from writers to artists to management that combined for the success that it has.

Orchestral interpretations of electronic music have been a bit of a trend over the last few years, what attracted you to working with Erika Amoore and the Synthony team?

To work with an orchestra is always such an awe-inspiring experience. I grew up around orchestral music and dipped my toes in some orchestration. I’d like to do more.  For me, a symphonic orchestra has the potency to take you into a dream. By that, I don’t mean to put you to sleep! Although I have been guilty on occasion to bliss out and close my eyes. 

An orchestra can take you on a journey into the subconscious, a fantasy world of a billion colours and feelings. Erika and the team take us there. It’s that control and “touch” this orchestra commands along with the tension and release of the dance music that is a match made in heaven.

Walk us through the process of turning a dance floor banger into a concert hall classic?

The final part of creating a song to be ready for radio is what we call mixing, where we take the separate elements and fuse them all together. These are called “stems”. The stems are kept on a hard drive and can be used for remixing or in this case, combining them with an orchestra. The orchestrator will take the stems, he/she chooses and mix them with a fake but very sophisticated computerised orchestra that sounds very real and then composes around the stems.

The music is then printed out on scores and played by all the separate instruments. Every orchestrator will have their own process here. But once it’s ready, I jump up, guitar in hand and belt it out. There are rehearsals involved but at the end of the day, I would approach the performance like I’m closing Coachella.

With the massive cross-over success of tracks like “Don’t Hold Back” is there extra pressure in getting it right and are the other original writers involved in the final approval?

I don’t feel that pressure and I know all the others involved in the writing are super supportive and encouraging. We know that Sythony are going to do an incredible job as they’ve been doing for years. Synthony’s only Australian performance is happening on the 17th of August at Brisbane City Hall.  Featuring the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra alongside a star-studded line up including Ron Carroll (US), Phil Smart, Ilan Kidron (POTBELLEEZ) and hosted by Mobin Master.  For further information and tickets, check the link below.