MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
Pablo Embon: I was lucky enough that my two grandmothers were piano teachers. They both used to have pianos at their home and I was really fond of visiting them. The push for the music, I believe, came naturally by seeing the instrument standing in the living room. It brought a lot of curiosity and attention. I still remember sitting on my grandma’s lap, teaching me notes at the piano at age of 5. Later on, I just used to go to the piano by myself and jam around by ear. I was a self-learner who would hear records and tried to perform the music by myself (such as Beatles who I truly admired).
With regards to guitar playing, I got my neighbor teaching me chords in a non-conventional way. I love the idea of being able to sing songs and play along with the guitar, but it was a few years later when I began to learn music notation, instrumental-harmonization-composition techniques, and so forth.
I started composing my own music songs at age of 9. These songs I would play on the guitar. I wrote my own lyrics in Spanish. Later on, I also wrote songs in English.
My true self-esteem as a musician came not actually from my parents, but from my grandmother who always had a very important part in my music. My mother appreciated the fact that, if I liked to improve at an instrument, I must have a more serious music education, which is something that came along years later.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
Pablo Embon: When I was about 10 years old I was very fond of listening to the Beatles. I think I used to own most of their records. I remember myself active-listening to their songs, attempting to understand their arrangement, and the way the music was produced. Later on, I’d listened and was inspired by bands such as Queen, Supertramp, Foreigner, Kayak and some awesome Argentinian artists such as Luis Espineta, Charly Garcia, Pedro Aznar, Fito Paez, etc. A few years later, as I started focusing more on Jazz music, I used to listen to artists such as Al Jarreau, Pat Metheny, Acoustic Alchemy, Spiro Gyra, Al Di Meola, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, George Benson. All these artists shaped my music in a totally different direction I was heading to years before.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
Pablo Embon: The most important thing about music is the emotions that can be transmitted to the listener. I have never compromised this when creating music. If I feel I have created something that doesn’t say anything, then it is a good candidate for the trash can. I look at each piece as a little journey, if it doesn’t go anywhere, then I don’t even consider it. My music is an instrument by which I attempt to transmit emotions and messages. If am able to connect to the listener this way, then my goal is met. I have never seen my music just as a pleasant background layer. The key aspect is “Impact”. That’s the whole interest in creating something from the beginning.
I also define myself as a continuous learner. Before I choose a project to start with, I look at myself and ask what is it I would like to achieve this time. I spent a tremendous amount of time looking at my music from all angles, and I’m always asking what is next, and what is it that I would like to correct the next time. It may take me several months to come up with a concept before I go ahead with my next album. I really hope this is embedded in my music, and my listeners are able to enjoy the experience as much as I do when creating it.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
Pablo Embon: When I’d lived in Argentina, I spent several years playing modern pop music, and I enjoyed it very much. Specifically, I was a member of music bands and performed in concerts regularly. All that has changed when I immigrated to Israel. It took me a while to adapt to a new country, and its specific culture, but from that moment on my journey as a musician went to be mainly a composer and arranger. I see myself more of a creator of music, not as a performer. My touch and connection to people is through the music I create. But all of this might change, I may find that I still need the direct contact with people and would go there if the time is right. Going back to the stage will obviously bring me an amazing experience such as the early times in my music career.
MuzicNotez: Your latest release is the new album ‘Funky Side of the Road’, what motivated this release?
Pablo Embon: This album is a significant departure from my previous albums from the musical perspective in the sense that I have incorporated new styles such as Funk music in my arrangements and plenty new fusion-jazz concepts for which there is no precedence in my music. I have spent a significant amount of time challenging myself learning these new jazz styles and incorporating them in my playing. These styles innovations are a big music renewal for my “Comfort Zone” style I’ve been composing in for the last few years.
“Funky Side of the Road” was created with a mindset to stress the importance of being able to walk down on the brighter and happier side of our lives even at difficult times – as visualized in the album art work. We always have the choice which side we can walk on, but eventually we all get to the same place. This is how the concept fits into the different music styling embedded in the album.
The album, as the whole, is built on an upbeat vision for which I have intended to maintain flow and energy throughout. Every single track has its own identity and message in order to say something different. Since they are all “Children of Mine”, it is very difficult for me to point out favorites tracks, however there are some such as “Is That You”, “2222”,” Green Lizard” and “Naughty Lucy” which in particular have been created by blending different music stylings in an approachable and fast-acting manner. They tend to pull you in as soon as the listener engage them.
And the most important thing about this album is I particularly had a lot of fun creating it even with all the major challenges I faced during its productions.
MuzicNotez: What is your personal writing style like?
Pablo Embon: The first thing I do is to visualize the music style before I start anything, come up with a groove and the overall intent of the composition. Once I have that in mind I typically grab the piano (even if the piano will not be included in the final version) and shape the harmonic sequence of the track. I also make use of a backup rhythm track just to feel the groove along the sequence I am laying out. From then on, I select the instrument (or instruments) which are the most appropriate for the leading or solo parts. Sometimes I would change them around as the track develops. Once I have the main lead sheet ready I would start arranging the piece (which is my favorite part) during which I add additional layers, secondary melodies, groove changes, modulation parts and some other elements to support a full and rich arrangement.
I must caution, though, that in many instances the final product is a total departure from what I had in mind in the first place when I started out working on a track. This is because I am very aware of the positive effect of letting the positive energy freely flow without boundaries.
All the steps above I perform right on the digital recording/sequencer program just to make sure that raw ideas are captured in the project right away so that to avoid losing the original idea. Often times I would start by just playing something that I had in mind on my guitar. Then move on from there with the rest. This latter style is the one I have used to create tracks such as “2222” and “Midnight Blues” in the album “Funky Side of the Road”.
MuzicNotez: You personally recorded, mixed and produced this album, what was that process like?
Pablo Embon: Since I am the composer, arranger and producer of my own work, I have the ability to apply active interaction between the different production processes. For example, a typical method used for music production is that this takes place after the track has been composed and mostly arranged. In my case I have the ability to re-instate composition parts or arrangements during the post mix and mastering process. This has the advantage to experience with what a final product should sound like and make any modifications in the raw material to enhance and improve the final product. With all that being said the process is to go through the composition simultaneously with the recording of the main tracks, complete the MIDI sequencing, and record the audio supporting tracks on top. Once that is complete I go through the mixing stage when I may go back to some of the tracks to modify them or delete them altogether as I see fit to support the arrangement and to sit better in the final mix. The last mixing element is to ensure that everything is balanced by applying main bus complementary equalization prior to the normal mastering stage.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
Pablo Embon: Since I haven’t done much collaborating lately due to my daily duties as a professional in engineering, after wrapping up this new album, I will be engaged in a collaborative effort with my former musical-partners in Argentina in order to complete a musical project which was started out in 1987. Yes, it is quite exciting listening to the old master cassettes and producing new music on that. I’m planning to start this in January. In addition, I am currently working on a concept for the next album but I would like to complete some specific music studies I have started first, in order to support the future new release.
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Pablo Embon: I’m particularly excited about the recent release of “Funky Side of the Road”. This album has been a great journey and experience for me. I really hope that the listeners can enjoy and connect to it as much as I did bringing this album to life.
I also want to give a warm big thanks to all the people who support and engage with my music. Also, thanks to MuzicNotez for hosting me this time.