20
Oct

School Night! featuring: Superhuman Happiness - Tickets - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY - November 24th, 2014

13
Oct

So...who are you? All of you? I ask because I think we can be friends. Great Friends.

Hi there! We just posted a little bio of who were are - we are many. Thank you for checking out the sounds!

13
Oct
13
Oct
13
Oct
13
Oct

New Directions for Superhuman Happiness

About a year ago I was standing outside a tour bus talking about life and music with Matt Lux. I spent about 40 days and nights playing in the group Iron and Wine, and Lux has played bass in the group for 7 years. He is an amazing conversationalist and counselor, free to talk about anything with engagement and that rare combination of opinions and an open mind, eager to hear other sides of a topic. For this reason, many of his friends (myself included) are encouraged to think through their various situations. This day my situation was Superhuman Happiness.

I told him I was struggling with my concept of the group and our future - we had released the album Hands only 6 months before. The record took a lot of energy. We developed an intricate and fundamental way to rehearse that involved musical clapping exercises, theatrical creative inducers, and a regular process of evaluating our work in what I call Intentional Collaboration. It is a structured and balanced way to navigate the collaborative process of sharing compositional duties in rehearsal - while continuing to build collective musicianship and our “group mind.” After we crossed the finish line and Hands had come to fruition, we needed a new direction.

I took stock of what I loved about the our music: certain shapes of melody and bouncing rhythm figures, verses/choruses/breaks, etc. I considered how the next record would be conceived and executed. I had a small pile of songs I had started to work on during the Hands phase that were not as collaborative, so they had been shelved. Biondo and I had started some interesting ideas. The new songs required a presence and particular approach that I could not find in my own singing voice, or the other voices present in the group. What I wanted to hear was clear to my imagination’s ear but was simply not in my tool box, expressively speaking. I realized, there outside the running tour bus, while inhaling the canon monoxide, standing in our sport coats at 5pm in the afternoon in an alley somewhere - probably Fargo, North Dakota - that I needed to reach out to this woman Andrea Diaz that I had heard sing with Joe McGinty about a year before. Lux had talked me through to the point where I realized I need to surrender trying to sing and embody every emotional role in the music, and bring in a collaborator whose vocal presence could carry the music home.

Alex Toth of the group Rubblebucket is also a great advisor - and he had generously introduced me to Mathew Scheiner (SH guitarist/vocalist). Scheiner had played a handful of shows with us at that point, and brought so a beautiful vibe to the rehearsal room and stage. He is playful and intelligent with his thinking and I only wish there was more of him to go around.

Toth had also mentioned the singer Andrea Diaz who I hesitated to call because bringing in a singer - like a singer singer - meant fundamentally changing the shape of “the band.” But while talking to Lux I spotted my ego out of the corner of my eye and found there beneath my nose the idea that there is no “band,” only music, and the music remains what it is: a means by which we can pursue a deeper understanding of the reality of life, or superhuman happiness for short. Andrea was to be our main singer - Eric, myself, everybody would still sing songs and get down and celebrate but Andrea was to be our voice.

I took out my phone and called her right then and there. She picked up, and we discussed the possibilities of working together. I couldn’t tell her I had made up my mind, that would be weird, but I felt complete confidence in my mind she was the right person. We got together shortly after and tried out some music - her approach was very different then the one we taken in Hands. There were so many other objects in the creative field to consider that hadn’t even been on the table before now. The road ahead began to open up.

The new collection of songs discuss certain mental places, and to describe them we used some darker sonorities than on we had before. The rhythm is ever persistent, and we will not betray your bodies or the physical needs to the thirsty ear by denying that beat. The beat is strong and bears more meaning when it is the engine that drives the mind through darker territory, confronting the ghosts, the anxiety, the shame, the anger - from the mundane and daily to the profound moments where the road ends and you’re left standing there smelling fear’s foul breath. All along we keep that steady beat going.

The lyrics deal with dysfunctional media and modes of communication, and in the tracks you will find familiar notions of how we are mislead, sometimes eagerly, by flashing lights and false narratives. You may find nothing new listening to the music, but you will find something true - something deeply familiar, because the fabric of the sound is woven with the cultural cloth of the music that belongs to us, that sleeps in the alleys of our minds like a forgotten nick name - immediately calling up lost and discarded memories.

One of the first songs we finished is called Catch A Break, and it’s up here for your enjoyment. It was produced by Sam Cohen, whose amazing records you must hear (Yellowbirds, Apollo Sunshine), and mixed by Chris Tabron whose work you probably have heard (Alicia Keys, Beyonce, MNDR). Our friends at Royal Potato Family have been so patient for this and the forthcoming songs. It features a vocal performance by Diaz that rolls out of the speakers like a sigh, illustrating those moments where you think out loud “I surrender.”

13
Oct

Superhuman Happiness Bio, Oct 2014

Superhuman Happiness BIO

Superhuman Happiness is a musical house designed by Stuart Bogie and built and maintained by a cast of musicians, artists, and business people primarily in and around the city of New York. In October of 2014, the band released the single Catch A Break, ushering a new sound featuring the vocalist Andrea Diaz joining the cast. The song was composed by Bogie and long time collaborator Eric Biondo at their studio overlooking a dump in north Brooklyn. The song addresses city life, and living on the hamster wheel of ambition and survival. Catch a Break was produced by Royal Potato Family label mate Sam Cohen and mixed by Chris Tabron. The single is the first in a series of releases revealing their new discoveries in sound and poetry.

The group released their first full length album in 2013, entitled Hands. The record applied an approach coined Intentional Collaboration by which the musicians, over the course of several rehearsals, practice musical and theatrical improv games simultaneously drilling certain musical skills while opening up their creative impulses and developing the group mind. Many of these games are simple clapping patterns which over time became the foundation for the majority of pieces on Hands.

The music on Hands was developed and performed by Stuart Bogie, Luke O’Malley, Eric Biondo, Ryan Ferreira, Jared Samuel, Nikhil Yerawadekar and Miles Arntzen, with additional performances by Colin Stetson, Afi McClendon, Abena Koomson, Kalmia Traver, Shaneeka Harrel and Joci Adams. It was engineered by Phil Pallazolo at Seaside Studio in Brooklyn, mixed by P. Pallazolo, Hernan Santiago, Josh Grant , Dan Huron, and mastered by Hernan Santiago.

In Fall of 2012 they recorded the score (alongside Kronos Quartet) for the Oscar and Emmy nominated documentary Film How to Survive a Plague. The score was composed and produced by Stuart Bogie and Luke O’Malley and recorded by Superhuman Happiness and Kronos Quartet. Red Hot provided Music Supervision, the film was directed by David France, and produced by Howard Gertler

Superhuman Happiness, acting as the house band, shared the stage with Kronos Quartet, Tony Allen, Sahr Ngaujah (Tony nominated lead from the musical Fela!), M1 of Dead Prez, Rubblebucket, Congolese rapper Biloji, Grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo, Sinkane (DFA records), and Abena Kooson, performing the score to How to Survive a Plague live at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (2013) as part of a series celebrating Kronos’ 40 year career. The concert also featured performances of music from the Red Hot and Riot 2 compilation of the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The group functions as film composers, creative back-up band, and independent performance unit all at once. These three areas of work encapsulate the mission of the group and their art.

Superhuman Happiness was founded in 2008 to seek joy and love through shared rhythm and melody, composed and improvised. Their mission is to pursue a happiness greater than that experienced by an individual mind. The first release, Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight, was an EP of instrumentals written by Stuart Bogie and recorded in his friends basement on an 8 track tape machine. The record features performances by Luke O’Malley, Eric Biondo, Jordan McLean, Ryan Sawyer, Ryan Ferreira, Oren Blowedow, Zachary Mastoon, Aaron Johnson, Chris Vatalaro, Eli Asher, and Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The song “Human Happiness” was released on a split 45 with CSC Funk Band on Electric Cowbell Records. It is Superhuman Happiness’ first release.

Between 2009 and 2012 the group became a staple of the music scene at the now defunct venue Zebulon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band performed regularly and hosted many guest musicians including saxophonist Colin Stetson, trumpeter Michael Leonhart, drummer Patrick Wood, Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver of Rubblebucket, and Jordan McLean of Antibalas. The band grew and changed gradually over the years, developing new approaches to song based music fused with improvisation - all within the context of live dance music. The closing of Zebulon was an injurious blow to Brooklyn’s music scene, and Superhuman Happiness was unable to find a comparable venue that invited the relaxed creative interplay that Zebulon cultivated. The venue was mentioned in David Byrne’s book How Music Works and Superhuman Happiness dedicated their album Hands to the venue. While the group was developing the music for Hands, performances at Zebulon were integral to their process.

Drummer Miles Arntzen, at the time 19, was publicly auditioned for the group (initially unbeknownst to him). Bogie had been practicing and workshopping ideas in Miles’ parents basement in the West Village for several months. When the time seemed right - Bogie booked an untitled show at Zebulon for the two to perform as a duo. After each improvised piece, another member of the Hands Superhuman Happiness line up joined the music onstage, ending with the full band in the incarnation that appears on the record.

In 2011 the group released an EP entitled The Physical Music which they recorded in David Sitek’s Stay Gold studio down the street from Zebulon. Four of the songs were released on 45s, GMYL/Hounds on Electric Cowbell Records, and Needles and Pins/Oh Tatiana on Royal Potato Family. The later began Superhuman Happiness’ relationship with Kevin Calabro and his Royal Potato Family label. This relationship quickly became integral to Superhuman Happiness as a functioning entity, and soon after Calabro’s involvement began the group was performing more consistently. Notable performances include Celebrate Brooklyn (2010, 2011), MassMOCA (2013), Lincoln Center Out of Doors (2013), the Fall Down Festival (2013), All Good Festival (2013), Equifunk Festival (2012), The Undead Jazz Festival (2012), and Burlington’s Precipice Festival (2013).

The majority of tracking for The Physical EP was done over a 5 day period in 2009 when Bogie was unable to join TV on the Radio for a planned promotional tour du,e to financial constraints. As a consolation to Bogie, the group generously offered him studio time and enough cash to hire an engineer. The album features the work of Jared Samuel, Eric Biondo, Jeremy Wilms, Torbitt Schwartz, Patrick Wood, Ryan Ferreira, Dan Huron, Jon Natchez, Colin Stetson (Bon Iver, Arcade Fire), Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire), Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan), Sahr Ngaujah, Shaneeka Harrel, Abena Koomson, Jordan McLean and Aaron Johnson (Antibalas), and Luke O’Malley, Bogie’s long-time production partner. The sessions were often lose proceedings as drop in personalities made their way onto the record. Additional recording at Bogie’s apartment included his mother, Kathy Bogie, among the chorusters in GMYL.

The song GMYL attracted the attention of record producer Paul Heck, who quickly became a supporter of Superhuman Happiness. Heck invited the group to record several songs for Red Hot compilation records, including Red Hot and Rio 2, “Um Canto de Afoxe Para o Bloco do Ile” featuring Cults and Superhuman Happiness, and Red Hot and Riot 2 Fela Kuti’s ITT featuring Sahr Nguajah and Kuti’s No Buredi feat. Amayo of Anitbalas, Sinkane, and Nneka. Red Hot served as the music supervisors for the film How To Survive a Plague, and as producers for the event Red Hot Fela Live at Lincoln center out of Doors. The group continues to work with Red Hot, most recently by Bogie and Grey McMurray creating The Watchmaker (2014) for the Red Hot and Bach compilation. The pair created and produced a pieced based on an extrapolation of 8 bars from Bach’s Cello Suite No 3, released.

Videos

Eight official videos have been made for the group’s music; Mr Mystery (dir by Tatiana McCabe 2009), GMYL, (dir by Tatiana McCabe 2010), Market (dir by Pamela Karp), Hounds (dir by Tatiana McCabe 2011), Needles and Pins (dir by Tatiana McCabe 2011), See Me On My Way (dir anonymously 2013), Sentimental Pieces (dir S Bogie, edited by T McCabe 2013), Second Heart (dir by Tatiana McCabe 2013).

The group recorded “unplugged” versions of Needles and Pins Live in DUMBO Brooklyn for Under the Bridge series, and See Me On My Way in the Boiler Room for Relix Magazine.

Album Art

The group has had several artists collaborate on their album art work - most notably Tatiana McCabe, who designed the art for Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight, GMYL/Hounds, Gravity/StringTheory, and The Physical EP. Additionally, McCabe designed dozens of flyers as well as taking photographs for the group.

The cover art for Hands, as well as the 45 single See Me On My Way/Sentimental Pieces were taken from Joao Machado’s map based collages.

07
Oct

Second Heart
Directed by Tatiana McCabe

01
Oct
01
Oct

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