Le Gonzervatoire

Gonzales Red Bull MontrealSummers in Canada are never long enough; nature seems to be able to “cram in” a year of growth in a few short months and we end up trying to do the same for trips to the beach and cottage, and all manner of work that has to take place outdoors. Taking a break from work or school always seems to provide a “tangential” inspiration for a new approach to a problem, or even coming up with entirely new ideas. This year, the end of summer also means that Gonz’s “radical sabbatical” is about 3/5 of the way through, but with his new Apple Beats One show (Music’s Cool with Chilly Gonzales) it appears that he hasn’t completely stepped away from public view. When we read that Gonz will be participating in the Red Bull Concert Academy in Montreal (with a special “Gonzervatoire Masterclass Concert” on October 26th) Continue reading

Zeitgonz: Octave Minds Live in Berlin

Almost 17 years ago, Gonzales made his now-historic move from Toronto to Berlin in an effort to find an audience that aligned with his musical sensibilities. In many ways, Berlin became the spiritual birthplace of Chilly Gonzales – a persona that Gonzales imagined was “…a role model to some person that I’ve always wanted to be: my futuristic hero.” In the late 90s, Berlin was musically unique: a place where no one questioned the ‘ownership’ of hip-hop, which seamlessly blended in with other pop music, in sharp contrast to hip-hop’s then untouchable status in North America. Gonzales appeared to use his obscurity in Berlin to his advantage; honing and fine-tuning his image and message in Berlin spaces such as Galerie Berlintokyo. Recently, Gonzales announced his return to Berlin in conjunction with his musical friend and collaborator Boys Noize (Alex Ridha) for their very first live Octave Minds performance. Continue reading

O Chilly!

Clad in an elegant red robe and ‘formal’ dark slippers, Chilly Gonzales recently made one of his more surprising appearances during the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Pan American games in Toronto. The Pan Am games is a sporting event held every four years that brings together the best athletes from North and South America in friendly western-hemisphere competition, akin to a smaller version of the Olympic Games. The organizers of the opening events ceremony obviously wanted an iconic Canadian musician to provide an emotional response, possibly akin to Céline Dion and David Foster’s performance in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – but with far more subtlety. The exposure and publicity from his performance has definitely helped to raise Gonzales’ profile in his native Canada, largely through people discussing, “The guy wearing the robe and slippers playing the piano.” It’s worthwhile to have a closer look at Gonzales’ performance, since everything from appearance to song selection made for a memorable Toronto evening. Continue reading

Gonzales: Never Stop

Persistence, instincts, go the distance, prove my existence – Chilly Gonzales

Being a ‘man of his time’ is likely no easy feat for Gonzales – it must take a great deal of talent and planning to continually wow fans with release after release of incredible music. Nowhere but in the musical arena can artists reach soaring level of fame one day, then be brought back down to Earth the next. Some entertainers, such as Gonzales, have evaded the pitfalls of the industry by providing novel music and themes year after year. We decided to have a closer look at what it takes to stay relevant in the industry and have a guess as to what Gonzales has planned next. Continue reading

Chambers: Pre-Order + Goodies

It’s almost Valentine’s Day (or Saint Valentin), and Gonzales is showing his fans some love through a Chambers pre-sale on his website along with an instantly downloadable track off the album. Also new in the store are two music boxes: a hand-crank box that plays Solitare, plus a wind-up version that’s available as part of a Vinyl and CD package. Gonzales has also released the full track listing for the album within the images on his store. Finally, he’s offering a webstore exclusive bonus track that will not be available anywhere else: (Not) A Musical Genius. The album artwork extends what we saw in the teaser trailer: Continue reading

January Gone Gonz

January was an exciting month for Gonzales fans: music analysis videos, interviews and features, new album announcement, song and album previews, live performances and much more. We were waiting for the news to slow down a bit to summarize, but new videos and songs just kept on coming. The upcoming “Chambers” was obviously the biggest news, but while we thought we’d hear 1 or 2 songs from “Chambers” before it was released, the BBC played practically a new song per night all week. Although we touch on the beauty of the new songs, we’ll definitely post a full write-up for Chambers once it’s officially released. Continue reading

Album Announcement: Chambers

Big news today: Gonzales announces a new album called “CHAMBERS”, set for release sometime in 2015!

If you are on Gonzales’ official email distribution list (and why wouldn’t you be?), you may have noticed a snippet of text that went along with the streaming cancellation notice:

“…we have a great surprise in store for you in January”

Then, on January 6th Gonzales responded to a comment on Twitter with the following: Continue reading

Gonzales: La Roux Contribu

Gonzales is certainly a sought-after Grammy-award winning composer, producer, collaborator, and guest musician. It is within this latter role that he performs on La Roux’s latest release, “Trouble in Paradise”. Gonzales plays on two tracks: “Kiss and Not Tell”, and “Paradise is You”. We’re generally used to Gonzales’ piano playing being pretty much front-and-centre, which makes these tracks an interesting listen. Guest musicians are expected to contribute their unique musical style to a piece, while still retaining the “core elements” of the main artists’ song. In both of the tracks, you can certainly hear Gonzales’ performance, but his playing reinforces the song, rather than overshadowing it. Continue reading

Octave Minds Think Alike

When we first heard that Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noize were “Working Together” again, we speculated on what the result would be: Touching electronic-infused piano melodies and harmonies. On July 18th. Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noise announced the first freely downloadable single (“In Silence”) from their forthcoming album “Octave Minds”, which will be released in Sept, 2014. “In Silence” sets the bar very high for the rest of the album, which is sure to be beyond what anyone was expecting. Continue reading

Musical Analysis Smackdown

…everywhere that I go, music nerds – Supervillain Music

Gonzales, in conjunction with WDR Einslive (1Live), has released two videos that musically dissect Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, and Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Coming Home”. The videos have been very popular, garnering over 50,000 views in a short timeframe. It appears that there’s a pent-up demand for additional depth in music reviews, which is something that Gonzales has been doing for years. Actively sharing musical and entertainment insights in ways that are accessible to everyone is part of the reason why Gonzales has such a loyal following. Continue reading