American journalist John Seabrook is coming to Canada to promote his best-selling book, The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, courtesy of JAZZ.FM91 Toronto and Bob Ramsay Communications.
Described by one pundit as ‘one of the most memorable, scandalous, and deliciously entertaining books of the year’, the long-time staff writer at The New Yorker travelled from New York to Los Angeles, Stockholm to Korea, to tell the story of what happens when an industry is catastrophically disrupted—spurring innovation, competition, intense greed, and seductive new products. With his clout, Seabrook got great access to top names, but one that eluded was Max Martin. Instead, the Swedish hitmaker anointed his protege Savan Kotecha, to speak on his behalf and Kotecha does a great job of explaining the way Martin’s records move, so logically and pleasingly, to euphoria and back. “A Swede will not let you down, and neither do their songs,” he says in the book. “If you expect the song to blow here, it will blow here, and if you expect it to be chill there, it’s chill there.”
Despite the popular view of the music business, Seabrook didn’t see any debauchery on his travels through its back rooms. Rather than cocaine, he says, studios run on “sushi – a lot of sushi, people gorging themselves on it. The (Norwegian hit factory) Stargate guys are family men, go home at six, they’re like model citizens, and the Swedes – people say that they never show up drunk or stoned and that’s why you always get something done”.
The event takes place Wednesday, March 16th at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. The $49+HST ticket price also includes Seabrook’s best-selling book. One can order here.
JAZZ-FM Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore spoke to Seabrook ahead of the discussion. Listen: