Producer Danger Mouse has been very busy the past few years. First his breakthrough success ‘The Grey Album’, a bizarre mash-up of The Beatles and Jay-Z. Next was his work with Cee-Lo Green as Gnarls Barkley. Finally his production for artists like The Gorillaz, Beck and more recently, U2.
His next project though is something completely unexpected. He teams up with Italian composer, Daniele Luppi, for a project they call ‘Rome’. The two paired up because of a mutual love for 60’s and 70’s spaghetti western scores and so they decided to make a themed album featuring contributions from musicians who played on the score from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. If that doesn’t sound weird enough, throw in Norah Jones and Jack White and we have an eclectic group of highly talented individuals who are capable of producing a masterpiece.
In a recent Guardian interview with the two, they chopped it up about how this project started.
Daniele Luppi: “We met around 2004. Brian had just done The Grey Album and I had done a record called The Italian Story, which was basically my homage to Italian film soundtracks. I am not really a hip-hop fan, but I loved The Grey Album – Brian is able to combine the charm and beauty of old instruments with something contemporary. We had both talked about each other’s work in the press, and it turned out we had a friend in common who introduced us.” He continues “We started to talk about this dream of doing something together, and that became Rome.”
Danger Mouse: “Daniel had just moved out to LA from Italy to do more soundtracks. He came over to my place one day and saw my collection of old Italian film music – he knows about all of this stuff, but I think he was impressed I had so much. He started helping me with some arrangements on the first Gnarls Barkley record, and we just became friends.” On the recording of the record itself, he says, “We made three trips to Rome – the first was for backing tracks, the second was mostly vocal stuff, choirs and soprano solos. It was all self-funded. I couldn’t ask a label for money for something when I didn’t know what it was going to be. It could have just been a hole that money disappeared into.”
Daniele Luppi: “I don’t think there is a narrative to the record, but there is a feel – it is about love, death, happiness – the visceral connection of man and women. It’s a dark vibe, melancholic, a little foggy.”
The album releases sometime in 2011 but in the meantime, check out some snippets below.
Snippets from ‘Rome’: