“Artform” encourages today’s artists to embrace analog in a digital world, and create using musical instruments
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) have released a new short film – “Artform” – created in collaboration with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, highlighting The Midnight Hour pair’s musical journey through the lens of hip-hop. Inspired by iconic records and driven to explore their own sound, these two prolific producers share their creative roadmap and studio secrets – encouraging today’s creators to pick up an instrument and discover their identity through music. In a musical age where sampling remains king, the film shines a light on how live instruments, like guitar and bass, are used in unexpected ways to create music in hip-hop, R&B, funk and jazz. With even more of today’s musicians turning to guitar and bass as creative tools, Fender is turning to creators, like Younge and Shaheed Muhammad, to help tell and amplify their stories.
In tandem with the short film debut, The Midnight Hour and Fender are releasing very Limited-Edition Signature Precision Bass guitars, available for purchase exclusively here beginning November 2. “The Precision Bass is an extremely soulful statement piece. It cuts through the track, but also sits in the track” said Younge. Completely unique and reflective of The Midnight Hour band’s unique style, the bass features key modifications, such as a purple sparkle lacquer finish, purple shell pickguard and gold pickup cover, hardware and neck plate engraved with “The Midnight Hour.”
Shot at Younge’s record store (The Artform Studio) and studio (Linear Labs) in Highland Park, the 23-minute short film takes viewers behind the scenes of the pair’s creative inspiration and musical process creating with traditional instruments. For both, who have collaborated with the likes of Cee Lo Green, Raphael Saadiq and more, learning to play ultimately opened up opportunities for live performance, as well as scoring and producing soundtracks for movies and TV shows, like Marvel’s “Luke Cage.” Interwoven throughout are studio tips and tricks, as the pair dives deep into the recording of “Redenph in B-Minor” – a track from The Midnight Hour’s self-titled 2018 soul/jazz/hip-hop album.
“My journey started with hearing hip-hop producers sample from the greatest records,” said composer and producer Adrian Younge. “It served as a conduit to the past and introduced me to the classic sounds and instruments used to create these records. We made this film to encourage today’s hip-hop artists to close the laptop, put down the sampler and spend time creating with live instruments, like the guitar and bass. What we can accomplish as musicians is limitless when we dig deep and uncover where these sounds come from.”
“Whatever you sampled on the record, that was it,” added Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, whose first instrument was the turntable. “That was the extent of what could be built upon. That was cool, but I wanted to have my own artistic freedom and thoughts. That’s what inspired me to learn to play an instrument, go deeper than those samples, make my own and resample those.”
The short film is also accompanied by a nine-minute bonus episode, in which Shaheed Muhammad and Younge – along with musician and producer Jack Waterson (Green On Red) – talk through the gear, different instruments and combinations they use to colour tone.
“We feel it’s so important to amplify the voices of creators and artists across genres,” said Jeremy “JT” Taylor, Vice President, Global Brand Creative. “Guitar is thriving and essential to the creators and artists of today and tomorrow. If an artist has a story to tell, we want to help them amplify it.”
For additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.
Learn more about The Midnight Hour by visiting linearlabsmusic.com or following @adrianyounge @alishaheed @linearlabs.