Gonzales Facebook Chilly Gonzales' ego is pretty satisfied nowadays. Having…
- Posted on Oct 1st 2012 12:00PM by Melody Lau
Chilly Gonzales Facebook
The self-proclaimed all-round "entertainist" is not only hot off the heels of a new album, Solo Piano II (the follow-up to 2004's successful Solo Piano), but his name has also been stamped on a number of other people's works in the past few years.
"I'm very lucky and grateful that I'm working with, basically, one of the best singer-songwriters in the game, one of the best electronic artists in the game, and one of the best rappers in the game," Gonzales, born Jason Beck, tells Spinner of his recent work with long-time friend Feist, Daft Punk and Drake, respectively. "All of that because of the piano, so that's good confirmation that I can be a man of my time at the piano.
"Those people aren't asking me to make beats, they're not asking me to rap, they're not asking me to direct a movie -- they're asking me to shut up and play the piano."
The line "Shut Up and Play the Piano" isn't an accident. Rather, it's a reference to the closing track off of Gonzales' 2011 rap record The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales; a hint to fans that the highly-anticipated return of his classic piano instrumental tracks were about to return.
"It wasn't that much of a surprise," Gonzales says of his new record. Admittedly, other factors came into play when deciding to record a new Solo Piano record though.
"It's not an exact science, in my case, to decide what projects to do next," explains Gonzales. "It's a combination of just how I feel and hunkering down with my team and focus-grouping with a group of friends to see what feels right... I'm always trying to find a balance between the verbal part of what I do and the musical part of what I do and I was coming off of a pretty long verbal stretch there."
Part of the reason for this next stretch of instrumentalism probably has something to do with having international superstar Drake doing the words instead. The pair have been recording together. It's a partnership that has its origins long before the two joined forces at the 2011 Juno Awards.
Drake originally came across Gonzales' work when he sampled a song of his on his So Far Gone mixtape back in 2009. But because there were no credits or royalties given to Gonzales, he wasn't entirely sure if the rapper even knew who he was.
"That was very flattering for me, being such a huge rap fan," says Gonzales. "There he was, this NBA-level rapper who even knew who I was was kind of mind-blowing, but at the same time, it was a mixtape so he grabbed it and didn't give me credit. So in another way it was very frustrating; it was like, 'Do I really exist or was it just some piano piece to him?'"
After a long period of time passed, Gonzales and Drake found people in common and met in person. The pianist recalls Drake being "an extremely charming, nice Jewish-Canadian boy." For a long time nothing came of this meeting. But just as Gonzales landed back in Paris following a North American tour, his phone rang.
"This call came for the Junos and it was right back to the airport," he says. "I basically turned the taxi around, but I love that rap world so much, there isn't much I wouldn't do. I think it's the greatest style of music and Drake is a rap and pop star."
Following a very successful performance at Junos, accompanying Drake as he hosted the evening, the two entered the studio and recorded a handful of songs. Two of the bunch, "Marvin's Room" and "Good Ones Go," made the final cut on Drake's Take Care album.
The two were so happy with the collaboration, though, that they've teamed up once again. Sneaking in studio time together recently, the pair intend on working on some new songs, presumably for the new Drake record. And although Gonzales can't guarantee that his work with Drake will make the cut again, or even if they'll spend all their allotted time in the studio -- the rapper has canceled on multiple occasions -- Gonzo assures that he'll be there, waiting for the call.
"I understand when he's putting together an album. There's a lot of moving parts and to me, it's the same as an audience waiting for President Obama or something," says Gonzales. "If it's canceled, not only would I understand, but it wouldn't change my complete loyalty.
"And the next time it might happen, I will be waiting by the phone. That's just how it is because I love the rap world so much and there's not an indie rocker on earth who would be able to do that with me, there isn't an electronic artist -- except, maybe Daft Punk, who I also worked with on their new album -- who would be able to do that with me."
Clearly Chilly Gonzales has decided Drake is someone worth shutting up and playing the piano for.