Blended Generations announce their first studio EP, Hope Sweet, which is out now. Two years in the making, these six tracks of smooth soul vibe slip delightfully into the music scene. Based on Roger Price’s poetic lyrics, Hope Sweet presents life as an optimistic journey. The songs that comprise Hope Sweet are the product of an unlikely collaboration. Following retirement from business, Roger Price was moved to write a series of lyrics reflecting an optimistic view of Life. Ola Milena’s carefully crafted music, her thoughtful orchestration and sympathetically selected instrumentation underpin the lyrics. With a studio ensemble of ten talented local musicians backing Ola’s beautiful vocals, each song rises to impressive heights – making this EP a sensory and thought provoking experience not to be missed. Both Ola and Roger drop by to answer some questions for Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.

After two years in the making it must be a relief to get the EP over the line?
Ola: More than a relief, I would say it’s an exciting part of the creation of the EP.

Roger: Since our collaboration began as an experimental exercise and developed organically, initially there were no particular expectations for the project.  However when we reached a point where we decided to record what we had written, we began to think seriously about delivery.  So really it has been the last twelve months that we started to look forward to delivering a ‘product’. While there is some relief, it’s mixed with a strong sense of achievement.  Realistically too, we each had other priorities during that time, particularly Ola as a professional singer / songwriter with band and performance commitments, so we were prepared for a longer delivery time.

What has been the hardest part of the creative journey?
Ola: For me the hardest part has been the occasional dealing with Roger’s father-like, beautifully over-carrying nature, which at times clashes with my over-indepndent ways of being. Coming from such different backgrounds and generations, it has been an interesting journey, learning to work together to our best ability.

Roger: While I was reasonably comfortable with writing in poetic rhythms, I now realize they don’t necessarily transfer neatly to lyrics for a song.  So I had to learn about the various structures that fit best within a musical framework.  With Ola’s help and by analyzing others writers’ songs I now have a better understanding of that.

Did you doubt yourself that you would get there?
Ola: Never. The process of the creation of “Hope Sweet” has been very organic. There wasn’t  really much that stood in our way and we also never pressured ourselves with expectation. Every step of the way has been exciting and an important learning curve for both of us.
Roger: Both of us are quite determined people, so once we began, and realized we were capable of working together, it seemed inevitable that we would produce a result.

Sonically, how would you describe the EP?
Ola: The EP has a 70s classic feel to it. It’s smooth and easy to listen to, flavoured with jazz, soul and world vibes. It’s  elevating and thoughtful at the same time.

Was it a challenging process to transfer poetic lyrics it to music?
Ola: Channelling Roger’s lyrics into music was a very interesting process for me. I really had to learn to put my own wants and creative desires aside and put myself in the place of service to someone else’s vision. Roger is not a musician so I had enough freedom to shape things the way I felt fitted. It was a nice balance and I feel the process developed me hugely as a composer and an arranger.

Roger: Once I became more comfortable with the process and after Ola and I had cemented our working relationship, the poetic form morphed into the lyrical.

The bio says that Hope Sweet presents life as an optimistic journey, is this the tonic for pessimistic and negative people?
Ola:Hope Sweet presents life as an optimistic journey to anyone who is willing to let themselves be taken by the lyrics and the sound that we’ve  created.

Roger: It would be presumptuous to think that we have created a ‘tonic’.  However, if people hearing the combination of music and lyrics are moved to see their life more positively or joyfully – or even if they experience passing pleasure –  then we would feel very pleased with our creations.

Are you looking to tour this EP nationally?
Ola: No. The EP was created by an eleven piece band of incredible musicians who are very sought-after. The only time we are planning on performing it in it’s full bloom is at our live launch in Melbourne at the end of November.

Roger: Presenting Hope Sweet in an orchestral form, as we have, doesn’t really lend itself to touring.  So, with the exception of our Live Launch at Dizzy’s Jazz Club on 26 November, where the recording musicians will re-assemble, the EP will exist in a streamed form.  However, any of the songs could certainly be performed by smaller ensembles.

What’s next in the journey for Blended Generations?
Ola: Getting Hope Sweet into as many hungry ears as we can. We’re also already working on the creation of our second record which will explore the topic of ‘Truth’ through the ptogression of one’s life span.

Roger: Blended Generations started life as the experimental collaboration of Roger and Ola.  The experiment seems to be sufficiently successful for us to continue in a similar vein.  In fact, we have mapped out the framework of a second set of songs and the first couple of songs are already in the pipeline.

Interview by Rob Lyon

Blended Generations are launching Hope Sweet on Sunday 26 November at Dizzys Jazz Club, Richmond. Doors at 6pm. Tickets from http://www.trybooking.com/SZNS