Interview with Bill Majoros & New Album Release
Bill Majoros is a lover of epic music.
“Ultimately, all I’ve ever been trying to do, throughout my whole life, is to create the kind of records I would have loved when I was a kid.”
With extensive touring in numerous bands under his belt, Bill’s own band The Foreign Films reconnects him to the music he loved as a child, infuses it with modern sounds, and exudes positivity.
“Things have been dark in the world. I’m trying to create that feeling of a kid going to a carnival…a sense of wonder.”
The new album Starlight Serenade is released today. Link to Album on Spotify
Behind Bill is the Star Explorer Pinball, which he’s had since he was a kid. We can picture Bill playing this game, as Big Band or old school Country would be played in the background by his father.
“He was a man out of time.”
After school, 7-year-old Bill would watch reruns of The Monkees.
“I started falling in love with the songs. It looked like so much fun, these guys hanging out at the beach…misadventures, you know…playing great music. It was zany and fun.”
He begged his mom to go to Sam the Record Man.
As he places a Monkees album on the counter, the woman at the cash instead influenced him to buy The Beatles Revolver album.
“Are these guys like a Monkees rip-off?”
As he is returning home, the album line art got engraved in his mind, and he would call on Kristie Ryder to create similar covers for his band The Foreign Films.
That Revolver cover was “a doorway into a universe of music.”
Little did he know that his 7-year-old mind would be blown away as the needle hit the record and he heard those first few notes of Tax Man.
This unlocked a passion to discover what other music hadn’t yet hit his tender ears.
His older cousins were a gateway into Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Stevie Wonder and The Zombies.
With ears filled with wonder and amazement, “I wanted to learn guitar and drums.”
He did so simultaneously, and even then, had a craving to create his own music.
Early bands like The Falcons & The Flying Saucers with buddy Brian Heatherman (Sonic Envy) where “we could barely even play anything” began a journey that both are still on today.
The universe gave Bill a few nudges, such as recording at Grant Avenue Studio owned by Bob and Daniel Lanois, known for producing U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and many more.
The gravity of their musical heritage was not yet known to Bill, so they connected with music. “They were pivotal in my early days.”
Right out of high school, Bill started touring with Flux A.D. who played Montreal on a few occasions.
He would play drums for Universal Honey, formerly The Pursuit of Happiness.
He would eventually get “the courage to get out from behind the drum set” and start singing, playing guitar, and fronting bands.
There is a picture of toddler Bill playing a plastic guitar left-sided. Ambidextrous, he has since switched to right-handed instruments, which offer a greater variety of choice.
Bill & Brian Heatherman had wild musical adventures in their youth. From Juke Joints along the Mississippi checking out obscure Blues and Jazz bands to Rock-n-Roll in Austin Texas for South by Southwest.
My favourite story involved a blue cooler, backstage after a Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros gig. Bill and Brian make their way backstage, but do you want to meet one of your heroes on a bad day, and ruin that ideal in your head?
Instead of the dressing room filled with his entourage, it’s Joe Strummer with 2 guys from the band. Hard to blend in when your entry almost doubles attendance.
What could have been an awkward moment, was saved by Joe saying: “Hey mate, did you like the show? Do you want a beer?”
He reached into the blue cooler and hands them each a beer.
They then started geeking out over Rickenbacker guitars.
Bands that Bill has been a part of have opened up for the likes of The Tragically Hip, Alanis Morissette, and Echo & The Bunnymen, to name a few.
From small venues to arenas, he mastered his craft while being exposed to a variety of musicians & experiences.
Bill fondly remembers geeking out with Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters now, originally Alanis Morissette) over music.
He has played such epic venues at The Cavern Club (The Beatles), The Stone Pony (Bruce Springsteen) and CBGB’s. All of these adventures and venues infused themselves into the music at some deep level.
Working with the Fifth Beatle
Bill worked on a project with Sir George Martin (a.k.a. the fifth Beatle) and his son Giles called Platinum. An opportunity arose to have a few of Bill’s songs in the production, which never made it to any screen, due to funding issues.
Having Sir George Martin hear your songs is indeed a privilege, but it was the comradery which Giles that made the experience a positive one, regardless.
“At the end of the day, you meet a lot of interesting people that share, at the best of time, a deep love of music. You come away from it inspired.”
The Foreign Films
The name Foreign Films is because bill wants to create “little cinematic stories within a pop song.”
To be classified as a Foreign film, a movie has to be in a different language, but for Bill, that language is music. While the words are in English, it’s the music that completes the story in a language all to itself.
Bill noticed that foreign films are usually more plot-oriented, or psychological. That depth is the layers he brings to his own songs and stories.
In All The Love You Give, the main character is transported back to the 60s, Twilight Zone-style. “She wakes up. Would you change anything in your life? Maybe she didn’t follow her passion or bliss as much.”
Bill may be the mastermind behind the project, but he has help from Carl Jennings on Bass, Rob Preuss on keys (The Spoons) and Jason Frederick who provides string arrangements.
Those early years, listening to The Kinks, The Zombies and The Beatles fed that hunger to create his “music that is influenced by that time period through my own prism of influences.” Of course, he will “add something to that tapestry of music” and not simply be a retro artist.
Bill is not stuck in that era. He will continually explore new genres to uncover more inspiration for his project.
Genres are like spices. Bill can sprinkle in some Jazz, Blues, Rock and create his own signature flavour.
The Creative Process
His latest single had a big hit of Beatles, although it’s not intentional.
When talking about how songs come together (pardon the Beatles pun): “At the best of times, it will come you…you are tapping into your subconscious”, such as All The Love You Give.
Bill is constantly writing. His morning routine begins with him picking up his guitar and letting out a flow of creativity.
Sometimes, the songs come all at one, whereas other times, it’s like pieces of a puzzle that eventually fit together to create something whole.
Bill enjoys the fact that for Dylan, it took 10 minutes to write Blowin’ In The Wind, yet for Leonard Cohen, he said it took him 2 years to write Hallelujah, while in reality, it took 5 years. Both amazing songs that came to fruition differently.
Music In Color
Bill hears music in colours, much like another artist I recently interviewed Victoria Anthony.
When putting music together, he will hear minor chords as darker blues and greens while other chords are warmer, with orange and yellow.
He was fascinated by the artwork on those early album covers and how they would correspond flawlessly with the music.
Bill also remembers the moment in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy steps into that world of color.
For his previous record, Ocean Moon, the colour palette was intentional.
“I’m interested in creating sonically, a visual picture, a musical language. Why not tell stories visually? Give the listener a little journey.”
Double & Triple Records
“I’ve fallen in love with many double records. Even a ringtone is a lot to ask people to listen to”, admits Bill.
With the amount of creative output, it’s no surprise that this project has churned out double and even triple albums.
The goal is to allow fans to have that deep dive into a record, and get immersed in it, like Bill used to do as a kid.
Releasing with a faster pace, allows the band to have fresh singles on a consistent basis.
The Making of Starlight Serenade
Bill once said: “Limitations create the best art.”
The Pandemic took a lot away from us, in terms of music, but it also gave back, in certain roundabout ways.
Without the tours, “it helped me focus on the writing aspect. I started playing a game with myself to try to write something every day. As a result, I’ve never written more in my life.”
Ocean Moon would not have been finished so quickly, had it not been for that break.
“It helped light a creative spark in the studio, so all of my efforts were then put into the recording.
Bill will play various instruments, but instead of viewing this as layers, he imagines he is playing at a club, to keep that live energy and spontaneous aspect into the recording.
Instead of having computers correct every aspect of the song, “I wanted to show some humanity.”
The collaboration also adds elements that Bill might not have thought of, but it will enhance the song and take it to yet another level.
Starlight Serenade ties into the Ocean Moon release like a long flight with a stopover.
Arrival time is July 30th, 2021 in digital form first, with hopefully a vinyl version to follow.
“It’s a good, solid record that a lot of heart and soul went into it. I’ve been channelling everything I have into these records, creatively.”
Bill calls this album a “musical antidote” to all the negativity in the world today, “giving someone a little musical sunshine.”
Not only does he want to share this music, but he openly invites one and all to connect with him and continue the musical conversation.
Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their day jobs with out-of-the-box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives. He created the Rock Star Today MasterMind Experience for musicians. Randal also is a collector of signed vinyl.Share this :