Imagination Movers’ Scott Durbin talks about touring and plans for new music

Scott Durbin is one of the founding members of the popular kids television show and band “Imagination Movers”. They have a successfully show that currently airs on Disney Junior. They are also constanstly touring bringing their music to fans all over the world. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Scott about their music, their tour plans for this summer and also what the future brings.

Mike Gencarelli: When you guys started “Imagination Movers” back in 2003, did you ever think that you would be still going this strong today?
Scott Durbin: I would have never imagined this that show would be seen in 50+ countries, translated in 12 languages and we are recognized around the world. For that part of it, I would say “Definitely no”. On the other side, we were so tenacious when we started. We believed that we wanted to create something to encourage creativity in kids, modeling problem-solving and create music for kids that challenged them and did not pacify them. This gets them off the couch and gets them moving around and also their brain moving. Even for parents, like yourself, we wanted to make it something that you could listen to over and over without starting to hate it. We also wanted to make it developmental and age appropriate, so it really connects with the kids. So that part of me says “Yes, I knew we were going to be a success”. We are coming from a real place and doing it for the right reasons.

MG: I love that you guys have such strong educational messages in your show and music while still being entertaining and having fun…
SD: I think it is important to balance them both. If there is too much entertainment it can become campy. If it is too educational, it can be a turn off. But if there is a good balance, you can get the best of both worlds. You can teach and the kids will enjoy learning. I started off teaching in elementary education for 10 years. So in those years that I taught, I saw this level of creativity in the kids was just decreasing and I saw this need for creativity. I think part of the reason why we began. We say that there was no “real people” in kid’s entertainment (going back over 10 years now) and we wanted to change that. We wanted to bring strong male role models to kids. As a teacher, you had a lot of kids that didn’t have a strong male role model at home and I found that having that was invaluable.

MG: You guys are touring all this summer and through the fall, tell us about what you enjoy most about performing live?
SD: Obviously, we have been so blessed with just being able to travel and meet our fans across the globe. We just got back from the UK. We recently did a show in Dubai. An interesting thing about Dubai is that about 80% of the people there are ex-pats from direct countries. The group that brought us over there told us that most of the Western acts they bring over there, potential 95% of the audience are expats other countries like Australia, UK, Canada, or the States. So essentially they are all Western, but when we played in Dubai the audience was Indian, Philippian, Saudi Arabian and the group that brought us in said that they have never seen the amount of diversity that we brought to one of their shows. So for us, I think being able and being accessible to such a diverse group of people makes it worth it. That was so special. It just showed how four dudes from Louisiana can resonate with a six year old from India. When we tour, we get to meet families and hear stories about how the music has affected them and that is so humbling. We are very fortunate to be able to participate in this. There is a certain glimmer of magic in what we get to do.

MG: On July 27th, you guys are playing after the Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field for a special Christmas in July concert; tell us about that?
SD: I am very excited for this. We got to do it last year and we are lucky enough to get to do it again. The hard part about this is that the Rays are playing the Red Socks. I have a real soft spot for the Rays since I have been following them much more but my dad was a huge Red Socks fan. So I grew up rooting for the Red Socks, so I am little torn here [laughs]. For the Christmas in July, we will probably play about 70 minutes and throw in some fun Christmas songs. We have a really interactive set and the kids have a lot of fun. It is actually really a family concert that moms and dads will enjoy as well. We play live music, so there is so much great energy going around.

MG: Your latest album “Back in Blue” was released last summer which includes second set of songs from season 3; do you have plans for new music?
SD: Yeah, that is a great question. The music industry is changing and how bands get music out to their fans are changing. “Back in Blue” was our first digital release only, so there was no hard copy available. That is something that was so new to us to think that we can’t give you a CD and you have to download it. There are so many great songs from that CD including “Robot Chase Song” and “Have You Ever Seen a Unicorn”. In fact, right now we are actually starting on our ninth album. We did an album called “Rock-o-matic” a few years back, which was a CD/DVD. We created about 35 minutes of additional content with videos, sketches etc and we are looking to do a follow up to that. This time we are going to get our fans to participate. They are also going to get to experience more of the making of the CD and DVD. If you “Like” our Facebook, you can find out more about this.

MG: There hasn’t been new episodes for over a year now; is there a fourth season in the horizon for the “Imagination Movers”?
SD: Right now, episodes are currently are airing on Disney Junior. I don’t know if a fourth season will ever be made. But we are currently working with a production company in Canada right now to create new “Movers” content… So I will leave that at that because I do not know how much I can say right now. Around the corner, don’t be surprised if you are seeing some new content. So we are very excited about that.

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“American Idol” contest James Durbin talks about new album “Celebrate”

Season 10 “American Idol” contest James Durbin recently announced that  he will be embarking on an a month and a half long  acoustic tour to promote his new single “Parachute”. The song which is off Durbin’s upcoming release “Celebrate” due out April 8th shows us a different side James and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with James about that change, the upcoming tour and what he has planned for 2014.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell about your new single “Parachute”?
James Durbin: “Parachute” as a song is really accessible and catchy. There are a lot of hooks and spots where you can sing along. I get to have a lot of fun with it and just goof off. I think this song really shows my personality and it shows the changes I have made in my attitude over the last couple of years.

AL: What do you personally feel is the biggest change from your previous work to what is going to be released in the coming months?
JD: The first record was done in two and a half weeks. We did 14 or 15 songs in that time along with photo shoots and everything else that goes along with putting an album out. The first album was thrown together really quick. The new record “Celebrate” I have had a year and a half to two years to work on. In between touring and everything I have been able to get a lot of perspective and time to think. I have gotten to play my cards a little more wisely. I can look at things a little bit more before I do them now and I didn’t have that option the first time around. On the new record I got to co-write 10 of the 11 tracks. There is definitely more me on this record. It’s a lot more personal.

AL: “Celebrate” comes out April 8th. Can you tell us where everything is at in the process right now and a little bit about the pre-order packages that available on your website www.durbinrock.com?
JD: The record has been mixed and mastered so the music is all done. What we are working on now is the liner note and credits. We are also working on a video for one of the songs. We are getting all of the inner working pieces together. The stressful stuff is all done. As for the pre-order packs there are a couple different options. You can get everything from signed cd’s to hooded sweatshirts and bracelets. I also am doing a great partnership with the National Tourette Syndrome Association where $5 from every pre-order goes directly to that foundation. With those pre-orders you get an exclusive shirt that won’t be sold anywhere else along with a signed cd.

AL: Can you tell us about your upcoming tour that was announced recently?
JD: I am really looking forward to playing and getting out there. This tour is an acoustic tour which will feature me on guitar my bass player Justin and my buddy Jeremy. It’s going to be just the three of us jamming and playing the songs the way they were written. It’s going to be a very relaxed, intimate setting. We have been rehearsing lately and adding some interesting spins to a few of the songs. It’s fun to be able to get up there and just do what feels good. We are planning to do about an hour and twenty minute long set. With this tour I want people to be able to hear these songs the way they came out of my hand and the way in which they were originally written. I think this is a great way for people to understand the material.

AL: How do you feel you will be received this time around without the immediate push from “American Idol” and a three year gap between your previous album and your new one?
JD: I am excited to get out there. Last time people saw me I was sort of scraggly looking. Over the past few years I have gotten to know myself again. I feel safe and comfortable in my own skin again. I am still the same guy at heart but I am much happier.

AL: Other than the album release and acoustic tour do you have any other plans for 2014 you can tell us about?
JD: I have to get out there and tour. People need to hear these songs and call up their local radio stations and request them. There is a lot of hard work that needs to be done. I would love to say that I am going to be on tour with someone like The Killers or on the other end of the spectrum Bruno Mars but I can’t say that yet. That would be amazing but we will have to wait and see. Weather I am playing to 30,000 people or 30 people those who come and see me will get the same experience.

CD Review: James Durbin “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”

James Durbin
“Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”
Wind-Up
Producer: Howard Benson
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” is the first release from American Idol: Season 10 contestant James Durbin. The album is being released via Wind-Up records and features 11 original tracks produced by Howard Benson. The iTunes digital version of “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” features two additional bonus tracks not included on the CD release.

Not being a fan of “American Idol” I am at times a little unfamiliar with those involved with the show. In this case I had heard of James Durbin but I still wasn’t too sure what to expect from his album. Upon my first listen I was immediately drawn in. “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” features a collection of songs in a variety of styles all of which seem to really fit Durbin’s voice perfectly. Tracks such as “Everything Burns” the hard rocking “Higher Than Heaven” and “Outcast” featuring Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars were definitely personal favorites. The album has a great flow while showcasing producer Howard Benson’s keen ear. Fans of “American Idol” will definitely want to pick this album for their collections. While those not familiar with the show or with James’s work will also want to check this album out as it really is great piece of work and has a little something for everyone.

Track Listing:
1.) Higher Than Heaven
2.) All I Want
3.) Love In Ruins
4.) Right Behind You
5.) Love Me Bad
6.) Deeper
7.) May
8.) Screaming
9.) Outcast
10.) Everything Burns
11.) Stand Up
12.) Liberate (ITunes Bonus)
13.) Back For More (ITunes Bonus)

Also be sure to check out our interview with James Durbin located in the interview portion of the site.

Interview with American Idol’s James Durbin

James Durbin was a contestant on season 10 of “American Idol”. James recently released his debut full length album titled “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”. Media Mikes had a chance recently to talk with James about his experience on the show and what it was like singing with Judas Priest.

Adam Lawton: What was the “American Idol” process like for you?
James Durbin: I originally auditioned for season 8 of the show however I was not in the right spot mentally at that time. I just wasn’t there what so ever in my life. During my time between the two auditions I started a family and really got my life and my priorities together. I was working at a Domino’s pizza and had put in for the day off so I could go an audition. No one knew that I wanted to be a singer. Everyone figured I was just going to be one of the joke contestants so my boss said I couldn’t have the day off. Two days before the audition the owners sat all the employees down and told us they would be closing due to not having any more money. Everyone was laid off and we weren’t doing very well financially at the time. My fiancé and I went to San Francisco and waited and waited to audition. I just ended up going for it and never looked back. I had no idea what things were going to be like once I finally got on the show. You do a lot of waiting in between rounds for your chance to sing and then it’s over. The show is almost like a marathon.

AL: Did you start off auditioning for the main judges?
JD: You actually have 3 pre-auditions before you are in front of the cameras. All that they really show on TV is the final round of auditions and tons of people in the stadium. They never show the first round where upwards of 20,000 show up to sing for 5 seconds in hopes of getting their opportunity.

AL: What was your initial reaction when you were told you would be singing with Judas Priest?
JD: I was told right after I sang “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” during the Top 24 guy’s week. Judas Priest had contacted the show stating they really enjoyed my performance and if I made it to the finale would I be interested in signing with them. I thought holy crap! It’s Judas Fucking Priest and they want to play with me. I was in complete shock. I still am.

AL: What can you tell us about your album “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster”?
JD: The album is being released via Wind-Up Records and was produced by Howard Benson. The title comes from me looking back on moments in my life that I thought were disasters. However after meeting my fiancé and having a child those things that bothered me from the past I can now look back on them and see the beauty and the pain. Those events made me who I am today.

AL: What was the recording process like for you?
JD: Everything on the album is entirely new material. I enlisted the help of some writers who wrote songs specifically for me. They call it personalized song writing. All in all I finished the vocals in two and a half weeks as we were working with a deadline in place. I finished way ahead of time. The process of recording was really fun and learning about everything related to recording was great. I had never done anything of this magnitude before.

AL: Can you tell us about your involvement in the film “Different is the New Normal”?
JD: I was asked by a production team if I would be interested in talking to a young man by the name of Ariel Small. Ariel has tourettes syndrome and was in the process of making a documentary about himself. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. The film isn’t just about tourettes but it brings life to tourrettes and makes it well known. Ariel was inspired by me to make this film. I really respect that and am very honored. Meeting Ariel and seeing how much insight he has for such a young man was great. The title of the film actually came from one of my quotes.

AL: What are your plans for 2012?
JD: Surviving the Apocalypse. (Laughs) I am going to just keep living my dream of being able to sing and make a living by doing so. This really is a dream come true. Huge thanks goes to everyone who has helped me in the process especially my family and fans. I owe everything to my fans. I am working on securing the right tour for 2012 as album sales have been going well so knock on wood things will keep going well.