• Belinda Kazanci: "We will be singing an Armenian song titled 'Hov Arek' by Komitas." (Photo - Vahe Simonyan).Echocell is a collaboration between Istanbul-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, and front woman Belinda Kazanci and Los Angeles-based songwriter, keyboardist, and programmer Adam Beltran.

      I sat down with the beautiful and multi-talented Belinda for a conversation about her music and her upcoming concert at the Levitt Pavilion, which is in support of the Armenian Genocide Memorial to be constructed in Pasadena’s Memorial Park.

      Tell me about your influences and where you are with your music.

      Belinda Kazanci (provided by artist).My influences include people like Björk, Sarah Vaughn and Patsy Cline, the Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, as well as Beth Gibbons from Portishead and Grace Slick. They are all female vocalists who have an interesting tone quality and uniqueness to their voice. And with Echocell, in November we released an EP that was two years in the making and was recorded between LA and New York. We got to work with some amazing producers on that EP including Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry of WAX Studios in LA; they’ve worked with people like Muse and New Order, and Family of the Year.

      Sounds very exciting, and I love what I’ve heard so far of the album. Tell me about the process of making it.

      I wrote & co-wrote a bunch of songs, but wasn’t fully happy with all of them. I decided to write more and pick the best songs from that batch. I write in many different styles, but I wanted this EP to have a cohesive sound. And the resulting album is a combination of synth-pop, trip-hop, and electro-pop. It has electronic elements and lots of synths, but a lot of live instrumentation as well. This week, we are releasing a new music video for our song “Crumb Love.” EchocellFor the video, I collaborated with my good friend and talented Director Maria Biber-Ferro and Brandon Lomax provided the artwork for the video. He uses a solution that makes the paint move. We filmed a lot of his painting process and then superimposed that on me. And, for the earlier video for “Babylon,” I did most of the costume work with a friend of mine, Allison Leach, because I am also a clothing designer.

      So you’re a multi-talented artist. With regard to your upcoming Pasadena show, tell me how you got involved in the concert for the Armenian Genocide Memorial?

      Chase Wessel, the Production Manager at Levitt Pavilion, asked us if we wanted to play. I told them that my music wasn’t Armenian music per se. But, they wanted a band that wasn’t necessarily an Armenian band in terms of the music but that did involve Armenians. So, we got selected. And, we will be adding an Armenian song to the set. It’s “Hov Arek” by Komitas.

      What is your personal connection to the Armenian genocide, and what are your thoughts on the planned Armenian Genocide Memorial?

      My great-grandmother died during the genocide and my grandfather and his four brothers were left without a mother. And that’s a story that I have been hearing for my whole life and about the impact of that. In terms of my thoughts on the Memorial, I like the fact that it’s a form of art in Pasadena that raises awareness for an event that most people still don’t know about. Echocell's Belinda Kazanci (Photo V.S.)The committee went through a process of having different designers submit a design for the project, and they picked the best one. I thought it was a timeless design. It is very raw, and it can stand the test of time. I like the use of water as an element as well. And, I think it’s great that this concert is going to bring awareness to the genocide and to the construction of the Memorial.

      It’s wonderful that you’re doing this highly meaningful concert. We are looking forward to the show!

      Echocell will be playing the Levitt Pavilion on Thursday, August 7 at 8 p.m. as a celebration to erect an Armenian Genocide Memorial on the premises of Memorial Park in Pasadena.

      [This article has been updated to include the correct show time – August 5, 2014  9:38 a.m.]

       


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