Michael Hildebrandt: is caught between a rock and a fun place.The one-man band mixes the nostalgic and the contemporary with pop music and orchestral maneuvers to create a bubble-gum sound that listeners can chew on to their ears’ delight — and the former Muscatine man hopes his Bubble Gum Orchestra won’t lose its flavor.
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Take a blast of 1970s nostalgia and blend it with a contemporary digital sound and you have a hint of what to expect from the recently released debut album, “Out of this World,” from Michael Hildebrandt.
Hildebrandt, a 1979 graduate of Muscatine High School who now resides in Texas, created the band Bubble Gum Orchestra two years ago.
His “band” — in actuality a one-man show not unlike Owl City — blends a computer-generated symphony with synthesized vocals for a fun, pop sound. It’s a sound Hildebrandt describes as “semi-orchestrated pop rock.”
When asked about the comparison to Owl City, Hildebrandt remarked, “Like me, Owl City did it on his own and it’s all about melodies for me and their music is just awesome! It’s a big compliment to me to be mentioned in the same sentence.”
Hildebrandt’s passion for music began at an early age and continued to branch into new areas as he grew older.
“My sister always had the Beatles albums and the classic 70s music playing, like Led Zeppelin. I was more pop oriented – pop rock. In high school all my friends and I liked Styx and Foreigner and bands like that.
“At 20 I picked up the bass guitar and really liked the process of learning and playing an instrument. ... I played in some bands then moved to Texas at 27. I had three or four bands over the years, but I got to the point where I wanted to do something on my own.”
Hildebrandt enjoyed his experience in bands but believed that he lost some of the creative process when other people were involved. Hildebrandt’s outlet for all his pent-up creative energy eventually became the 17-track album, “Out of This World.”
“It felt like the right thing to do at that time in my life.” said Hildebrandt. “I had my own business (boat detailing) so I could decide when I came and went, so that gave me freedom to do music on my own terms.”
Hildebrandt is excited about the possibilities for his art. “I’m only on this world once. I want to get everyone listening to my music.” He has a start with 27 FM stations playing his music and a growing audience in Europe.
The future contains more projects to keep the creative momentum going. With six more songs completed, Hildebrandt hopes to have a second album released by the end of 2012.
Also, his first single, “Night in Shangri-La,” is getting the music video treatment from animator David Hemenway who is known best for his work on the TV series, “Bob the Builder.”
To measure how he is doing, Hildebrandt said, “Success for me ... It’s all about music. If it makes people smile at the end of their day, then it’s all worth it.”