VIDEO PREMIERE: Federale (members of Brian Jonestown Massacre) Fuse Classic Western Scores “The Grand Duel/Once Upon A Time In The West”

Photo credit: Jason Quigley

Federale is a seven-piece ensemble based in Portland, OR. Spearheaded by longtime Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist Collin Hegna, the band was conceived as an outlet to channel inspiration from ‘60s and ‘70s European soundtracks, particularly those from Italy made famous by the Spaghetti Western and Giallo genres.

Embracing the enormous scope of orchestral cinematic production while subduing the bombast of electrified riffage, Collin Hegna has honed a taut, gleaming precision from his passion project’s signature sound. When his honeyed baritone waltzes with the operatic wizardry of bandmate Maria Karlin, the finely-etched lyrical depths fortify Federale’s cinematic sway.

On February 4th the band is planning to release of new EP of well-chosen covers, and today Glide is excited to premiere their mashup of “The Grand Duel” and “Once Upon A Time In The West” along with its corresponding video. These classic songs are easily recognizable to the point of being iconic for their roles in Westerns. The Federale touch means the band gives both songs a fresh spin, playing up the vocals and adding a sense of orchestral drama while seamlessly fusing the tracks into one epic cinematic moment. It helps that the band layers into one enchanting texture after another with highlights coming from the guitar and harmonic interplay. Considering that its members have backgrounds in rock bands, one can only imagine how cool this song would be when performed live.

Collin Hegna describes the inspiration and process behind the song:

“We performed a live score to the film “The Grand Duel” at Portland’s Hollywood Theater way back in 2011 and we’ve been playing Luis Bacalov’s spaghetti western theme in our live set ever since. Many listeners may recognize the reverb drenched harmonica melody from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill Vol 1.” The way we’ve been playing it the harmonica was replaced by a whistle and a melodica, and the string parts were approximated by electric guitar and trumpet. We also never played the middle part. I’ve always found the middle section of Bacalov’s piece to be overly major and happy sounding compared to the meat of the piece.

Thus began the genesis of inserting “OUATITWest” into “The Grand Duel.” Like a DJ remix with live performers. By doing this we could add in a middle section that was darker and more iconic. It created a feature for our amazing soprano singer Maria Karlin. And we could (finally) do a rendition of a piece by our beloved maestro: Ennio Morricone.

Utilizing the recording studio luxuries of overdubbing and remote recording we were able to bring in Mickey Raphael on the harmonica. Mickey is best known for playing harmonica with Wille Nelson for the past 48 years, but he has also played with every single other major recording artist in the world (only a slight exaggeration). But the glory that is “Once Upon A Time In The West” could not exist without strings. And for this we once again have Andrew Joslyn to thank. We recorded this song sans conductor and sans click track. So having a string performer who can follow free time was the only way this could happen. It was complicated (but we hope it doesn’t sound that way). We also amped up “The Grand Duel” with our signature blend of reverb-ed out vintage guitar tones.”


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