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Michael League Talks Therapeutic Record ‘So Many Me’, Snarky Puppy and India

The multi-instrumentalist producer and songwriter’s mesmerizing solo record was an outcome of being shut in during the pandemic

Anurag Tagat Nov 16, 2021

American multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Michael League. Photo: Txus Garcia

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One of the world’s most sought after and cerebral musicians of our times, Michael League moved from his decade-old home in New York to the village of Prats in Spain, during the pandemic, no less. “It hasn’t slowed down my work at all. I wasn’t worried about that happening anyway. It’s been really awesome. I have a studio here in my house and musicians come over. It’s very different from a studio in New York, where you’re watching the clock and how much money you’re spending,” League says over a video chat.

It was also in March 2020 – when the world began shutting down – that the bandleader of fusion frontrunners Snarky Puppy began work on a solo record, something he had put off since 2015. It led to the creation of So Many Me, League’s album which released in June. Across 11 tracks and several strikingly shot music videos, there’s a marked turn to alternative, pop, jazz and fusion. Moroccan, Turkish and Kurdish percussion – which League imbibed and learned – color the songs in a varied palette.

Lyrically, League dives into topics like politics (“In Your Mouth,” whose music video markedly takes aim at erstwhile U.S. President Donald Trump), identity crisis (“I Wonder Who You Know”) and death (“The Last Friend”). He agrees that So Many Me has a darker tone overall, but it’s not entirely unexpected. “To me, Snarky Puppy’s music is a little dark, it just doesn’t have lyrics. So you can’t really pigeonhole it being dark. But a lot of the songs that I write in general are dark. So it surprised a lot of people that the concepts that were being discussed weren’t shiny, happy concepts. I’m a very happy person, but you know, I’m a person. So there’s a variety of perspectives and emotions.”

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League spoke with Rolling Stone India as part of a fundraiser set up by artist collective and production house Bonafide Seven. The campaign and this interview aim to raise money for continued Covid-19 relief efforts in India via Hemkunt Foundation and GiveIndia, following the debilitating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which hit in April 2021.

Watch the RS Interview with Michael League below. Contribute to the Covid-19 Fundraiser for GiveIndia and Hemkunt Foundation here.

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