Premiere: Starita, Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band ‘The Search’ (Ben Leinbach Remix)

From his collaborations with members of A Tribe Called Quest to Los Amigos Invisibles and Michael Franti and Spearhead, multi-talented artist and songwriter, Starita, has astounded worldwide audiences with his unique blending of electronic and acoustic instrumentations (drawn from his deep roots in dance, ambient, funk, rock, and techno music). 
The lush yet complex signature soundscape showcased within various artist collaborations have consistently produced jaw dropping, original out-of-the-box productions that dare to defy odds, break the ‘rules’ of music genres, raise vibrations, while offering a note of spiritual introspection.
“As a fellow seeker who has found great inspiration, release, catharsis, and healing in music, particularly in singing, I was intrigued and excited by the invitation.
‘The Search – Ben Leinbach Remix’ is the third single release from the ‘The Wake Up Call Remixes’ EP, in collaboration with an impressive lineup of music tastemakers including Greg Papania L0<3* and Otis McDonald, targeted to drop August 24th, 2022. This is also the first-time collaboration between kindred music spirits and fellow seekers – Starita, Ben Leinbach, and Seán Johnson. This collection of work was based on Starita’s first avante-garde, ambient album; expressing the journey of introspection across the various stages of the human experience (from openness and curiosity in childhood to pain, closure, resistance, and darkness in adulthood), leading to awareness, acceptance, and awakening in the search for peace and freedom. “Everything about this album elicits the awakening to our true nature and listening to ‘the Spirit,’” says Starita. The seven song collection showcases an intentionally open longer format that allows listeners time to drop in, access, connect, and flow with whatever emotions and memories that may surface throughout the sound journey.
‘The Search,’ is one chapter in a larger fabric and story being told; addressing the narrative of escapism as a cycle of distraction while paying homage to all of the mistakes made on this quest. “It is honoring the dark as well as the light. As my music is an extension of my spiritual practice, I use it as a tool to explore these various narratives and themes. Most of the songs, in some way, speak to the spiritual path of awakening,” Starita elaborates. The original track features Seán Johnson, vocalist/lyricist/harmonium player of the mantra centric band, Seán Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, based in New Orleans, LA. A crucial component of Starita’s vision for this song included hearing some ‘intense devotional prostration,’ which led him to connect with Johnson to execute on the vocal delivery of the sacred mantras; particularly, making this song distinctive from others on the album.  In sound speak, this is a journey through electronic pulsating beats evolving into a peaceful meditative lush wash of sound.

“As a fellow seeker who has found great inspiration, release, catharsis, and healing in music, particularly in singing, I was intrigued and excited by the invitation. From the moment I first heard the draft of the song, I felt a lot of energy, intensity, longing – an inspiring, rhythmic soundscape that I was hungry to sing on. Starita shared that his process in creating all the music on the album was one of unconditionally trusting of what was coming through in the moment, rather than over-thinking it. That encouraged me to take the same approach,” shared Johnson. 

“The Search Official Music Video” Tam Starita -Creative Director / Ingrid Serban – Editor
Fans of the original track are in for a pleasant surprise at first listen to this remixed version by Ben Leinbach. In ‘The Search – Ben Leinbach Remix,’ Leinbach has taken the most intense track on the album – representing a spiritual catharsis, release, epiphany – and masterfully lifted the energy of the original track to create a rendition that is dancy, funky, and celebratory, distinctive from the other songs on the EP. “The blending of introspection with celebration and dance is extremely creative. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard these two elements touched upon in a single song. It’s a true testament to Ben’s craftsmanship as a producer and instrumentalist,” Starita reflects. Ben Leinbach is recognized as an award-winning producer, composer, recording engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and a master of his craft.  Leinbach’s work highlights a broad spectrum of the human experience: the beauty and darkness, the love and longing, and the joy and melancholy. Leinbach’s music is instantly recognizable – a blend of pop music elements, tripped-out sounds, paired with world instruments and vocals over an infectious groove. His extensive catalog of productions includes recordings with Deva Premal and Miten, Shiva Rea, Snatam Kaur, and Jai Uttal, including Jai’s Grammy-nominated album ‘Mondo Rama.’

“I’ve been a fan of Seán Johnson’s for years. More recently, I took a deeper dive into Starita’s impressive discography on Spotify. With these two artists at the helm of the original version of ‘The Search,’ I knew that I’d have great raw material to work with for the remix,” Leinbach elaborates.

“As we were distributing candy to the neighborhood last Halloween, I grew bored with the grown-up conversation and ended up dancing on the roof of my friend’s mini van to Daft Punk. The way they blend modern sounds and electronica with a retro 1970s vibe was inspirational. I feel like the music of Daft Punk influenced this remix. In my most recent remixes, I’ve strived to produce and arrange the tracks to sound more like pop music. I tried to create verses and choruses, bridges and breakdowns, and sought to highlight elements in the original tracks that could be featured, repeated, and turned into ‘hooks.’”

“In my productions, I seek to create a blend of the primal and celestial. So, deep, earthy drum grooves coupled with ethereal, floating, psychedelic sounds. I like layering on ‘world’ sounds; meaning percussion and stringed instruments from around the world, to give the productions a universal sound. I love reframing melodies with different chord changes. How many different backdrops can I fit behind the same or similar vocal and instrumental melodies? The original vocal melody works great in this minor key, but can I find chords that would work with the same melody that create a more major key vibe? With this approach, you can create a dynamic arrangement with just a small amount of raw material.” 

Leinbach’s process resulted in a World Pop track that incorporates a blend of disco groove elements, a touch of electronica, and a mystical eastern sound. It’s completely transformed the original – experimental, ambient, atmospheric, dark, meditative house beat – into a new song that’s bursting with energy, happy, fun, celebratory, dancy, fancy, yet introspective. 

The full production team on ‘The Search – Ben Leinbach Remix’ include – Ben Leinbach, remixer, songwriter, recording engineer, mix engineer; Starita, songwriter, recording engineer; Seán Johnson, songwriter, vocals, recording engineer. Mastered by Michael Romanowski of Coast Mastering. Creative direction by Tam Starita. Released by Be Still Records, a division of Starita Music. 

“After listening to this reinterpretation, I hope that listeners feel energized and inspired; shed any baggage that may be weighing them down,” Leinbach imparts. Starita and Johnson adds, “…embark on a journey that allows them to let go of something they no longer need.” “Spirituality is so personal and subjective. Close your eyes and let this song transport you on a journey into the wilderness of your imagination where you can find a meaningful spiritual connection that takes a personal form that speaks to you. Trust whatever arises, because this is the spirit that this music was created with. What makes the song different for a listener who might be used to hearing music with more of a formulaic song structure, is to let go of that expectation and let the song take you for a ride.” 

Starita’s ‘The Search feat Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band – Ben Leinbach Remix’ single is available across all digital service providers on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

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