There’s a new artist based out of New York that’s been turning heads regionally and internationally with his music. Amusium is born out of an obsession with all music, but with roots planted firmly in electro, orchestral, J-pop, house, and film scores. Russell Carlton Huiskamp—singer, songwriter, producer—spent the majority of his musical upbringing playing classical piano and training to be a composer. But, it wasn’t long until his interest in creating music grew to include film scoring, electronic music, musical theater, songwriting, producing, and eventually, pop. Eclectic, energetic, and heartfelt, he strives to be both unique and approachable with his music, drawing on limitless inspiration from all types of composition, visual art, fashion, technology and foreign culture. His hot new video for single “French Fries and Caviar” just got released today.
Unofficial EP track listing:
2) French Fries and Caviar
3) Gamble the Heartache
4) Miss Pariah
5) Nomad Prisoner
6) City in my Headphones
Below is a recent Interview I conducted with Amusium
CR: I understand you have a video that just got released today. Can you tell us a bit about it and the songs featured?
A: A few months ago, one of my very best friends got dumped. They had been together two years and were living together, and it became really ugly really fast. There was a lot of fighting, some abuse. My friend told me afterwards that she was never going to be in a relationship with anyone ever again–and she said it with such conviction, it really startled me–because of how bad it was. I thought, well, of course you are. There’s nothing anyone can do about that, it’s just inevitable. There will be someone else, eventually–that’s what this song is, ‘Inamorato’. It’s about getting destroyed by someone, and wanting to swear off love forever, but realizing that that’s impossible, and it will start again someday, and there’s just nothing you can do about it.
CR: Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
A: I feel like this question is easier to answer if I give everyone a special reason. For lyrics, maybe Roisin Murphy. Production, definitely Japanese producer Yasutaka Nakata (Perfume, Capsule). Invention and creativity, I’ve always been inspired by Rachmaninoff. Kesha can write a great hook. Lastly, I’ll say the B-52s, for being a beacon of that special mix of self-awareness, pride, and cleverness
CR: What do you want fans to take from your music?
A: I think most of all, a love of music itself. With every artist or composer that’s had a profound impact on my own life–my heroes–that was the overall effect. Music is the best thing I’ve discovered in my entire life. I’d like to pay that forward
CR: How would you classify your music?
A: One of the dancers at the ‘Inamorato’ shoot asked me this question. I always say ‘Pop’, because I feel it’s the widest possible category–and she got so mad! She was saying “I think it’s more of an electronic, funk, soul thing” and I was very flattered. I feel like a big portion of people are intimidated by ‘Pop’, or whatever their feeling of that word is. I don’t mind it, so that’s what I say. But I’m not implying I sound like 90s N’SYNC. (Although I do love 90s N’SYNC.
CR: What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
A: I have to be honest, I miss both of these things. I miss the intensity of it. Over my career as a musician I’ve performed as a composer, conductor, actor, I’ve played piano in shows, I wrote and performed a musical here in New York in 2011–but I’ve only done one show as Amusium so far. And I was let down by it–I have a big vision for what I want to do with the Amusium live act, but it’s not done yet. I’m still working on perfecting the songs, and finding the right people, and building an audience for it. I’m know I’m getting closer every day.
CR: How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
A: I have a better vision for what Amusium is–I’m better at creating my own rubric and playing by my own rules.
CR If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
A: I would meet, play a gig, co-write a song, and get drunk with Shiina Ringo. Although I’d probably be so happy I’d forget to wake up the next morning.
Be sure to check out the video linked above. Asusium’s upcoming EP is to be released digitally in all stores online Aug 12. Don’t miss out!