Interview with Dušan Ćalić

Dušan Ćalić  performing one of two renditions of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny"

Dušan Ćalić recorded and released two renditions of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" on YouTube.

The slower version on this link was inspired partially by Greg Howe's lively take on Bobby's chord changes.

Sunny - uptempo version by Dušan Ćalić

Both were the SUNNY SONG OF THE DAY for July 2 on our companion site,
THE INTERVIEW: When did you start learning to play music, and what instruments?

DC:​ I started a bit later than most people. I was 17 and I started with an acoustic guitar that had three strings on it.​ I always just kind of had fun with that guitar as a child, beating it around, using it as a toy. I started learning guitar much later (17). What were your first memories of favorite songs and how did you hear them? - radio, friends, family, tv, computer?

DC:​ ​
​My family played me a lot of Dire Straits, and some pop and rock music that was popular in Serbia at that time when I was really young. My mother or my father would just play some of that on the stereo or gramophone and I didn't know what that was at the time. It just felt good.

BH.COM: When did you first hear Sunny or any other Bobby Hebb song?

DC:​ ​I knew the melody from Sunny since I can't remember... And I didn't know what song it was, but I knew the melody from TV and radio. It's when I got my first decent internet connection and when I started exploring music, I learned a lot about artists, songs that are considered as "standards" and I found that song I knew but didn't know the title, which was Sunny by Bobby Hebb. Did Sunny influence your style or your songwriting?

DC​: Yes. Sunny kinda goes up and down the chords in a linear way. I don't know how to put it simply, but the chord changes are a bit different. I really liked that.​
On Ćalić's original music: Echoes is very dreamy, and very excellent.

a)How did that come about?​

Ćalić I wrote the main Echoes melody at the beginning of mu guitar playing "journey".​

I could barely play, but I had the melody​ in my head and somehow, I found it on the guitar. I didn't know the notes on the fretboard back then, I didn't know about chord changes, I didn't know what key it was in nor the scale I should follow to stay in that key. I just went with the melody. After a while, I got good enough to play it without making mistakes, so I plugged the guitar directly into the PC without any effect chain and recorded it. Two or three years later I got into arranging, producing and recording and I turned that short melody into a song. That is probably the purest piece of music I've ever made. Everything else was influenced by something and trying something that I liked at the time. Echoes is all me.
b)are you on all instruments?​

Ćalić: Yes. I played some instruments and programmed others. I didn't know much about mixing at the time. I plan to revisit it and mix it better. No musical changes will be made, just the mix and master.​

BH.COM: Do you have a band and play live shows,,, and how did you create the instrumental "Herbert" ? ​

Dušan Ćalić - I did play in a couple of bands, funk / rock stuff, and some modern jazzy suff. I don't have a live band currently, but I'm working on it. I should start playing with some people in about two months when we are done with our summer vacations.

Herbert came to be by me trying to express the influence of some fusion / funky stuff I was really into at that time, but I tried to bring it closer to my style of playing which is more rock-based​.​ How many tracks do you record for a song like Groove 101 and - as with Echoes - the question is did you play all the instruments on this as well?

DC:​ Yes, I did play all the instruments. Actually, guitar is the only "live" instrument, everything else is midi programmed. Groove 101 had a lot of tracks, I can't remember the number, but I do remember it was tricky to mix. My mixing wasn't very efficient at the time, so I used a lot more tracks and plugins than I should have. It took effort to wrap my head around that mix because I just kept adding the subtle melodies and tracks with different instruments, trying to make them work together. It is a bit cluttered with sounds when I listen to it now. Who are some of your influences besides Jimi Hendrix?

DC:​ John Frusciante from RHCP is probably my biggest influence, as well as their music. Joe Satriani is right up there, but I'm not talking about Joe's playing, even though I love it. It's more like... I really wanna play my guitar when I see him play. He's a real guitar hero to me. I don't try to learn his chops (maybe a few of them), I just love listening and watching him play. There are about 2,000 versions of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" - and more people are recording the song all the time. What are some of your favorites and why?

DC​: My favorite is the one by Greg How​e. He killed it on on the guitar. It sounds great and it's impressive for me to see as a guitar player. The other one I really like is by Marty Schwartz and Jamie Allensworth. That one is so basic and private. I just love it. The last, but not least is the one you can find on the CologneSoundsGreat Youtube channel. I love everything about it. The feeling, the sound, the production...
Some of Dusan Calic's favorite versions of "Sunny"
Marty Schwartz and Jamie Allensworth Cover "Sunny"
This newly-formed and yet unnamed band from Cologne presents their very own version of "Sunny".
vocals : Alina Heeg
guitar : Stefan Pflugradt
solo guitar : Dieter Roller
bass : Rafael Bayerl
drums : Pascal El Sauaf
Sound mixing & Engineering : Rainer Janster
Greg Howe Jammin' on Sunny -
________________________________________________________________ What is your mission statement for your music?

DC:​ My approach to music is a bit selfish. I make what I feel, of course, but at the same time what I want to hear. I don't approach to it with the "Oh, somebody is gonna like this" idea.​

I try to stay out of current trends in the sense of arrangement and instruments used because I feel that if you try to do that, your music will sound obsolete after some time. Everybody should choose instruments and arrangements that serve the song, not the TOP 40. As far as mission... I would really like if someday somebody said to me "I got into music because some of your songs moved me." To me that is the greatest reward a musician can have.

BH.COM Anything else you'd like to say to our readers ?

DC​: To all of you players, don't just learn songs to be able to play them. That is just one part of becoming a musician. You should CREATE!!! Even if you are never going to show it to anybody. Create. It will take the stress off of you, it will make you more intelligent, it will make you a better person. Why learn music if you don't use it your way?​ Stay humble and be curious. Thank you for your time and for recording SUNNY, Dusan

Joe Viglione
Sunny: The Bobby Hebb Anthology

Remember, we have a Bobby Hebb / Beatles special planned for August 12 - August 29 - the 49th Anniversary of the 1966 Bobby Hebb / Beatles tour.

We will be speaking with Michael Starr some time in the near future, an interview that we hope to publish August 12th, first day of our 18 SUNNY DAYS OF THE 49th ANNIVERSARY OF the BEATLES/BOBBY HEBB 1966 TOUR

Biographer reveals what he learned about Ringo Starr
New York Post Sunday July 12
By Michael Starr

July 12, 2015 | 6:00am

“It’s just a happy coincidence.” Michael Starr says in the publication about sharing his last name with Richard Starkey's stage name.