With a combination of exceptional talent, creativity, and experience, Robert Lundberg has become a highly-regarded photographer and filmmaker, recognized for his artful documentaries covering the worlds of music, comedy, art, and film. After growing up in Massachusetts, Lundberg moved to New York City to more seriously pursue a career in art and film. An individual who thrives under the pressure of new challenges, Lundberg began pursuing perhaps his most challenging project earlier this year with the new documentary series titled Uncontaminated Sound – The Interviews.
Debuting in February, the series follows comedians, musicians, fine artists, and actors in order to gain an insight on their creative processes which can only be fully unravelled by going behind the scenes. The series seeks to offer an intimate look into all of the rarely seen or known “little things” that take place during interviews and other similar encounters with artists and performers. These features are most often sluggishly edited, capturing particular moments that are usually heavily vetted by those in charge of the content’s creation or final product. But that’s not how Lundberg chooses to do his work. His primary objective is to bring you all of the raw, authentic moments that you would never otherwise get a chance to experience and enjoy.
With summer wearing on, Lundberg is back with another new episode of Uncontaminated Sound – The Interviews. For episode thirteen, Lundberg convened with Emilio Castillo, one of the co-founders of the highly regarded soul and R&B group, Tower of Power. It was 1968 when Castillo met Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka and the two formed The Motowns who later would change their name to Tower of Power in 1970. In their 50 year existence, Tower of Power has become highly regarded for their infectious conglomeration of soul, funk, R&B, and jazz. The group quickly became a live favourite, connecting with crowds through their high energy and emotion which feeds off of the enthusiasm of the audience. They just released their 21st studio album, Step Up, this past March and continue forward on their path to get people moving and grooving.
The soon to be 70-year-old Castillo was born and raised in Detroit until the age of eleven when he and his family moved to Fremont, California. The son of Mexican and Greek parents, it was in Fremont where he really began to discover music, particularly the blues and early Motown music. Some of his earliest musical loves included The Platters, Booker T. and The MGs, and The Spyders, but everything changed when he saw Sly & The Family Stone for the first time live in concert. It was their incredibly high entertainment value which Castillo most predominantly connected with, which provided some of the inspiration for forming Tower of Power. You’d think after 50 years of playing music, Castillo would have realized all of his musical aspirations, but, in his eyes, there is still more to accomplish. He would still like to write a Tower of Power song to serve as the theme song for a classic film and he’d love to record an album with an artist that has those timeless qualities that you don’t often see.
Commenting on his talk with Castillo, Lundberg said, “Since the conception of Uncontaminated Sound the interviews, I’ve had the privilege to chat with a diverse range of extremely talented individuals, some at the beginnings of a promising career, others in the midst, while a few have found themselves in the fortunate position to reflect upon numerous decades of success. Emilio Castillo falls into this last group. Emilio discovered music early on, it helped him ease the tough transition from Detroit to Northern California at the age of 11. Soul particularly caught his ear, and it was on from there. He picked up the Saxophone and paired with his ability to bring together extremely talented individuals led him to found Tower of Power with friend and collaborator Stephen “Doc” Kupka. This was around age 17 or so, 52 years later, countless accolades, 29 albums, along with legendary collaborations, Emilio has never lost his love and energy for the music. In conversation 013, I sit down with the legendary music man, to discuss his beginnings, Tower of Power, and what has kept him going for over half a century.”
Lundberg has many more interviews to come with acclaimed artists who have agreed to be participants in Uncontaminated Sound – The Interviews in the coming weeks and months. Lundberg has already been bringing you his ongoing series Uncontaminated Sound which takes a look behind the scenes to get a look at performers before they take the stage. The series has featured Macklemore’s Gemini Tour featuring Eric Nally (formerly of Foxy Shazam) and Xperience, Louie Anderson, Sinbad, Ron English, We Are Scientists, Rufus Wainwright and more. Lundberg’s photography has been highlighted in publications such as Huffington Post, Paste Magazine and more.