World Class Flamenco Guitarist
‘Douje’ is the stage name of guitarist, writer and producer Douglas Smolens, whose formidable guitar playing and visionary creativity reflect his 20 plus years playing music in every imaginable style. A founding member of world music super group Fishtank Ensemble, Douje’s unique and evocative playing style derive from a wide variety of musical influences.
Worlds Collide by Douje
This album came about 10-15 years before it’s time. Douje had a vision early on to blend traditional jondo flamenco with modern day world music and electronica. No matter how far out there it goes, the flamenco guitar playing of el douje is what unifies and sets this album apart.
The musical journey of Douglas Smolens, A.K.A Douje, began when he was 14 years old with a drum lesson from a friend. After about an hour, he managed to get a rudimentary drumbeat going. As he recalls, “I can still remember the feeling now. It’s like the first time you ride a bike or catch a wave. It’s something you never forget. I’m sure it sounded awful to the neighbors, but to me, it was pure magic.” The inspiration to start playing the drums came when his younger brother Tim, at age 10 picked up the guitar and quickly started ‘shredding’. Together with Tim’s middle school friend, Jason Schimmel, they would go on to make music together for the next several decades. (Tim and Jason would become the main forces in the Metal/Gypsy/Fusion band Estradasphere) And so, like many bands before them, they started playing in their parents’ garage.
Other Projects Douje is involved with . . .
Sounding classic and modern at the same time, the Boom Clique is a project born out of the idea to blend the raw urgency of Hip Hop, with the artistic sophistication of highly trained musicians.
Fishtank Ensemble is a musical Molotov cocktail of world class world music, blending a wide range of styles: Turkish, Romanian, Gypsy, French hot jazz, Balkan, Greek and more. From California, they bring their unique high-energy and virtuosic show to places all around the world.
Ideal Social Situation has that ‘timeless’ sound from the golden years of pop music that you just don’t hear anymore. Full-bodied orchestrations, 4-part vocal harmonies, visceral songwriting and a solid sense of humor make this a fitting tribute to the pop music of yesteryear.
Where to begin with the tragic story of Doug & Josh? They had to change their name to ‘One Armed Shiva’ just to try and avoid the fallout of this comedy/rock act gone wrong, leaving a trial of destruction and laughter. A true cautionary tale if you have dreams of combining music and comedy.