A true musician’s musician, the talented Tod Hughes has been playing and making music for many years now, and with the release of his beautiful new album titled “Time Slow Down”, Tod Hughes takes an honest approach to reaching out to his many fans.
Ryan: Your album, Time Slow Down, was released recently. How long did this album take to make?
Tod: The stories were a lifetime in the making! The actual album was made over about six months at Arch Audio in Calgary, Canada, but really just took about ten full days in the studio with breaks. There was some time for mastering in LA, then production to CD and Vinyl. We did some background vocal work and percussion in another city (Winnipeg) which took some additional time to arrange and we also recorded the album in two batches of songs, which added some time. For the latter batch of songs, we added a few instruments, (trumpet and violin) in the process.
Ryan: Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Tod: My inspiration comes from my everyday life. My family, things I read, things I think about, things I worry about, faith, fear, hopes and dreams! Musically I am inspired by story tellers. People like Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Jan Arden, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and others. I do not try to sound like them or emulate them, but challenge myself to keep the songs honest, inspirational and though provoking.
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Tod: Usually it looks a lot like noodling on a guitar and writing parts of a poem at the same time. Generally this will be to express a thought, concern or even just something that struck me as amusing. Sometimes it is more structured and the lyric presents itself and then I work out a melody. Others times it all comes together in a rush of inspiration! This is the ideal way to right a song, fast and furious.
Ryan: “Drinking Coffee in a Hipster Place” has a video, does that make this song the official lead single of the album for you?
Tod: I would say it does. Although the song is a bit long for a typical radio release, it gets such a great reaction from people who hear it, both live and recorded, that we decided to go with it. It is a fun, tongue in cheek song and the video captures that feeling perfectly. Plus, the distribution company loved it and suggested we release it to radio as a single.
Ryan: How would you describe your music to someone that has not heard it before?
Tod: Roots rock, real music, played by real people straight from the heart. Sounds a bit like John Fogerty, singing with John Prine with Wilco and the Waterboys backing over a Tom Waits story!
Ryan: Do you have any advice for new musicians looking to make their own record?
Tod: Spend some time finding a producer who gets what you are about. Someone who you can work with and wants you to sound like you, and be the best you can be. Create your own sound, don’t try to be anybody else.
Ryan: Your album has a vast amount of topics woven within it, is there a specific theme that can be found throughout the album?
Tod: The overall theme to me is the rate at which time is passing and how it affects us each personally, the earth, our relationships with each other and how the past and future have merged to this day. There is also a spiritual thread through some of the music that time interacts with as well.
Ryan: At this point in your musical career, what are some of your current musical highlights?
Tod: Finishing my second album, playing with a great band, charting well on the radio, raising money for charities though our live shows for those less fortunate and putting a smile on the face of the folks who hear the music. Also sharing the stage with some great bands.
Ryan: How long have you been making music for?
Tod: I have been playing music for about 35-40 years with some time off here and there for family, business and life.
Ryan: Your album, although polished in its sound, still harnesses a live gig energy to it, was this intentional?
Tod: This was absolutely intentional and thank you for noticing! Our goal from the start was to create a record that sounds like we do live, that can be reproduced live, and that had the energy of a live performance. We recorded all the bed tracks for the songs with drums, bass, guitar and scratch vocals live off the floor to give it the live energy, then added the other instruments and mixed them carefully to retain the live groove.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your fans?
Tod: Thank you very much. I would like to say that we keep our shows posted at www.todhughes.ca and that you can sign up there to be kept up to date with happenings. The CD can be purchased at CD Baby for hard copies and Vinyl, as well as downloaded on iTunes and everywhere digital music is sold. My hope is to get the music out there and then to start recording another album, probably in EP format, later this year. I truly appreciate every person who takes the time to buy, download or just to listen to the music, as it really is the storyline from my heart!