Hi Todd, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Busy: Exciting news, traveling to New Orleans soon for the 2017 ZMR Awards Ceremony for two nominations of the “On Eagle Mountain” Cd and just had a symphonic version of Eagle Mountain performed live with full orchestra.
Other than that the usual, practicing, organizing new performance sets, massive calling/reaching out for gigs, getting ready for two short tours, getting ready for next set of recordings, composing new material.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Western Sky”?
Sure, this is a piece composed with the sound and feel of an ocean breeze against the light of a sunset sky. It is a precursor to the next set of recordings reflecting the water worlds.
It began as an instrumental and then Lola added her beautiful lyric to the tune to really set it off. She really enjoys singing it and her interaction with the horn player Premik is a lot of fun to watch.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It was more of a feeling and a way to develop a melody with more of a bossa vibe. I usually write these kinds of tunes fairy fast. I was actually working two variations of this tune. When Jeff Haynes my percussionist in the ensemble heard this particular version, he loved it so much we had to keep it.
How was the film experience?
Great!. We had an excellent crew on this and spent 3 days shooting. We did approx one tune per day so there are two more on the way. Scot Broderick was the producer on this and we shot inside the beautifully restored Shea Theater in Turner Falls, Mass. I have worked with Scot before and love his interpretations of music performance as it relates to film.
The single comes off your new album On Eagle Mountain – what’s the story behind the title?
Actually this single has not yet been released and is a teaser for the next release.
The story behind On Eagle Mountain is it is a concept album based on music and mountains. I have gleaned a great deal inspiration from the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and the Colorado Rockies as a professional PSIA ski instructor and as a hiker and lover of natural beauty.
On Eagle Mountain is about being on a mountain experiencing its full vantage point and relationship to land, water, sky, moon, animals, spirits, elementals.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording of On Eagle Mountain was amazing. It was my first time working with a grammy winning producer in a high end studio. There are certain things which are required to get an award winning type set of recordings and to go through that process was really quite amazing.
Will Ackerman was the producer on this set. In some ways, when the overdubs began, it was almost like playing in a band except the guys you are with are the cream of the recording stock. (Tony Levin, Eugene Freisen, Jeff Haynes, Michael Manring to name a few).
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else than when you are writing your own original material?
For the most part, I write so tunes fast at times it is like thinking a single thought and it just comes out. Collaborations occur more at the level of, band arrangements. In other words, I provide melody chords tempo, basic style so the other musicians have a real nice and interesting to platform from which to work. The goal is to provide an musical environment in which they can bring forth their absolute best.
On Western Sky my guitar set the nouveau bossa vibe and the bridge kind if evolved its own life after playing thru it a few times with the ensemble. So the feel was better than I could have ever anticipated or done on my own.
In a live situation, the music gets adapted and arranged to engage audiences and break out the music in a manner which shows very cool aspects of the tunes.
On the other hand, when writing Orchestral or chamber music I tend to provide exact instruction due to the number and nature of musicians.