How a Starman (David Bowie) and a Hero (DanBH) Validated My Life

David-Bowie-1974Nearly four months on, and I am still trying to grasp the concept of a world without the physically comforting cosmic genius of David Bowie. But, that’s nothing new for me. It has been 3 years, 8 1/2 months since my late husband Dan passed, and I’ve not really moved on from that. Sure, I’ve changed jobs (and subsequently returned to my original company), moved residence, resumed most of my creative interests…but the grieving process seems to be stuck. It must be the stuff I’m made of.

One thing I’m usually very good at is blocking the bits of my past life that are dark, desolate, and decidedly depressing. David Bowie’s death dredged that stinking muck back up and forced me to confront it head on. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because now I’ve been able to let go of a lot of repressed anxiety born of stuffing ungodly visions deep down the memory hole. But, it was a thousand times more painful than satisfying.

Thirty-five+ years ago (a lifetime for many), the lifelong feelings of being a misfit in an un-accepting world reached a head. I found an artificial way to cope, which involved ingesting large amounts of illicit substances. The chemical cocktails made me perceive the world to be a place where I actually fit in, felt productive, and gave me a sense of purpose. Little did I know (or want to believe) that the sense of purpose would end up being a daily visceral drive to find new heights of chemically-induced bliss. The miracle in all of this is that I lived through it. That’s where Mr. Bowie comes in.

With no Internet at my disposal back then, I received music news in bits and pieces from magazines and Bowie_smile_3television (MTV was in its infancy stages). I “discovered” David Bowie late-70s and just prior to sinking to my lowest point. I remember reading a story about how he had been in a similar mess, but had the stones to walk away from it and clean up his life. Not only was he creating and delivering superior music, he was having a ball finding himself, a quest that would end up being a lifelong journey. I so admired his strength and his ability to slip seemingly effortlessly through the world; not as a knock-off wanna-be clone, but as himself. Decidedly misfit, but happy in his own skin.

I started sleeping in front of the stereo, Bowie vinyl platters piled high, listening through huge headphones, lulled to sleep by endless stories of struggle, (at times) defeat, and redemption. His poetic verses described cold, unfriendly worlds, damning events, uncaring accomplices, herculean trials–but they always had a glimmer of hope, a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, and a sense of purpose in a chaotic world unsympathetic to those who refuse to walk lockstep to the boringly predictable drumbeat.

Bowie_Serious_1Eventually, I, too found the stones to walk away from certain self-destruction, and into the light of the satisfaction of knowing that yes, I’m “different,” but it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me, as long as I somehow make the world a better place for others. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

I had a setback a decade later, following a divorce and entering into an abusive relationship. Bowie’s music was forbidden in the new household, lauded as “fag crap,” and only the Rolling Stones (I wonder if Mr. Sensitive knew that Mick and David had had a dalliance) and ZZ Top were allowed. Thank God I had the presence of mind to hide away and hang onto my Bowie vinyl. I remained in that nightmare of a relationship for 5 very long years (queue up Bowie’s “Five Years” here) until I met the second hero of this maudlin story, my late husband Dan. But sadly, I had lost touch with Bowie’s world. I knew he had gotten married, and was still making music, but not much more beyond that. I had been too busy trying to survive by not poking the hornet’s nest.

Dan_Christmas_1999With Dan, another of life’s misfits and a kindred spirit, came a sense of renewal. Not only had I been given a second chance, but now a third, and I was not going to muck it up. He was truly my soul mate, the one that my bad choices put me on the right path to meet. He, too, was a Bowie fan, but we both were bogged down with work and trying to stay afloat financially. We moved from FL to GA and then back to FL, all in the span of 6 years. Life was busy, and something was wrong with Dan’s health, so it became challenging and a balancing act that consumed most of our free time. David Bowie suffered a heart attack in 2004, and Dan had his in 2005. Along with Dan’s attack came the grim news that he also had a rare and incurable vasculitis disease called Churg Strauss Syndrome. The two heroes in my life were forced to make life-altering decisions at almost the same time.

I made it my quest to ensure the remainder of Dan’s life had a note of quality and dignity. He died August 21, 2012 after a courageous struggle. Part of me died with him, but I am convinced his spirit walks with me, overseeing many of my decisions and helping me through the rough spots. David Bowie started releasing music a year later (2013) after a long hiatus to be with his beloved family. The floodgates opened for him and remained open until January 10 of this year, right up to the end. He and Dan shared something very special. They refused to accept death as a possibility, and especially not an end,  and for that reason both of their spirits shine brightly among the stars, still very much a part of this life and those who loved them.

Shortly after Bowie’s death, which was incredibly and personally devastating, I started replacing my vinyl, and ripping the CDs to my computer (which has a decent speaker system). I also filled in a few of the missing pieces and put together one helluva playlist. I have been sleeping to it every night (and playing it every day while working) for the past 3 months, and that has been what keeps the decades-old demons at bay.

During those moments when I can see clearly through the haze of grief, I consider myself very lucky, indeed, to have 2 such incredibly gifted and “different” angels watching over me for whatever time I have left on this world. After that, I will make it my eternal mission to follow them both to the ends of the universe.

Advertisements

80s Music (and sometimes 10s) Rules—Slave To The SQUAREwave Returns!

ASRR---CARAfter a long hiatus full of whispered rumors hinting at disbanding, retirement, everything Slave to the SQUAREwave fans absolutely did NOT want to hear, something very exciting has happened—a new album release and a hot party at the Hard Rock in Toronto on February 28, 2014 hosted by David Marsden. That sound you hear is the collective thud of gob-smacked jaws hitting the floor—hallelujah and praise the music gods!

The album—Asphalt, Sex and Rock ‘n’Roll—where to start? These Slave-starved ears were ecstatic with the long-awaited product of a flawless, long-standing, and highly successful collaboration between Rob Stuart and Colin Troy. If ever a duo were destined to create beautiful music together, this is it, folks. The result of long hours in the studio is a perfect, fun-filled collection of music that will both kick your ass and caress your soul.

What should you expect? Here’s my humble attempt to describe the pleasure trip this album delivers to its listeners. Strap yourself in, slide your headset on, and prepare to rumble—this is way better than the best road trip you’ve ever had in the mightiest muscle car.

If asked to describe the opening track Middle Finger in one word, “funkalicious” is the closest adjective that does it any justice.  It’s a combination of Max Headroom (without the stutter) meets the Funkateers that is the perfect warm-up for what’s in store along this welcome journey. Alive and Electric (Dedicated to Jodi) presents swelling synths and superb harmonies; it’s a truly pleasing blend of keys and strings that picks up speed and takes on a life of its own.S2TSW-Poster-01

Next up is Texan Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, a play on words rife with fast cars, a thrumming beat, and tough-guy lyrics. Who could ask for anything more? Then, wafting through the headset is a slightly off-kilter intro to The Big South that lures the listener into a poetic bop-fest of beat-driven goodness.

Not for the faint of heart, Zombie charges off the starting line in a sheer frenzy. Anyone who can sit still while listening to the exceptional synths and snarling vocals of this party-in-your-ear track needs to check for a pulse because they just may well be a zombie. Then, when you think you have a handle on what’s feeding into your brain, the Dr. Who-esque intro of Poor Man’s Fight draws you smack-dab into the middle of the fray, while trippy, fun lyrics bind you up and hold you captive.

Who wouldn’t wish for a Seven Day Saturday Night? Here it is handed to you on a silver platter—the penultimate weekend escape, complete with kick-ass strings that transport you straight into the party-hearty environment that you crave. From there, the bass-heavy opening of Bump promises—and delivers—heart-stopping percussive goodness.

Early Stone Roses anyone? Montreal is another foray into trippy melodies, sexy organ, and seductive piano. After the shameless seduction has left you breathless, you are thrown in front of a revving engine like a beast out of control. Amazing Grace threatens to spin out wildly; miraculously, traction holds you firmly to the road and catapults you along the autobahn of life and love.

SLAVE-to-the-SQUAREwaveThe next track begs for Peace of Mind, but the direct and driven message is that it’s truly an elusive goal. To emphasize that point, Time is Running Out presents a frantic and breathless illustration that time for us is, indeed, running out. Perhaps we should stop and smell the roses?

Casino is a perfectly crafted analogy of love won and lost the hard way. Better luck the next time, baby. You see, everybody gets a little lucky sometimes. Destined to be a favorite, Alive and Electric (Rob’s Analog Electromix) would be ideally at home on any Ultravox collection. The vocals form a faultless partnership with synths that reach down into the soul and infuse a shot of divine life-sustaining energy.

Zombie (Sonix Mix) is a less-frenetic reprise of the un-dead anthem; a different spin on a great, rollicking song. Likewise, Texan Thugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Mad Flowers Mix) gives one last and different listen to what makes this collection a no-holds-barred masterpiece.

Slave to the SQUAREwave delivers raw, unbridled musical joy with each and every collaborative piece that they create. Don’t miss out on a chance to experience truly artistic genius at its very best, while Rob and Colin still have the passion to make it happen. And, if you are lucky enough to be in the greater Toronto area whenever the sun, moon and stars align in perfect combination, be sure to see the dynamic duo Rob Stuart and Colin Troy, along with supporting band members Doug Lea and Craig Moffitt, for a live performance.  It’s definitely on my bucket list.ASRR---Reel-to-Reel

A very limited supply of 200 Asphalt, Sex and Rock ‘n’Roll CDs will be available at the release gig at the Hard Rock Café (279 Yonge St, Toronto ON) gig on Feb 28, 2014. After that, an “Expanded Edition” will be added, which includes these outstanding bonus tracks: “India”, “Stereo Orthophonic High Fidelity Victrolis (SOHFV),” and “Alive & Electric (Kernel Chiptune Mix).” Also, for the first time, S2TSW are making The Money Shot (another absolute personal fave) available with all bonus tracks. Both albums are for sale starting Feb. 28, 2014 at the locations shown below.

Tunecore-Release-Availabili

80s (and sometimes 00s) Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Ricky Humphrey and Nature Kills

Rick_HumphreyEvery now and again, I have the great fortune to bump into a contemporary musician or band who embodies the very essence of the 80s music I love. Recently, I was privileged to meet Ricky Humphrey online, currently recording as Nature Kills. The music I have heard him create has blown me away.

As Ricky, himself describes this phenomenon: “Nature Kills”—melody-driven, bass-thumping, guitar-wailing, synth-swirling music.

“Nature Kills” was born out of an idea in October 2010. The band “Rise” had ceased to exist and I was in a musical wasteland. I became driven obsessively to create music that I wanted to hear. I missed the music from the 80s and craved the textures and melodies that were created during this time. I needed a vehicle for this and that became “Nature Kills.” I want my music to sound fresh and new, but also have that contemporary feel; one foot in the 80s if you like.

Ricky Humphrey was kind enough to grant an interview to Rave and Roll. Read on to learn more about this super-talented man and his music.

What is your first musical memory?
Nazareth—Bad Bad Boy

What instruments do you play? RH3
Bass, guitar, and synth.

Which one do you favor and why?
Bass—it’s where I feel most at home and am most proficient.

Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?
Bass—self-taught, though I did have a few lessons with Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo/Ellis,Beggs & Howard, and now touring with Steven Wilson), as I wanted to develop my slap/funk style. Guitar and synth—self-taught.

Who were your favorite musicians growing up?
Mick Karn (Japan)—he was my introduction to bass. I was just blown away by his unique style. Gary Numan for being so inspirational; a true awakening took place for me at this time. Talk Talk—just awesome!RH1a

Who are your current favorites?
Peter Murphy—he has such an amazing voice and I just love his lyrics. Depeche Mode—I was not a fan of their material when Vince Clarke was involved, but have grown to like them more and more with each passing album. Gary Numan still does it for me and he is still evolving, which is cool. Trent Reznor, NineInchNails, and How to Destroy Angels—again very inspirational in all that he does.

Have you ever played in a band?
Yes, my first band was Sirahn, then The Open Hand, followed by Rise.

Do you prefer recording alone or with other supporting band members?
Both have their advantages. I have more control over my current projects as I am working alone. In a band situation, there’s a lot of diplomacy and at times tension, which can be good but it can also hinder.

Rick_Humphrey3When you write, which comes first—melody or lyrics?
This one is difficult, I write lyrics as and when I’m inspired but generally don’t have a melody in mind; however, when I have an instrument at hand I create melody, rhythm etc., then seek out a lyric that feels suitable. I don’t have a vocal melody sorted until I have a musical backdrop to work with, and then try to enhance it with a vocal line.

Who or what has influenced your style of music?
Japan, Gary Numan, Peter Murphy, Depeche Mode, Trent Reznor, and Talk Talk.

Do you see a particular direction that your music is taking, and if so, where is it going?
I feel it becoming somewhat darker with a few hints of lightness here and there just to keep the balance. I like to move more toward the Dark Wave/Goth genre but for now I’ll stick with Alternative until I make the leap.

Nature Kills music is available live and online, with a CD available soon. Experience it for yourself:
soundcloud.com/naturekills
www.reverbnation.com/naturekills
www.myspace.com/naturekills
www.facebook.com/pages/NatureKills

80s (and sometimes 00s) Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Tim Langan

Time to meet a wonderful current artist who would have been vital in my favorite musical decade, as he is today. Tim Langan has a very full and impressive musical resume. He gave me the opportunity recently to get to know him and I’d like to share the experience with you. Be sure to take the time to check out Tim’s music on YouTube, as well as the various websites posted at the end of the interview.

Tim_bass_3Tell us about who or what (or both!) has influenced your music.

From the time I was very young, I have known that I wanted to be a musician. My very early experiences in grade 1 involved singing the National Anthem first thing in the morning.

My mother likes to recount a story of being called in to the school by the principle and being told that I had a very good voice and they were recommending that I be sent to a choir school, as they felt that I had a sense for music inside me. She and my father decided that I was a little bit too young to be travelling downtown on the subway every day for school, so they decided instead to get me involved in piano lessons.

What is your first significant musical memory?

The singing of the National Anthem was one of the very first things that I remember about my discoveries in music; however, there were a few other things that were to come that also stick out in my mind.

I was the youngest in my family. My 3 older brothers liked music a lot. They were between 11 and 16 years older than me. I remember for my eleventh birthday getting 2 vinyl records. One was Elton John’s Greatest Hits and the other was Paul McCartney’s Band On The Run. I was hooked. I also enjoyed sports as a kid and used to spend hours hitting a tennis ball against our garage door. My brother had a Volkswagen beetle with an 8-track player in it and I remember specifically listening to Jeff Beck’s “Wired” over and over again while smashing the tennis ball off of the garage door. I must have listened to that album 1000 times as a kid and still enjoy giving it a listen today.

CD CollageHow soon after that did you decide that’s what you wanted to do?

I have almost always had a sense of wanting to be a musician from a very, very young age. It has always seemed like the natural and obvious thing for me to do.

In fact, I have tried to make it “go away” on several occasions, but it just won’t seem to leave me alone.

What was your first group/band and what part did you play?

My first performance with a band was in grade 8 when I performed with 2 friends at our grade school. We played 3 songs together. I believe we opened with Elton John’s “Rocket Man” with myself playing piano with drum and guitar accompaniment. Then I switched over to bass guitar duties and we performed Edgar Winter’s “Free Ride” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” – I don’t recall whether any of us wanted to actually sing these songs, so we may have played them as instrumentals. I find it amusing that this still seems to be a trend for me in my own writing, as the vast majority of the music that I am involved with, somehow seems to bypass the urge to add vocal to the song.

The name of this band was “Jupiter” and my next door neighbor, who was 4 years older than us wanted to be our manager and went out and bought us matching bracelets that had “Jupiter” engraved on them. We used to joke, what could be stupider than calling a band Jupiter?

The drummer in that first group was my lifelong friend Sascha Tukatsch, whom I have had the privilege to write and record with on so many projects over the years, including our high school band, which started as Reign, which would later be released on CD under the name “The Harrison Fjord”

Do you prefer to perform in the studio or live? Why?

Tim_bass_1

I love both. The studio offers the very unique experience of capturing your ideas and how you were feeling at that exact moment for the rest of time. That is very special indeed.

The live experience is also very special, because there is a nervous energy and adrenaline that is created from performing in front of people, with the pressure of wanting to perform perfectly and put on the best show possible for all of the people who have come out to see you play.

What inspires you to write your best music?

This is a difficult question to answer. Inspiration is taken from so many potential sources. Music is also very subjective, so who can really say what is “best?”

My own compositions are so varied in style from one to the next that I have a hard time trying to define what it is that grabs me or guides me in a certain direction. Usually, I am just a conduit that the music flows through. Most of the music that I write happens very quickly, indeed. People, places and events are most often secondary to the writing process. In peak writing times, I just sit down and compose and usually at the end of the day/night I have a finished piece of music, whether it is a short pop ditty or a full orchestral score.

Tim_bass_2What was the best concert you’ve ever attended and what made it so special?

Concerts are a wonderful experience for me. I usually do not attend massive venues, as most of the musicians that I tend to be inspired to watch, are lesser known, virtuoso types of players.

While I have been to may rock shows in large venues, like Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Queen, Aerosmith and Rush in the late 1970’s, it is the acts that perform in the smaller venues that I truly cherish.

Performances by Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin & Paco DeLucia with Steve Morse as the opening act, The Pat Metheny Group, Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Return To Forever, Yes, Uzeb, King Crimson, Joe Satriani, Youssou N’Dour, Level 42, Adrian Belew, Marillion, Hugh Marsh, Manteca, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Alain Caron, David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Steve Vai, Victor Wooten, Dream Theater, King’s X, Michael Manring, Fishbone, UK, Zappa Plays Zappa, Tommy Emmanuel, and Porcupine Tree are stand outs in my mind over the years; but probably one of the greatest shows that I ever saw was Andreas Vollenweider and friends on Oct 16, 1989. My reasons for liking this show specifically over all of the others is musicality. The inspiration that I drew from all of these shows is incalculable, but this one Andreas Vollenweider show was indeed something very special.

If you had a “do-over,” what would you do differently?

While I do read and write music, perhaps I would have tried to go to a “music” school to acquire a piece of paper with my name on it, although, I guess it is never too late?

What’s coming up next?

I have been quite busy this year adding my musical voice to many different recording projects. I have recently finished playing bass for a guitarist, singer, songwriter, named John Jamieson. I am hopeful that this CD will be completed and ready for release by the fall.

The Green Rain ProjectAlso, I have recently re-connected with a guitar player friend of mine that I worked with about 20 years ago. Her name is Irene MacKenzie and she is very talented indeed. Irene called me, asking if I would record with her and her son MacKenzie Coburn on a piece of music that she wrote for her Mother, who had passed away from pancreatic cancer 20 years ago, shortly before MacKenzie was born. I had always enjoyed working with Irene and given the music that she and her son were jamming on, I immediately agreed. We initially sent a bunch of ideas back and forth through the sky drive in a common email account over the internet and when we were ready, I drove out to their home studio to record my bass and keyboard parts on the CD.

We are currently in mixing and mastering for this debut CD and I am very anxious to get this one out. The CD will be released under the name “The Green Rain Project” and the disc will be entitled “ToRUTH” – Irene and I have talked a great length at working on many more CD’s together, as the music for this CD came together very quickly.

Another project that I have been recording and performing live with is “Lisa Smith’s Powerhaus” – I had been asked to join this band after Lisa Smith Powerhouse_4they had released their debut CD “Maze Of Souls” and we have been working to put the finishing touches on the band’s second CD – “612” – I am hopeful that this disc will be completed and released later this year. I am confident that this disc will be well received by fans and critics alike, as I feel the writing is very strong within the rock genre.

I have also been recording and performing with The David Bacha Band. This has been quite a long term project for me and I am hopeful that 2013 will be the year that we finally get this one to the market. We shall keep our fingers crossed.

David Bacha Band_2Lastly, I continue to write and record at my home studio, as this is just something that I have to do to maintain my sanity.

I have my entire musical catalog, (11 CD’s) which does not include the 5 CD’s that I was commissioned to do for a friend’s record company, that I am trying to get remastered and up for sale online. It would be a major achievement for me to get all of these up to CD Baby and iTunes this year, I remain vigilant in trying to complete this task.

What advice can you give to aspiring musicians?

Follow your dreams, work your butt off to be the very best you can be and don’t stop doing what you love for any reason.

Where can people listen to and purchase your music?

While some projects are currently available for purchase online (try Google to search out the band names) some are available through CD Baby or iTunes – (The Harrison Fjord – Machine Tree / Splub – Splub )

Most of my catalog is not currently available for purchase, although I am trying to rectify this problem.

Should you wish to check out a lot of my music and several of the bands that I have played with and currently am playing and recording with, I have over 100 videos, slideshows and music posted at my youtube channel, which can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/TimsTunes/

Also, be sure to check out these related sites:

John Jamieson – http://www.johnjamieson.ca

The Green Rain Project website, which is still under development, but can be found here: http://www.greenrainproject.com

The David Bacha Band: http://www.davidbacharocks.com

Lisa Smith’s Powerhaus website: http://www.lisasmithspowerhaus.com

The Harrison Fjord website: http://www.theharrisonfjord.com

80′s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Karl Hyde / Freur/ Underworld

~July 13, 2012~

Imagine a world where gifted artists from your favorite music decade continue to create brilliant music for over 30 years. Not tired, recycled retro; but new, reinvented, and cutting edge. That’s what I love so much about Gary Numan. And that’s also what I love about Karl Hyde, formerly of Freur and currently of Underworld.

For me, the past year and a half has been, in a word, stressful. Music is the salve for my tortured soul, the magic medicine that sees me through each day. During this period, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to travel back in time and rediscover some of the finest music the 80’s had to offer. One such “discovery” is Karl Hyde, front man for the unpronounceable group Freur. The iconic song “Doot Doot” is the stuff classic 80’s electronica is made of.

Freur – “Doot Doot” via YouTube user AreFriendsElectric:

In 1987, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith moved on from Freur to start the group Underworld, along with  bass player Alfie Thomas and drummer Bryn Burrows. Hyde and Smith have been the constant members over the past two decades. Underworld was an experimental band from the beginning. Karl Hyde used his electronic roots in a very unique and cutting edge way, establishing a strong foothold and forging ahead with dance/techno music. “Underneath the Radar” is an excellent illustration of Hyde and company’s successful segue from New Wave into this new genre.

Underworld – “Underneath the Radar” via YouTube user AussieFive:

Underworld continued to push the limits of their creativity, landing in the techno/trance realm with a breakthrough hit named “Born Slippy” which was featured in the critically acclaimed movie “Trainspotting.”

Underworld – “Born Slippy nuxx (Live)” via YouTube user bandulu:

Underworld – “King of Snake (Everything Everything) via YouTube user 3xrymek:

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this incredible band perform live. But, I can’t get enough of watching Karl Hyde onstage via YouTube. His enthusiasm for his music is eminently evident and contagious. The privilege of experiencing a live Underworld concert must be something similar to a religious transformation. The level of euphoric participation that Hyde exudes cannot be faked. He literally loses himself in the music, and no matter how many times he performs, his excitement and love for his music shines through. It’s almost as though his face is a window to his soul as his body moves of its own accord on its own spiritual plane.

“Scribble” from 2010’s CD Barking is my go-to song when I need a lift. It’s infectious upbeat is difficult to resist. I highly recommend exploring the phenomenon that is Underworld. Very few 80’s-based artists have successfully survived a tough and unforgiving music industry. When they do, they definitely have a gift that’s worth adding to your treasured collection. And when you’re down, spin a few of Underworld’s tunes.  In addition to bouncing up and down to the beat, you just may get that same Hyde-esque euphoric look on your own face.

Underworld – “Scribble” live from KCRW radio via YouTube user Alin82:

Underworld – “Scribble” via YouTube user UnderworldLiveTV:

80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Introducing Martin Eve

I have had the great pleasure of meeting Martin Eve through our mutual love of 8os electronica. I was searching for Fiat Lux’s “Photography” on YouTube, somehow Martin found out, and he ended up uploading a copy for my enjoyment. In getting to know Martin, I have found him to be charming, engaging, and an extremely talented electronic musician. Martin has graciously agreed to be interviewed for Rave and Roll, while waiting for the imminent release of his latest collection of music. Be sure to check his music out on SoundCloud, under the user name 4th Eden. I believe you’ll be very impressed.

***************************************************************

How long have you been a musician?

Well, I guess since my teens, as I studied music at school which was in the late 70’s. I really started writing in the early 80’s, the time of the electronic music explosion. So, I wrote music with my friends on our synthesizers.

What/who inspired you to become a musician?

I have to say my first music teacher inspired me to begin with when he played me Tomita’s – The Planet Suite. Ok, written by Holst, but all done with synthesizers…awesome. He also played in class a guy called Mike Oldfield. So, Tomita and Mike Oldfield are an unlikely inspiration together, but that’s how it began.

Tell us in what way that inspiration influences your music.

I try not to be influenced by music I listen to but it’s always going to be there in your subconscious. Inspiration however, is all around me, particularly where I live in Mid Wales. One moment I will write about the Welsh Hills and the next about a burial chamber. Real life and people inspire me, as well. I was recently inspired to write a piece about George Mallory (the man who almost made it to the top of Everest).

How would you describe the genre of music that you create?

I don’t stick to one genre, so I guess I genre-hop. With my influences from the 80’s with bands like Ultravox, there will be the electronic pop feel; but then I really like the folk/new age side. However, I do enjoy writing in a Cinematic dramatic way, where possible.

What current artist/group do you listen to most often?

At the moment it’s Ultravox – “Brilliant” the new album after 28 years away! But I also am listening to School of Seven Bells – “Ghostery” and Polica – “Give You the Ghost.”

Which decade of music do you feel is the most influential on current up-and-coming artists, and why?

The artists I listen too are influenced by many different decades of music. They then make it their own to make it sound bang up-to-date production techniques.

If you could spend your time doing anything at all, what and where would that be?

Hmmmm…. walk, live by the sea, and write music…as I say on my forums, “Composing Until I’m Decomposing.”

Do you prefer the studio or performing live? Why?

I’m a studio musician…the thought of performing scares the hell out of me.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve ever received?

I rarely get compliments!

What type of equipment do you use?

I use a variety of software based instruments and samplers with my Digital Audio Workstation, Sonar. These are all connected to my Korg MIDI keyboard. Favourite instruments are probably Omnisphere and Kontakt. Once a track is finished then my preferred location for publication is Soundcloud where fellow Soundcloud members can comment on my tracks.

Do you work alone, or do you collaborate with anyone? If you collaborate, what is their role?

I mainly work alone but recently I have been collaborating with a singer in Los Angeles, a musician in France and another musician in Sweden. It’s great collaborating; it pushes you further out of your comfort zone, but can be more time-consuming.

I generally find that my role will be mainly to write the songs and then produce them, but this depends on the other artist. If they want more involvement, then I’m happy for a role-reversal.

Where can we go to listen to/purchase your music?

You can listen to my music on my SoundCloud page at http://soundcloud.com/quietman. A new CD is imminent, but I cannot mention where it can be purchased from yet until it’s finally released by the record company. However, it will be available in our cafe’ (that’s the day job) at the ‘Wye Knot Stop’ Cafe/B&B in Llyswen in Wales.

80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules – Independent Music Productions

One thing I’ve learned from David Marsden and Ed (Ed-FM) Cooke: some of the best music in the industry has been overlooked because the stuffed suits in the record company/radio station boardrooms have given themselves the power to determine what us members of the poor, unwashed masses should listen to.  I have been a rebel my entire existence, listening to what moves me, not whatever is the flavor of the moment. If I didn’t feel that way, I would have missed out on some outstanding music without which my life would have been just a little more wretched. Can I imagine a world without Gary Numan, Slave To The SQUAREwave, Autocondo, Electronic Dream Factory, Vladymir Rogoff, Benjamin Russell, and so many others? No. Had I relied on what commercial radio force-feeds us, would I have enjoyed the moving and life-enriching creations of these fabulous musicians? Not likely.

The champions of bringing superior music (besides DJs like David and Ed) to the masses are generally folks in the marketing side of the independent music industry. I’d like to call attention to one such company, Independent Music Productions. The title of this music marketing outfit pretty much says it all.

I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some of the artists that Independent Music Productions promotes and feel they are worth the time to listen to. Here are a few to discover:

Rooftop Runners

From Independent Music Productions:

Forging a mix of menacing mood and moving melody out of their adopted city of Berlin, Germany, RTR are Canadian singer-songwriter brother duo Benedikt and Tobias MacIsaac. An internationally accomplished choreographer and dancer respectively, the brothers are no strangers to performing-arts success, having toured and performed extensively with world class troupes in Europe.

From: Berlin, Germany
Album: We Are Here EP (rel date April 3, 2012)

“Bang Bang” by Rooftop Runner via YouTube user rooftoprunnersmusic:

Style: Alternative / Indie / Trip pop
Members:Benedikt & Tobias MacIsaac
Production: Angela Seserman
Tracklisting: Streets, Energize, Bang Bang, She Devil
Official Website
Highlights: 2012 European tour successfully completed, performed at Club NME
“Streets” electronic remix“Streets” Music VideoStreaming Link

From Independent Music Productions:

Sounds Like: Jeff Buckley, James Blake, Radiohead, Massive Attack

Bio: “Crippled in my youth, crippled in my youth, crippled in my youth and I’m trying to breathe”

Francis Bowie

From Independent Music Productions:

Francis Bowie is a metrosexual whirlwind of creativity within the Danish music and art scene; aside from his singing and songwriting,  he’s a painter, sculptor, designer, writer and gallery owner. Indie  Music Musings calls him “a positive rush of inspiration and  celebration inspired by new wave and electronic music. Picture Duran Duran and Unkle with dreadlocks.”

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
CD: Francis Bowie EP
Release date: Oct 17, 2011
Label: Interscope Digital
Production: Michelle Djarling & Kasper Larsen (Kay & Ndustry)
Websites:
http://francisbowie.bandcamp.com/, http://francisbowie.com, http://soundcloud.com/francis-bowie, http://www.facebook.com/FrancisBowie

Style: Intelligent Pop Music
Streaming linkMusic video links

“Sunny Day” by Francis Bowie via YouTube use FrancisBowieOfficial:

Press contact: James Moore (james@independentmusicpromotions.com)
Artist contact: music@francisbowie.com

Monks of Mellonwah

From Independent Music Productions:

A four-piece alternative rock and indie band based in Sydney, the Monks draw on a variety of influences driving each member to create a fresh and unique sound, blending elements of classic blues & rock with modern indie and alternative rock. Their first E.P., Stars Are Out, is testament to such a unique blend, and has been highly praised since
its release in 2010.

Location: Sydney, NSW
CD: “Neurogenesis” EP (Advance rel May 24, 2012)
Streaming Music

“Swamp Groove” by Monks of Mellonwah via YouTube user MonksOfMellonwah:


Members: Will Maher (vocals), Joe de la Hoyde (backing vocals/guitar), John de la Hoyde (bass), Josh Baissari (drums)
Production: Jeff Bova (Michael Jackson), Ryan Miller (John Frusciante), Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, RHCP)
Websites:
http://www.monksofmellonwah.com
http://www.facebook.com/monksofmellonwah,
http://www.twitter.com/monksofmellonwah
Style: indie rock, alternative rock
Similar to: The Black Keys, Muse, Incubus
Press contact: James Moore (james@independentmusicpromotions.com)
Band management contact: Chris de la Hoyde (cdelahoyde@yahoo.com)