Collaborating with other artists can be a bag full of doorways. You can find new opportunities to soar, or you can make a humble introspective journey into yourself and find new ways to look at things you are, or, are not doing. With the ability to share ideas in many ways thanks to technology, we no longer have to go to a big fancy studio to “get things done”. Small home studios are everywhere and the artists that populate them cover every genre imaginable. With collaboration the number of doors is infinite and the possibilities as well.
That old reliable, eighties-metal will never die. Thanks to the die-hard fans and the “never-say-die” attitude of musicians who keep the guitars loud and the bravado “wild”. Success could be found by branching out into pop, hip-hop, country, rap, R & B, soul, or any number of genre’ that are enjoying the spoils of notoriety, but hard rock and metal have grown to feel so much like home that the peace it gives can never be replaced by any other style of music. Granted, success in the music industry these days is due to perseverance and diversification, lack of it in no way means an artist is not talented. Talent is an objective term. These days almost every big name records in a huge high end studio and they all end up using the same high end tools and techniques to get what has turned into the “cookie-cutter” sound of today’s hits.
I’m not knocking any other styles of music; I just have an undeniable love for HEAVY METAL! The music of today is so muddied up with genre and sub-genre, sub-sub-sub-genre, ad-infinitum. Any true focus on the “music” itself is near impossible. Making repeated subdivisions to established styles detracts too much from what makes music what it is. That’s just my opinion about that. Music was made to be enjoyed by the listener. The scientific quantization of it, though very useful when composing pieces, is the farthest thing from the minds of music aficionados.
What does a song do to you? Where does it take you? Can you resist its pull? How far will you let it, “fly you”? I’m truly keen on metal and hard rock but I do listen to other styles. When I collaborate it’s usually with artist in genre removed more or less from my own favorites. I have to find the way to fit what I can do into their compositions. They can tell me what they want from me, or ask me to dive down the stairs so to speak and see how the landing turns out.
There’s a great drummer in Chandler, Arizona, Terry Daun, who has released a number of solo projects. When I first became aware of him and his music, I heard a great keyboard player who had the technical fineness to program intricate and engaging drum tracks. The fact that he was such a great trap-set player was a new discovery I made after I’d known him for a year or so. I did a bit of collaborating with him on a couple of his tunes and it was a lot of fun. My lead tracks were there in a video he shot while on vacation in Hawaii, strolling through smoking volcanic calderas. If I ever have an idea that his drums or keyboards might fit into, I will definitely give him a call. He just might be too busy as he has a new band with a former guitarist of Alice Coopers’.
Another great artist to collaborate with is none other than the local man with the best business plan, Jesse De La O. Having worked on many tunes with him and had a few of my own worked on by other artists by way of his endeavors; I can honestly say that working with him on music is always a great learning experience. It’s not just the music, but it’s also the insight he has about how to handle the music business climate. Not all people can be trusted and watching him learn this by trial and error, I have learned that being able to accurately judge people is no perfect science. It can however, save you a lot of time dealing with those who have no real focus. Another aspect of working with Mr. De La O is the way his compositions and his direction for what he needs on a particular track are communicated clearly. It can be to the point or, in some of the most amazing sessions, you can see his mind at work molding the music at hand into a new form in an “on the fly” way that’s rare but always an honor to be witness to. I’m sure he would rather I not put him on a pedestal but in my eyes, he is the most under acknowledged artist in the area. If you let him steer and have no fear, he can make you famous.
Lastly and by no means the least of my favorite collaborators, Roy Coston, lead guitarist of the Oneida, New York rock band, Lovebone. My work with him has been minimal thus far but, being the stickler for detail that he is, and thanks to a few new programs in his digital audio workstation, there is a tune or two in the wings. He’d sent the first file to me a year or so ago. When I first started working on it I just went all out and made a full production of it. I was not aware that all I needed to do were some guitars. I added bass, drums, and vocals. Jesse (De La O) was supposed to do the vocals and lovebone has a bass player and drummer. In the end we all had a good laugh and just moved on.
Though Terry and Roy are artists I have yet to meet in person, having talked a bit on the phone with both, I can honestly say that their personalities are not the “nose turned up” rock stars that a lot of artists become with a taste of fame. I can relate to and identify with their humility. We all share a passion for music and that passion is what binds us together as friends. Who knows, maybe my collaborators and I will form a band someday. That would be a cool band to play in!
When someone approaches out of the fog of life with an idea, you should pay attention. It just might be a worthwhile muse inspiring you to open, and then step thru a brand new door. There’s only one way to find out what’s on the other side.
Here is a small glimpse of some of the great frinds I have made thru music. (Photo courtesy of A.O.G.MEDIA and its' affiliates)
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