Tell us about yourself and your music
I’m an American musician, in the broad sense: I regard myself as part of the broad continuum of our music, from our ancient folk songs through gaslight material; Tin Pan Alley stuff; early and mid-20th-century torch songs and Hit Parade works; classic country; and through the 60’s revolution in pop and rock, right into the contemporary period. Currently, I reside in Houston, Texas.
Talk to us more about your latest release
“Now and Then” is a short (for me) song written for a lover who suddenly and unexpectedly left my life. I had the musical germ a long time ago; the loss energized me to work the song up to full production.
What inspired you to write this release?
In late 2019 a woman I loved from afar—an internet love—was struck physically by her ex-husband. She vanished from my life shortly thereafter. I had the music germ and lyrics for this song a long time; I was inspired then to complete the production. The song laments this loss, and I hope captures in some way the feeling of lost love generally—but with hope also of return.
Describe the writing and recording process
Modulating between major and minor chords offers an interesting variation on normal songwriting. I learned music theory and jazz chords early on, and use them to a degree in this song. I find words and lyrics, and the song melody, often suggest themselves based on dynamic or structural features of the song’s chord sequence. In this case, the words and melody seemed strongly suggested, and “came into my mind” in one short writing session after reflection on the song’s overall harmonic movement.
The song was essentially complete in basic essence some years ago, based on the guitar chord progression. After the loss described above, I was inspired recently to take it to full production. I created a bass line and accompanying drum parts as a foundation using Apple Logic multitrack software, and recorded the guitar direct into the computer while listening to the bass and drums on headphones. Vocals were added at the end.
For final track mastering and optimization, I use Adobe Audition software.
Any plans to hit the road?
I am reclusive and suffer from agoraphobia. I do not perform live.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
Although I’d love it of course if others like my music, I write essentially for myself: it is a creative drive within me, to craft songs. I hope that eventually the melodic quality and depth of my music may find some resonance on its own, without reference to excessive circus-barking or marketing. I do create track art or a striking graphic image that in some way captures the song’s thematic essence. Then I upload my songs to my music sites, and it’s on to the next. I have little interest in the circus-barking or soap-selling approach to music marketing.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Edvard Grieg…Ravel…Jimmy Rodgers…Johnny Cash… Rush, “Hemispheres” suite… “Revolver” by the Beatles… Sting… Roger Waters…
Who are your biggest influences?
Too many to name. Anyone who can write and sing; plus the corpus of world music and Western classical. But I would mention, in no particular order: Pink Floyd, the Kingston Trio, the Beatles, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Elton John, the Who, Heart, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Yes, Iron Maiden, and Johnny Cash.
Tell us about your passions
Melody and harmony; plus conveying, or attempting to convey deep emotion. I write about the deep themes of human identity and destiny; also I do some bagatelle-type works. My passions are history and philosophy, and working to forge a bridge to the future, out of the nightmare of human history. Also, I like women. I find the transgender fad to be just that: a perniciously harmful fad, with objectively damaging features. Vive la difference, and if you’re confused about your identity, get a chromosome test if you’re in doubt—or just look down your underpants, as they say. What people do for erotic games and such, ain’t my business; but pushing this stuff on the children and society amounts to a deep form of cultural insanity. Vive la difference, I say; I’m out to restore sanity to cultural discourse, among other things. I know this will make me unpopular but the truth is truth.
What else is happening next in your world?
The small amount of performing I do is done with a music partner. We do a space rock act with video projection, we’re working on getting shows ready for after the virus hoax passes, assuming the country isn’t burnt to the ground by mobs first. I’m awaiting the arrival of a Line 6 Helix guitar effects processor, that should be fun.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Von Doba