Tell us about yourself and your music
I am one of those people that just loves music. It makes sense to me. A life without writing music would be a very stale and painful life for me. When I was 12 years old, I picked up a guitar for the first time and began a journey of incredible discovery. My life seemed to “fit” from that moment forward. I learned quickly to not only play various instruments, but to play them because I heard music in my head and I needed to bring it out. The unorthodox rhythms, the compelling melodies, the tension and resolve in the chords, the journey of thematic context… Stuff I began to learn early on that I now implement with much more practice and experience in the music I write.
Talk to us more about your latest release
With “Interim” I wanted to really capitalize on catchy melodies and moving, “stick-with-you” rhythms and instrumentation, so that I could more effectively and inspirationally convey my message. The message, in short, is an examination of the benefits of waiting on promises, specifically from a Christian perspective.
What inspired you to write this release?
“Interim” is a journey, if you will, conveying two prominent aspects of waiting in faith; the pain of longing, and the joy of hope. When we wait for something we are assured of it creates a sorrow because we lack the thing we are awaiting, while also creating an optimism for the thing that we are confident we will receive. I use melodic, rhythmic, and instrument-based themes to bridge these two concept together and convey the tension and ascension that they bring. Lyrically, I am hoping to instill a steadfast confidence in those who are longing for the things promised to them.
Describe the writing and recording process
It started with the synth, drum, and vocal intro from “Distance,” the second track on the release. I knew I wanted the tension of the synth pulling toward 6/8 and the drums to 4:4, with a vocal melody that sat nicely within the arpeggiating synth, sometimes smooth and sometimes clashing. From there I began to build out the concept, taking the songs mostly by melody or rhythm first. I knew the lyrical themes early on, so it was pretty easy to build a musical structure that would be fitting.
I write and record all of the instruments and vocals myself, so writing can take a long, tedious time with a lot of late nights. I write everything first in Logic Pro X with midi instruments, almost like scoring, and then I learn the parts that I wrote for each instrument. The recording process usually demands that I have all of the parts pretty solid for instrumentation, and then I’m slamming tracks at the tracking sessions, sometimes from early in the morning til 1 or 2 am, and then back at it again the next morning. It requires me to carefully block my time. For example, trying to track vocals right after doing drums for a few hours on not-very-much sleep isn’t a very wise schedule… lol
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
Probably not anytime soon. It would definitely be a blast and I would love to do live performance, but I’d need some pretty extensive funding first to hire other musicians to play with me.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
How do I? I was hoping you had the answer… ;p
Honestly, that’s been a tough journey for me. I wrestled a lot early on with wanting to remain vague about the fact that I’m just one guy playing all the instruments. I wanted to be mysterious, take the spotlight off of me and just hope that people flocked to what they thought was a cool band… but that became increasingly more difficult, and very inauthentic. I’m naturally a much more genuine person than the vague, multi-faceted persona that I was striving for, so eventually I just sort of caved in and came at it with an attitude of, “hey! This is me, playing all of it, I’m having a blast, I love writing this music and singing these songs and sharing them with you as an actual human being!”
That authenticity I think is what has been helpful in this latter season, as people seem to connect more with me on a deeper level as a person through my music. And really, the most unique thing about a person is generally their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and context.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Well, I don’t listen to much, to be honest. Definitely not rock. Most people are pretty surprised when I say that I do enjoy classical, I’m a big fan of cinematic music, Christian worship music, and a whole lot of country.
Who are your biggest influences?
Beethoven, particularly in how dynamic and expressive his music was. Hans Zimmer is a huge inspiration. I love the lyrical journey of a lot of country music, that often times leaves the context in a format shareable by the listener’s worldview. I’m also a big fan of the little-known Fair to Midland. I always appreciated how energetic their music was, and it wasn’t thrashy. It was gripping and emotional.
Tell us about your passions
If you can’t tell already, I’m VERY passionate about music. Mostly from a writing standpoint. I love to write instrumental piano music, orchestral and cinematic scores, country music, Christian worship music. I love to explore different cultures and their foods, styles, and languages. Traveling is my second passion, for sure.
What else is happening next in your world?
Right now? Beyond Assay, I write calming instrumental piano music, cinematic scores, and some country. I am also a full-time worship minister in the International House of Prayer, where the live worship music and prayer hasn’t stopped in over twenty years… though I don’t mind the pancake place as well. ;)
Thanks for an awesome interview, Assay
Connect with Assay
Website: https://www.assaymusic.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/AssayMusic2017/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/assaymusic/Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Exfpdi7VaHHW11jUv5ueg?view_as=subscriberSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-19239865Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/assay