Tell us about yourself and your music
To say that my musical journey has been a long one would be an understatement!
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia; but it has taken me until my mid-50’s to develop both the belief and sufficient capability to now be comfortable sharing my music with the world-at-large. My musical journey started when I was given an acoustic guitar as a Christmas present when I was 8 years old. I was trained in classic guitar at school and actually but spent most of his time playing the contemporary music of the day rather than practicing stuff from the 17th and 18th century!
At that time my major early influences included AC/DC, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and David Bowie. At school he was forced to give up the guitar after only four years to learn the trombone, meaning that my further development on the guitar was self-taught. Probably one of my major regrets has been not going back and having more lessons. As the 70’s moved into the 80’s i was listening to many of the great Australian bands of the day such as The Angels, Australian Crawl, Cold Chisel, The Sunnyboys, INXS and the Divinyls; whilst testing out my family’s patience with long and loud repeat plays of everything by Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi and Dire Straits.
During this period (late 1970’s to mid 1980’s) I began song writing in earnest, and wrote/co-wrote almost 50 songs – mostly with a strong rock and heavy rock style. After leaving Melbourne for London for work in 1987, with increasing work and family commitments; playing and creating music took a back seat – and it remained in the back seat until late 2017 when I finally decided to seriously commit to bringing my music back to life.
I undertook courses and study to be able to take advantage of all of the wonderful developments in music production and mastering available to the modern songwriter and producer, and with this renewed commitment came a return to creativity, which both saw me update and enhance many of the songs that I had written in the 1980’s and also compose a number of new works.
I now have the music and lyrics for over 2 full albums of 13 tracks each already written and recorded and I will be busy working in the studio to record the vocals and then have them progressively released – the new songs that I have written demonstrate the exploration of further styles including including : – Ska, Symphonic Rock and Rock Ballads.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My first EP “The Bluff” was released in September 2019. It comprises five tracks and features two wonderful vocalists – Victoria K and Vaughn Mittens, who are both Melbourne based artists. What I have tried to achieve with “The Bluff” is to provide a taste of where I am now at with my music. Whilst all of the tracks has strong rock origins; I have looked to draw in elements extending across the decades from the 1980’s to today, including a broader brush of styles including Indie and Alternative rock as well as having tracks that are mainstream rock with a couple of tracks more on the side of heavy rock.
What I really want to show with this EP is the variety in style that I am capable of. There are some artists that you hear that have a pretty distinctive style and sound (eg The Police or Nirvana) and you can almost immediately recognise them as songs by that artist; what I am really wanting to achieve is to actually not necessarily have my songs recognised as “Collo” songs, I want to try to showcase enough variety in style and structure to provide listeners with a really varied listening experience.
What inspired you to write this release?
As I mentioned above I really wanted to showcase some different styles with this release. There are 5 tracks on the EP : –
“Standing In The Rain” – this song was written in late 2018 and is about taking a stand against domestic violence. There had been quite a number of news pieces on domestic violence and some local women really inspiring others with their brave stands against it. I wanted this song to get the message across about taking a stand but I wanted to do it more like a story than just simply trying to push the message.
“Secrets Like Jewels” – I originally wrote this song back in 1988 on a holiday bus trip through Scandinavia and Russia. I remember that there was an old acoustic guitar on the bus and I was mucking around with it on a couple of nights and basically wrote the song over 2 evenings. The song is about a secret relationship. I revised the music from a fairly standard rock feel to the Indie Rock style that it now has in March 2019.
“Once Were One” – I wrote this song in late 2018 and it is about a girl who has ruined her really close relationship because of an indiscretion. The song has something of an Evanesence feel (I really love them) although others have commented it reminds them a bit of Metallica.
“To Be Gone” – the music for this song was done mid-2018. One morning late in the year I woke up with “Walking through streets that reek of decay” line and the lyrics were all written in about 45 minutes. The song is about a person finding some hope for there existence when there was none. The style of the lyrics were inspired by two of my favourite bands – Iron Maiden and The Angels.
“One Track Mind” – this song was originally written in 1983 and was inspired by a girl I knew at the time who had a few relationships going at once and seemed really confused about who she wanted to be with. I revised the music in mid-2018 to give it more depth and interest but overall it is still quite true to the original version.
Describe the writing and recording process
With song writing, for me, probably 99% of the time, the music comes first. I have always found this the easier aspect. At any one time at the moment I have got 5 plus complete songs (from a music perspective) without lyrics. With lyrics I really enjoy the process of writing lyrics and trying to have something interesting to say with them. Once I actually get an idea I usually find that writing the lyrics happens quite quickly, but it is getting the inspiration for the idea/concept that is the slowest part of the process for me.
From a recording perspective, I have a studio at home and record all of the music here. I normally do the base song construction by sections Intro/Verse/Chorus/Breakdown/Bridge/Outro etc. In the last 12 months in particular I am trying to have the verses in particular have some variety between them from a music perspective. After the music is done I will wait a month or two and then come back and do mastering on the music. At this time I will usually tweak aspects of the tune – benefiting from the break since original recording. As mentioned I will normally then do the lyrics at a later date.
For the songs on the EP, I then sent my vocalists a version of the song with me doing vocals and then got them to send back a demo and encouraged them to put in vocal ideas of their own as well. We would then have a chat about the vocal and then I got them in to record the vocals (normally between 4 and 6 takes per song). After the vocals are done I do a detailed comping and editing of the vocals. After this I go to S:amplify Studios in Melbourne (run my internationally acclaimed music producer Dave Carbone) and we will do the final master there – they have some amazing gear at the studio that gives the final mix the professional edge that it needs.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
I think you have to be honest and know your strengths as an artist. I believe my strengths are in song writing and producing. So whilst when I was young I imagined being up on stage with a band doing my own songs in front of a room packed with adoring fans, I don’t think its my current reality. What would be cool though would be to go to a Karaoke bar and find one of my songs on the play list and then sing it myself!!!!!
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I thinks this is a tricky part of the process and something that I’m still discovering. I not trying to pretend to be someone who is outrageous or controversial – because I’m not. I’m a guy in my mid-50’s who has worked in commercial professions all of his working life, who loves music (particularly rock music) and who has taken a long time to get up the courage to have crack at trying to get it out there in a professional way. I’d like to think that my music has some more layers to it than a lot of the current stuff around and I also would like to think there is a level of maturity and interest in my lyrics that benefit from my life experiences. I don’t want to make generic music and I want to be able to show that I can put out music covering a variety of styles. Hopefully this can attract a broad spread of people to listen and really enjoy it.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I have really gotten into Halestorm of late – Lzzy Hale’s vocals are amazing and they just have a lot of really great songs you can rock out to. I absolutely love both Slash and Iron Maiden’s recent albums and play them on high revolutions. Also listening to quite a bit of Trucker Diablo, Social Distortion as well as local bands the DMA’s and British India. I also really love Victoria K who did vocals for 3 tracks on the EP. Her 2 singles a both really fantastic examples of symphonic rock and about once every 4-6 weeks she puts out a cover song on YouTube which is invariably kick-arse. She recorded the 3 tracks on my EP when she was 14 – I think she has got an amazing future!
Who are your biggest influences?
Some were mentioned in my answer to the opening question but other strong influences would include – Boston (absolutely amazing production values in all of their music – way ahead of their time), Guns N Roses, Def Leppard, Scorpions, Ice House, Noiseworks (fantastic Australian band who managed to sound better than Simple Minds), The Screaming Jets, Bon Jovi, Divinyls, Foo Fighters and The Offspring.
Tell us about your passions
Music of course – I am a sucker for stuff with plenty of loud guitars and a thumping beat. I still absolutely love the music from the 80’s and I feel that the production values and music skill exhibited in the 80’s, in general, seems to be well ahead of most of the stuff I hear currently. I really do love listening to music and of course making my own.
Of course my family – I have a fantastic and supportive wife and my son and I share a lot of common passions also.
Australian Rules football – my son is now a 5th generation supporter of the Collingwood AFL football club and our family have been supporting the team since it was founded in the 1890’s.
Travel – we all love travelling – especially in Asia and I have been fortunate to have been able to work in some amazing cities outside of Melbourne – London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bangkok.
Tennis – I love watching to sport and still play competition tennis twice a week.
What else is happening next in your world?
I just released in the last week my fourth music video – this was for “One Track Mind” – I was really happy with how this turned out and I must admit that I have absolutely loved the process of working together with local music video guru, Darryl Moulton, in putting the 4 music videos’s that I have done to support the EP.
I am also in the process of finalising a vocalist to use for my next music release. I am hoping to be able to get a new single out early in 2020. I have a couple of song’s that I am chosen but won’t finalise which one I will use until after I have worked through them with the vocalist.
I also just finished re-doing a song I wrote in the 1980’s, called “The Warning” and am really happy with how this has turned out. I want to release this song as a single in the first half of 2020 and am hoping to use Victoria K to do the vocals.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Collo
Connect with Collo
Website: https://collomusic.comFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/collomusicofficalYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR6qPFGn40J882yl_ajla2ASoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-467261884