How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
This album is a natural progression from my last 2. They seem to come every couple of years. I finish one album, go to work on promoting it, during that time new Ideas come. I file those Ideas away until I decide to start the next album. I then purposely sit down, finish those Ideas, & write more tunes whilst I am in that mode.
The concept for this CD came about in various ways. Musically- What comes naturally to me is Melody & Groove & this is my main concentration for all I record. I also like to give a happy simple feel to my tunes. I think people always like melody & to feel good when they hear a tune. Even the CD title can put a smile on your face. I donít consciously sit down & think I want to make this tune feel one way or another, they just appear in their own form.
I got more of a feel for the market I was catering for after visiting & playing some shows in the USA. This shows in the album. I also decided to use some USA players, Rick Braun & Mike MacArthur & another from Tokyo, Paulo Vargas, who plays with Stevie Wonder. The Horn sections were Tampa boys who were friends of Mikeís.
I have admired Rickís playing for a long time & Mike who organises my bands in the USA happened to be playing with him at the time & asked him if he would like to do a few tracks for me. Paulo played with me in Tokyo.
My goals for this album are to cement my profile & start touring USA, Europe & Japan.
This will actually start happening near the end of your summer with a huge festival for Grooveatech in New York. There will be 25 top USA & International Smooth/Contemporary Jazz artists on the bill. There is also a CD featuring a lot of the artists (including myself) being released to co-inside with the festival. Keep your eyes & ears open for this. It will be an amazing show.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
The whole process is one big challenge. Recording a new album is first & foremost exciting. A lot of unknown creative aspects come into play. I hand out demos of the tunes that are fairly complete with melodies, solos, bass & drum feels & chords. I then brief the Individual musicians & tell them to do their thing with the Ideas & parts I have given them. I rely on this, they have a free reign & I get the best out of their emotion & creativity this way. It is always unknown on what I am going to get back when they send me their finished parts.
I usually record drums in a studio to the Bass parts & guide tracks I have already laid down. Then I send these to the Keyboard player then to the Guitar player. Percussion is next then Sax, Trumpet & Horn section.
This process is quite challenging as I am not in the studio with most of them to give direction. They just email me the finished parts. I have come to know the people I work with & can depend on them to give me exactly whatís needed & todayís technology further enables this process.
I have a huge smile on my face when I get their parts back as there is new creativity added & the project grows.
I always have a visualization of the end product & am open & excited as these parts appear.
Then comes the most laborious part, editing. I spend 3 months chopping, aligning parts to perfection as this gives me pristine tight production.
I give the project to my engineer for mixing & mastering. He will call me in when he is done & we will do the production tweaks. This part is very satisfying as all is done & we can fiddle until it all gels.
The CD is born.
A lot of things can stir the imagination & give you ideas to be creative.
My creative life is mostly music. I think we as musicians also must have a life outside of music. This finds its way into our music.
I have designed & manufactured high end Bass Guitar speaker cabinets. They were acclaimed best in the world. That creativity came from thought, Imagination & catering for a need.
I like classic cars. I restored a 1963 Ford Zephyr for myself. Then a friend wanted his done too.
I have twin 25 year old daughters.
I love traveling the world & living near the beach.
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
While I was still a sideman I stood on stage one night & thought, ďNo, No MoreĒ. I seem to be doing the same sort of clubs, gigs shows etc. that I have done for the last 25 or so years. Iím getting older & going nowhere in a hurry. I spent the previous 15 years just playing for a whole lot of other people freelance & I figured it was time to get off the roundabout.
Also contributing to that decision was I have severe Tinnitus & it was agitating & somewhat painful for me to play in most situations.
I decided to move to the coast for some quiet for my ears & write in a genre I have always loved. Smooth, Funky, Contemporary Jazz. This genre wasnít catered for in much Australia. We donít have a big enough population to support it.
This is how my CDíS came about & frankly has been the best thing I have ever done.
Now, in a live situation, I can inform the musicians I hire of my hearing problem. I govern the volume levels we play at. My ears still ring like hell after a show but I will have smile on my face with satisfaction.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
I was 16 when I decided I wanted to be a musician. I started playing drums. I taught myself as there was only a classical conservatorium here in Melbourne to go to in those days.
While I was playing drums part time & doing odd jobs I had an Industrial accident whereby I lost the use of my left thumb. I couldnít play drums anymore so took up the bass. I havenít looked back.
Now I have the rhythm I liked with drums & the melody of the bass.
Along the way I have always had a hand in writing or been a major contributor in original bands I have been in.
It was only since 2005 I decided to record my own albums.
Whatís your absolute favorite part of the World, and why?
Although Australia is where I live & is a great place to be, my favourite place has to be Barcelona. I lived there for a few months in a small town called Sitges, about ½ hour south of Barcelona. I love the Mediterranean & plan to go back there to live.