Can you tell us about growing up listening to music? Did that have a big effect on you in who you are today as a musician?
I think so. I believe a huge part of happiness is doing what we loved to do as a child, in an adult world, which means either as a career or as an intense hobby. Our grown up eyes only see responsibilities and what we think we ‘should do’. A child’s vision is much more honest as it focuses only on ‘wants to do’. Therefore, the limitations of what you ‘can and can’t do’ are what fuel your dreams. My music is a reflection of those aspirations.
And that’s what inspired you to start producing music?
Yes! My parent’s record collection told the story of their history. It told me who they were. It represented their tastes and sensibilities. It was a wide array of music. Calypso, Dance, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Classical, Country & Western…plus I watched so much sci-fi and anime. I would stare at these albums and create the story of me as that artist. You’d see an album cover of the producer in the studio, a picture of the artist lost in thought or just a pretty woman sitting there. I wanted to be in that world and I hope the music I make tells a story.
Who are some of your musical influences today?
I’m more drawn to sounds than artists, to be honest. I like to paint with a large palette of sounds…from synthesizers to traditional instruments to using samples in my work. We are doing so much to break down the barriers between composing, producing and performing. So much of our music happens on the production side and so much of our tendencies are influenced by the live performance aspects. The modern record sounds as if it is already being manipulated by a DJ and so much of its sound is affected and not recorded. It’s a producer’s craft now.
Tell us what exactly being a producer means and does?
Traditionally, it’s about bringing the record to term. It’s about the session and bringing the best out of the artist. It’s about the details and the creative sculpting that goes on around the music. In terms of my records being self-produced; it’s the most accurate description that summarizes all that I do. The responsibilities are real even though, in a modern context, the title is thrown around pretty loosely. You are saying I have the vision and skills to lead and the selflessness to follow and also the good sense to know when to get out of the way and let the magic happen.
And how does the process work of artists wanting your music? Can they use your music? Do they get it online? Do you reach out to them?
Yes. Ask. It’s as simple as that. My album Back in the Black has such a wide range of music styles… I searched for voices that I enjoyed and reached out to those artists directly. Stephanie Kay, DJ Miki, Shea Doll, Farisha Music, Elina Milan and Brass player Donna S. None of them sounded similar, but I found common traits that I was attracted to. My music appears in an AutoMod Central car commercial. They simply asked for permission. And I have a bunch of work going for rap tracks, but that’s more of a Fallout Shelter thing. [Fallout Shelter is a music group that Domino Grey is a part of. They release instrumental music that leans heavily towards beats]
Who is someone that you wish to collab with in the future?
Right now, I’m trying to sure up the details for a follow up with the crew. I’m really looking forward to getting this summer going with Donna S and another genre-spanning album with everyone from before and a few new voices.
Tell us about your latest project that you put out?
That would Mark of the Griffin. It’s a web series where I get to showcase my music and video with a live action twist. It’s also a comic book. http://markofthegriffin.com/
Best quote you use to help pick yourself up when you’re down?
You know, I don’t sort of manage my moods. If I’m down there’s probably a reason for it and something that needs addressing. Sometimes you need to feel the weight of what’s happening to -and around you. A creative block? I simply don’t create then. There’s always a way to be productive though, there’s always another place where your energies could be directed.
I’m trying to get a handle on worrying. And seeing a quote next to a famous person’s picture doesn’t seem to be helping. I still worry even though I know it’s a waste. Being concerned is where it’s at. Thinking and searching for solutions, that’s where my mind needs to go, but sometimes it sits in idle fretting over what might and might not happen. Still working on that.
What are some dreams you have with your music today?
I want people to see an album or see an image or watch a video and connect. I want them to get it and hear the full message I’m sending. I want them to dig through the layers and catch what I’m trying to do. I know how important that experience was to me and if I could do the same for someone else, it would really complete the cycle. Man, thanks for this interview. I appreciate your time.
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