Thursday, February 24, 2011

Inspiring Person: Stephen Roach: Musician

I have been working for a while now gathering interviews for my new series of "Inspiring People". What better way to inspire you, than let people share their stories and creative endeavors with you! I'm pretty excited about this.

Today's inspiring person is a multi-faceted creative man. I thought he'd be perfect to feature because, well, he's inspiring!

Stephen Roach is a musician, poet, artist and now children's book author! I thought about featuring him because of his new book coming out, but then I started thinking I'd like him to share a little about his music first...

When I say he's a musician, that's an understatement. I can honestly say even in my musical circuit days, I have never seen someone play instruments like Stephen. I didn't even know it was possible to play hand drums like he can!

I used to sit in my apartment in college, lock my door, put on Songs of Water (first album), and spin around my house like crazy.

In fact, in honor of this post, I shall spin like crazy again listening to my newly downloaded version of "The Sea Has Spoken."

So today we talk music... tomorrow we will talk books. Stay tuned and enjoy!
How would you describe your music?
Sometimes it’s harder to define your own art because you are so intimately involved with it. You can’t always see it clearly because you are so close to it. Others have used terms like “organic” or “world-folk” to describe it. One such phrase I’m highly fond of came from a radio dj at WNCW. He coined the phrase, “exotic pawn shop music”. Somehow that one seems to stick.
I think many artists are hesitant to define their work too strictly because any living art is continually evolving. The one constant is that it is always changing. It’s a work never quite complete.
Thus far, I’ve been prone to use primarily acoustic instrumentation, often in hyper rhythmical settings, borrowing elements from cultures across the world.
What is it like when you’re playing music? What are you thinking or feeling?
Usually I’m thinking, Oh crap. Don’t screw up. Why did I write this rhythm is 15/8? Ha! On a good day, the live musical experience is a launching pad where the mundane recedes and we are enabled to drift past the boundaries of our everyday experience. It can be a very spiritual or transcendent encounter for the musician and the audience.
What is music to you?
Music to me is both a vehicle and a language. In the right context, it can serve to take the listener on a journey to whatever place the music inspires. Music, with or without words speaks. It communicates the heart intent of the musician. Often thoughts or feelings that I can find no other way to express, find their release through the music I write. On a grander scale, music is a conduit of truth and beauty even for the grotesque or less appealing qualities of human experience. Music is like a magnifying glass that takes a grain of sand of exploits it so it can be better apprehended.
Do you have any goals for your music?
I would certainly love to see the sounds I’ve explored cause a chain reaction in other artists and musicians to continue to push the envelope of what can be done. Practically speaking, I think we all want to sustain our lives and pay the bills from the art we create. I think in the future you’ll see the music of Songs of Water used in film.
You can find the music here.... go get your copy today.

Stay tuned, tomorrow we talk book-writing!


Kristina said...

Love this!Ive been working on something similar for my blog called "creative crushes" basically people I have creative crushes on great minds think alike! :) Maybe i'll save my series for a little later. :)

Nicole... given said...

ok super cute blog!