"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where a recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
PHILIP SAYCE: "Steamroller"
PHILIP SAYCE and his new album, "Steamroller", music rarely jumps at you, grabs you by the throat, and simply refuses to let go. This is however one of those moments when the blues goes straight at the jugular and you'll end up in awe over his distinct tone and amp sound. Find out more about the former member of Jeff Healey Band, etc. and his third solo album, here's none other than, PHILIP SAYCE...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Itís been outstanding! Itís by far the widest reception Iíve received to date, and the radio play already happening in the UK is incredibly exciting. I hope the message of this music resonates with people... Steamrolling fear and anyone who tells you to change what is important, honest and authentic to you.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
We recorded this album in about 2 weeks. Most of it was recorded live in the studio, so we wanted to make sure it was feeling right. We took our time getting the right tones, sounds, songs and performances.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
My friend and producer, Dave Cobb (Chris Cornell, Jamey Johnson, Waylon Jennings, etc. -Urban's note) and I, spent a good amount of time discussing the musical and sonic direction. We share many of the same favorite albums and influences, so we were able to speak the same language. Dave is a brilliant producer and we always have a good time working together. Weíre already planning the next album!
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Dave and I found a wonderful balance together. We worked together on the album. He understands whatís important to me as an artist and person, and where Iím coming from. I donít need to be told what to play or how to play, but I like how Dave brings the best out of me and also can stop me when weíve got a great magical take. We coupled my sound and style with his sonic approach and production skills, and really worked together to create something weíre both proud of. He pushed me to do something extraordinary. It takes a lot for me to trust someone in this way. This is a very honest record, made from the heart for the heart.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I couldn't be happier. We worked with Vance Powell in Nashville. He engineered the album with Dave, and also mixed the album Heís a fantastic mixer/engineer who works with Jack White on a daily basis, and a number of my heroes, and really understood what Dave and I were looking for.
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
That's all we used! We only used "experimental" recording techniques! We had fun and made our own rules as we went along, and then changed those rules. I guess you could say, there were no rules! Itís art, so why would there be ďrulesĒ?
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
We left lots of air in the room, and didnít put too many tracks on the recordings. What you hear on Steamroller are live takes, and maybe one overdubbed guitar in the choruses or accents. 'Marigold' is one song we spent some time dreaming up cool mellotron and guitar leslie sounds. Otherwise, we played it live and made sure it captured that urgency and message of the songs.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
'Marigold' is one of my favorites. Itís a song for my wife, and itís always emotional to play this song. The whole idea of Steamroller is also to put something good into the world, and this song is an example for me, of doing my best to put goodness out there. Holding On is another favorite... You know, itís hard to say...I feel proud of all of the songs, I love them all. I really like the writing collaboration with Dave as well, I think we pull cool things out of each other. Weíre both big tone nerds, so we also spent a good deal of time changing tubes, speakers, batteries, pedals, guitars, drums, amps, and microphones.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Self empowerment, courage, strength, love, compassion, confidence, truth, authenticity, openness.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Absolutely. My music changes all the time. My music is a direct reflection of where I am in my life at any particular time, itís the only way I know how. Thatís how I view art, constantly changing, I canít recreate the way I was feeling 2 years ago... I just have to be where I am today and create from here. Steamroller is all about where I am this year as a person, and as I grow, learn, and get deeper I hope to be as open as I possibly can be, and let music come through me which is connected to my life experiences. Do you know what I mean? My goal is to make the most honest music I can.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Mascot Label Group have been extremely supportive of my music, my vision, and my creative process since we started working in Europe and the UK together 2 years ago, and Iím very grateful for their support. Itís a team, so weíre all working together to reach as many people as possible with my music and message.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Oh yes, most definitely... We got crazy and had serious fun, but I canít really tell you exactly what happened behind closed doors... All I can tell you is that it made for good music and long lasting memories!
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
Rhythm and Truth!! Big, earthy, vintage tones combined with new world blues, roots music, and honest kick ass rock and roll. Made from the heart, for the heart. Made from the soul, for the soul.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Prince, Yo Yo Ma, John Mayer, James Morrison, Muse, DíAngelo, Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, Outkast, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Donnie Hathaway, Albert King, B.B. King, Jeff Healey, Big Sugar, Lee Michaels, Buddy Guy, The Meters, Sly and The Family Stone, Rod Stewart, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler... So many more!
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
I hope Steamroller resonates
with listeners and inspires them to do whatever it is that they love in their lives...Wheter it be a
school teacher, dancer, auto mechanic, hockey player, or nurse. Do what you love and be the best you
can possibly be. Stay open and let inspiration run through your soul. Speak your truth from inside,
above, and all around you. Stay open and let it come through you.
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,