Every musician deserves their first great musical moment to come sooner rather than later. This can take on one of many forms. Writing a great song, winning a contest, hearing your song produced, even hearing a new song* and so on. Even hearing yourself recorded for the first time if a profoundly powerful thing. People such as engineers and producers are dishing these rewards pretty much every day and in the summer of 2004 I went looking for one. I found Tom Kazas. Tom gave me my first great musical moment and continued to share his knowledge both directly and indirectly for a very long time. Although I’m sure he’s aware of the influence he had on me, I never directly thanked him for it. He was a pro-tools user**, he had NS-10’s and a great rattley old piano, he has an original mellotron! and… he liked my songs. For months I’d been researching the ins and outs of home recording and having known absolutely nothing about it made any purchases or decision making really hard. I was so close to making so many mistakes until Tom came along and his form, method and overall approach blew my mind. I’d never seen a DAW in action and this guys had been doing this for years. He was good and I wanted to learn everything. Leading up to the demo sessions, we got together a few times, I sang and played and he listed and we finally sat down and recorded 30 or 40 odd tracks, most of which were unfinished. After recording the demos on guitar and piano in one sitting, we went through and numbered them. The song Opus 21 which appears on Stamps & Coins was in fact the 21st track we recorded on the fateful afternoon. Tom always has an air of psychedelic mysticism which can easily be misinterpreted as uncertainty however at that moment, as coincidental as it may have been, I’d never seen him look more certain.
*Mind you, being inspired by a new song happens all the time.
**He had an original digo 001. What a great little piece of gear.