How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The new album "3 Minutes To Midnight" focuses on the urgency of the moment, the exhilaration of the speed of sound, the poignancy of the remains of the day and the mystical power of the number three. This is the first time I came up with the title and overall concept early on in the process. I donít know if itís a reaction to the times we live in, with our shrinking bandwidth for complexity and desire for clarity, or if I just wanted to be as impactful and expressive as I could across a range of emotions - from exciting, passionate and bursting with energy to sad, contemplative and meditative. The songs have an urgent, succinct quality and are unencumbered by elaborate instrumentation. All the songs are in the range of three minutes in length. Three is a significant number that resonates in the human psyche and has a mystical power in our culture. Three is significant not only in world religions, but also in simple human terms with our body, mind and spirit triad. With songs, we have a beginning, middle and end. We even sync up with others on the count of three. Ready, set, go!
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording the new album?
The challenge was to pare down my more typically elaborate instrumentation and copious note playing, and distill the essence of what I wanted to express with each song into a concise presentation. A certain amount of self-sacrifice is involved...sacrificing a more florid style which I love for a minimalistic one which I have grown to also now love.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
The inspiration that fuels my drive to put all my energies into making the best music I can comes from my desire to connect with listeners and the joy and fulfillment I derive from knowing the music gives pleasure to a large audience.
How would you finish this sentence? ďI donít like to go a day without_________?
"Playing the guitar" is the easy answer. I play everyday without exception. I will take a collapsible travel guitar with me on a short 2 day vacation just to get in 15 minutes a day of playing. If I take a day off guitar it feels as unnatural as not having coffee in the morning!
What artists do you feel akin to or in the same tribe with?
I have recently been enjoying the music of Israeli singer/composer Idan Raichel. Raichel brings diverse performers and musical influences together into an appealing and at times haunting world-fusion sound that I connect with. Also, the Icelandic experimental pop-rock band Sigur Ros always inspires me to strive to make music that uplifts and touches people with emotional intensity. I am attracted to artists that offer surprising, genre-defying musical combinations combined with the ability to engender intense emotional responses in the listener.