Hello Paul Adams! Welcome! Congratulations on the release of "Deeper Imaginings". How did you feel with the release of this album, as well as collaborating with artist Elizabeth Geyer in order to create the essence of "Deeper Imaginings"?
The process started a few years ago when Elizabeth came to America to record her album THE BRIDGE. We were excited as Bruce Lundvall at Blue Note Records had taken an interest in her. With excitement comes a tiny bit of stress. To reduce we started improvising somewhat exotic meditative pieces for fun. They turned into an album we did together called IMAGININGS. And interestingly enough, it was chosen Best Adult Cont Instrumental album of the year at the Zone Music Awards (A large charting service for a new age, jazz, and instr music). As it was coming together I also thought it would be cool to have some of the best musicians I have met on the internet to contribute. So after Elizabeth and I finished our parts I sent tracks to India to have master bansuri flute player Pravin Godkhindi (who I met on YouTube) play his part. So tracks were composed and then sent all over the world. My friend David Hoffman (Former soloist/arranger for Ray Charles) also contributed. I guess you could call it improvised digital whimsy. I played a hunch it would come together even though the process was unusual and quite free form.
On DEEPER IMAGININGS (IMAGININGS follow up), I actually had some of Pravin's tracks leftover from IMAGININGS and used them. I did have to manipulate a few digitally to make them work. I then met Alp Akmaz on Instagram. He's a Turkish Duduk player (He refers to the instrument as a Balaban). I emailed a track called Hope For The Game and he recorded his part in his studio. The project as a whole was a joyous learning experience. Elizabeth is really a jazz musician (Flugelhorn/piano/voice) and she came to appreciate a newer expression of music outside of her usual area.
Already have your music being prevalent within listening communities, how do you feel having a large listening base for your methodic and instrumental soundings?
With over 106 million streams on Pandora, I am very lucky. Growing a larger audience is a thrill in that one wants to "connect" to others as well as be appreciated for their work. This music genre of New Age / Instrumental doesn't usually grab the huge numbers of other genres. And frankly, the new age has a reputation with a few as being a bit "light". But we really wanted to attempt to make the music content-rich. We wanted to steer away from cliche and maintain a deep sense of artistic validity as well as showing that it can be done without alienating the new-age audience. AND, God knows, in today's world, we could use a bit of nonaggressive music.
With the release of "Deeper Imaginings", were you intending on setting a certain environment for your listeners, or do you typically intend to have the music be deciphered in any way possible, completely dependent on the listener?
The album is a bit like a journey really. Being that my major in college was "ethnomusicology" (The study of musical cultures of the world) I am also always going to lean toward using exotic instruments in my work. I was also an instrument maker for years having built instruments for members of Stevie Wonders Band, Daryl Hall, and others. So as well as the guitars, I also used an electric sitar I made. Also in the album, you will hear Duduk, Bansuri flute, Harmonium, Native American Flutes, Elizabeth's Flugelhorn and quite an array of exotic percussion I have collected.
What are some elements you integrate within your tracks that you wouldn't be able to do without as an instrumental artist? Are there certain staple soundings you incorporate into the music that you believe makes it stand out compared to other instrumental tracks?
As an instrumental artist, I have greater access to the expression and choice of instrumentation. I do write lyrically, but these albums allow more sound and color. Of course, that is where having access to all the exotic instruments, AND having the internet to have master musicians from all over the world able to contribute is a thrill. I mean, the internet has it's detractors. I am not convinced that we have the interpersonal and spiritual skills to handle the power of social media. BUT, to be able to connect in this way, to be able to record and distribute music ourselves free from "industry" control is a huge freedom.
Having Elizabeth Geyer add her jazz improvisational skills to cuts 9 & 11 is what pushed this project artistically past IMAGININGS. It expanded the artistic horizon so to speak. Stretching further still was including my poetry in those two cuts. We had some concern the new-age audience might not dig it, but the response has been overwhelming. Elizabeth's piano playing was also of huge importance. It was the skeletal structure for much of the album. I also want to mention David Hoffman playing horn on cut 3. His sensitivity, whether it is straight-ahead jazz or a project like this is unmatched. I hope people will find him on Spotify as well as Elizabeth Geyer's solo work there. She's not just a top-notch instrumentalist, but an incredible singer and songwriter. Lastly, I want to mention Gary Green adding a bit of guitar on cut 9. Gary was the guitarist for the UK Band Gentle Giant. They were considered to be the most musically challenging of the progressive rock era of the '60s and '70s.
Thanks for chatting with us, Paul! Considering the success "Deeper Imaginings" has already gained, are you planning on releasing more music in the near future for listeners to enjoy and reflect upon?
I think we will definitely continue with the Imaginings projects. I love the idea of communicating digitally and creating utilizing the internet. It feels as if I was born at the right time. Having these tools is pretty miraculous. All of us are also involved in other projects. I also consider myself a singer and songwriter, so I'm currently working on recording all the songs that have been sitting in my closet for years. Just guitar and harmonica. Kind of an "Americana" thing. To keep from confusing the audience I will use the name, PD Adams. Elizabeth Geyer already has four solo albums out that are a bit like Joni Mitchell meets Miles Davis. The genius of those albums was what attracted me to her music (Search Spotify, Pandora, etc). She's also working on a new batch of material in Sydney. I hope we can all connect on digital platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, etc. It is a magical way to interrelate, and that is fuel for the artistic fire.
Listen to the sounds of Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer here.