Smitty: I can totally identify with the laboratory thing, and that’s the mark of a true musician, Steve; you haven’t released your new CD, and you’re working on new material. That’s a true musician.
SO: Oh man. You know, it’s funny; the music never stops, it never does. I mean, you’re always hearing different things and you get inspired by everyday life and sometimes I’ll hear a lyric idea and I’ll just write it down or a song title and then I’ll write a lyric to that and it never ends. When you’re open to that, those ideas, if you let them come in, it’s just like a constant door that’s open with ideas flooding in, and I never close the door. So you can be creative and let the magic flow.
Smitty: Yes, and speaking of flow Steve……what I’ve really enjoyed a lot, among other things about this CD, it has such great melodies. It just has that ebb and flow, you know?
SO: Wow. Yeah, it’s funny because I think in instrumental music and me being a singer, I love melody, so I’ve really focused on that, I like hearing songs. I’ve always been a song guy, so when I’m writing a tune, I really want a melody to be strong….to kind of speak to each song. So I really spend a lot of time on that, with nice changes, and nice chord changes and then being able to put a nice melody with those changes. I spend a lot of time with that, and the same thing with singing, because a lot of times I’ll sing it if I can sing the melody, it will speak, because it’ll make you play differently if you’re singing it. Singing the melody, you know, like da-ba-da-ba-da and then you try to, oh, see how it works with the guitar. Yeah, love melody, yeah, you gotta have it. (Laughing)
Smitty: Yes, and you opened with a great melody on this project with “Feeling Good.” I think that’s a great opening song for the project. It flows right into the rest of the music. I’m really digging that song.
SO: Oh, thank you. Yes it’s a real “dance-y” track with a lot of really cool soundscapes in it. I really like that as an opening too…..I thought that was a really good opening song for the whole album.
Smitty: Yeah, and I can also see it as an opening song to a show. It just sets the tone, you know? (Laughing)
SO: Wow, really? Oh my gosh.
Smitty: However, I must tell you, though; my favorite track is “Shadow of the Moon.”
SO: No way! Wow.
Smitty: Yeah man.
SO: Oh, man. Well, thank you.
Smitty: That’s the bomb.
SO: Yeah, that track…..I knew conceptually what I wanted to go after with that track. I mean, it had this ambient vibe, you know?
Smitty: Yes indeed!
SO: And I love electronica music and world music a lot, so I wanted to combine a lot of soundscapes, you know, from chill music and electronica music. That’s what’s great about it. You can be really creative with sounds….Yet a lot of times, chill music doesn’t have a lot of melody, so I wanted to put a melody to kind of a backdrop of electronica music and that’s how I came up with “Shadow of the Moon.” It has a nice combination of style and sound.
SO: And with the backward strings and just a lot of the different elements of sound effects and stuff. It was a blast putting that piece together.
Smitty: I really got deep into the sounds on this record, especially this song because there’s a lot of diversity there. It really pulls your ear into the song, to dig deeper with the ear.
SO: Oh yeah, absolutely. And that’s what I love about that kind of music. It really does pull you in with the sounds. I mean, a lot of it are sounds you’ve never heard before and you can combine so many different elements. That excites me as a writer to be able to have that palette. At the same time, then I do a tune that’s real organic, like “Radiant Dreams”; where it’s just guitar and real stripped down. So I love both sides of the spectrum; real stripped down things to very soundscapey things.
Smitty: Yeah, exactly. I like “Radiant Dreams” too. I was blown away with Tom Schuman’s keyboard playing there. Is he a phenomenal keyboard player or what?
SO: Oh, he’s off the hook. I mean, he’s so…..he’s a genius level keyboard player; not only a piano player but as a writer himself and a programmer, he’s just amazing. It was such a blast to be able to work with him again, on this project. He played on two songs on this album and we did them at his studio, and it was just a blast to work with him.
Smitty: Yeah, he continues to amaze me with the things he does.
SO: I know, me too. (Both laughing)
Smitty: There’s some great photography work here too. Man, I love this photography, wow.
SO: Oh, thank you. Yeah, Paul Spinelli took the photo shot. He’s actually an NFL photographer.
Smitty: Oh wow.
SO: He actually goes to all the games and he used to work for the NFL, and goes to all the games and takes the shots. He’s one of the guys down there on the turf taking pictures of the players as the games are going on. He loves this music, and he’s been a friend throughout the years. Out of luck of the draw I asked him “Paul, can you take some shots? I’d love for you to take some pictures for the album cover.” So it was great to work with him. He actually did all of the photos for my last CD, 3-D. So this is the second time we were able to work together on a concept.
Smitty: Well, please tell him that he does excellent work with light. (Laughing)
SO: Yeah, yeah, it was really cool, you know. He came up with this great idea with having the cover….. where the photo of me, has no light on me. Yet it’s coming out in front of me. So it has this kind of “radiant” light. That was the concept that we had, and it was just a really cool effect.
Smitty: Excellent, yeah, I noticed it right away. Steve, you’ve had a great 2005, just to back up a little bit. Man, was 2005 super cool or what?
SO: Oh my gosh, it was, it was one of the busiest touring years. I did so much touring this year, which is wonderful, and I got to do the Dave Koz cruise and performed on that. Then, well, this year I did Warren Hill’s cruise too; it was this year, 2006, but it feels like last year.
Smitty: I know. It just all blends together when you’re running.
SO: I know, it’s like, yeah, there’s no set time, there’s no set year, it just melds together. It was a really great year for touring and music and then I got nominated for this Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for 2006.
Smitty: That’s right.
SO: We got the nomination in 2005, so that was real exciting and I couldn’t be happier. I want to take this time to thank all of my fans….Everyone have been so supportive, so yes thank you so much!
Smitty: Yeah. Well, Steve, you know, it’s easy for people to be drawn in by your music because it has such an inviting and captivating appeal. It’s a very warm and all encompassing appeal, so I can see how you’ve been nominated for awards and you’re cruising on the water and doing all those wonderful things that a musician dreams of, and why you have such great fans.
SO: I know, I know, very fortunate. I count my blessings every day, you know? (Both laughing)