Hello, T.J., thank you for spending some time answering our questions.
What got you into playing and creating music?
I moved every three years starting in my first year so I went from Cleveland, OH at 6 mo. To Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Detroit, MI, Garden City, MI, to Ossining, NY by the 4th grade. This gave me a different perspective than some with always being the new kid in school, and never growing up with a group of friends. It made me more of an observer and as a writer I would write about what I observed. I started taking music lessons at 5 years of age; starting with the accordion for about 6 months to piano and guitar. We had a piano in our house that my mother played quite well and sang. I was fortunate enough to have a piano teacher in Ossining NY that would let me write the ending of a piece, if I learned the first half of the piece as it was written. Fast forward to High School (Indianapolis IN), and I was playing in bands but not seriously until I was 19 and won a talent show with another guitar player friend and we became the house band at the club. That kicked started the professional experience after playing at this club 6 nights a week and 6 sets per night for two years. After that, I played in bands where we would play cover songs with original songs in five states around Madison, WI until I was 28 and moved to LA.
Who do you feel are your key musical influences? How have these influences changed or otherwise evolved over time?
I love music. By this, I mean all music if it has some real creativity behind it or originality that breaks new ground. I grew up listening to classical music and pop music. I liked everything from Vivaldi and Chopin, to Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Cream. As time went on I listened to the music by Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman, ACDC, and Metallica. I like to hear a unique perspective, outstanding songwriting and production in the music that attracts my interest. Some of the recent artists that I enjoy listening to are Robert Plant & Allison Kraus, Vince Gill, and Sade because they have great songs and great production.
What was it like to record with a legend like Tom Weir? How did he make his presence felt during the recording process?
When I decided on Tom Weir’s studio it was because he was able to articulate to me how to finish the songs I spent so much time with in pre-production. One True Thing was produced by me and Tom Weir because of this. I knew my music was in capable hands and he was a complete pleasure to work with. He recorded every instrument and vocal track on One True Thing, and having the fourth grade girls to sing on “Like A Child” and the string quartet on “Men Need Love” were his suggestions. He also introduced me to some of the performers on my album; Tim Pierce, Phil Parlapiano, and Carina Round.
Keeping it related to “One True Thing” – what songs do you feel best represent you? Are there songs that stand out on the album that you’d feel are your favorites?
One True Thing’s songs were written and evolved over time. Such is the case with an artist’s first album where just doing a commercially produced album is breaking new ground at every juncture. I do have my favorites and was surprised at the audience favorites after receiving feedback from online radio plays. I’d have to say that “Nothing In My Way”, about something we all have some experience with, is one of my favorites. So is “Earth Is Crying”, “Like A Child”, “Hope” and “Men Need Love”. “Earth is Crying” is resonating the most with fans and is offered as a free download from my website.
Tell us about your average studio day – what goes on and how does your music ultimately get realized into a physical format?
Once basic tracks with drummer Rock Deadrick, bassist David Sutton and scratch vocals were recorded, and average day would be focused on getting the individual instruments recorded. First was piano on all ten songs which took place in three 4 hour sessions. Phil Parlapiano played a grand piano on all the songs and his piano on “Men Need Love” was a single take. All the instruments were done in the same fashion with the players coming in one at a time to add their parts. I played my acoustic and electric guitar parts after Phil’s keyboards. Carina Round came in to sing background vocals in another 3 days of 4-5 hour sessions.
The sessions would be 1 day a week for most weeks at 4-5 hours each in May through July at Studio City Sound. In August, we started doing lead vocals and that moved along into September when we started doing the pre mix sweetening with some of Tom Weir’s production techniques, the 4th grade girls and string quartet. By mid October we were mixing. By this time I was at Studio City Sound 4-5 days a week.
Where are you at with your new album, and how would you say it differs from “One True Thing”?
I’m very excited about the second album. Because I had the experience of doing pre-production and finishing the songs on the first album, the new songs are being written and pre-produced at the same time. I’m working with a talented co-writer/lyricist and we have 7 songs in progress with a target of 12. Recording will be different this time because I’ll be working with a producer from the start whose influence on the finished product will be important. I’m currently looking for the right producer. The second album’s music will be edgier and sparser.
Are there any live dates coming up for you? What differences do you feel demarcate a live set from a recording session?
I’m not planning any more live performances since the show in August until I have finished writing the 2nd album’s songs. I do plan to perform as soon as I can get an agent to book the band, but waiting until early next year. As for how a live show is different from the recording, they are really two completely different things for me. I really enjoy recording, but performing is a powerful experience for me. If you are able to turn up the CD a little, you’ll get the feel for how powerful the performances are on the first CD. The live show has all that and the spontaneous energy of performing.
Which fans – ones you’ve met in person or the teeming masses of online listeners – do you feel represent a more active base? Fans of my music range from 18-24 year olds to 25-54 year olds. The younger group responds to “Earth Is Crying”. Medium aged fans tell me they like the thoughtful lyrics on “Why”, “Nothing In My Way” and many of the others. I currently have 6400 online radio fans and 325 on my direct email list. Geographically my fans are mostly in the US and Western Europe, but I have fans in the Philippines, and Indonesia, too.
How will NeuFutur readers be able to keep abreast of the latest news and music coming from your way? The quickest way to get the latest news is to visit my website http://www.tjdoyle.net and join my mailing list. We’ll be updating the site more often in the next several months into early 2011, too. I also have a Facebook fan site that will be updated more often at http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-J-Doyle-Fan-Site/104189599630553 and a twitter account I have not been very good at updating but will starting soon at http://twitter.com/#!/tjdoylemusic.
What should we expect from T.J. in 2011?
More momentum from me with working on the new album and I hope that the fans enjoy following along so they can get to hear some first mixes and be in the loop to get free CD’s. The fans are the motivation for me and I definitely want to hold up my end. I’m sure that I’ll be performing more and will make sure that information and a schedule will be available at the latest news sources above.