TIM BRAGG
Revamped Too
(TB Music)

 

Although he recently played drums on a 2010 CD by English pop surrealist Dirk Speksnijder, musical renaissance man Tim Bragg is actually a gifted singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in his own right. With a number of solo albums to his credit, both pop vocal and instrumental releases, Tim follows the 2011 CD release of Revamped 1 with the 2012 CD release of Revamped Too. A mix of pop and rock, featuring Tim’s vocals, guitars, drums and much more, both albums capture Bragg in rare form, mixing a roots rock approach and a post New Wave kind of pop punch. Commenting on his position as drummer turned pop singer-songwriter Tim adds, ‘My main instrument is the drums and I still think of myself as a drummer first and foremost. I like it when drummers compose music and play other instruments...it’s very healthy. I am happy with both my playing and sound of the drums on these albums.’ The drum sound is first rate throughout but clearly Tim's electric guitar playing is also quite impressive. While Revamped 1 was mostly Tim multi-tracking in the studio, the 2012 Revamped Too features Tim recording with a number of musicians. Although the sound is sometimes low key, or rather not over-produced in places, there is a fertile Do-It-Yourself pop approach in play on Revamped Too. Bragg cites Van Morrison as a big influence, and you can also add to that list the late great Phil Lynott, who Tim covers on Revamped Too with a version of “King’s Call”, from Lynott’s first solo album. Also, check out Tim's cover of "The Boys Are Back In Town" on Revamped 1. A most welcome addition to the pop world of 2012, Revamped Too is a very approachable, user-friendly CD of breezy, electric pop-rock. www.CDBaby.com/Artist/TimBragg


mwe3.com presents an interview with

TIM BRAGG




mwe3: Where do you live now and where are you from? What do you like best about where you live now?


TB: Hello Robert, Originally from England I now live in a rural part of France. I love the space, the countryside and being an “outsider”. I’m married to a French woman too!

mwe3: I first heard you playing with Dirk Speksnijder, on his album playing drums. How did you meet Dirk and what can you say about your playing on his The Man With Two Brains CD? I met him when he came to Little Neck when he was living in the NYC area. How did you go from that period a couple years ago to the new Revamped 1 and Revamped Too albums and can you say something about your background as a recording artist and musician?

TB: I was in a band with Dirk many years ago and with modern communication and each searching for the other we eventually “hooked-up”. The “Two Brains” CD was fun but I wish I’d had better technology then...I could have done a better job for him. Dirk, in his non alter-ego form, played on some of my previous stuff and we’ve both developed our recording abilities pretty much in tandem.

As a drummer I have gone from tapping out rhythms and fills on a keyboard to using midi software and my Roland electronic kit to trigger acoustic drums. In a short time I’ve progressed from absolute scratch to producing, I trust, professional sounding albums. It was for this reason that I have “revamped” earlier songs, which frankly weren’t recorded well enough. It’s been a really interesting past six years...I only wish we had had this technology...ummm a number of years ago! Also, though I had recorded some flute, and guitar, bass etc, previously in commercial studios, recording at home meant much more focus on these other instruments rather than the drums. That’s been a huge challenge at times.

mwe3: When I heard you play with Dirk, and now hearing your CDs I didn’t realize you were like Dirk’s musical twin, maybe you’re the McCartney to his Lennon-esque forays into pop psychedelia. But then again, there’s a killer cover of “Willin’” on Revamped Too that really smokes. Why release two albums and not a double for Revamped 1 and Revamped Too. It’s like the red album. (lol) Quadrophenia Tim Bragg style. How did the songs come together into double album form and did you write all the music and play everything?

TB: Great questions! Well I wrote all the music apart from the covers! On Revamped 1 I wanted to do a slow, acoustic(ish) version of “The Boys Are Back In Town” which I’d had knocking around my head for a while and a Phil Lynott fan had asked me to do a cover of “King’s Call” so I obliged and put on Revamped Too. “Willin’” I knew by Little Feat of course, but maybe it was the Kursaal Flyers’ version I’d heard as a kid that prompted my uptempo reworking. Anyway, it was that kind of country-rock feel I’d had in mind for a long time and that I so wanted to record. Also, with that song I’d asked a particular friend to play slide-guitar but he had time problems and I wanted to finish the album, so I played the solo/guitar parts myself and used a nice little effect which made it sound like a cross between slide, pedal-steel and a violin!

I didn’t release the CDs as a double album because with some new technology I’d been given, for which I am still very grateful, and following on from some mixed reviews, good and bad but mentioning production on a previous album, I needed to step up a gear or two and get something out there of higher quality. Thus Revamped 1 came out last year, to wholly good reviews, so far, and then I was able to relax a bit and concentrate on Revamped Too. There are also more revamps on their way!

Regarding the playing on Revamped 1 I play all the instruments on some tracks but on Revamped Too the bass is played by a young French bassist (Nico Vautrin) who I work with in one of the bands here. He’s made a big difference! There are guest musicians on both albums, English and French, who add color to my otherwise split musical personality!

mwe3: You play every instrument. How much of a challenge is that when recording and what is your main instrument? Can you say something about your guitars and amps and some of your recording techniques?

TB: I play every instrument on some tracks and some instruments on all tracks. This partly through necessity. My main instrument is the drums and I still think of myself as a drummer first and foremost. I like it when drummers compose music and play other instruments...it’s very healthy. I have made every mistake possible in my past recordings. The learning curve has been very steep. The faults are too numerous to list and cover performance, mixing and production. Maybe some interesting things are my use of the AKAI 4000s wind synthesizer, an electric wind instrument (EWI) that responds to breath control, which I can midi out too. This can be heard on “Rock The Boat”, “Better”, “The Fighting’s Over”... Also I have had to develop a style of playing, a technique, on the Roland TD6 electronic drum kit to make it play and sound most like an acoustic kit. The sound is there now (as it triggers acoustic drums and cymbals) and I hope the style is authentic. It’s a different approach for sure and harder. I was in the studio recently with a blues band (Chauffeur Blues) playing my Sonor kit and the subtleties, nuances and resonance of the drum and cymbal sounds are just simply there. I can really explore the sounds of the hi-hats for instance and use natural bounce. But I am happy with both my playing and sound of the drums on these albums, there are also a few tracks where acoustic drums were recorded. On Revamp’s 1 and Too the sound of the drums, and their placement in the audio field, has made a huge difference to the overall feel, sound and production, given it depth and warmth. Other instruments I use include an Ibanez electric guitar and a handmade acoustic guitar I inherited from a friend, a Norman Wood, on Revamped Too only. I often put down acoustic guitar first, layering from there. My ability to work with and to use a click has improved incredibly. Using a click but keeping the sound fresh and “moving” is always an enjoyable challenge.

mwe3: What are your plans as far as the new album and other writing, recording and performances as we approach 2013?

TB: Well there’ll be a CD release of one of my French bands, as I said above, with both studio and live recordings. I’m also going to finish working on a revamped Fields of England. I have also already finished an album titled Crossing Over where I play all the instruments and feature particularly the EWI and flute. It’s ambient/chill out/jazzy, the other side of the Bragg if you will, and tells the story of a journey from consciousness to Heaven/Paradise...this inspired by my interest in the synthesis of science and spirituality, though, I confess, titles may have been applied to work already under way. I didn’t want to release this album before Revamped Too and may do so under a slightly different name.

Generally I have all the songs I need and with more to come – and so now only need to summon the energy to record Revamped Trois! Recently I have been recording drum solos on a small practice kit and uploading onto the net, feeling the need to reemphasize that I am foremost a drummer.

In France the season for gigs seems the opposite to England but there are already gigs lined up for 2013 and on New Year’s eve I’m playing with two bands, that should be fun!

Thanks To Tim Bragg @ www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TimBragg

 

 
   
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