guitarist David Stockden is making sonic waves with his 2014
CD Time Dilation. Essentially a one man band
effort, the ten track CD features a cross section of electric and
acoustic guitar based instrumental sounds. Stockdens expertise
at overdubbing himself on a range of instrumental tracks makes the
CD a tasteful blend of appealing guitar-centric sounds. Theres
even some tracks in the realm of Indian music and moodier, often times
soothing acoustic / electric moments. Commenting on the time between
his last release, 2010's Reflections Of Themes and the 2014
CD release of Time Dilation, Stockden explains, "It
came together after a period of not being able to play due to injury.
My hands had been playing up for a few years and I finally took the
decision to not play for 8 months, which was tough as any musician
knows. When I came back to playing in August 2014, I found I had to
relearn a bit and it took my playing in a slightly different direction.
I played a lot with my fingers rather than a pick. Because of this,
my approach to music changed and that has been the most development
that has taken place over the year,s technique-wise at least."
Fans of guitar heroes such as Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani will
appreciate Stockdens grasp of various guitar instrumental genres.
On the 2014 CD release of Time Dilation, David Stockden successfully
merges an intriguing and highly listenable coalition of jazzy, rocking
guitar instrumentals. www.DavidStockden.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
How did the new Time Dilation CD take shape and how would you
compare it to your 2010 Reflections Of Themes album and also
to some of your other albums? Was there another album in between those
two and how do you feel your music has grown or changed over the years
and how many albums have you released? Do you have any unreleased
music and/or would you consider a retrospective CD or DVD at some
David Stockden: It came together after a period of not being
able to play due to injury. My hands had been playing up for a few
years and I finally took the decision to not play for 8 months, which
was tough as any musician knows. When I came back to playing in August
2014 I found I had to relearn a bit and it took my playing in a slightly
different direction. I played a lot with my fingers rather than a
pick. Because of this my approach to music changed and that has been
the most development that has taken place over the years technique
wise at least.
In between Reflections of Themes and Time Dilation
I released an acoustic album called Streaming Thoughts. I released
only on iTunes and Amazon downloads. I did that as a bit of a backlash
against robotic over edited music. Most of those tracks are one take
and are improvisations, hence the Streaming Thoughts title.
They are rough and ready but Id rather go and see someone play
with their heart and not everything be perfect than a perfect show
with no emotion.
Apart from Streaming Thoughts I did release a track called
Giusy, named after a paralympic athlete I witnessed at a track
meet. Im a big para sport fan, who inspired me, her name is
Giusy Versace, Incredible woman!
I have released 3 full length albums, the first was True Intent.
I wanted some dissonance in the music, even the ballads. Not a lot
of people got my intent though and thought some of it was mistakes!
As for unreleased tracks I have a hard drive full of songs I have
started and then left because I didn't feel they had a place.
I dont feel Ive released enough to have a retrospective
album out yet.
How has your choice of guitars changed over the years? I remember
when you released the Reflections Of Themes with Music Man
guitars. Gear wise, whats new in the guitar world for you and
what guitars, electric and acoustic, and setups, including pedals
and other effects, did you use on the Time Dilation CD? Are
you still seeking out new guitars and how do you find that various
guitars help you shape the sound youre looking for to fit the
music youve written? And how about amps, as you said in 2010,
you were amp-less! I hope thats not the case nowadays.
David Stockden: I was never entirely happy with Music Man guitars,
The necks felt great but they are really narrow and I think that was
part of the issue with injury, screwing my hands up tight to fit them
on the fingerboard.
After looking around to see what was about I initially went back to
Ibanez guitars, what I was using previously to Music Man. I went to
a guitar show about four years ago and ended up chatting to Ben from
Vigier guitars. Their main innovation is that they dont have
truss rods, instead they have a strip of carbon. They use stainless
steel frets too which is great for me as I can go through a set of
frets in a few months.
I bought a 6 and then a 7 string and apart from having the pick up
switching modified by my guitar tech, I tweaked them to how I wanted
it and thats it, Ive not had to do anything else, they
are just consistent.
Apart from that Ive gone a bit more traditional and play Strats
and a Tele a lot now.
For the album I intended to use just one guitar, it didnt quite
turn out like that though in the end!
I used a USA standard Strat with vintage noiseless pick ups, a Japanese
Strat, a Kenny Wayne Shepherd Strat, a Line 6 Tyler Variax, nylon
string Variax, Ibanez RG 550ltd with sustainer fitted and my Vigier
Excalibur special. I also used my Yamaha FG400 guitar which Ive
had since 1991 and was my first proper guitar.
I think with the exception of the Vigier for my modern styles, I have
found that the Strat is what Ive been searching for. I sort
of reverse engineered my way through guitars from Ibanezs back
to Strats. Sometimes the originals are still the best!
I play differently
if I play my Strats, especially the vintage radius Japanese one. They
chime nicely and I tend to create more chordal ideas.
I use the Vigier for anything where I want a thicker sound and want
to go up to the 24th fret.
As for seeking new guitars out, I would like a 335 with vintage style
pick ups in for a different tonality, amazingly for me Im not
hunting for gear.
For pedals I kept it fairly simple. I tend to use a Pod HD500 for
effects when Im playing. Recording wise I used the pitch shifter
in the HD500 for the whammy effects. Delay etc, is from within Pro
The amp tones were a combination of a Blackstar Series 100 104 6L6
head, what I ended up getting in 2010, and a Chandler plug in amp.
The Blackstar is great. I tend to use low gain sounds so I am nowhere
using it to its full extent but it has a really nice clean and just
slightly dirty tone.
mwe3: On Reflections Of Themes you had Stu Hamm guesting
and you farmed out the drums so what were the recording sessions like
for Time Dilation this time around? So you played the drums
this time? How did you approach making this latest CD and what did
you set out to achieve this time?
David Stockden: It says me doing everything... I cheated with
the drums. I used MIDI Pads and a keyboard to put them down! I wanted
a fairly rigid beat and a sound which could easily be both a drummer
or a machine on the track Time Dilation. The others I
wanted, and hopefully got, more of a drummer feel to them.
The guitar and bass recording was fairly straight forward. I think
I must try too hard with bass though as I had stiff fingers after
each recording session on the picking hand. The tension difference
between a bass and a guitar really shows up then and showed how weak
my hands were after 8 months off.
I approached the making of the CD as I usually do, that being I want
some up tempo tracks, some slow tracks and then some tracks which
are a bit different from the norm. This time it was the Indian influence.
I set out to have a fairly mixed album. I think I achieved that style
wise but it all sounding like me. I dont think I have a style,
Im a mishmash of others, as most guitarists are.
You mention the concept of Time Dilation. Can you elaborate
on that? I see theres a lot of info on it online but is there
a way to explain it to a novice and how you feel it relates to the
composition and performance of your music? Is there a concept behind
the Time Dilation album? It sounds pretty timeless to my ears.
David Stockden: I am a novice myself! I watch a lot of science
programs on Youtube and the concept of time dilation has popped up
a few times. Essentially my understanding of it is that... for instance,
if you have two identical clocks and you put one on a something traveling
fast and one stationary on the earth, once compared after this trip
to the clock that didnt make the journey, the clock on the plane
would be slightly behind. Another example could be if you went out
into space traveling very fast, then what may have registered to you
on the spacecraft as being 50 years may be 51 years back on earth.
In theory, from what I understand the faster you go, the more the
difference would be to that of the stationary object. I could be completely
How I applied the idea to the tracks on Time Dilation is sometimes
subtle and sometimes more obvious. I combined the idea with the thought
of... would things necessarily go smoothly all the time, would some
things catch up and interfere with other things?
The slowing down in the track Time Dilation at the end...
I wish it was the days of Walkmans and people thinking their batteries
Tomorrow I Wish You Everything and Venu(m)
have very similar harp harmonics at the end. The idea of that was
that they were a remnant that was delayed and somehow combined with
the ones at the end of Venu(m) but not exactly the same
as them, a bit parallel universes gone wrong!. With Tomorrow
I Wish You Everything, I also tried to go for that slightly
out of tune record player/Jeff Beck sound, a slightly warped record
interfering with the timing type thing.
Im glad to see that on the Time Dilation album you showcase
a number of different guitar genres and some of the tracks are quite
meditative and other cuts have Indian music influences too. Contrast
your interest in hard rock instrumentals with your interest in more
New Age and Indian flavored instrumentals. I recall that you said
you were also keen on making a relaxation album. I like the way that
track seven and eight, Tomorrow I Wish You Everything
and Venu(m) segues into track nine, a rocker called Startech
Monitor. Is the sequence of those three cuts a good example
of your contrasting musical dispositions? Also I remember you said
you wanted to do a vocal album at some point. Is that still a possibility?
David Stockden: I grew up on hard rock/pop/metal but Ive
always been aware and interested in music from other countries. Where
I grew up there were a lot of families with Indian heritage. I heard
music through windows and such and to some extent at school. The person
I consider my best friend is Hindu and she appears on the track Indian
Beads, her mother appears on the intro. I asked her to do it
as I felt it lent an air of authenticity to the track!
I have an interest in Hinduism and its many branches. The track Venu(m)
takes its names partly from a friend of mine whose spiritual initiate
name is Venu, the addition of the (m) indicates from where
her name came. Venum is the name of the flute that the God Krishna
plays. The sustainer guitars on that track has long flowing notes
such as a flute may play.
I would still like to do a relaxation album, I dont know if
it will come to fruition or not.
For the order of those 3 tracks I liked the way Tomorrow I Wish
You Everything went into Venu(m). I felt a more
uptempo track would fit best after that as I always intended closing
the album with GDH.
I attempted a few vocal tracks, Holding On and Haunted
By Your Love are on iTunes. I felt that I should stick to guitar
playing after doing those so Im not really thinking too much
about a vocal album unless someone else is singing!
For Time Dilation, what was the recording / overdubbing process
like to create a one man band project? The sound is great, who did
the mixing and mastering and was anyone else involved in making the
album? What kind of recording equipment do you use when you write
David Stockden: The process was easier as I wasnt relying
on other peoples schedules, on the other hand it was harder as it
meant I had to be more disciplined and get to work, which required
motivation which sometimes was lacking!
I did the mixing. I was hesitant about it after having an issue with
my ears which resulted in having the underwater sound
in my ears a lot of the time. It resulted from the stupidest thing.
I was on a flight back to England from the USA and the tubes to my
ears closed with the pressure and they have never opened. I didnt
know if I could hear enough detail or not. I still dont know
if I could or not as it appears to be permanent!
Apart from me the only other people on the album are Anisha Panchmatia
and Mina Dhanesha who did the vocal parts on Indian Beads.
The album was mastered by Henry Smithson who runs a mastering studio
in a place called Reading which is nearish London.
For recording it was Pro tools 10 on an iMac using a UAD Apollo interface.
I used mainly the stock pro tools plug ins apart from for the bass
which was an Amplitube SVT bass amp.
mwe3: What kind of album would you like to make next and what
other musical plans do you have as we move into 2015?
Stockden: Ive got my next album planned out! Its going
to be a collection of ballads. I feel more a connection with that
type of playing. Ive got all the titles in place for it and
Im going to write to the titles and hope something comes out.
Its going to be split between acoustic and electric, not sure
of the ratio. I hope to have this finished by mid 2015.
Thanks to David Stockden @ www.DavidStockden.com