Interview with Roy Shakked

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Roy has been releasing albums and creating eclectic music for film & tv and his own albums for years now, going under various pen names. His songs, mostly rooted in late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s songwriting, have enjoyed millions of track streams to date. This is his second EP under his own given name.

Interview by Tim Brown

When and why did you start playing?

I started playing piano at the age of 6. My parents wanted me to. You could say forced me to. They would say “encouraged.” We had an upright piano at home and I took lessons. I liked it but had no passion for it, was lazy and rarely practiced. By 12 I stopped playing, but when I was 16 I picked it up again, along with guitar, and found the love for it. By 17 I joined a band and that was that. I kind of knew music would be a big part of my life going forward.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

Oh yeah. So many. Listened to a ton of records as a kid, and as some of us did in pre-internet times, recorded and dubbed tapes on a daily basis. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, ELO, Queen, Miles Davis, Run DMC, The Clash, Prince, Talking Heads… The list is endless. Really, anything I could put my hands on.

Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

I haven’t. I came up before shows like American Idol and The Voice came on the scene. None of the artists I actually like and have admired over the years would ever pass the first round of auditions to these shows. Not a fan of competition in art unless it’s for a very specific skill but I find that to be boring, not to mention often bad for the soul. 

Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV

I’ve performed live many times in my life but stopped doing it a few years ago. At some point it became a toll rather than something fun. Rehearsing, promoting, self awareness on stage. I just stopped enjoying it. These days I feel more at home in my recording studio.

Why did you choose to play this kind of music?

I definitely did more “choosing” when I was younger. Writing a song was more planned out by style, often a sound-alike working off-of another song I like. I don’t work like that anymore. I make music that speaks to me, naturally. Choosing a style is something I would do when scoring for tv, film and ads but when it comes to my own songs I believe they grow and reveal themselves, through an organic process and not necessarily from a conscious choice.

Let’s Talk about your latest EP – “I’m Telling Everyone” which came out earlier this week

It’s a collection of 5 songs that I produced over the last year or so. The lyrics are personal and I guess you could say semi-autobiographical. The tempos, except for Five Days a Week are on the slow side so if you’re looking for a head banger this one isn’t for you. It still grooves though – in a more soulful way. I feel each song is sort of a mood piece with its own unique vibe and a bunch of 70’s influences and vintage ear candy throughout. Though I played most of the instruments on the EP I had some stellar players come in and lay down their talents on these songs. I’m super proud of how it all came out.

How do you feel about the internet in the music business?

The internet, along with the low cost of Digital Audio Workstations, changed it all. It kicked the gates wide open. Sure, there are still major labels that pluck their chosen few and inject them with a boost of promotion but anyone from their bedroom with 2 cents to their name can share their work with the world and that’s a beautiful thing. There are downsides of course. The market is flooded not only with the good, but with the bad and ugly. Just like anyone can call themselves an artist, tons of sharks call themselves music supervisors, managers, producers and influencers. Another depressing thing is the horrendous sound quality of compressed streaming songs and the fact that most people only listen to them on a phone and will never experience the full affect of a sweet mix. But you can’t have it all, right? Things keep changing and evolving. Sorry for the long-winded answer… Overall? I feel positive!

What are the plans for the future?

No immediate plans. Just keep creating. Even if it’s just for fun, without any goals in mind.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?

It’s evolved quite a bit. When I got out of music school I had playing chops but no real concept of how to structure songs in any appealing way. I stuck to instrumental music – mostly down-tempo electronica and jazzy chill out cuts that did pretty well for me (I would often release these tracks under artist names The Tao of Groove and Jazzelicious) but I always felt I was missing something. It took me years to get up the courage and write lyrics, then a few more years to gain the confidence to sing them myself. I’m a late bloomer. The same with guitar and bass playing – I stuck to just keyboards for years but these days I record guitar and bass and don’t mind messing up and running through it as many times as I need. I’ve learned to respect my own approach rather than always get the pro players to come in and help out. There’s a place for that, of course, but the song just comes out with a different vibe when I play it myself.


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