We were fortunate enough to catch up with musician RJ Bacon following the release of ‘8 Bar Crawl’ in February 2021. Enjoy now!
Tell us about yourself?
I am a Cinematographer by trade- 40 odd years in the biz, but now winding back on that side of things. I shot a lot of high end, film and TV dramas here in Australia, and for US and European TV. It is a great job, but very demanding time-wise. I am an older guy, so now I spend as much time as I can slowly building up my studio and recording the music I love.
Tell us about your latest release ‘8 Bar Crawl’?
As with all the tracks on the albums, I try to make a ‘live vibe’, so I want you to feel like you’re in a small club or bar listening to a cool combo playing smooth jazz. Just a bit of smokey sax and piano to get into. The Album ‘Beyond the Perpendicular’ that the track is from is an attempt at that live feel. I think it works…
You recorded and produced ‘Beyond the Perpendicular’ in your own studio in Sydney, Australia, what was that process like?
I usually start with tempo/feel in mind and a chord progression on guitar, in this case, it’s just a simple blues, and go from there. I decide what instruments are going to appear as I go, but have an idea of the overall tone of the thing from the outset.
With the live feel in mind, I leave space for each of the ‘players’ (me) to do their thing as I layer it in. As the layers build, I go back and tidy up pieces that are too busy or get in the way. The tricky thing is keeping the band tight, when you’re not firing off another player, and guessing what you’re going to do with the next instrument you track.
I never want it to sound looped or too syncopated though, so I play as many of the instruments as ‘live’ as I can, hopefully giving an organic feel to the thing. It’s an old school sound I’ve got going on I know, but I hope there’s still room for it:))
Pre-covid, what was the music scene like in Australia?
Well pretty vibrant from what I’ve seen. Mind you I didn’t have a lot of time to catch as many local live acts as I would have liked, as I did a lot of travelling with the job. Sydney is a fabulous city with very talented musos and visiting live acts appearing in some great venues; it will be a relief when this bloody covid thing settles down.
What draws you to the jazz genre?
Even when I was a young feller playing in a rock band, I had a big interest in cool, smooth jazz, but I kept that quiet:)) I find it so relaxing and meditative and never really tire of it.
There are so many unbelievably talented people playing this music it leaves me in awe.
Who are your musical influences?
Early on, the usual, Beatles, Zeppelin, Floyd, but I also secretly liked Glen Miller’s big band stuff that Mum had! Then it became Oscar Peterson, Miles, Jimmy Smith and those sort fo outfits. I’m listening to John Schofield’s ‘Hand Jive’ at the moment-great stuff.
Who are your non-musical influences?
My six-year-old daughter has a lot of influence over me at the moment and keeps me on my toes. I am very impressed by all the people working so hard to contain this virus and by everybody pulling together and doing their bit.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
I haven’t played many live gigs actually, but I did play Brisbane’s (Australia) Festival Hall back in the seventies. Awesome to be on a stage where the Beatles and all those famous acts had performed.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Obviously, Covid and the inability to be able to tour and get your music out there is top of the list for most people in the biz.
It is also very difficult for artists to make any sort of living the way the streaming payment system is set up-very inequitable and unfair.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I would say, don’t be discouraged by negative opinions, do what you think sounds good, keep trying different things and above all enjoy it!
What are your hopes for the next two years?
I personally hope to keep my music going by improving myself and learning the genre more – release a few more albums, catch a few live gigs and hopefully travel overseas again and hear some cool jazz at Ronnie Scott’s…
FV Music Blog February 2021
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