Syrupy soundscapes, jazzy progressions and electro-influenced beats co-mingle to produce mellow and beautifully realized night music from Motown. Behind these atmospheric jams is long time composer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Utech.
MusicZeitgeist.com coaxed the following insights about the crafting of these recordings from the artist:
MusicZeitgeist: Who is Greg Utech?
I have been a musician for over 30 years in the Detroit area. Mostly on drums, but I can “mingle” with most any instrument. I have released three disc’s to date with my 4th CD due out in July. I appeared on Rick Matle’s CD “Ears Wide Shut.” Of course like most Musicians I have a “Day” job which just happens to be the best job in the world, a stay at home Dad to our first child Noah.
MZ: Where are you based? Has it influenced your output?
The “D”. Born and raised in Detroit. This part of our world seems to have a Vortex of creativity, From Motown to Madonna, and all the Jazz greats it has been a treat to call Michigan Home. The long winters foster a need to keep busy and I think this has a small part to do with the plethora of talent to come from this area.
MZ: Talk about influences on your sound
Jazz, Fusion. Artist I would call mentors include Stevie Wonder, Donald Fagen, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, The Band, Pink Floyd, McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders, Jeff Beck, Bill Bruford, Tony Williams, Jack Dejonet, Elvin Jones, Fela Kuti, Peter Gabrial, Tereje Ripdal, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Pass, to name a few.
I worked in professional theater for 18 years at Meadow Brook Theater at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. From set design to writing the score for the 1993 production of Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. This along with being around the right crowd inspired my artistic style, From being involved in over 120 professional Theatrical productions, and being a part of all of them, from Shakespeare to Ain’t misbehaving, I was exposed to some real creativity and different thought patterns that translate into my genre of music. Also a self taught abstract painter with over 30 major shows to date help play a major role in my tonal creations.
MZ: Tell us about your recording process.
Mostly from my modest studio at home I am able to create most of the rhythm and “beds” for each song, then it’s off to a more technicaly sound studio for all the final mixing and last minute solos. I produce all the tracks with some help from my friend Rick Matle who also plays most of the guitar on my CD’s. And of course when you are a one man show, it’s then time for laying out art work, song titles and order, copyrighting, duplication, and finally all the marketing involved, especially if you want to make at least $12.78 per year. But it is the love of the craft luckily and not the fame and fortune.
MZ: So what motivates you to keep making and releasing music in these changing times?
“Everything has been done before.”
It has to be fun to be somewhat unique in this world of soundalikes. The most memorable musical experience I have had was when Ralph Valdez, a DJ from WDET in Detroit, called and said he loved my 1st disc and would play it on his next show. We had a party that night and it felt as though a dream had come true.This event is realy what pushed me to continue on with endeavors. My music has also been aired on the Jon Moshier program, and “The Listening Room” with host Chris Felcyn. As well as KAOS FM in Olympia WA, Tomorrow Jazz, aTTeNTIoN sPaN raDIO, IPM.com, And reached the feature page on New Orleans Radio.com. With some generous reviews from, Joe Henry, Serge Kozlovsky, and a two-page spread in Acid Jazz Magazine by Sylvia Turin. Everyone has some “Big Break” if you believe in what your doing, and are not doing it for the money.
MZ: When will you know your work is done?
I guess my lofty goal of 10 disc’s is still attainable, but with Cd’s approaching 90 minutes these days it is like producing a double album from the old vinal days, so each disc so far has taken at least 2 years to complete, with the exception of my upcoming disc “Mars is Missing” which will be at about the three-year mark due to the birth of our 1st child Noah Gregory Utech.
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