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rigsby smith | hands up baby hands up

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Some weeks ago I published an raindog poem called Eyes like Mingus and I found a great painting from Rigsby Smith to illustrate the posting and he contacted me today and I went again to his web site to learn more about him. And you should do the same! He is a sort of an musicsmith and an visual artist as well. Check out his page here… and please send him an e-mail under rigsbysmith at hotmail dot com and ask him to send you the ‘hidden-link’ to get his latest album for free. Sounds great? Great Sounds !

I make non-lyrical music from live performances, found sounds, home-made samples and editing, which I record in my own small studio in South West London. I play glockenspiel, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, berimbau and a bit of piano and clarinet.

I was born in 1976. My first loves were painting, writing and playing with toys. I wrote my first song while playing Transformers around eight or nine, it was all about how Optimus Prime had been brainwashed by the Decepticons. I played that out time and time again with my song rattling around my head, I’ve always been too embarrassed to actually sing it to anyone else.

I didn’t really write much music-wise until I hit my teens when I took up guitar and vocals a week after buying my first guitar at a car-boot sale. The guitar was a Kays SG copy that still hangs on my hall wall, the bands I was in were awful. I gradually improved and continued to play live, recording wherever possible, usually to boom boxes and cassette decks. I got pretty good at the guitar/ vocalist/ song-writer thing, we won a few competitions and got a lot of interest but I kind of just wanted to record.

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When I was 18, a friend of a friend lent me a four-track and I became obsessed. I’d record whenever and wherever possible, it was like a mission without end – or reason. I learnt a lot by four-tracking, it’s kind of dying out now with the advent of really cheap home computer recording but it’s a great way to cut your teeth. It made me massively creative, if I didn’t have a drum I’d make one from a tin bin and rice paper, I didn’t have a sampler so I’d make tape loops on cassette decks. I loved that stuff. It also made me a careful engineer, experimenting with sounds, mic placement and good signal to noise ratios. I had a pretty good job by the time I was 20 so I started using a local studio as well as four-tracks and I spent days and days recording there. I learnt a lot from the engineer there too, knowledge which I ploughed back into my four-tracking.

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When I turned 21 I bought an early digital eight-track and everything changed for me. I’d become pretty tired with the vocal format and besides that I felt I had very little else to say. The eight-track gave me the chance to work in earnest on some instrumental music. I’d been dabbling with it for years but at this point it took over. By the end of the year I’d recorded two albums of instrumental music (that I later chose not to release), a huge array of other tunes and had formed my first instrumental group.

Several groups, a lot of sound engineering, live and recording experience later in 2005 I put out my first CD under my own name, a collection of tunes from the previous few years called ‘EPs and Others’. It was good to get that stuff out there and be able to move on. I started recording an album (‘Free Will’) using a lot of found sounds as well as skilled and naive playing. It may just as well been called ‘writer’s block’ than anything else, it was a very tough time creatively. But as people do, I came through it and am now at the other side. Oh, and it’s very nearly finished. Rigbsy Smith