Zach Bandolin Back Home After Lots of World Travelling
After touring stints in Seoul and Japan the guitarist is firmly planted back home in Canada.
JOHN - Hi Zach. Good morning and welcome to the show.
ZACH - Hi John, good morning to you too and to all the listeners of Smoothjazznow.
JOHN - “Pages from my Book” is a wonderful project and even though it sounds current, brings me back to the early guitar works of Carlton and Ritenour. How did you come up with the title?
ZACH - When I decided to make an album, I wanted to relate my life experiences to my music, so I compared the process to writing my own book. Basically, every chapter tells a different story and that's how the title "Pages From My Book" came to be.
ZACH - I look up to my guitar heroes for a deeper understanding of melodic guitar playing and for inspiration. But I do focus on my own technique and style of playing, rather than trying to mimic their style.
JOHN - 13 years in Seoul, tell me about that?
ZACH - After a 3 year stint in Japan in 1994,I was given an offer that I could not refuse - to play in Seoul, South Korea. At that time, live performances were really in demand. The beauty of the place smote me - the people were nice and friendly, the technology was abundant and the money was good too! My original plan of staying for 2 years ended up with me staying for 13, playing in major cities all over the country, in honky - tonk bars, disco clubs and even theme parks. We played various styles of music ranging from Rock to Country to Pop and Techno, but my favourite was definitely playing Smooth Jazz in some of the more popular hotels in the city of Seoul. The song "Memories of Summer" speaks directly to my experience in Korea - as vivid as the changing colors of its seasons.
ZACH - I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my personal life and career. I’ve been in and out of bad relationships and ignored them, hoping that they would run their natural course, but many situations still haunted me. When a friend of mine introduced me to the practice of meditation, it was then that I was able to listen to my inner self, fine-tune and get a hold of things. I learned to live in and embrace the real world, always remembering to take a step back when I need to put things into perspective.
ZACH - This song is about what I’ve learned during my stay in Fuzhou, China. The Chinese believe that in order to attain stability, there must be a balance between good and evil, strong and weak, black and white or Yin and Yang. The energy of the universe is harnessed in the equity of the Yin and Yang, bringing peace and harmony. This song attempts to interpret this in the form of the 2 – chord progression that is very dominant throughout the piece. I try to blend improvised melodies to the syncopated tempo of the song.
JOHN - and “T Skyline” is also getting some requests, what about that one?
ZACH - This song was originally titled “Toronto Skyline” but in the final minutes of production, I decided to call it “T Skyline” to leave a bit of mystery. This tune was playing in my mind as I took a stroll along the Lakeshore boardwalk, admiring the beauty of the city under a clear blue sky one summer day.
JOHN - What do you consider the defining moment of your career?
ZACH - Watching my music video on TV, completing my album and seeing it sold in online music stores. Mostly, that I’m finally out there and that people other than my relatives are complimenting my songs.
JOHN - What do you hope people come away with after listening to your music?
ZACH - Writing instrumental music is comparable to abstract painting, these songs are personal to the writer, but have a different meaning each time a new listener tunes into it. I just hope that people will enjoy my music and that it takes them to their own happy place every time they hear my songs.
ZACH - I am currently working on another album and plan to explore more of North America, hopefully sharing some music along the way.