Tomas Doncker Interview by Tom Paul

Tomas Doncker http://www.myspace.com/tomasdoncker is talented singer/songwriter - producer - guitarist who has been in the studio and on stage with a who's who of respected recording artists. From Bootsy Collins to MeShell Ndegeocello to Ivan Neville to Bonnie Raitt he brings a fresh sense of melody, chord changes and production that lets a song breathe.

Tomas Doncker http://www.myspace.com/tomasdoncker is talented singer/songwriter - producer - guitarist who has been in the studio and on stage with a who's who of respected recording artists. From Bootsy Collins to MeShell Ndegeocello to Ivan Neville to Bonnie Raitt he brings a fresh sense of melody, chord changes and production that lets a song breathe.

He recently has released his own CD titled InsideOut on his own label GroovySexyMusic which has been well received. InsideOut is available on http://www.itunes.com/ http://www.cdbaby.com/ and http://www.pandora.com/

He records and performs with an All-Star band of NYC Session players like Daniel Sadownick on percussion, Booker King on bass, Etyenne Lytle on keys with co-producers Danya Steele on backing vocals and Benny Steele on drums.

You can come out to hear Tomas Doncker perform at Shrine http://shrinenyc.com/ April 3rd in Harlem at The Shrine located at 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd between 133rd & 134th Sts $5 cover.

TP: What were your musical influences that helped develop your sound?

TD: I was always under the impression that there were only 2 kinds of music, cool and not so cool.
I suppose there has always been genres classification (i.e. R&B, Pop, Jazz, etc...)
But as a child, I was blissfully unaware of the schisms in the music business. I like what I like.

I always saw the great guitar player/singer/songwriters as being all in the same family. Guys like Curtis Mayfield, James Taylor, Bobby Womack and Robbie Robertson.

The first two records I received growing up were the Jackson 5 "Get It Together" and The Beatles "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" and I grew up listening to WABC under my pillow at night.

TP: Have you always played guitar or did you start out on other instruments and then wind up playing the guitar?

TD: I got the notion to be a musician from seeing Larry Graham of Graham Central Station on Don Kirshner's rock concert one night.
I walked my mother up and started petitioning for a guitar for Christmas.
I didn't realize that Larry played bass. But when I got to the store and saw the size of the bass strings, I quickly switched my choice to
the guitar, thinking it would be easier. I was wrong (laughs). They are both difficult to play well.

TP: Tell me about your new CD InsideOut? Where did you record it? Did you release it on your own label?

TD: Groovy sex music is the name of my publishing company. We released the album under that imprint. I work at the Steele Factory Recording Studios, I have been for the last five years. In my opinion it's the best recording studio in NYC.

TP: A lot of quality projects have been coming out of that studio The Steele Factory http://www.thesteelefactory.com/  Tell me about how involved musically the co-producers are on the CD?

TD: We each handle different areas of the production, but we each have input in all areas. It's a great team.

We started on a new EP recently of World Influenced Acoustic Soul Music which was brought on by influences of other friends. I have been around world on tour and I've come across some very special musicians who have influenced me. Ali Farka Toure http://www.myspace.com/alifarkatoureofficial  and Tcheka www.myspace.com/tchekacaboverde from Cape Verdi was one of the first artists that made me want to work on this type of CD.

TP: Seems like an All-Star cast of musicians that are involved with this project? Were you working with this band regularly prior to the recording of the CD?

TD: Yes that is my band. They are session guys and they happen to be in my band and some of my best friends. I like to have the feeling of a Family Affair

My band on the CD InsideOut is Daniel Sadownick on percussion, Booker King on bass, Etyenne Lytle on keys with co-producers Danya Steele on backing vocals and Benny Steele on drums.

TP: Can you explain to the Indie artists out there what you think is most important tool to have at your advantage when releasing an Independent CD?

TD: Be ready to perform solo. Many hip venues are small and intimate, always a great way to showcase your songs.
Sometimes in a smaller venue the songs can be more effective.

Having a great band, songs and production are crucial to get the product out but it is just as important to make sure that you can play with both a band and also as a duo live.


TP: Talk to me about your approach to songwriting? There are some beautiful songs on this CD, my favorites being "learn to cry", "Another Thing Comin'" and the cover of the Cat Stevens song "Peace Train". Great song titles, which I think gets the listener interested without hearing the song.

TD: I have just two rules about writing.

First of all, there is no "right way" to write a song. It doesn't
matter what come first, lyrics then music or vise versa.
When the lightening strikes - catch it!

Second rule - write...every day.
Great writers, write!

The songs are in the air and we just have to tune into the frequency of them.

We are blessed to be songwriters and have a very serious responsibility what we choose to sing about.

No rules in songwriting, just write about stuff that you know.

TP: Reading your bio, you mention being on the NYC scene for over 20 years. Can you give me some insight into the scene back then for Indie artists compared to how the Indie Artist has transitioned to now in your eyes?

TD: Back in the day there was a certain pride in ones craft and you had to be really good. There would be 5 bands on the gig who would be really amazing and my band would be blown away. My band would be up first thing the next morning to write to make ourselves better after hearing what was played the night before. I still see a lot of that in the musicians of today like Angela Johnson http://www.angelajohnson.com/ and Maritri's Monday night One Mic where artists come down and play a song or two in an Open Mic format. There are other Songwriter Circles I am involved in now and the talent I am finding is positive for these future singer/songwriters.

TP: Did you have your own band back in the 80's or were you a sideman for many of the groups on the scene back then?

TD: Always had my own band as well as I would put out indie records. I worked as a sideman as well with a lot of artists.

TP: You've been sideman and on recording sessions for a lot of diverse artist, which artist made the most musical impression on you and why?

TD: Different artists have done different things for me musically.

The first person that comes to mind is Joseph Bowie from Defunkt who was an amazing showman and band leader. I learned from him to get the best musician possible and to get out of their way.

The second, Ivan Neville who is walking, breathing encyclopedia of song. Every morning first thing in the morning he would finish a song. He would write everyday.

TP: Are there any artists that you'd like to work with in the future?

TD: I've had to the opportunity to work with Meshell NdegeOcello www.freemyheart.com/  and would like to continue to work with her. PJ Morton www.myspace.com/pjmortonband  is another talent that I'd like to work with. Martha Redbone and her producer Aaron Whitby http://www.martharedbone.com/ . Maritri Garrett http://www.myspace.com/maritrimusic  and V. Jeffrey Smith and Peter Lord from The Family Stand http://www.myspace.com/thefamilystand

TP: Tell me about these 2 projects which were collections of works with poet Hermine Pinson titled "Change the Change" & a collection of new songs with Pulitzer-prize winning poet Yussef Komonyaka titled "the mercy suite".  Explain how this opportunity came about and the process of picking which musicians who will work with you on these types of projects?

TD: Yussef produced Hermine's CD which I was working on and we wrote 2 songs on the CD. They are both genius'.

I learned so much about how to string together Words in order for them to effective
They are masters of conveying a lot with very little said. A lot of pure emotion, no filler.

The Mercy Suite is a collection of All-Stars performing songs that Yussef and myself wrote together. That included Morley, Maritri Garrett, Meshell Ndegeocello, Chocolate Genius, Karma Johnson, Corey Glover, Brandon Ross, Marvin Sewell as well as my musical Family. The record was produced by Holland/Steele and me at The Steele Factory

TP: Can you tell me about other projects that you are currently involved with?

TD: Working with a brilliant songwriter named Haley Thompson and my ongoing work with legendary Karma Johnson, we are finishing up work on Camilia Qabazard CD, I have just been commissioned to score a Gospel-based play titled "Lay Your Hands On Me" written by Wendell Carter

TP: What advice can you give to those Indie artists out there who are about to complete their projects? What can they look for? What do they absolutely need in their corner before releasing their CD?

TD: All I can say is good luck and blessings. Put your best foot forward always

TP: What was the last CD that you purchased?

TD: Tcheka's latest Lonji which you can only order at Tower Records online and PJ Morton's latest CD

Thanks for your time and we will let everyone know that they can reach out to you on your MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/tomasdoncker and to come out to hear you perform at Shrine http://shrinenyc.com/ April 3 at The Shrine
located at 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd in Harlem $5 cover.

Tom Paul

http://myspace.com/tompaul6band

http://tompaulindiemusic.blogspot.com/

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