Tarock Music was happy to have Skope Magazine’s STOLI check-in with Bruce Cohen about his latest album, Two BC, so take a break from your busy day to read their conversation below.
My guest today is well known as one half of the famous band, The Reds®. Well as we are going to see today there is a lot more to Bruce Cohen. Bruce was gracious enough to take time away from a beautiful day in Miami, FL to talk all about his new album, ‘Two BC.’ It has been about two years since Bruce released the first edition ‘One BC.’ I am thrilled to talk with an authentic musician who has no choice but to do music. Bruce Cohen talks about the new album, The Reds®, juggling various bands/projects, and so much more!
Stoli: Where are we talking from today, and will you miss summertime now that fall is here?
Bruce Cohen: Right now I live in Miami, Florida, where there are no seasons. Maybe, around November/December, it will get down to a bone chilling 70 degrees. Love it!
Stoli: Would you say the cold or warm weather effects your ambition to write music, or does it not matter?
BC: Miami is always warm, so it really doesn’t matter.
Stoli: This is your second edition of ‘Two BC.’ How did you know this was the right time for the album, and how long have you been writing songs for this album?
BC: I’m always writing and recording ideas or songs. One BC was released a couple of years ago and it felt like a new edition was in order. So I went through my library of songs I’ve recorded over the years, and with my manager, Theresa (Marchione), came up with the final songs for Two BC.
Stoli: What differences is there between ‘One BC’ and ‘Two BC’?
BC: One BC was really an experiment to see what I could do with an all instrumental album. With Two BC everything came faster to me, and was easier to record, I guess because of One BC Two is a little harder and bigger sounding, more spacial, and can get your feet moving at the same time. It really expanded from what I did on One and took it even further. I even got into some heavy Dub with the song “In Limbo,” and fooled around with some “treated guitar” sounds on “Thumpalina” and “You Think.” And, I have a lot more percussion on the track “Puzzle Piece.” Two BC is definitely a progression from One BC.
Stoli: Did Rick Shaffer from The Reds® contribute at all to this new album, and did you miss his input and guitar skills?
BC: Well the whole concept was to make an instrumental album without any guitars, just all keyboards along with bass and drums. Rick would listen to the final versions and give pointers production wise, like suggesting making the bass deeper, or keyboard louder.
Stoli: You are world renowned for your skills on the keyboard. At what age did you learn to play, and what brand equipment do you use?
BC: Thanks for that compliment. When I was seven, out of the clear blue sky, I told my parents I wanted to play the accordion. Don’t ask why, I just did. Then when I was about fourteen, I heard Gimme Some Lovin’ by Spencer Davis and knew I had to switch to organ. The sound that Winwood got out of that Hammond organ changed everything for me. The next time I felt like that was when I heard Eno on the first Roxy Music album. So I combine the two sounds that influenced me the most. I play mainly a Hammond XK-1, along with a old 05R/W Korg module, plus a mess of VST plug-ins which include mellotron’s, Farfisa and Vox organs, and synths galore.
Stoli: I love your song “Martian River.” What is the meaning and inspiration behind that tune?
BC: That’s one of my favorites on the album. When I write I always think of a movie, be it real or imaginary. I saw on the news that scientists think they may have discovered a lake or river on Mars. Well that got me thinking. What if some Astronauts were on Mars and were sailing down that river. Then I thought of “Apocalypse, Now!” and how Kurtz was at the end of the river, but this time on Mars. So it became, Apocalypse, Mars!.
Stoli: Through Tarock Music you are truly in charge of your own musical destiny. How important is it that you control your music, and everything from production, distribution, and marketing?
BC: The only control I like having is the writing and recording of the projects. Once it’s all done and I’m happy with the results it doesn’t matter to me what happens next. If someone decides they want to use a track in a film or TV show, once they license it, you have no control of what they do with it. You do have the control though to say yes, or no, to a project. So that’s cool. As far as marketing, distribution, and promotion that’s all in the trusting hands of Theresa.
Stoli: You have The Reds®, Big Fun 3, and your solo work. How do you balance everything, and could you see yourself doing anything besides music?
BC: It’s too late for me to do anything besides music. Ha! It’s actually a lot easier than it sounds to balance everything. The Reds® is mainly a recording project now, and it could be years between albums. Big Fun 3 never rehearses, we just show up at the gig and play. Total improvisation. Even the first album was total improv on the spot, not rehearsed. On my solo projects I work at home on a computer, then when it’s all ready, I go into the studio. I can take as much time as I want on the solo stuff. So it all works out.
Stoli: As a big Reds fan, can I ask if and when a new album or single will be out?
BC: When Rick and I feel it’s time we’ll do a new Reds album. Meanwhile we both put out solo albums for now, but I’m sure we’ll get the itch to record together again. When? Who knows? What you should do in the meantime, if you can, play Rick’s solo CD’s and my solo CD’s together at the same time and there you go, a Reds album. Hey maybe someone can do a Danger Mouse, and mix the music from both CD’s into one crazy CD. Hmmmm . . . are you listening Danger Mouse?
Stoli: What is coming up for Bruce Cohen and where can we find you online?
BC: A new Big Fun 3 CD will be coming out in the near future comprised of live concert performances, and to find BF3 on-line go to reverbnation.com/bigfun3, or ropeadope.com. For anything related to The Reds®, Rick Shaffer, and Bruce Cohen, go to TarockMusic.com. Thanks for a great interview, Stoli.