Released in November 2012. Velvet Symphony was my brainchild. As I am primarily a songwriter and keyboardist, I have long been a fan of early progressive rock bands such as Yes, Genesis, Styx, Kansas, The Moody Blues, and neo-progressive rock groups like Marillion, Saga, Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree.
I have always had a passion for music that colored outside the lines and that can utilize strong melodies, intricate time signatures, and elaborate arrangements and still make all that work in a pop, commercial radio friendly structure.
Though not classically trained or for that matter having any musical training. I found that I had an ear for creating music early on. Creating music just seemed to come naturally to me.
I began composing theater projects in my early teens and taught myself how to play the piano and multi-track record before I graduated high school.
It was after high school I would find myself in a number of bands in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Each project providing more and more experience and giving me more and more knowledge of just how music worked.
The inspiration behind the Velvet Symphony project came about simply through my passion for wanting to create a completely instrumental art rock album. I wanted to take all the skills I had acquired over my last 20 plus years as a musician, producer, engineer and composer and truly put them all to work.
Now knowing what I wanted to accomplish with the Velvet Symphony project. I would now systematically tackle each track for the album.
Much like in many earlier musical projects, I was gifted with the ability to come up with a pretty catchy riff. The issue was always finishing what would come after the initial riff. So that is where I began.
I started with basically 10 riffs. One was written every few days. Each riff would be about a minute and a half long and included a melody with drums, guitar, bass, and keys. They were mostly just an intro to a rough song idea.
Once I settled on ten riffs. I began with the last riff written, then complete that one song and then each subsequent song in its entirety. The purpose for this was to continue the momentum from the last song completed. I believed it would be better to complete the last song idea first, rather than breaking up the songwriting flow and going back and forth to work on riffs randomly.
This seemed to be a great working model for the album as each song was being plucked out rather quickly. The energy and creativity were flowing non-stop. That was until I came to the final riff, which was actually the first one that had been introduced.
By this point, things were starting to sound too familiar, stale and old. Writers’ block was setting in. The thought of writing another song in its place, or trashing the riff and idea altogether and starting from scratch was seriously contemplated. But I felt I had come too far. It was too important to finish what I had begun with this song, and the fact that it was actually the first riff I had introduced for the album, made it even more important that it be kept and completed. So I begrudgingly moved forward and ultimately was able to complete the song to my great satisfaction.
So this album is the completion of that entire work. Ten tracks, each song fully realized. Hopefully, this instrumental journey takes the listener to a very different place.
It’s my hope you will enjoy Velvet Symphony’s debut album, Counter Clockwise.
Album design by Ed Melendez