|Trevor Rabin – Harmony of mind and spirit, analog, and digital
kvraudio.comDec 27th 2012 MIDI can make mediocre musicians sound good, good musicians sound great, and great musicians prolific. Trevor Rabin falls into the third category. He has embraced and derives major benefits from computer technology, but he is still analog when it comes to making music. Even if you are one of a small group that hasn’t heard his work with Yes you probably have heard one of his film scores or the NBA theme song.
His background has been well-documented on Wikipedia and in interviews like this one. In short Trevor grew up in a very creative household. His father was first chair in the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, and his mother was a piano teacher and a painter. He has studied many kinds of music during his lifetime as his recent and amazingly diverse CD Jacaranda clearly illustrates. Classically trained in all aspects of symphonic music, he used his ears to learn rock and jazz, and then combined all of it to create his own sound.
He has one of the most well-equipped project studios I have ever seen. In addition to a large assortment of outboard gear there is an awesome collection of stringed instruments of all kinds hanging on the wall. He plays them directly or through a collection of amps into Digital Performer running on his Mac. There is “live” room that is largely taken up by an acoustic piano that he keeps mic’ed for piano parts, and a machine room that is full of older Emu samplers and Gigas. For him the computer is a tool to record what he plays.
I came out of the interview thinking that it’s a pleasure to meet someone within whom passion, experience, and aptitude are so well matched.
I remember the first tour you did with Yes well. It was a great revival for them…
Yea, and I think one of the useful things is that I wasn’t a fan of the band. I didn’t dislike them, but I never really listened to them. The first Yes-related album I heard growing up in South Africa was “Six Wives” by Rick Wakeman. I loved that thing. There was one piece I just loved, which was… (plays riff of Rick Wakeman’s “Jane Seymore” flawlessly on keyboard)? Years before meeting Rick, I worked it out on the guitar. And it’s a lot harder on the guitar. It was quite difficult and when we started touring together on the reunion tour, Chris Squire was worried that Rick and I weren’t going to hit it off and I said, “Why not? He seems like a really funny, nice guy.” And we did hit it off so well. I mean, we just hung out the whole time. When the tour was finished, he called me and said, “Play on my album.”
So when we were on the Yes tour together, he said, “Instead of me going into that, why don’t you start?” And then he would join in. And of course it was hard on guitar, so I would always go (plays same riff on guitar). And then when he came in, he’d be going (plays same riff faster) and I’d be thinking, “Bastard.” So we got on really well.
Film scoring is about spotting and