Where are you from?
Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Name of band:
The Professor and Naomi Kay.
Who else is in your band?
How would you describe yourselves?
Indie, retro rock/folk, pop.
Who are your main influences musically?
I grew up on Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Stones, Deep Purple, Rush etc, and played in cover bands doing everything.....Zeppelin, Rush, Deep Purple, ZZ Top. Started to write and record my own music and then only worked in bands recording and doing our own material. Played and toured extensively. Went back to school to do a Ph.D., and mostly got into progressive jazz and songwriting. Became a songwriter and session player writing and working for named signed bands (through my prior music connections), or to simply write and record for myself. Also got heavily into being a self-indulgent soloist/lead player influenced by many great shredders and progressive jazz players. Later influenced by the songwriting of bands like Coldplay, indie roots bands, and pop bands like Smash Mouth, etc. becoming obsessed with developing the ability to write simple melodic, catchy pop songs with staying power.
What do you hope to achieve in music?
At my age (early 50s), I am lucky to be working with a young and talented vocalist/violinist (Naomi Koit, 24). Her vocal abilities, playing and writing/co-writing abilities bring to me skills and interests that I just don’t have. She is, by far, the best vocalist and most professional player I have ever worked with – and I have worked with a lot of folks over the years. We seem to share a similar sense of what is good music, she brings in influences I don’t have, and my years of playing various styles, experiences and varied influences bring to her a lot that someone of her age hasn’t acquired (yet, at least). So it is a great combination, although distance and the fact that we are both extremely busy working professionals (I am professor of international relations, and she is a graduate student and has a career well under way) means that finding time to work on material and getting together to work is extremely difficult. We also live on different sides of the country. But our goals are similar.....to write and perform music that is good enough and will mean enough to our listeners that it will leave a legacy. For both of us, the creative side is the most important.
What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
There have been many for me. For the Professor and Naomi Kay, we instantly attracted the interest of some powerful players in the industry who went to bat for us. Indeed, we even got offers from major labels, but could not (or would not) end our existed professional working careers to dedicate ourselves to music/touring (i.e. unwilling to quite our day jobs under the promise that we ‘might’ hit it big – even with major label support). Knowing that we secured that sort if interest and got offers on the basis of nine rough homemade demos in this highly competitive and unpredictable industry was very reassuring to both of us. No regrets. Now, we are searching for ways to keep our primary careers, and yet still make some high quality recordings and put another album out that better reflects our full potential as both songwriters and players. We have made a bit of money, and are using my old music connections to get that done in the near future.
And what’s the moment you want to forget?
There have also been many....too personal and depressing to share. Let`s just say, the music business can be nasty.
If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
For me, I Knew Everything is a good representation of our ability to make fun rocking tunes, and it displays Naomi’s skilled and infectious vocals. For her, I suspect that Was It Her is a good representation of her vocal prowess, emotion, writing, and violin playing. Home is probably the best example of my writing and guitar playing style.
Where can we listen to it?
Where can we find out more about your music?
Anything else you’d like to say about your band/music that I forgot to ask?
We are in the studio now, doing demo work for a proper recording session in San Jose with some guest artists and a great producer. Check out our various pages for updates and perhaps the pre-release of at least one or two new songs.