Devin Gray lives and breathes music. From establishing himself as a prominent top call drummer in the dynamic New York jazz scene to composing and recording his own original music, Gray is a rising artist that jazz fans will want to keep their eyes on. Since 2009, Devin Gray has been putting his heart and soul into his latest music recording project, “Dirigo Rataplan,” along with bandmates Dave Ballou, Mike Formanek and Ellery Eskelin. Together, the quartet has captured a sound that reflects the seriousness of their passion for music. The 2012 album from this foursome took cues from bird songs, foggy landscapes and funky rhythms. In this new music album, listeners can look for more inspiration from nature as well as some darker undertones with a few twists and turns along the way.
When fans press play on Devin Gray’s spring 2017 release, the musical composition and inspiration behind his new “Dirigo Rataplan” project will be palpable in every note. From writing to recording music, Gray takes us behind the scenes of the band’s creative process. Read on as he shares how a portable digital High-Resolution audio recorder like Sony’s PCM-D100 is improving his music recording process and what to expect from the new “Dirigo Rataplan” release.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your music recording project, “Dirigo Rataplan”?
Gray: The simple answer is that I like to write and record music, and years ago I started writing music for my bandmates. Since then, I’ve just kept at it because I really love performing, composing, and recording. The more complex answer is that I love these musicians’ talent and attitudes about making music. I am endlessly excited to see what they do with the music that I present to them!
Q: How long has this music recording project been in the works, and how has it evolved?
Gray: This exact formation of the group has been playing gigs together since 2009! I am the sole composer for this project, so all of the compositional arrangements are my ideas. I often put music in front of me and read it while trying to hear how the band would play it. I can spend hours daydreaming about all the different possible combinations. I do this with every piece until I feel out which ideas will work best for the band and our repertoire.
Q: What are some of the qualities you look for in a digital audio recorder?
Gray: Amazing sound is the most important. As a musician, I want to hear sound that is clear, focused and not distorted. A long battery life is also key because our music recording sessions can last up to four hours. And finally, any audio recorder that I work with has to be simple and super easy to use quickly so it doesn’t interrupt the musical flow and inspiration.
Q: How has this music recorder changed the way you have heard your music?
Gray: This is honestly by far the best personal music recording device I’ve ever used in my life. It’s changing the way I hear music because it has allowed me to record more frequently at such a high level of sound quality. It has made me want to spend more time with the rehearsal tapes, read my scores with the band and study the musicians’ reactions to my compositions since I kept tweaking the songs before we went into the studio.
Q: How did your final recording sound?
Gray: It sounded clear, warm, smooth and seriously detailed. The music recorder picked up everything in a really great way. I had to experiment with the mic placement and recording levels a little because the microphones were better than I was used to. I really wanted to try to get the best mic placement so the playback would be most satisfying. By the end, I thought that I really started to get the hang of it!
Q: What is your favorite feature of the PCM-D100 portable audio recorder?
Gray: I like how easy it is to carry around with me, press record and capture a great-sounding recording, no matter what situation I’m in. This device is easy to use and has a lot of sound quality power, which always makes for a better music listening experience.
Q: In general, how do you feel about High-Res Audio?
Gray: I’m a fan. I really think more people should realize the power of high-quality sound and how it relates to the listening experience.
Q: When will the final music project be recorded/performed? How can people listen to it?
Gray: The release date won’t be until the spring of 2017 because it will take a while to listen back for content and finalize the music recording with small edits and mixing. I don’t know exactly how it will be released just yet, but in the meantime, folks can listen to our first recording of this music project on my BandCamp page.