Hiram Bullock - "music of many colors"
His latest album "Color me" proves Hiram Bullocks versatility - a stylistic crossover between Jazz, Soul, Pop, Rock and Funk. As a singer and guitarplayer Hiram does not like to be limited to being a mere Jazz- or Soul-musician. He labels himself pop-musician, a claim you easily accept regarding his volcanic stage-energy, the fun, devotion and love he radiates. He truly is a pop-musician - and on his very own way to get famous ...
Carina Prange did an e-mail interview with Hiram for Jazzdimensions:
Carina: Soon, you are going to tour in Japan - what is your audience there like: how do they react to your music, do you have a lot of fans over there?
Hiram: My audience in Japan is very devoted; I had a popular band there in the 70's, and my fans have stayed with me since then.
Carina: What are the differences between touring the USA, Europe or Japan?
Hiram: There are many differences between the USA, Europe, and Japan; the main thing about the USA is that the distances between cities is much greater. Also, popularity in the USA is more based on commercial success, while Europe and Japan are more about fan loyalty.
Carina: "Color Me" is your first album on ESC-Records. How did you come in contact with them? What might come after that - plans for the next album?
Hiram: ESC Records leased the "Color Me" CD from the Japanese label JVC. It was a business deal made between the two labels - I was not involved. I'll be doing another album on ESC, because I find them - and their leader, Joachim Becker - to be very music-friendly.
Carina: Do you try to "top" the last album with each new one, or is this nothing you think about?
Hiram: No, I don't try to "top" any last album in that sense. I just follow my musical direction as it flows.
Hiram Bullock - "Color Me" (Cover: Bob)
Carina: On "Color Me" you are singer, guitarist, composer as well as producer of the album in one person. Does wearing so "many hats" leave enough distance to look at the production in an objective way?
Hiram: A major part of being the producer is having an objective perspective. It takes a lot of listening, and the ability to separate the feelings you might have as a player from the overall viewpoint of the album.
Carina: You and bassplayer Will Lee are an excellent team and play together since many years - why isn´t he a member of your tour-band?
Hiram: Will Lee does tour with me, but he does the David Letterman show here in New York, so he's not able to do the longer tours that I do. He usually plays with me in Japan, and sometimes at the Aalen Festival in Germany.
Carina: By the way - what about drummer Clint deGanon?
Hiram: Clint deGanon plays for a Broadway show, so he's also busy sometimes when I need him, but as a bandleader you must be prepared to make changes.
Carina: You seem to be focussed on strat-like guitars, but not necessarily Fender. What would your "ideal guitar" be like? Is the instrument important for your playing or can you pick up "anything that happens to lie around"?
Hiram: My ideal guitar is the one I'm playing now. I believe that the sound comes from the hands. If you're playing your guitar and I pick it up, I'll still sound like me.
Carina: "Funk, rock, romance, fun" - these might be slogans for your music. How much importance does humor in music have for you? What do you think about technique and theoretical things?
Hiram: Humor is an important part of life, not just music; it's a big part of what makes us human. Technique is good to give one a basis to grow from, but music is an emotional thing - technique just enhances that communication.
Carina: "Peace" a song of your latest album - the lyrics of this title are rather earnest - what about transporting messages with music? Does that work - what is more important - good vibes or lyrics?
Hiram: Hopefully, good vibes and good lyrics are the same thing. Even if the subject matter is grim, the message can still be strong. I like to have more optimistic messages, personally.
Carina: Jimi Hendrix and the pianist Kenny Kirkland - what kind of influence did they have on you?
Hiram: Jimi Hendrix changed the sound of the electric guitar forever - before him the instrument was a much cleaner, chunkier sound; Jimi made it sing! Kenny Kirkland was a friend, and a great player in many styles. He sounded just as good playing straight-ahead jazz as when playing rock.
Carina: You play the guitar for many years now but started on bass. Beside the fact, that "guitar-players meet more girls" - did you sometimes think of playing the electric bass again?
Hiram: I still do play the bass now. I played it on my last CD, "Guitarman", which was released only on JVC in Japan, and on my first CD, "1st Class Vagabond". Both of these are available on my website - www.hirambullock.com.
Carina: Your father is a CIA-career-man, you are a musician - do you have children? What might their future be like - would you try to influence them to become musicians as well?
Hiram: No, I have no children, and if I did I wouldn't try to influence them to be anything other than happy.
CD: Hiram Bullock - "Color Me" (ESC ESC/EFA 03677-2)
Hiram Bullock im Internet: www.hirambullock.com
Fotos: ESC Records