Vic Levak

Vic Levak

Musical Discoveries: Would you please tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to Balligomingo.

Vic Levak: I was a touring musician for many years and in 1997 decided to build my own recording studio--called Hush Sound--as a creative outlet for producing and songwriting. I met Garrett through Kristy Thirsk during the time I was producing her in May of 1999.

And what about your musical training?

I took an interest in playing guitar at an early age which eventually led to studying jazz and musical composition at the Canadian renowed Commercial Music Program at Capilano College in Vancouver, Canada.

How would you characterise the songs you have done on the Balligomingo album?

I would characterise the songs that I contributed or co-wrote as pop-electronic. My concept early on was to bring a unique balance of pop sensibility--chords and arrangements)--electronic ambience and melodic vocals.

Please compare the material to any that you have done on your own or with others.

The Balligomingo concept interested me enough creatively to try something in a new direction. Also, with this type of music, I felt there was so many combinations of musical variables to be able to incorporate into a single song. "Purify" is a perfect example, blending lush string voicings, percussive electronic sounds, a combination of drum programming with live drums and seductive pop vocals.

And how was the project put together?

Garrett brought his computer and sound modules up from LA and set up shop in Studio B of Hush Sound. We would start the initial writing process as well as Garrett adding some basic programming.F rom there I would start refining and adding parts like piano and bass.

As for guitars, I would work with a stereo mix in Studio A and build tracks through experimenting with different guitars and amps. Once we had the foundation for the songs,I would bring in the singers to record and comp the vocal tracks. The final step came with Greg Reely adding his influence with mixing and then mastering the final CD.

With "Purify" the process was a little different. I wrote the chord progression on piano, then transferred over to my G4. Using digital performer, I began programming beats and parts as well as splicing and combining samples with drum loops. With the basic structure down, I then brought Jody Quine in to finish writing the melody and lyrics. I recorded four tracks of vocals then comped them to make one final lead vocal track.

What kind of music do you find yourself listening to all the time?

I listen to a wide variety of music form pop to jazz and everything in between. I'm a big fan of U2, Sting, Radiohead, George Michael--Listen Without Prejudice and earlier--as well as Enya, Enigma and Delerium. I also love the Beatles, Elton John, and Pink Floyd.

What are your future plans on your own, with others or with Balligomingo?

As for future plans, I love being musically diversified. Producing and writing for other artists really satisfies that part in me.I am currently writing for a side project, kind of more pop with cool ambient sounds alongside of various guitar texturing and colouring. As for future Balligomingo, we will have to wait and see how logistics plays a part.

It seems to have taken a long time since the early demos to make it to the major release stage. What took all the time?

Getting the deal signed in two years from the time I teamed up with Garrett was actually not that long in terms of music business timelines. Originally the album was to be released last summer but we were behind schedule and RCA felt that we needed to get the right team--management, marketing, promotion--together and decided to postpone the release date one year later to have enough time in planning.

Has the web been any help?

The internet is an amazing marketing tool and Garrett has done a great job in promoting our music on the web. I think it will definately bring new listeners and expand connections with the fans. The net has made our world a smaller more intimate place.

Interview, review and HTML © R. W. Elliot 2002
Image © Vic Levak 2002
Last updated 10 August 2002

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