April 25, 2012

Scott Henderson talks about X

Scott Henderson: The basic tracks only took three days because we don't really write music, we just jam and we've been doing that ever since Thick (Zebra Records, 1999). When Tribal Tech started out it was pretty much a composition-based band. We'd done six albums before we found an agent to get us on the road. You know, when you're not touring and just playing a couple of gigs in town and the going into the studio you end up writing more as your creative outlet. We were writing a lot of structured music where there wasn't a lot of interplay going on; there wasn't a lot of organic playing on those old records because we weren't on the road playing a lot together.

When Scott Kinsey and Kirk Covington joined the band in the early '90s we started to tour. The more we toured the more we realized that the more structured the music, the more it's the same every night and that made us feel like a Top 40 band - playing the same way every night. So, we started writing less, taking sections out of the tunes and jamming more to make it different every night.
That eventually led to just ditching the whole compositional approach, just jamming, and then composing over the jam. It's like the guy who started it all, Miles Davis, with Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), though our intention was to take it a step further, not just go in and record a 30-minute, one-chord jam, but to jam like a compositional blueprint to write on later. We started with Thick, and then Rocket Science (Tone Center, 2000) and that led to this album.
What's changed is that Rocket Science was more one-chord jamming and there wasn't much harmony, but on X we wanted to get back to the old Tribal Tech where it sounded more like tunes. We were careful this time when we were jamming to call a lot of chord changes and be more harmonic.

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