Tory Slusher: Advanced Circus Music - Truth In Shredding Exclusive Interview


[Truth In Shredding]
I have been following guitar players since the late 70's from prog metal, through the Sharpnel era, post hair metal, post Seattle sound, post nu metal, and on into what I term "the second age of instrumental guitar". All that time jazz and fusion have been cruising along merrily, with new artists arriving, as the music output ebbs and flows, and the guitar players come and go.

The routes to follow the music have changed too, we’re no longer sharing tapes, or VHS videos. We’re no longer finding artists on a myriad horrible Flash websites. The old web has gone, replaced the web 2.0, a vast homogenised sea of social media channels. Over that time the bag of styles and techniques has changed, morphed and grown, the old techniques that used to excite the taste buds have been augmented with new more fiendish additions. Six was not enough, so more guitar strings were added, an ocean of gear was filled, and all these exciting tools added to the ever expanding artist's palette.

In 2004, I set about trying to document the scene. I was wondering what happened to the artists over the years, wanting to find new players, thinking there might be tens or low hundreds of players, but sixteen years later, knowing there are thousands of players, all across the globe, whose music captures the mind and inspires the soul.

It’s not a straightforward task to find new players now. I have to cast my net far and wide over facebook, instagram (difficult to do) and YouTube social platforms. More recently adding new video services from around the world, where the content that needs translation, but the universal language of musical output remains the same.

However, with diligent work comes reward, the joy of finding new players. The names change through the years, of recent times names like Matteo Mancuso, Ben Eunson, Josh Meader have arrived (full list withheld for fear of brain melt down). Only a few weeks ago I came across another player to add to my list, Tory Slusher. Tory possesses a significant amount of musical technique, but also compositional skills that turn your head and gladden the heart. Tory was good enough to assist providing an original tune

Tory Slusher: Dark Orchid - homage to late 80's / early 90's fusion
After the video came a more in depth interview to find out what makes this incredible musician tick. So first of all, I asked Tory for a little background.

[Tory Slusher]

Like many of you I started off listening to Rock records and trying to learn everything off of them by ear. Naturally, this produced its own series of little revelations, but everything changed upon discovering 20th century classical music. At the same time that I was just getting into Gershwin and Rachmaninoff, along came "jazz".

Cherokee" Solo Jazz Guitar

The initial foray into jazz came by way of people like John McLaughlin (as well as big band music, believe it or not). I had always had aspirations of trying to write serious classical works, surely many of you could relate to this. However, all of these disparate influences mingled together and eventually pushed me toward more contemporary sounds in the form of fusion, etc.

I've never really been one to shy away from exotic guitar techniques and you probably picked up on the Stanley Jordan right away. THAT was another one of those revelatory moments where I realized that the guitar could actually be much more than just either a lead or chordal instrument. It could be a fully-fledged polyphonic keyboard of sorts. Who knew?

Also, just trying to really learn the language of jazz and Bebop really takes you in a different direction with regards to your overall musicality, and I'm no exception in that regard. I suppose that opening my mind up to all of these world influences (things like Zawinul Syndicate and Weather Report) also added another dimension to my playing and writing. I'm also including Paco de Lucia and other artists that (normally) electric musicians might not be too interested in. Yeah, I was so heavily into Bill Evans, Corea, Kirkland, Mehldau, Bud Powell, at one point, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. ... (I guess I should say I'm still heavily into those guys)...

Another one of those epiphanies came upon discovering the music of Frank Zappa. Truly, there are too many influences in my bag to count, and Frank was one of those "let's take everything to a whole other dimension" -type influencer. Around the same time I was also just absorbing every bit of material from all of these different guitarists, people like Allan Holdsworth and Greg Howe, for example. ...Again, too many names to print.

After living in Nashville for many years I kind of started to steer more toward straight ahead jazz. This included "really studying" a great number of jazz pianists and trying to translate what they were doing to the guitar. The nashville period is where I really focused on just writing and collaborating through the internet rather than playing gigs. It was through that medium that I ended up meeting some people that I still work with today, like fellow composer Solo Goodspeed.

A lot of what I'm doing these days is essentially trio, solo or duo music. It basically comes from this aesthetic of cutting loose all of the excessive overdubbing and focusing on what can actually be performed. There's a certain "musical honesty" to smaller ensembles or even chamber groups, it forces you to reassess not only your own abilities, but also your arranging and orchestration skills.

[Truth In Shredding]
Fascinating potted history of your musical growth and direction. So If I can take you back a bit, back to the earlier days. Having looked and listened to your videos and musical output, it's clear that you don’t get that level of technique and compositional creativity by spending your time on non musical pursuits. You clearly having been spending many thousands of hours working hard at your craft, honing your skills. So, can you tell me about your early foundation years, were you from a musical family for example? It seems, from your that you were at least in an environment where classical and jazz music were played, is that the case, or something else?

[Tory Slusher]
No, my family is not particularly musical. They're not anti-musical, it's just that no one really plays anything. I'm the odd one out, the musical black sheep, as it were. I really can't explain it, one day when I was about 8 or 9 I just decided I really liked music. I kind of saw it in some sort of weird mystical light like it was magical, haha. "If only I could get to the point that I could do that stuff", etc. so around 9 or 10 I got my first electric guitar and then it was, you know, a bit everyday trying to figure various rifts or licks. I'd always heard various classical pieces and thought well that was interesting, but it wasn't until after actually getting started that it really meant anything.

[Truth In Shredding]
You mention a lot of artists well known jazz and fusion artist’s as being an influence. I came to my love of music from the rock, progressive rock and metal scenes. This means I now probably have a few thousand or more LP’s, CD’s or digital albums. I am fortunate to know a number of other guitar aficionados and I follow the guitar scenes to build up a “patchwork quilt” of musical understanding. I have also known players like Shawn Lane, who have vast collections of music, maybe 5000 records or more in Shawn Lane's case. Would you fall into this category, a fan of music, or did the musical journey finding players like Bill Evans, Corea, Kirkland, happen in another way? How do you get exposed to new music for example?

[Tory Slusher]
Whether or not I was playing with people, or perhaps in some educational institution… then of course, the internet. I pretty much just hounded anyone I thought was pretty good, forcing them to divulge their influences. Oh yeah, almost forgot… back in my earlier days actually used to be a big guitar magazine aficionado. that was actually one of the places that I learned about these random awesome people. Think of stuff like Danny Gatton, and oh so many shred guitar players selling instructional videos. I can still remember all those ads, they're burned into my mind. LOL

[Truth In Shredding]

So primarily self taught, so congratulations on your achievements, impressive technique and musical composition. I too have a lot of the guitar magazines and instructions videos, although I don't play, just a big fan of music, buying albums and supporting artists in the best way I can. So talking about musical output,let’s talk about albums. The first album I located was under the band name The Jive Monkey Cartel


I quote from the album description:

"Try to Visualize a unique chamber ensemble composed of various aliens, mutants and otherwise unusual individuals (from "all around") performing in a dark spaceport "lounge" (located in the Zeta-Reticuli star system)."

This album (and incarnation) of the Jive Monkey Cartel features a "virtual chamber ensemble". Everything is captured from a real-time performance (via a polyphonic synth controller) and then orchestrated and arranged onto a "virtualized" chamber ensemble, if you will. The actual "arranging" takes place via Finale and Reason.

...Let me explain:
Since I play guitar like someone might play a keyboard (with both hands tapping out chords, melodies, rhythms, counter-melodies, harmonies, comping patterns, bass, lead,etc....), I can more easily gather polyphonic musical ideas and even capture multiple parts in real-time. This in turn, gives one the ability to think, or rather, "plan" a piece (from an arrangement / "finished product" point-of-view), while they're still playing / conceptualizing it.”

You obviously have a much bigger idea about the construction, complexity and desired outcome for this album, one perhaps removed from the more straight ahead “I wrote a riff and then added the solos”, or “I had an exercise that I turned into a song…” As you mentioned in your opening comments you’ve now gone for “musical honesty” in this regard. Did the construction effort to record your early albums takes away from the simplicity of playing in a band format instead of composing and orchestrating many moving parts simultaneously?

[Tory Slusher]
Part of my changeup has to do with the fact that…..you really want to put your best foot forward, so to speak. I kind of determined that it would be time better spent trying to promote my guitar playing / composition for that instrument. It's like an old composition teacher used to say to me, "all throughout history composers have had to choose between being players or being writers". I mean you can do both, but you still have to kind of sacrifice certain things. Going back to just focusing on the guitar is kind of like a meditative thing. You know, I can actually touch the guitar, I can say the same about a virtual chamber ensemble. So there's that bit of corporeal reality. At the time I was writing more ensemble-based pieces there was an actual intention of trying to have them be played, and that was happening to an extent, some random instrumentalists would drop in and say "hey, let me play that part" via online collaboration. That's kind of my modus operandi - to write things for specific groups or individuals, rather than your typical freewheeling flights of Fancy.

Where a lot of people approach a song or even writing with the idea of "I'm going to play this really bitching lick right here!" ... I kind of just see the entire structure of the song as this opportunity to do something different. It's like when you're looking at a Franz Liszt or Frederick Chopin piano score and there's all these little things sliding around in the interior. You know, they could have just played the chord and the lead line, lol. But instead you have all of these "baked into the cake" little musical devices which just make the piece that much more worthwhile in my opinion. That's part of the thing that I go for, that kind of philosophical approach to the guitar.

[Truth In Shredding]
Let's move on to the second release by The Jive Monkey Cartel. As you mention in the album notes...
"This album features a blend of styles which are frequently visited by this group. Catchy melodic funk, complex large-scale charts, trio jazz, classical tapestries, ripping/tasty guitar solos, percussive freak-outs, world music elements as well as several electronic tracks paint the landscape of this richly diverse collection. In other words, this is the type of jazz/fusion record that requires several listens to truly appreciate (and it will likely be misunderstood because of its apparent lack of regard for adherence to conventions) ...."
The album was released November 5, 2012 the year of the "Mayan Prophecy of Doom" and the UK's Fireworks night, gun powder treason and plot!

Mayan Prophecy of Doom (Deluxe Edition) by The Jive Monkey Cartel
https://thejivemonkeycartel.bandcamp.com/album/mayan-prophecy-of-doom-deluxe-edition

I see from the album title and description, this is about the Mayan Prophecy of Doom, which didn’t come to pass (until some conspiracy theorist says it will happen, it’s just that we got the wrong year). Do you feel disappointed that it didn’t come to pass or elated that it might be fulfilled at some unspecified time in the future?

[Tory Slusher]
LOL, obviously, that was more of a tongue-in-cheek sort of funny thing. At the time I was heavily into all of the internet conspiracy culture. You know, all of that fun stuff... Exploring the mysterious in dare I say, verboten. You know, perhaps they got the numbers wrong… maybe they meant 2020 instead of 2012?

[Truth In Shredding]
LOL, yes a few years out, but boy did they hit home hard in 2020! As you say in the album description.

“this album features a blend of styles which are frequently visited by this group. Catchy melodic funk, complex large-scale charts, trio jazz, classical tapestries, ripping/tasty guitar solos, percussive freak-outs, world music elements as well as several electronic tracks paint the landscape of this richly diverse collection.”

I can vouch that it’s got great compositions and great musician ship, and consequently a great fusion instrumental album. However, this time, you are also working with another musician, like Solo Goodspeed. How did that come about, was that a conscious decision to move away from the format of the first release, which is one where you pretty much do everything, except the album cover?

[Tory Slusher]
Okay, so one day I was browsing the internet and looking through one of these aggregate sites for new and interesting websites for music. That was right when SoundCloud was taking off.

[Truth In Shredding]
Yes, I can vouch for that SoundCloud was a great platform I really like the model, but I guess it's been supplanted by Bandcamp. Good to see it hasn't gone though.

[Tory Slusher]
The very first artist they recommended when I first saw the site was Solo Goodspeed, haha. I've always been a Frank Zappa fan and solo it's kind of like Zappa 2.0 in some ways. Well, needless to say, I ended up making contact with him pretty quickly and then we've been working on and off since that time. Solo actually works as a graphic artist so... It only seemed fitting to ask someone else who does it professionally to help me out with that. ...and isn't it a bit interesting when you have other people involved, especially in hindsight?

[Truth In Shredding]
Yes, I guess that’s true, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in many instances. It’s not always the case, but I’ve found that great players, playing with great musicians, creates great music. Allan Holdsworth is a case in point

During the hiatus between albums what were you doing with regard to music output and experience. You strike me as a player who continuously writes and records their music, are there releases that have not made it out yet? What is your writing process, how do you tell when your tune is complete?

[Tory Slusher]
I have a lot of material that I never really put on to any type of record. For example, a lot of it is just trio style covers of all kinds of different material. Kind of like taking the traditional standards aesthetic, where anything can become a backdrop for a jazz canvas. So, rather than deal with the headache of potential copyright problems, etc. I just opted to leave that stuff for something else. Then you have a whole bunch of other tunes that I've written which either didn't fit in with the rest of the material at the time or I just had too much. Those kinds of pieces just get put into the bin to be reused later. I've actually got a couple of those on this new album, "Advanced Circus Music".

[Truth In Shredding]
We’ll talk about the new album later in the interview. However, it is interesting to hear that you have musical content that doesn’t fit, or the mechanical licensing of music for performance concerns you, means that you have a stock pile of music. Which means that you have been fairly prolific, in the grand scheme of things, even if I only discovered you recently. I’ve known musicians that are unable to release albums for years, finding that they're growing in new directions, changing in the intervening period, so much so that they are never happy with the older recorded musical output, feeling that it does not reflect where they are now. By the same token, I also know musicians who absolutely must write and release the music that they have inside them, in order to function, to release the musical tension from within.

I we continue on. After the “The Jive Monkey Cartel” releases, there appears to have been a bit of a break in the musical output. But you got back to with a new release under the name “Straw Poll”. (unless I’m missing an album or two)

Straw Poll by Straw Poll
https://toryslusher.bandcamp.com/album/straw-poll


I guess in that period you were in Nashville, can you tell us about that, knowing that Nashville has so many fantastic musicians, perhaps that was the attraction?

[Tory Slusher]
Yeah, I was living in Portland Oregon for a while where I did that album, Straw Poll. That was just getting into chill mode trying some new things. I guess you might even say it was my "alternative" fusion album. Before that I just kind of started doing other things. Like trying to create indie video games.

[Truth In Shredding]
Ah, so you are a games programmer? That figures, having worked in software for many years. I guess you write the game's music too?

[Tory Slusher]
Yeah, I was doing the music as well. I wouldn't say that I was delving too deep into the programming aspect although I do understand how to navigate some of that. It was more like a specialized engine that I modified. I've always been into that YouTube indie horror genre that's, I guess, still pretty big.

[Truth In Shredding]
Reflecting back over my listening to these albums, I can say that I really like the melodies and composition throughout this body of work. There’s lots to get your teeth into and like any good album growing with repeated listenings. Do you think you were happier with this release than The Jive Monkey Cartel albums, what changed for you between these releases?

[Tory Slusher]
I just wanted to write some stuff that was more dare I say, "realistic". There comes a point when you're writing all of this really dense complicated music that you just want to try something different. I mean, you can still have the complexity but instead of it being this orgasmic large ensemble fury it can be a bunch of polyphonic figures on the guitar, etc. I think there's probably also a King Crimson influence going on there, where I try to basically do a little bit of orchestration with two guitar parts.

[Truth In Shredding]
I guess with the polyphonic orchestration, you needed a double neck guitar and I see from your videos that you have one, how did that come about?


[Tory Slusher]
Basically I just had this idea to copy what piano players do... You know, with the stacked keyboards. I just went to the guitar center and bought a couple of little instruments, they're actually short scale 3/4 miniature Les Paul style guitars.

Axel F (Beverly Hills Cop)

Of course, now that I'm using this gp10 with all of these polyphonic capabilities it kind of negates the use of the double neck to a certain degree. But hey, maybe it's some future date I'll be able to convince Ola Strandberg to make me a double neck, lol.

Birdland (Weather Report)

[Truth In Shredding]
I understand you have just released a new album, what can we expect from this, is there a different direction on the this release or is it a more defined "musical honesty", as you describe, great compositions and superb guitar?

[Tory Slusher]

Well, the title "Advanced Circus Music" was this funny thing I was pondering one night. You know, in one of my moods... Scrolling through social media. I was thinking about how a lot of progressive rock and metal kind of comes across as some type of advanced circus music. LOL.


[Truth In Shredding]
LOL!

[Tory Slusher]
Like, if you were to take the elements of traditional big top music and then maybe added different keyboard sounds and may be some distortion on the guitars….. little bit of mixed meter, some heavier drums... You basically end up with Advanced circus music. LOL. ... And at that point it was destined to become the title of one of my albums.

The material on it is basically a snapshot of what I've been doing over the last year, artistically speaking. So there are a few new things that were written specifically for it and then the rest are things that I've been working on for videos etc which are getting new parts, mixes, and of course mastering. "Jeffrey the chainsaw man", for example, is one of those tunes that I wrote all of the lyrics and music for then sent it to Solo Goodspeed with the intention of him "doing his thing with it". That kind of stuff is what I would consider to be "art rock". I'm not trying to do a legitimately heavy progressive thing, it's more like... Well, proggy art rock.

I would say the focus of the album is really more guitar oriented than some of the other things I've done. A lot of the new sounds I'm working with really lend themselves towards more polyphonic playing, and that's what I'm trying to develop more - a different type of polyphonic guitar sound. Basically, I want to be able to shift between playing leads and comping seamlessly well also throwing out other ideas that are a bit more complex (i.e. Involving multiple lines at the same time or other textual ideas).

The first main track, "Inceptor" is basically a good example of that. It's kind of a hybridized piece that's part jazz fusion and part (more) modern math rock. There's a distinctive modular composition technique being used and what I'm playing is a completely written part for the majority of the tune.

INCEPTOR

"Let's Do This" was definitely a more hotwired country and telecaster influenced affairs. I was basically looking to write one of those jumped up sort of upbeat Rock shuffle tunes... Something rustically familiar, yet somehow still otherworldly. Definitely a bit of crazy shredding on that.

"Precognition" and "No one thought of it" are companion pieces. Both of which retain a rubato like, floaty tempo. The former being kind of an Eastern Mysterio piece and the latter was created with an mxr clone looper to serve as a meditative backdrop for some virtuosic tonal exploration.

The obvious ballad of the record, "Oppressionville" basically utilizes what I would call the "Allan Holdsworth orchestration". You know, a trio format where the guitar basically goes between a really lush clean and a nice overdrive. In stark contrast to that, "Ratiocinate" is a more densely overdubbed fusion piece kind of written with Zawinul in mind. Most of what I'm doing on that cut is the more two-handed keyboard style of playing, but there's a really ripping solo at the end with the Les Paul / Marshall stack simulation.


Oppressionville

[Truth In Shredding]
Wow, that was my first experience of your playing, it was a light bulb moment, and left me wondering why I’d not heard of you before, but I guess I’m catching up in this interview with my tardiness in guitar player discovery. Indeed I found the video on the unreal Allan Holdsworth forum. I see you played a tribute to Allan as well



[Tory Slusher]
Then we come to what is perhaps the oddball of the record, my own variations on Paganini's 24th Caprice. Essentially, I've mirrored the original structure of the classical guitar adaptation, adding my own original variations. It's a very interesting piece that I'd like to actually do a full-length video on at some point (with regards to formal analysis).

[Truth In Shredding]
Your two handed classical work in the videos I have seen is amazing.

Paganini's 24th Caprice (New Variations).
[Tory Slusher]
"Sociopath" is one of those skeletal framework pieces that I had written all of the parts for with the intention of adding lyrics at some point. So I decided to just lay down the structure of the piece and send it over to Solo Goodspeed. Those are his lyrics, haha. It's really what I would call a "twisted blues", and I make use of the polyphonic distortion once again, which the riff itself lends itself to naturally. The little solo section has some interesting bits due to what the hex fuzz can do (again, comping and soloing at the same time or playing harmonized lead parts all in one take).

The next to last tune, "Supermurgitroid" is a tune I wrote a long time ago. It has a more complex Melody section and all of the base parts are intricately linked to what the guitar is doing. Initially I wrote this with three different solo sections, each with its own set of chords... The intention being - each member of the band would take one section. Since I'm doing it trio style here, I just play all the parts myself. This is another one of those two-handed Jazz show pieces, I guess you could say.

Then finally we have the "Utopia Corp Anthem", which actually started off as a YouTube video idea or concept. I was driving past the Nashville airport and there are these service trucks along the side of one of the roads... Some of them have the word "Utopia" written on them. Well, one day they were parked next to a police vehicle...so as you're driving by you kind of see a little message, "Utopia Police". That kind of made me chuckle... I was thinking to myself, "if a Utopia actually existed, wouldn't the idea of police be obsolete?". ...And of course that took me down the whole dystopian Logan's run train of thought. All of this eventually led to me actually rapping, lol. The album version featured here basically utilizes Solo Goodspeed's virtual "Benign Tremors" orchestra to great effect. This is definitely one of those Frank Zappa inspired pieces.

[Truth In Shredding]
I think you mentioned that you undertook piano transcriptions as part of your learning. The only guy I know who has spent the better part of his playing life doing that is Marshall Harrison.

[Tory Slusher]
I have done that with a number of pieces, but at some point just sort of started taking bits of technique from certain passages or learning certain sections just to see how it can be done on the guitar. If you're going to spend a lot of time working on piano music with regards to the repertoire, maybe it's better to just play that instrument.

[Truth In Shredding]
That’s a good point, indeed Marshall plays the piano too.

[Tory Slusher]
I'm just using it as a springboard for opening up new ideas on the guitar. You can do that with a lot of different instruments. Actually, I don't even listen to a lot of guitar players, and it's not because I don't think they're awesome, it's because I just want to go to a new mental space and I think detaching yourself from whatever culture you're a part of is one way to do it. I read this somewhere... "If you want to do something new on the guitar put your hands in a different place on the neck". It seems obvious, but…you'd be surprised how many people don't get that.

[Truth In Shredding]
Can we talk about your two handed technique? I know of a number of two handed players, you’ve already mentioned Stanley Jordan, I guess we can add Matteo Mancuso, Kevin Peters, Don Lappin, Daniele Gottardo and William Dotto that I can recall from the top of my head. How did you arrive at your two hand style, which is a cross between many of the aforementioned players?

[Tory Slusher]
It wasn't informed by any of those people, haha (even though I think they're all really great. *side note - aren't there so many amazing players running around these days?).

Basically, it came from playing piano jazz on the guitar. I just studied piano players, how they voice chords, how they phrase, how the two hands interact for different textures, etc. The more shreddy stuff just comes from looking at the guitar more mathematically. Really, at some point you have to analyze your scales and arpeggios and almost algorithmic fashion. Trying to get every permutation possible under your fingers. It's a monumental task.

[Truth In Shredding]
Monumental indeed, no doubt about that. I guess it will be a lifetime's work in the end.

Tell me a little about your gear and recording gear. If you have a pedal board, what's on it? With this musical output and performances have you been approached for gear endorsements?

[Tory Slusher]
Right now I'm basically just using the Boss gp-10 in tandem with a Strandberg Salen. That's the one that looks like some type of alien telecaster. Ola Strandberg actually contacted me to try out this guitar. I'm super glad that happened. I'm kind of tough to please in the guitar department and I have to say... I've never played an instrument that was this balanced and well thought out. It's also just really easy to play, it doesn't really fight you. I played for like 8 hours one day almost continuously and at the end of that…. Feeling no physical strain whatsoever.












... And even better, sometimes I like to get away from my regular tones (which I really love), settling into something simpler with the telecaster pickups and maybe just a clean amp. What's great about this Strandberg model is that you can basically do all the modern stuff and then slip right out into old School territory with the twang of the bridge in the hollowness of the neck pickup. But you're still retaining the playability, right? All of the strengths of Leo fender's original idea, but everything else taken to its logical conclusion from an engineering perspective. 😘👌



Strandberg is some type of guitar engineering genius, for real, it's not just hype. The neck on these things and changing them with the bridge actually work really well for my style of playing. ... And after using the fan frets for a while now I really don't even want to go back to the other way. The gp10 is also one of those amazing pieces of gear that I'm like, "what was I doing before this?" it basically uses the gk3 synthesizer pickup like a traditional pickup, meaning, there's no latency whatsoever, it's like you have six little tiny pickups in one. It's definitely one of those forward thinking units that can do everything from regular guitar sounds from the regular pickups to polyphonic creations and even acoustic simulations that are very convincing in terms of sound and feel. Basically, it gives you the tools to make your own sounds. I really like telecaster style guitars, in this particular strandberg is like a Tesla in that regard. Even without the gp10 you can just plug in the stock pickups and it sounds amazing.

[Truth In Shredding]
You mention some jazz and fusion artists in your opening introduction. Can expand, maybe unpack it a little, on the music you listen to, what inspires you, what helps you to become more creative? Is there one of these players you’ve not met that it would be your dream to meet?

[Tory Slusher]
I'm not going to name names but, living in Nashville I did meet some people, so I know what it's like to be in touch with some of these big time fusion artists. You know, it's like, I feel like more of one of these people that opens the door to upcoming players or people who are obscure, unknown. Don't get me wrong, if some big time jazz artist was like: let's do some project... I'm there. I guess I'm not really super interested in that aspect of things as much as some other people.

The creativity thing... I think it really comes down to how many tools you have in your mental musical toolkit, so to speak. It just takes time to accumulate all of these different ideas and the execution of them. In my experience you kind of have to have all of these "texture ideas" ready for composition rather than just winging it all the time. For example, knowing that you want to do a slap Bass and and fusion lead rhythmic counterpoint type figure in a certain section before you go to some strange and hip reharmonization… there are just an endless number of things, creativity is probably nothing more than an immense amount of mental post-it notes stuck inside of your brain somewhere.

[Truth In Shredding]
So as we all are hoping that this covid-19 is controlled and enables us to live normal lives again, sooner rather than later. I’ve certainly felt like it’s been like being in prison for a crime you did not commit. With all that's been going on what's it been like for you being locked down? Has it made you more productive or been overly stressful as there seems no finite end in sight?

[Tory Slusher]
Well, where I'm living it hasn't been too drastic a change, so I wouldn't be able to comment. There was a period of time there where I was really stuck inside and forced to write new music, lol.

[Truth In Shredding]
Well good luck with the upcoming project, I would just like to thank you so much for your precious time on this interview and music. The very best of luck with your musical progress and the tunes you are working on. My best wishes to you and your family and stay safe.

[Tory Slusher]
Yeah, thanks a lot. Anytime. Same to you.



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