My guest this week is a man of many trades by the name of Leigh Sutherland. By day he is in the adventure tourism business and by night he is an up and coming musician. I caught wind of Leigh after a copy of his new EP, ‘Nature’s Stage’ ended up in my mailbox. What I heard was four catchy songs that left me yearning for more so I had to have Leigh Sutherland on to let Skope readers become familiar with his music as well. Leigh also had me post an MP3 of his song “Braided” to take with you!
Stoli: Where are you as we speak and what have you been up to today?
Leigh Sutherland: Right now I’m chilling out in sunny Fremantle, Western Australia. It’s been full on lately, I’m heading back home to NZ for the summer to catch up with friends and family. I like to try and get a hit of Aotearoa once a year! So organising travelling stuff has been me for the passed few days!!
Stoli: How did growing up in New Zealand help introduce you to your passion for music?
Leigh Sutherland: New Zealand is a very ‘arty’ place, and very open to new things. I think having all the freedom, freshness, and support made NZ the perfect place to develop an original sound. Having musical parents was also a huge help!
Stoli: You were in the band Anaham for many years as the drummer. What made you want to break away and go solo?
Leigh Sutherland: I played in Anaham for 17 years, starting at age 9! We are school mates from way back. I achieved, and learnt a lot over the years with Anaham, but as you will know the music business can be hard work. We all decided to take a break and spread out and do some travelling. Over the span of Anaham I also started picking up other instruments, and writing songs. After travelling for a while I started getting the urge to play music again, so I got in the studio and recorded ‘Tides’. So that was where my solo career started.
Stoli: What is the advantage to creating music as a solo artist as opposed to being in a band?
Leigh Sutherland: Its great having the freedom to express myself with all the instruments. When I write a song I can hear all the elements of it in my head, and can’t wait to bring them all to life. I work with a great producer Damian Summers who is hugely experienced and full of ideas. Another bonus is the time; As soon as I’ve tracked one instrument, I’m onto the next! So the songs come together very quickly.
Stoli: You recently released your debut EP, ‘Nature’s Stage.’ Are you pleased with how it came out and where did you do the recording & writing of the songs?
Leigh Sutherland: I’m stoked with Nature’s Stage and the positive reaction it’s getting! I do my recording at Cornucopia Music Productions with Damian, he has all the best gear. Inspiration and songwriting can happen anywhere! Usually every time I pick up the guitar there’s something new to strum out.
Leigh Sutherland “Braided” MP3:
Stoli: At this point in your career are you worried about fans illegally downloading the EP or are you looking for the more people to hear it?
Leigh Sutherland: At this stage I’m just keen for people to hear it! Natures Stage is the curtain raiser for my album (work in progress) so I’m not hugely concerned, but it is something all musicians should be aware of. Of course I might feel differently when the albums out!
Stoli: I really love your song, “At The Edge.” What is that song about and what inspired you to write the lyrics?
Leigh Sutherland: Well! I have an amazing fiance, that I love hanging out with. So it’s for her!
Stoli: I really like your upbeat and catchy sound. How would you say that your personality transcends into your sound & music?
Leigh Sutherland: I really enjoy life! Good experiences and people. I think my character flows through into my music; it has a ‘feel good’ aura going on!
Stoli: You live in Australia now. If I was to come to your area where are some cool venues to catch live music and have a few drinks?
Leigh Sutherland: I’m currently based in Fremantle, Perth’s music capital. There are some solid bands, and some awesome venues and festivals. A couple of great spots would be ‘The Loft’ at Little Creatures (get into the local beers!) and ‘Clancy’s’. One of the most well known music venues is ‘Mojos’ which has live music every night of the week. Heaps of local bands have been discovered here.
Stoli: When you are not playing music what do you like to do for some R&R?
Leigh Sutherland: I’m a bit of a adrenalin junky! I also work in the Adventure Tourism Business, and raft guide, snow board instruct, river kayak, rock climb! All great food for song writing. It’s nice though to just go chill at the beach with my girl!
Stoli: Have you ever used your talent for music to entice a special lady and did it work?
Leigh Sutherland: I didn’t set out to but ‘yes!’ She came to a few of my shows, and I went to a few of her exhibitions (she’s an artist) and the rest is history. I often serenade her with music, but she get all giddy in the knees, and I have to get her a chair!
Stoli: Who are some similar artists that have come before you that you respect as musicians and business people as well?
Leigh Sutherland: My dad loved music, and had a huge influence on my early musical education. I still crank the old bands like crazy!! The Who, Ledzep, Deep Purple, Hendrix. I love all that stuff. Bands like Foo Fighters, Metallica,& The John Butler trio, are just awesome. I also have a lot of respect for the band managers I’ve had over the years. They have a really tough job, and I’ve certainly learnt a lot from them.
Stoli: What is coming up for you and where can readers get more Leigh Sutherland?
Leigh Sutherland: I-Tunes store is a good place to start. This year my mission is to get my album completed and out there. Also crank up the live show to another level. I have got some exciting offers that need some serious thought! Maybe to the US or UK? ‘To the top!!!!’