Be free to take the music wherever you want to – An Interview with Randy Lodder
Randy Lodder is turning 54 this year and coming from Seattle, WA you can guess he’s grown up in the same soil with all of your favorite grunge bands and he was right in the middle of their worldwide explosion. However, his band days have long passed and he’s now sticking to making solo records and handling various mixing jobs for bands approaching him. With several decades in the business, Randy surely has some stories to share – from playing biker bars to discovering collaborators from all over the world with Drooble that allow exploring unsuspected sides of his music – it’s all in our interview with him below.
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Hello, it’s great to be part of this amazing community. I’m turning 54 this year and I’ve been playing guitar and writing music since I was 16. I didn’t really become serious about it until my late 20s though. I did my share of playing in cover bands, country bands, and even a couple of jazz/classical guitar type ventures.
I was living in Seattle, WA when the whole grunge scene was about to explode. Our cover band made the decision to start writing originals. We did shows anywhere and everywhere. Alice In Chains, Gruntruck, Rage Against The Machine, Inflatable Soul, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone… all those guys were out in the trenches with us. It was an extremely awesome time to be playing music.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
Band days are behind me. I’m a solo recording artist now. However, as a part of the Drooble community, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some extremely talented artists. One of those collaborations led to an album project. There’s a gentleman in Canada that is an extremely talented lyricist and singer. He goes by the name Rotten Ominous. I’m writing and performing all the music and he’s writing and performing all the vocals. I’m also doing the mixing and mastering here in my home studio, which I affectionately call Puppy Monkey Studio, named after one of my little furry kids.
Another fellow Drooble artist called Lukas Bomkamp is currently recording an album with his band. He approached me about mixing it for them. In the last couple of years, I’ve become as much passionate about mixing as I am about playing music. It’s my goal to eventually do it professionally with my own clientele. So, when I was contacted about mixing an album… I can’t even begin to describe how honored I felt. I’m really nervous and excited at the same time. These guys are pouring their souls into making this album and I want it to be the best work I have done so far.
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
It’s just there. It’s something I have to do or my heart will stop beating. I mean, I have my days when I come home from being beat all day at work and I start nodding off on the couch after dinner. I’ll take the night off and get some needed rest, but, for the most part, just the thought of sitting down in my studio is inspiring enough.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
I’m not in touch too much with the local scene. I’ve gone to check out some of the local metal bands but truth be told, the sound engineers now are more volume than quality driven. The only thing you can hear is the kick drum, everything else is an indiscernible wall of sound. You can’t tell what’s being played. Each band member could be playing a different song at the same time and you’d never know. I view it as wasted time that I could have spent in my studio.
What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?
You know, there are so many records that have influenced me in different ways and at different times in my life throughout the years but I don’t think anyone has had the impact on my music or me as an artist as a very recent one. I’m talking about Animals as Leaders. Pick any of their albums. Tosin Abasi inspired me to get away from the whole traditional song structure prison. To take the music wherever you want to take it whether it makes sense or not just be free!
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
Presonus Studio One, Focusrite, Line 6, KRK.
What is your songwriting process like?
I think like with most people… it varies. It always starts on the guitar, just playing. Either fumbling around, extracting something in your head or just jamming and stumbling across something that grabs your attention. Sometimes I will have it all worked out and written before I even start the recording process, other times I’ll start building it in the DAW.
Once I get the chord structure mapped out and scratch tracks laid I’ll listen to it over and over and let the music tell me WHAT it’s going to be about and from there I’ll just kinda mumble along until a vocal melody starts taking shape. Then I’ll start writing the words. The approach is the same if it’s going to be an instrumental track.
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
Oh my gosh, the stories… there are so many of them. Ok… In Washington, way back in the days, while we were still a cover band, we played a biker bar in Tacoma. At this particular bar at some point in the night, you HAD to play Born To Be Wild. If you did a good enough job with it they would ride their Harleys in from the back door by the stage across the dance floor between the pool tables and out the front door, rappin the pipes out as they went. It was an experience for sure.
So, this is happening one night. I had a wireless system on my guitar. I’m standing on top of a table by the pool tables. I’m jamming. Harleys are riding by, the sound guy has the mains just flat out pumpin. Well, this hot little biker mama hops up on the table with me. She has a pitcher of beer. She hangs herself on me and starts grinding on my leg so, to speak… it was awesome (did I mention she was hot)! Well, she decides to try pouring beer into my mouth from the pitcher which spills completely down the front of my shirt and all over my guitar!
Unknown to me at the time, the exact moment the beer-soaked all over my guitar, the bass player on stage tripped over one of my pedals and unplugged me. All I knew was “beer, wet guitar, guitar not working”.
I fly off the table to the stage to figure out what the hell was going on. As soon as I got to the stage I see my pedal unplugged (phew). So, I plug back in and get back to jamming. I look over at the other guitarist and he’s doubled over, barely able to stand or play because he’s laughing so hard. I give him one of those “what’s up” head nods and he has tears running down his face. I mean, he was in a complete laughing fit man. When we finished the song I asked him what the hell was so funny? I thought he was laughing at me, which he was kinda.
Apparently, from what he told me this is what actually happened.
When I jumped off the table the counterbalance instantly went away. He said all he saw was the table fly up end over end a pitcher of beer went completely flying across the bar while this hot little biker mama (did I mention she was hot?) went tumbling up in the air head over heels disappearing into a crowd of people and Harleys.
I stood there staring at him completely soaked in beer and with a sticky guitar. And that biker mama… I didn’t see her for the rest of the night.
What is your biggest musical goal?
Currently, that would be to make a living from my studio in one form or another.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Wow! All the way around. It’s made me focus on my production aspect more. It’s introduced me to talented artist from all around the world. It allowed me to collaborate with them and I’ve been asked a couple of times to play guitar on other artist songs. Drooble has given me opportunities to offer advice and services to musicians. It’s incredible and I completely love it.