Brian Tarquin is an Emmy winning guitar player, producer and composer from New York City. He obtained a solid education in music and audio engineering by attending fine schools such as: Mannes College The New School for Music, S.U.N.Y. @ New Paltz and Center for the Media Arts. After gaining experience in the industry by working at various studios such as Electric Ladyland and the Jingle Company - Look & Company, Brian moved to where the action was in L.A. to hone his craft. Brian networked his way through the ranks by working at major studios and record companies and wound up becoming a sought-after industry expert. During this time, Brian was also very active with his guitar, producing many light jazz, and fusion works of music. As an all around musician and producer, Brian created many compositions for TV shows and movie trailers which eventually landed him three Emmy's. In 2006 Brian launched his own record label BHP Music, LTD., which specializes in guitar music. This company produced the Guitar Master Series with legends such as: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, B.B. King and many others performing Brian's compositions. Brian is constantly producing new music and in 2014 released - Guitars for Wounded Warriors on Cleopatra Records, which sends partial proceeds to the Fisher House Foundation. The foundation helps to support the family's of wounded soldiers while their loved ones receive treatment. This release features high energy guitarists such as Steve Morse, Reb Beach, Billy Sheehan, Brian Tarquin himself, along with many others. Brian has written a a book entitled "The Insiders Guide to Music Liscensing", and is a must read to any musician trying to publish his or her music. I recently conversed with Brian.
R.V.B. - Hello Brian, this is Rob from Long Island, New York - How are you doing today?
B.T. - Good thanks, how are you?
R.V.B. - I'm doing pretty good. I understand that you're from this area.
B.T. - Yeah, I was originally from the city.
R.V.B. - Were you in Manhattan itself or Queens?
B.T. - Manhattan.
R.V.B. - I see, when did you move out west?
B.T. - That was a long time ago. That was about twenty years ago when I moved out west. Then I came back to New York. I'm currently in Florida now.
R.V.B. - What's going on in Florida?
B.T. - I continuing to do music... I produce records and do a lot of music for television and film.
R.V.B. - What part of Florida are you in?
B.T. - You know where the space coast is? Cocoa Beach... that area?
R.V.B. - Yeah... Any satellites being launched lately?
B.T. - You know what? I think there was a couple this past month. We are so close, the whole ground shakes so it's pretty cool.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your new album. It sounds like it's for a very good cause. What inspired you to come up with this?
B.T. - You know, I've always liked doing things for causes like putting guitar guys together... composing, producing and playing with them. I did one for 911 - Fretworx. That was dedicated to the guys who lost their life there. Then I did one for Les Paul when he passed away about 4 or 5 years ago. I wanted to do one for returning veterans, so I thought this was a great thing to get all of us together and record some great music.
R.V.B. - Yeah, it sounds like a great idea. You pulled out all the stops with some of the players that you have on here. Did you write each song?
B.T. - Yeah, I composed everything.
B.T. - You know, I kind of went down and with each song I had a player in mind. I wanted to keep the military theme with it so like with "Blackhawk"... I wrote that with Billy Sheehan in mind. I wrote Taliban Terror with Reb Beach and Bumblefoot in mind. Both Charlie Surfs and Hunting had shared guests. So with each one I kind of tried to come up with a military theme whether present or past. I would think who was gonna be good for this project as I was writing it, so I kind of tailored it to each player.
R.V.B. - Now obviously you're a guitar player and you are known for your jazz work. When you were younger did you play heavier stuff?
B.T. - Yeah I was always a fusion guy when I was younger and I still am. In the 90's, I did more of the contemporary smooth jazz stuff, but since then I've been doing a lot of hard rock and fusion stuff on my other releases. I knew a lot of these guys on the records like Gary and Chris Poland and Alex De Rosso and Chuck Loeb and Steve Morse, so I wanted to get everybody together. It was definitely the heaviest record that I'd ever done, but I wanted to get a progressive metal thing going on.
R.V.B. - Steve Morse happens to be one of my favorites because I like Deep Purple. Did you get these guys to come to the studio or was some of it tracked over the internet?
B.T. - It was split. Some guys were on tour so Steve always sent me his tracks in the past. I would sent him a rough mix and he would put his tracks down and then I'd fly it in. When I record, I record basically everything to analog and then what I do is at the end I dump everything to pro tools and basically I could fly in tracks from different artists.
R.V.B. - You're talking my lingo here with recording analog because that's got the warmest sound.
B.T. - Yeah I always do everything analog. I always record drums, bass, guitar as much as I can the main and then because if I need to fly tracks in and do some editing and stuff, I'll dump it down. I have a full analog studio with a Trident desk and an Otari MTR 90 24 track and I have a 1/2" 2 track master. So what I do is with the master is at dump down to the Pro Tools I'll mix it all down to 1/2" tape and then I'll send the tape down to the mastering lab.
R.V.B. - That's great, I'm glad you're still doing the old school like that. Do a lot of producers still do that in other studios that you know of in the industry?
B.T. - Not really... It's kind of a dying breed. Most people are in the box now. I know a few artists that still do basic tracks on analog. Most people with the rock and the heavy metal guys still like to do that. Everybody has move digitally. I can always hear it on the drums. Jeff Beck's last record was all done digitally. I know the producer. I feel it loses a lot of the bottom and a lot of the fatness to it. The joke is that you always go through the trouble to make it nice and audiophonic and everybody is just downloading an MP3 off the computer nd listening.
R.V.B. - Everybody is getting use to that kind of quality.
B.T. - There's no more record stores so it's hard to get people to appreciate that.
R.V.B. - I'm still a big vinyl collector and I played three of four records today. I know that CD's are convenient and you put them on and you don't have to flip the record over and what not, and you can shuffle them but there's just something about the sound of a vinyl record.
B.T. - Definitely, it just is... if played on the right system, through the right speakers and monitors, there is no beating vinyl. I see why CD's obviously came into play. CD's are better than anything that you download MP3 wise. You lose all of the bandwidth with downloads because it's so compressed.
R.V.B. - People are just so used to it and they don't seem to care. So anyway, I see that you went to school at New Paltz?
B.T. - Yes, years ago.
R.V.B. - Did you enjoy the mountains?
B.T. - Yeah, it was great back in the mid 80's.
R.V.B. - I see that you also went to The Mannes School of Music?
B.T. - I did Mannes before New Paltz and I actually studied audio engineering in the city. The place is not around anymore. It was an audio engineering school. (The Center for Media Arts)
R.V.B. - What did you do after school? Did you try to get work as an audio engineer or did you try to play music first?
B.T. - After I did audio engineering, I worked at various studios in New York and then I went to California. In L.A. I started getting more work but when I was in New York... that's when I started composing for television and started doing various shows. I did music for the Olympics back in 92 - 94 and then I went to L.A. and got more and more involved with doing records and writing for television. They kind of went hand in hand.
R.V.B. - I see a big long list of things that you've done like CSI and TMZ... do you enjoy doing that kind of work? Is it a different way of writing?
B.T. - It is a little bit different way of writing but it's very nice to do that type of work. It's stimulating, it keeps your chops up, it keeps your composing skills going. I also have a large publishing deal with Ole Music with Musicbox. I have a music production library. We place a lot of music for television, film trailers, Discovery Channel and a lot of that so it's nice. Record sales as you know have plummeted and there's not even record stores any more. Records are kind of a labor of love at this point.
R.V.B. - Now with your studio "Jungle Room" do you work on a day to day basis with other talent that may come in and record or do you primarily work on your own stuff and leave that for someone else?
B.T. - It's a private studio so it's basically my production studio where I produce the guitars for Wounded Warriors and all the various projects that I do.
R.V.B. - Now you had done a guitar series?
B.T. - Yeah, I had released the Guitar Master series. It had some great tracks from Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Santana and B.B. King.
B.T. - Yeah, well I've been doing it for a really long time so I have a lot of connections from L.A. and I've met a lot of people along the way. I've been lucky that way.
R.V.B. - Did you have a release party for the Wounded Warriors CD?
B.T. - No we didn't do anything like that. The Label is Cleopatra and they are in L.A., I think on August 18th
R.V.B. - It's very, very nice of you to do this for veterans and it has to be rewarding for you to just to know that you accomplished this for the people who fight for our country.
B.T. - Oh Yeah definitely. My dad was in the Marines in World War 2 so that's also the inspiration for doing that.
R.V.B. - Well keep up the good work. Things seem to be going good for you. What on the agenda? Do you have anything planned for the future?
B.T. - Yeah, I'm working on a couple of new releases probably with some of the same guys but we're in the pre-production stage right now so I'll keep you guys posted.
R.V.B. - Awesome, enjoy the sunshine down there in Florida because it's really cold and rainy up here in New York today and keep pumping out the great music.
B.T. - Thanks
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
This interview may not be reproduced in any part or form without permission.
For more information on Brian Tarquin visit his website at www.briantarquin.com
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Photos used with permission from Brian Tarquin
Thanks to Glass Onyon PR
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