Rhythm is Rhythm: An Interview with Percussionist Scott Horey

UnknownDr. Scotty Horey (B.A., M.M.A., D.M.A.) is a Twin Cities  percussionist, drummer, who has performed nationally and in Central and South America as a solo percussion artist. He currently teaches and lectures at the UofM, Morris, is Principal Percussionist of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, and the drummer for RisingSide, a Minneapolis progressive rock band. Horey will be performing at Studio Z on Saturday March 21, accompanied by Bethany Gonella flute; Trent Baarspul, guitar; Ted Godbout, keyboards; Karen Kozak, electric fiddle; Douglas Brown, bass; and Charlie Engen, drums. What follows is a slightly edited version of a brief interview we conducted over lunch one afternoon.

You are a solo percussionist. Most people would think in terms of a drum kit, but you do more. Please explain.

I think of myself as a solo percussion artist, so I play a lot of drum kit and marimba. A marimba is a pitched percussion instrument, like a xylophone, but its bigger. It’s pianistic and I find that with those two instruments I can express myself.

You have a show coming up.

The show is called Signs of New Vitality. I have some original compositions and some other pieces featuring some of my colleagues collaborating with me. It’s Saturday March 21st at Studio Z (Ed Note: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, Lowertown Saint Paul). You can see Jazz at Studio Z (Ed Note: The Dave Hagedorn Quintet) at 7pm and then my show at 10pm. You can get discounted tickets to go to both shows.

What kind of music will you be presenting?

Well, it’s my music, original pieces or pieces I choose by other composers. I describe it as a mix between, contemporary classic, progressive rock, and jazz fusion music.

What do those types of music have in common?

A lot of people ask me that. Hopefully it gets cleared up after attending one of my concerts. As a percussionist you always play a variety of styles of music. Over the yrs you learn how to combine. For me those styles completely express myself. My compositions take components of each style. I love the dynamic and rhythmic approach of jazz, and the forms of the tunes. Progressive Rock has a little more aggressive edge to it, with a drier and more aggressive drum sound, and maybe some simpler harmonies. Classical music has more elaborate pre-written parts as well as some counterpoint. I have a classical flautist playing on the project. I’ll also perform some solo marimba pieces that fit in the musical.

One style of marimba

One style of marimba

Do you compose on marimba?

I try to sit down at the piano. I play at a very basic level, which forces me to play simple harmonies, but most of it comes from rhythms, which I get from the drums – rhythmic ideas and odd time signatures. Then I like to find harmonies on the piano. And then the flute of course is one of my favorite instruments. I can usually hear flute playing in my head.

How does it work to express yourself in solo performances?

I do consider myself somewhat of an individualist. I feel like a very reflective person, and enjoy solitude. I enjoy spending time with myself, whether on my yoga and meditation practice, which is part of my music practice, or just the simple act of enjoying the sound of my instrument late at night by myself. That informs my inspiration. It’s kind of my personality type that transmits when I’m on stage. I love being on stage by myself. I can tell people my story. I think that sends a lot of emotional power. It makes it even more exciting when I collaborate with other musicians, which is part of this show.

You’ve done some shows in South America. What is it about those shows that, though you may not be able to speak to an audience vocally, you can communicate with your music?

That’s one of the reasons I play instrumental music. I love instrumental music and I want to say, with Latin America in particular that I love the culture and I feel at home in Latin Amrican culture. They really value emotional expression and are warm and love music. Love watching a new performer and have a high degree of appreciation for it. I think because my music is really sentimental, very open hearted, and there’s a lot of grooves and rhythms to it, it works very nicely and the LA audiences enjoy my performance.

Even though you aren’t necessarily playing Latin American rhythms.

Right. I have a lot to learn about that. Rhythm is rhythm is rhythm, whether you’re in India, the United States, or South America.

Horey on Marimba

You can find out more about Scotty Horey at: http://www.scottyhorey.com

For more information about the show, go to: http://www.studiozstpaul.com/horey-032115.html

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