Doublehead Music consists of Shaun; a composer, vocalist, drummer, and keyboardist. He also dabbles in some slide guitar now and then. He studied jazz dumset performance at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) that includes notable alumni such as Tim Burton, Katy Sagal, Dustin Hoffman, and Sofia Coppola. When Shaun is not making music, he teaches drums privately. How’s that for beating to the tune of your own drum!
Shaun’s music is not intended to be modeled after a certain style, but authentic self-expression. His music is influenced heavily by jazz, triphop, and fearless self-expressionists like Bjork, Portishead, and Radiohead.
What is the meaning behind your name?
The name Doublehead represents my belief that each of us are just another head on the same body. Our differences are the ingredients to finding purpose, but the body we are attached to, which feels the sense of “I” is common to us all.
You not only compose and sing, but play numerous instruments. How long have you been playing music?
Piano: I began piano at 6 years old. I had an amazing teacher who got me reading music and playing blues quickly. I seemed to have a knack at practicing only what I wanted, but then fooling the teacher into thinking I had practiced her curriculum thoroughly. An early sign of my musically-rebellious nature?
Trombone: I went on to try trombone. Many bloody lips later, I began studying guitar. And finally, the one instrument my parents told me they would not support, (ha ha ha) drums. Whether it was my rebellious-nature or just what my body needed to let out, drums were my passion.
Drums: At 15 years old, I had gone through 3 teachers and was sent to Mark Craney. For the first year my mom had to drive me from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles every week so Mark could open my mind to completely different ways of approaching the drumset. You see, not only was Mark an accomplished drummer who had toured with the likes of Tower-of-Power, he was half-semi paralyzed from a stroke following a kidney failure. Yet this unbelievably positive, and wise being just re-routed around all conventional techniques and found his own new ways to make the drums sound – the way a drum SHOULD sound. The very first lesson was like opening a door to a new world. Anyone who knows Mark knows exactly what I am saying here. I am blessed to remember every single thing he taught me. Someday I will film it all and share it online.
Vocals:I studied privately when I was little, until junior-high where such things became too embarrassing (slapping self in forehead). Fortunately, decades later when I was searching for the right singer for my music, my wife Kris insisted that I go study with world renown vocal coach Ron Anderson. Ron recognized my sound, accepted me as his student, inspired me with knowledge and technique, and helped me to find the voice of my music.
Who are some of your favorite drummers?
When a musician has practiced and performed their instrument to the level where its a language, and a form of self-expression, they have surpassed the concept of judgment, they are an expression of love.
That being said (he-he) my main influences are: Mark Craney, Joe Labarbara, Art Blakey, Billy Higgins, Tony Williams, Sonship Theus, Mike Clark, Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Al Jackson Jr., and recently Danny Seraphine (my father-in-law).
Why have you decided to give your music out for free?
The music industry is broken. Really it always was, it’s just finally dying of the greedy cancer it created for itself by using music as a commodity. Music is art, it’s the projection of the soul into a 3-D image that everyone’s heart can read. It is one of the most powerful subtle communication tools in existence and can define entire eras.
We finally have the technology to not need a single person to sell us any service to distribute our music. Services like iTunes are taking a percentage of the musician’s profit, and taking away ALL of their ability to connect directly to the fans. That is no longer justified, iTunes and Rhapsody are nothing but a hard-drive in space with a nifty-program serving the music. I’ll sell my music on those services eventually but I will leave out key songs and try to direct people here to get them for free.
By offering my music for free, I stand to allow the whole world to both access it, and be in direct-contact with me. It also proves my authentic intentions (to communicate positive realizations). If they choose to offer support for my role as a musician, that will enable me to bring the world more musical ideas. But it’s THEIR choice. I can sell CD’s, shirts, books.
The song “Fly” was written for your wife. That is so beautiful. Why did you want to write and dedicate a song to her? What was her reaction?
Kris is the love of my life. All of my upcoming songs are a combination of the heart-wrenching experiences I’ve had (usually slightly fictionalized to match the feeling of the music) or they are about Kris and the self-acceptance her love has given me. And some are just about being alive/existing in harmony with all that exists around us. When she hears songs written for her she crys. So do I. Its pretty pathetic hahaha.
You are also a chef wrote a cookbook called Soup Zen! What is your go-to dish?
At one point of my life, I was a private-chef in Hollywood. I’ve always been about to draw a tear from a masterful dish/chef, and I believe that’s all it takes to become great at anything. Authentic-love and welling-gratitude will drive you to project your heart into your art. I cooked for a few famous people and even had a meal written up in Time magazine. Soup Zen is a technique that an old Italian man taught me. Instead of making a book that is a list of recipes, I made a video-book that is step-by-step real-time video of the technique itself. With that technique you can make any kind of soup you want, and it will be ridiculously good. Every dish is unique and must be appreciated, no favorites here. 🙂 (Though I roast my own coffee and I am quite in love with a hand-pumped ristretto latte with brown sugar and salt.)
What are your hopes for the future?
For myself? I’ve spent the last decade focused on family and extreme practice of my instruments. I feel like I am ready to express myself without encumbrance ; It’s time to get out and play music. I want to find minds the resonate with mine to share ideas with for bettering ourselves and our world.
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