Playing in a high school garage band and working part-time at the local radio station as a Midwestern teenager in the 1970s, Tim cut his teeth on the riffs of Tony Iommi, Robin Trower and Jimmy Page. One evening at the radio station, he fumbled through a box of newly arrived promotional albums that were deemed unworthy of airplay by the program manager. One of those albums caught his eye, so he pulled it out and played it in the studio. Five minutes into that album, ‘Stratosfear’ by Tangerine Dream, Tim discovered that his views of music to that point were, at best, myopic.
Through the garage band days, up through the ranks of semi-pro and professional musician, he tinkered with Moog and Arp synthesizers, but always just as a fill or lead instrument behind the guitars. In 1998, he began using Roland guitar synthesizers to expand his sound, and a decade later, he began recording using the Rolands, along with a Moog and Yamaha to take his first awkward foray into the genre that had stunned him over two decades earlier…electronic music.
A musician writes from the emotion of experience, and after a decade-long relationship crashed and burned in 2009, Tim had plenty of inspiration from which to draw. Putting the guitar down and relying almost entirely on synthesizers and sampled sounds, he found a new voice. In his newfound ‘self-medication’ for an aching heart, Tim began to draw upon the old influences of Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Michael Hoenig, Vangelis, Michel Huygen, Hans Joachim Rodelius and Brian Eno…and the compositions began to flow.
Discovering a Facebook community of like-minded musicians, Tim discovered new, but equally profound influences. Musicians like Gert Emmens, Jack Hertz, Mike Carss (Altus), Daniel Robert Lahey, Cousin Silas, Wendy Waters (Magnetic Wind), Phillip Wilkerson, Bing Satellites and many others occupied huge chunks of his computer hard drive. With the addition of their influences, the compositions became albums…and more and more albums.
Being solely the product of self-medication, Tim determined that the albums were to remain private. After giving a listen to a special friend, she convinced him that more needed to hear his music. Easier said than done, though. Who? How?
The answer came after the Sandy Hook tragedy, when Magnetic Wind decided to release a compilation benefit album on Jack Hertz’ Sounds 4 Good label. Tim submitted an old track, entitled “Footdancin'”. When it was included on the 2013 benefit release entitled, “For Our Children,” Tim was now a published solo electronic music artist.
Since that time, he has had releases on the BFW, HAZE and Petroglyph labels, as well as Jack Hertz’ Aural Films label. His music has been played on several stations, such as StillStream and Radio Sunrise. Still though, although he has over 30 albums of material recorded, most have never been heard outside of a few close friends.
As Orson Welles once said of Paul Masson, “We will sell no wine, before it’s time.” The same can be said of the music of Tim Kays.