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article imageSteve Stockmal talks music career, living in Greece, technology Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 13, 2019 in Music
Santa Barbara - Veteran musician and drummer Steve Stockmal chatted with Digital Journal about his music career, living in Greece and the impact of technology on the music industry.
On his music career, Stockmal said, "I have spent a lifetime playing, learning, performing, writing, recording, and teaching music. I traveled for over 20 years as a touring professional drummer and vocalist, play and teach six instruments, have written and published seven books on music, and composed over 200 songs. I run a recording studio in Santa Barbara and spend my time producing music for artists and bands, as well as my own compositions."
Stockmal teaches drums, bass, guitar, piano, trombone, voice, and music theory as a way to pass on the joy and knowledge of music to the next generation. He also plays gigs and concerts with diverse artists ranging from such genres as pop, rock, jazz and Latin music.
He has been writing songs, lyrics, and melodies since the age of 17. "My songs reflect the world as it is, as it could be, and sometimes how it is in our minds. I've written over 24 albums and over 200 songs," he said. "There is a wide variety of musical styles within my vast collection of music ranging from simple, beautiful ballads, sweet-swinging jazz, and blues tunes, among others. I also have many instrumental tracks as well."
Regarding his plans for 2019, he said, "I am in the process of recording and presenting these wonderful gems to the world. I want to record and produce a new song each week. To get my songs out there. To movies, singers, producers. I have a library of over 200 songs that are 'For Sale.' I created a very specific schedule to help keep up with this ambitious goal, and already in week two."
Stockmal added, "I am really loving the process. I have found that Mondays have become very important. That is to say, the more instruments and parts I record Monday, the better chance I will have of finishing each song by the end of the week."
He spent seven years in Greece (from 1991 to 1998), where he had the pleasure to perform with such Greek artists as Sakis Rouvas, Kostas Tournas, Yiannis Vogiatzis, Anna Vissi, Mando, Alexia, Stellios Rokos, and Loukianos Kilaidonis, among others. "It was such an amazing time to be in Greece, and I was really fortunate that I got to travel all over the beautiful country and to 17 islands and I really got to know Greece in a very real sense," he said.
While living in Greece, for the first six months, Stockmal wrote a list of 25 words each day, and spent many hours "bashing them into his head." He is now able to speak, read and write in Greek very well. "Many of my 'proudest moments' happened because of my language skills because I could communicate. I would get hired, along with the fact that I knew to play music. I never wanted to be that 'guy sitting in the corner' wondering what everyone was laughing about," he explained.
He acknowledged that his seven years in Greece changed him forever. "I'm not Greek by bloodline, but I am Greek by association. If you ever saw the movie Dances with Wolves, that's me. I learned the language, the music, the food, the expressions, and the way of life. I became a bigger and better person because of it. I really love Greece, and the Greek people are the best," he said.
In his personal life, he revealed that he has been happily married for 21 years to a Greek woman, Mariella. "I grabbed her on my way back home in 1998 and we've been happy and thriving ever since," he said.
For aspiring musicians, he encouraged them to "learn everything. "Study your instrument, listen to a wide variety of different styles of music, play with as many people as you can, understand music theory and apply it, learn about recording, production, frequencies, music business, publishing. Know it all and know it well," he said. "Be a professional, be real, be on time."
Digital transformation of the music industry
Regarding the impact of technology on the music business, Stockmal said, "Music, fashion, and life itself is cyclical. Now, it's like we are back in the 1970's, where bands had to tour in order to make a living. The days of record/CD sales are gone. So without explaining the entire current status of the music business, suffice it to say that making a living with music is still possible, you just have to be smart, be out there, and stay on top of it."
On his use of technology in his daily routine, Stockmal said, "I run a recording studio and I teach music. I use Pro Tools and Logic Pro to record, and I even went back to college to brush up on my knowledge and sharpen my skills. I am on YouTube many hours a day studying, recording and mixing production techniques. Also, I show my songs to my students and learn new songs for gigs that I am playing. It's a non-stop music festival around here."
On his definition of the word success, Stockmal said, "To be happy and satisfied where you are and who you've become, while still looking toward a bright future and working to get there."
He added, "Success is when my clients are literally in tears because they've never heard their music sound so good. Also, when I'm driving home from the studio listening to my latest song and it just sounds good. It's a really satisfying feeling."
Stockmal offered his concluding thoughts on the Greek-American community in America. He lives in Santa Barbara, which has a pretty decent Greek-American community of about 2,500 people. "The Church St. Barbara is absolutely beautiful, and my wife and I have made lifelong friends there and been a part of that since we arrived here in 1998," he said.
He elaborated, "As far as the rest of the country, and the world for that matter, as my Greek godfather said in a speech at the church one day: 'teach your children Greek.' Make sure that the language and culture are passed on from generation to generation. Be active in your community, help with the Greek festival, help with organizing gatherings and coordinating events. Use it or lost it, so use it."
To learn more about veteran musican and multi-instrumentalist Steve Stockmal and his music, check out his official Facebook page and his website.
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