Chris Timms on Progstravaganza website

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Chris Timms

It’s all about creating great music and sharing it with the people, at least that’s what Chris Timms thinks! He has worked in an endless list of bands in the Australian music scene including Spinning Silver, MindsAlike and Neverworld.

Chris Timms continues to reinvent himself as a leading progressive rock solo artist. Chris’ first solo album “The Journey Home” was released in May of 2011 and after great feedback, he’s now following it up with a brand new release entitled “The Second Chapter,” out August 1.

Chris has recently appeared on Prog Sphere‘s jubilee, 20th edition of Progstravaganza compilation series, and he answered the Progstravaganza Questionnaire. Read it below.

How did you come to do what you do?
I guess music has just been one of those things that stuck with me since a young age. It all started for me on a Saturday morning watching a music video TV show that airs in Australia called “Rage” I was 6 years old and saw a film clip from ACDC – “Thunderstruck” My jaw just hit the floor mesmerized by the energy coming off the band and was very much drawn to Angus Young’s playing. It was from that moment I knew I had to get onto a guitar.
What is your first musical memory?
That would be when my parents bought me my first guitar and taking that small step into a much bigger world. I remember being very excited and my parents made a deal with me that I had to practice every day and that I had to do lessons for at least a year if they were to buy it for me.  When you are a kid, I don’t think you fully realize how much a decision will affect your life later on, I just really really wanted to play guitar.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Many things definitely. Firstly would be the beautiful language that is music and those wonderful pitches, rhythms and chords that can be manipulated in so many different ways.  My musical heroes, I tend to lean more towards what I dub “the greats” . Angus Young (obviously), Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani,  Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Michael Romeo, Jimmy Page, Slash, Gary Moore, Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, James Hetfield, David Gilmour, Dave Mustaine, gosh I could go on all day.  Lastly would be life. Personal life experiences whether it be looking inwardly or externally at what’s going on around me events, people. Whatever might be happening, I love to observe, to create and be expressive.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
The tune on the compilation is “No Longer Welcome Part 1” (the first of 3 parts on the album) which explores the loss of identity and most importantly the loss of the soul. How we can lose that spark within by focusing on things that don’t truly matter and how it can birth a lust for power, greed and money. The consequences of how an inflated ego doesn’t really bring true happiness.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
It usually depends what I’m working on and who I’m with but I usually try to be flexible for the project. When I’m writing within a band environment or doing session work in the studio, then I tend to let myself fall under the environment and vibe of the room. Some projects require you just to sit/stand and just do what you are told, some give you freedom and you can ignite that creative flame. When I’m working on my own material, I tend to just open myself up and just let that first idea come whether it be a lyric, theme idea or a riff, melody, rhythmic pattern.  So I guess I just wear different hats to remain flexible.
What is your method of songwriting?
As I was talking about earlier, it’s really about that first idea for me, so I put some sort of structure in place to let that happen. When I start saying, “Ok. I need to write the song this way and it needs this, a guitar solo here etc” then I find my songs end up sounding the same all the time and I’ve boxed myself in too much. I like keeping it fresh.
How do you see your music evolving?
I keep trying to raise the bar each time with any new music I release. So I see a step up in songwriting, performance and production and being able to explore the many elements within my music and push it further. I think I’ve done that with “The Second Chapter” I listened back to “The Journey Home” the other day (my 1st solo album) and while it had some good ideas, in many ways I consider it a demo and a really good learning curve for me more than anything when I was making it at the time. So I’m pretty excited for what the next chapter holds.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
The best advice I could give to any musician would come down to 3 points. Firstly (above all else) play, create and share music that you are passionate about. If you don’t have a love for what you are creating, then you are wasting a lot of time and money because your audience won’t care about your music if you don’t care about it. Secondly, have clear defined goals of what you want to do with your music, whether it be a hobby for you on the side or you want to be a full time musician- whatever the dream is, go after it with everything you have. Thirdly, be prepared for the haters and those who will criticize you, rip you off, waste your time and talk about you behind your back and to have thick enough skin to brush off the negativity. Surround yourself with people (friends, family and good mentors) who will encourage you and lift you up when the times are rough and you feel alone.
What are you looking forward to?
Well, sharing the new album “The Second Chapter” definitely! But also, the next few months has my calendar pretty full.  I’ve got some gigs coming up with bands Mission X and Chester, some session work with a local band “Little Vagabond”, new students starting with my guitar tuition school “Guitar 1on1” and whatever else comes up in the diary. I also want to get my live band “The Chris Timms Experience” back on the stage some time soon so I’ll touch base with Joel, Marcus and Ray and see if we can line the schedule up for a mini tour or a few shows. I love playing with those guys. And whenever the inspiration comes, I’m writing that next song!
Prog Sphere is compiling the first physical (CD) Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation. Interested acts can get in touch at info@prog-sphere.com