Ross Tanbini – Perfumed Tar (interview)

While not hammering skins in Threshold Sicks, multi-instrumentalist, Ross Tanbini, has put a whole lot of time into another passion: Grunge. His solo project, Perfumed Tar, started off many moons ago, but only now is recorded output about to see the light of day. We asked him to give a brief overview, to introduce newcomers to the concept.

Ross Tanbini: Perfumed Tar is an alternative rock/grunge project, where I write play and record everything myself. I have my own sound, but am heavily influenced by the grunge scene in the early 90’s, and I think my metal roots come through into it as well.

As mentioned above, much of this work was created a significantly long time back. The question had to be asked, why so long? And why now?

RT: Yes, I recorded it a few years ago in Dundee, and really enjoyed putting it all together. When I set out to record a solo album, I just wanted to create music that I enjoy writing and playing, and never really intended to put it out to a mass audience. Some of my friends heard it, and encouraged me to release it, so I thought “Why not?!?” Now that music is my full time career, it has given me the confidence to release the music I have been creating for years.

The move to focusing solely on creative endeavours must sound like a dream situation to many. However, in Perfumed Tar, Tanbini has written and recorded every single part! It’s hard to imagine the challenge in this process.

RT: To be completely honest, recording it was quite straight forward. Most of the hard work was done before I got into the studio. I had to do a lot of rehearsing and practicing, as I had to know every track inside out, on every instrument. A lot of time went into getting the right feel for the album. I knew how I wanted the album to sound in my head, and working with a great sound engineer (Graeme Watt – Seagate Studios) definitely helped create the sound I was after. I wanted it to be raw and not over polished but clean and balanced at the same time. I definitely feel we achieved that.

It sounds quite different to bringing, approximately, a quarter of the input to a collaborative group. Presumably, the extra effort discussed above is matched by the opportunity to put more of oneself into a release.

RT: I have always been a drummer in heavy metal bands, and always will be, but it’s great to explore the other genres that have influenced me. I have played guitar and written my own songs for over 20 years now, so it’s always something I have done alongside my band commitments. Alternative rock/grunge was the first style of music I really got into growing up, so to have recorded my own album in this style feels fantastic. To have complete musical freedom to play what I like, without collaborating with anyone, means I can truly express what I feel.

As for whether (or when) we could expect to witness Perfumed Tar in the live environment..?

RT: Yes, definitely! If enough people like it, and want to here the album live, I would love to get on stage and perform. I will wait and see what kind of response I get before committing to any tours, etc., but I might possibly play a one-off show later on in the year, once the album is out. I just hope people enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed writing and recording it. For anyone setting out on a one person project, I would say don’t underestimate how much work you need to put in. Avoid taking shortcuts, such as drum machines, and samples, as, in my opinion, they undermine the integrity of the music. Finally, and most importantly, stay true to your own ideals, and enjoy the process!

With Perfumed Tar’s album, Wavering, due for self-release very soon,  single, Serpents, is released this Saturday, February 1st. That same day, we premier the video for the same track right here on Slow Dragon Music!


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