Rohan Stevenson on creating the latest I Built The Sky record
Rohan Stevenson is a talented guitarist, most recently known for heading progressive instrumental act, I Built The Sky.
After releasing his latest record The Sky Is Not The Limit, Rohan is heading out for a five-day nationwide tour. After returning from the States where he led a master class that he live streamed, he now has his sights firmly set on giving his records the airing they deserve.
Before I Built The Sky, Stevenson made some realisations. “[I was] disgruntled at how this all started,” Stevenson says. “I was in a band previous to this, but all they really wanted to do was go hard in making a career. I got to a point where it was a massive uphill battle and that wasn’t fun.
“I thought I wanted to go back to having fun and making music, so that’s what I started doing and slowly built it up from there.”
The symbolism of the name is not lost. “You can create, you have the choice to create and build your own thing, the sky is the limit,” Stevenson says.
Sitting down in a studio and putting pen to paper is no easy feat for an artist, but for Stevenson, it’s not as hard as others make it out to be. He admits that the creative process behind his newly released album began at the right time. “[I was in] the right headspace, as I never force things to come out. I never just jump into the studio when I’m not inspired or disinterested in playing.
“Back in the day I would have forced myself to slog them out, but these days if I take regular breaks and ride the motivation when it comes, it tends to happen pretty quickly, like the best stuff always does,” Stevenson says. “Once I’ve had that moment I literally would hit record then build and build the record. There have been times where I’ve blanked out when doing it by being in that moment. Time goes on and eventually a couple of hours go by and you’ve got a riff and gradual building of parts, which I then gradually layer. Lastly I’d critically listen to each record and make them come to life.”
It is clear that a lot of hard work has gone into creating such a dynamic record that involves complex guitar arrangements, but still Stevenson is able to pick apart the hours of work to choose a favourite song. “Radiatus, featuring Stephen Taranto. When it was released I was really happy with it and the production. The solo I did for the record, I was really happy with and the arrangements that gave it really great vibes. But all the records on the album are my babies.”
Being a guitar enthusiast, there’s no doubt finding the guitar to head his tour was a tough ride. “I got this Kiesel Guitar from San Diego. I really love this, as this place build guitars with the most exotic wood, and as soon as I got my hands on such a guitar I couldn’t put it down,” Stevenson says. “It’s got a quilted top that I really love, I’m a real gear guy in that respect.”
There’s no doubt he will be rocking this on his nationwide tour, but he has bigger things to look forward to than a new instrument.“Getting on stage and playing live again [is very exciting], as I haven’t done that for a couple of years. When I first started I was playing regular live shows, but then I started shifting into songwriting and production. I’m absolutely buzzing to get back on stage and to have fun jamming again.”
By Romy Elle