What a Trip

Posted October 21, 2010 in Music

Many university students have dabbled in music creativity, but few have the courage or time to take it to the next level. At Azusa Pacific University, Tudor Williams juggled classes, work and friends and for a while, only performing for “fun.” Growing up in South Pasadena, the 21-year-old never intended on making a career out of music. But tonight, after performing many times at APU, Williams will step off campus and release what he hopes will be only his first recorded piece, Weakness for Sweetness, a five-track EP that took months to record in between classes and Williams’ work schedule. Williams has been performing for about a year with friends Sean Beck, who also produced the EP, and Dan Ojala, drummer. 


“I had these songs and in a conversation with Sean, he kind of planted the seed that I should record an EP,” he says. “And I wasn’t sure, there’s so much that goes into recording an EP and you need the money and I didn’t think it was going to happen. Before I knew it we were recording and it was that initial push that got it going.”


“The album is sort of loosely based on how your actions with women,” says Williams. “Not all the songs are written after a specific incident, but more out of mood and the theme; a lyrical idea that I believed in that wasn’t necessarily about my actual life.  But hopefully in listening to it, it addresses the several facets of the male/female relationship.”


“Better than Weak,” the only track from the EP available online, is indicative of his women-focused theme. The melodic, catchy tune centers on letting go of past actions and becoming a better person in a relationship. The twangy backdrop of the chorus is borderline folk, while the upbeat tempo and harmonies are more on the pop side of things. 


Williams is also hosting a “taste tripping” party to coincide with his EP release.


“I wanted to make the CD release party short and sweet—much like the EP. So, I was trying to find ways to make it more interesting, not that my music is boring, but I wanted to provide a unique experience,” he says. “A couple of years ago I read about these berries in The New York Times, called “miracle berries.” People would have taste tripping parties; they would eat the berries and it would rewire their taste buds, so things that would taste sour now taste sweet. So I thought to myself, ‘I have to have this at my release. It seemed adequate—weakness for sweetness, things that are sour sweet.’ I bought the berries. Then I thought I wanted something to warm the crowd up and I’ve never seen a magician, so I am trying to book a magician . . . I have to say this is probably one of the biggest steps I’ve taken in a professional direction.”


Citing Weezer, Jack Johnson and John Mayer as early musical influences, Williams was a self-taught musician only switching to music as a major a few years ago. 


“I think as the story always starts, it began with a girl. I was in middle school and I had the biggest crush on this girl named Samantha. And Samantha liked the band named Weezer, therefore I liked the band named Weezer,” he reveals. “I quickly realized I could learn their songs because their chord structures weren’t that complex . . . I eventually fell in love with the band. Me and the girl never really went anywhere. We became friends and that was it, but that got me into playing guitar.”


Soon after Williams found Johnson and Mayer’s music more complex and in mimicking their songs, Williams developed his own style. And while he is on the brink of an exciting step in his fairly new career, Williams knows it comes with a sacrifice. 


“Although I write about love and women, there’s really no way I could be in any intimate relationship because I can’t put the time into that right now,” he says. 


The young singer/songwriter says he’s grown immensely from his days chasing Samantha. But he still remains humble. 


“I’ve got a lot to learn. I think we’re learners for all of our lives, but I feel like I’m definitely a toddler,” Williams says. “I’m still green; I haven’t ripened to my full potential.”


Tudor Williams (CD release party) at The Wire Music and Art Venue, 247 N. 2nd Avenue, Upland, (909) 985-9466; www.facebook.com/pages/Tudor-Williams/153436904691196. Thurs, Oct. 21. 7PM. $12.


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