Local musician, Reed Hutchinson creates a rock opera
In a West Seattle basement, a rock opera is being assembled. Local musician Reed Hutchinson has composed, performed and recorded a 90 minute show called "Making it", comprised of 34 songs. The project is about a young musician with dreams of glory who pursues those dreams and does succeed but not without clearing many hurdles along the way. "It's about getting what you want only to find that the fortune and fame doesn't always make you happy," Hutchinson said. In some ways it mirrors Hutchinson's own experience though it's not an autobiographical story.
Almost completely self taught, Hutchinson plays all the instruments, sings, produces and records all the parts using an array of recording and performance tools to create something genuinely remarkable. He is not quite finished and for certain parts would like to bring in other musicians, notably female singers to add a different quality to the project and because there is a central female character, among others, in his story.
This demonstration version of his work is something he hopes to see produced on stage. Picking one song from the opera he showed how he has built the project, one layer at a time. His process begins with a musical inspiration which he "hears" at first only in his mind. He has developed the ability to recall those musical ideas and then play them.
He admits, with humility that he needs a producer and a re-mix engineer to refine his work, and regards certain sections of his recorded tracks as temporary but the overall feel of the music is very solid. If a comparison had to be made it might be Queen meets The Cars since much of the music has an 80's feel but is modern and theatrical in the arrangements.
Hutchinson studied only a single semester at the Cornish Institute, finding their approach to music and composition too rigid. He was told repeatedly to be a composer he had to study music theory and to be able to read music which prompted him to ask, "How did music theory get developed?" He was told it was developed in part by studying the work of composers like Mozart and Bach and others, to which he asked,"How did they learn to compose?" Their answer, "They learned scales and modes." At that point, he left and has gone on to a series of successful local bands including his own which earned wide regional praise for its integration of string instruments in a rock music setting.
While he composes on both guitar and piano (and plays 12 instruments) he prefers to do one thing at a time."I'm a good guitarist, a good singer and a good pianist but singing while I play makes me feel I'm mediocre at them," he said.
It's a complex process and Hutchinson has mastered it but he insists that he's only the channel for some unseen muse, and instead of taking credit prefers to consider himself a work in progress. "There's always going to be someone better at the guitar or the drums or the bass, but there's no one who is going to be better at being you. So it's just finding out who you are and being that."
We profiled Hutchinson previously here. His day job is as a hair stylist, something he is also highly skilled at and well known for in West Seattle and beyond.
To hear a sample of one song click on the link above. The sample is not the complete song.
You can hear more of his music at this site www.reedmusic.net.