Don Gator is the lead singer of the New York rock band Don Gator & The Kings of Spyrock and is our latest Sonicbids winner. When we first checked out Don’s music portfolio we were really keen to interview him so that we could share everything with you. Read the full in-depth interview below to learn about Don Gator’s musical background, who he would love to collaborate with given the chance and what he’s currently working on.
Q: Who are you called?
Don Gator is the short name; the long name is Don Gator & The Kings of Spyrock.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or a number of genres what would it be?
Our music is definitely pure 100% spyrock. What is that? It’s rock that grooves with passion and soul infused with a Jack Bauer/James Bond motif.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Lyrics explore everyday themes with a spy backdrop; music’s GNR, Eagles and Chili Peppers vox set against sexy, danceable beats.
Q: What is your musical background?
My first instrument was the alto saxophone; I then went on to learn guitar and piano and started songwriting from a young age. My first band I played in I was the songwriter, saxophonist, played some guitar and did some vocals.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 the producer Justin Gild and I worked hard recording our first studio album, “Naked with a Loaded Gun,” which will be ready for release later this fall or early winter. Towards the end of the year we auditioned the members of the Kings of Spyrock, and got together and impressive lineup: besides Justin on lead guitar, we also brought in Ben Rosenberg who provides solid rhythms and some leads of his own, and a battery composed of Dan Wintersteen (drums) and Rus Wimbish (bass).
Q: Who inspires you musically?
I have eclectic inspirations; some U.S. West Coast rock bands have inspired me the most, from decade-to-decade: The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Guns n’ Roses, & The Chili Peppers. But anyone who writes great music also inspires me, from every genre. I listen to a lot of Spanish rock too.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
My favorite new band is the Cleveland duo “The Kickdrums” whose sound is revolutionary and songwriting is flawless.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
I’d love to collaborate with Alex Fitts or Matt Pentilla of The Kickdrums. Lykke Li is a female vocalist I’d really like to work with.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Everything from GNR, Michael Jackson, Mando Diao, Lykke Li, Stone Temple Pilots, Jay-Z, Jackson Brown, Fito y Fitipaldis, to the “Eyes Wide Shut” soundtrack.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I usually come up with either a chorus or a verse, lyrics and melody, then find the chord progression that best supports it. If I’m lucky it’ll all come together at once but often times a song will remain an idea fragment for a period until I receive that “light bulb” moment where a chorus or bridge is born and it all starts to come together. I often dream melodies and lyrics and wake up and sing them into a recorder; dreams are how two of the songs on the upcoming album –“Body Take my Hand” and “Heaven” – came to me.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
They are equally important and that’s not a cop out answer –it’s the truth! You need both for a quality song. You can have a bubble-gum pop song with awful lyrics I suppose, but it certainly won’t withstand the test of time.
Q: Where are you based?
New York City.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
It’s thrilling and tough at the same time. You live in the city with one of the best entertainment industries in the world and to break out in that completive atmosphere is challenging but it makes you better.
Q: What are you currently working on?
My team and I have finished mixing the album and am sending it to the mastering house, so now we’re trying to get our live show as tight as possible. A Don Gator show is not just a concert or gig but an experience. We want those who come to see us to lose themselves in the world of Don Gator.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Our first show we completely packed the house and received a standing ovation; it was the first payoff of a lot of hard work. Also shooting our first music video I got to ride a jetski at top speed with a gorgeous Brazilian model, Carime Lobo, on the back, and a single-engine aircraft with the cameraman flying 15 feet above us…that was a rush!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
We’re hoping to bring our album and live shows to as many people as possible; we’d like to tour in different regions and maybe even do some international stuff.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
We have a charity concert called Gator Aide later this fall at a secret venue in New York City; all details now are on a strict need-to-know basis, but I’ll keep you updated!
Q: What do you do to relax?
I like to read, watch the NFL or baseball –and play the guitar & piano of course.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I’m hoping they get the chance to hear our album when it’s released; it’s a beginning-to-end listen which draws the listener into the world of Don Gator –from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, from loss to redemption.
Editor’s Note: Don Gator is the first king of spyrock and at Song Revelation we really like what he’s doing. Make sure you check out his latest tracks and check out his dynamic live show if you get a chance.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Don Gator just follow the links below:
twitter link: www.twitter.com/dongator
facebook link: www.facebook.com/dongatorband
web page link: www.dongator.com
soundcloud link: www.soundcloud.com/dongator
Youtube video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hDxif5L7RE
Vimeo embeds: www.vimeo.com/dongatorband/musicvideo