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ROY LOTZ: One-Man Band Records “Playing With Myself”

Every artist must make a sacrifice for their art.

For 19-year-old Roy Lotz, more than 60 hours and the comfort and warmth in his toes were lost after recording his album “Playing with Myself” in his unheated Westchester basement over winter break.

Though the 6’3” anthropology major lives in a musical household — his father is a jazz bassist and stepmother a jazz critic — he has only been playing guitar since 11th grade and singing since 12th grade.  While working in Canada at his family’s cabins for two weeks during the summer, Lotz turned to Jimi Hendrix to pass the time and from there developed a passion for music.

Lotz, who is a member of the Stony Brook High C’s and has a stong resemblence to Wesley in “The Princess Bride,” recorded the entire album himself and had to lay track over track in order to create the effect that he wanted. He plays guitar, bass, piano, drums, flute and the occasional harmonica for all of the tracks.

“The first step is determining what instrument would be best to record first,” Lotz said. “This is usually the instrument that is present throughout the entirety of the song, like a bass or an acoustic guitar. Then I determine the appropriate tempo for the song.”

Like many young artists who draw inspiration for their music from heart break and hormone-fueled emotions, Lotz doesn’t.

“I’m so young and I feel like I haven’t experienced anything,” Lotz said, adding that he chooses not to write from his own experiences because he feels as though he doesn’t have enough.

This is not to say that songs about emotion are absent from the album.

“When I try to write more emotional songs, I approach it from a way that I try to think of hypothetical situations that I identify with but not necessarily have experience,” Lotz said.

Lotz also looks to literary classics for inspiration. The fourth track on his album, “Locked Up,” was written from the perspective of a character from an Ernest Hemingway short story.

Lotz is clever and quick-witted  with his lyrical choices and has a problem with having too many words and not enough space to fit them all.

Music moves people in different ways. Lotz perceived music differently after he started to understand music in a different capacity.

“Initially, when I didn’t know anything about music, it was this mysterious, good feeling that surges through you,” Lotz said. “It’s hard to describe. When I was listening to Jimi Hendrix it was just sort of a quasi religious experience and I’ve never really been religious so it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten. It’s just like this feeling of something so great beyond yourself some like high intellect and power and what they can do.”

Then Lotz picked up the guitar and the music changed.

“And then I started to understand music,” Lotz added. “And in a way it makes you enjoy music slightly less when you can dissect it from a functional perspective. Music is a way of communicating. It’s an international language.”

“Playing with Myself” is not the first album that Lotz has recorded. In high school, he recorded an album called “Trying” and gave them as a gift to his teachers after he graduated. Then, at the end of last semester, Lotz recorded “Singing in the Shower” out of his dorm room.

After the semester was over, he moved into working on “Playing with Myself” over the summer. The 19-track album was initially going to have 25 tracks on it, but Lotz decided that it would be too many.

All of the songs have individual sound bites that have been laid over each other to create the final product. The title track, “Playing with Myself,” is comprised of 26 tracks that all work together to create the song.

When an artist allows for their work to be heard or seen in the open world, there will always be the moments that stand out above others. For Lotz, that moment was when he walked into a friend’s suite and recognized his music playing through the speakers.

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  • J

    John LeddyFeb 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Hey, I heard Roy’s demo a year ago. He’s writing some good stuff! Can’t wait to hear the album.

    Reply