Bass instinct: Torrey in tune with his music
Torrey Tacklyn was excited about getting on stage at the America’s Cup last year. He had never had the exposure that comes with performing before a crowd of thousands. A year on, Lifestyle asked him what he got out of it.
Being chosen for the America’s Cup band 4-Forty-1 was one of the biggest things to happen to Torrey Tacklyn’s music career.
Until then, his gigs had been in front of relatively small crowds: in churches and with local band One Soulution.
“Playing and performing is second nature to me, but doing it at that type of event was amazing,” he said. “I’d never played at an event of that magnitude.”
The band’s six members practised twice a week and, for a month, performed together nearly every day. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t always get along.
Despite that, the end of the America’s Cup came too soon for Mr Tacklyn who felt he was just getting into his groove when the prestigious sailing race concluded.
“Most of my band One Soulution was picked for 4-Forty-1,” the 40-year-old said. “As One Soulution, we’d practised maybe once a week. With 4-Forty-1, we practised twice a week. We got to spend more time together and got to know each other better.
“Everyone wanted to have input into how certain things went but it was fun, even if we had some rough moments.
“At the end of the day we had to deliver a product, which I think we did, but if you were a fly on the wall sometimes you’d be saying, ‘How did we pull this off?’ Hats off to all of our professionalism. Most of us had day jobs but we were still passionate about what we were doing. We really made it work. I do miss it.
“If I’d never done the America’s Cup I think my music would be the same, but my relationships would be different. It was the connections I made that made it all worthwhile.”
He formed a band with 4-Forty-1 members Raven Baksh, Tony Hay and David Pitman immediately after.
“We had this energy and we wanted to keep it going,” he said. “I’d played with Tony and David in One Soulution but I’d never played with Raven before the America’s Cup. I became a fan. Raven’s style was so versatile. She plays guitar and drums and is a great singer.”
So far the as-yet-unnamed band has had jam sessions, but has not got off the ground.
“We’re going to do that soon,” Mr Tacklyn said. “Our music style is any and everything. Being in Bermuda you are exposed to a lot of different cultures. We play top 40 songs, Latin, R&B.
“I don’t think there is anything we can’t play as long as you give us the music.”
The guitarist became interested in music through Eddie Ming’s drum school. His cousin Leroy Francis, who was also in 4-Forty-1, took lessons with him.
“We both played the drums in church and were great friends,” Mr Tacklyn said. “Even though he went to a different church, we always had the time to come together and play and practise. As a friend and cousin, he helped me a lot.”
Mr Francis went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston; Mr Tacklyn could not afford to go away to school.
“When he came back from school he’d show me things he’d learnt and styles of music I hadn’t been exposed to in Bermuda,” he said. “It was great playing with him in 4-Forty-1.”
Mr Tacklyn taught himself the bass guitar by watching others play but always wanted to learn music theory. Three years ago, he started taking lessons with Justin Raines, a multiple Grammy Award-winning artist currently on tour with the British band Neo.
“I do the lessons through Skype,” he said. “If I went on a gig with an artist and they were requesting certain things, I wanted to know what they were talking about. That helped me with America’s Cup. When the 4-Forty-1 music director, Robert Edwards, wanted certain things, I knew exactly what he wanted.”
He spends his days at Belco, where he is a systems telemetry technician, and also does sound engineering work for other bands.
“I like working with my hands,” Mr Tacklyn said. “I am a real techie. Anything electronic — lights, iPhones, gadgets — I gravitate to.”
He loves going to music trade shows in the United States for new devices to improve his music.
“Now when I go, they ask me how the America’s Cup went,” he said. “It’s good for conversation.
“To me, the America’s Cup was good for some people. It was good for me, because I got to play, and play on a world stage. It does help because I have that on my résumé now.
“We were thinking Oracle would win and they would stay and we would do it all over again.”
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