Hamilton Loomis - 10 Questions Music Interview
Born and raised in Galveston, Texas, Hamilton Loomis is the son of musician parents who listened to blues, rock and soul. Music ran in his veins and, with instruments readily available around the house, he picked up drums, piano, guitar, bass, and harmonica, thus honing his multi-instrumental talent.
A protégé of Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at Houston’s famed venue, Rockefeller’s at the age of 16. Before the night was over, Loomis was onstage playing guitar with the legend. Diddley quickly became friend, mentor, collaborator and supporter, appearing on two of Loomis’ albums and presenting a cherished red guitar that he still plays.
Loomis’ album Give It Back showed his pay-it-forward attitude of passing on knowledge to young, and up-and-coming musicians, just as his mentors did for him. On his Basics album, Loomis continues the tradition by featuring several of his young protégées, and finishes the record with a jam session by some of his favorite Houston-area youngsters, whose ages range from 12 to 16.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Early on, I realized that all the greatest artists in the world had one thing in common: they all wrote great songs. I knew then I should write my own music...however I was deep into the Blues scene as a young artist, and I knew I couldn't write about the same things the Blues Masters wrote about because we had very different lives and experiences. So that's what prompted me to write about my own life experiences, and in my own style that reflected my own personality.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
When I was 16, Bo Diddley invited me on stage to play with him, and it blew my mind...it was totally unexpected. We became friends and I learned so much from him.
What has been the high point of your music path?
My high point has been touring...getting to perform around the world and get to know other countries and cultures. Travelling has been so eye-opening and enriching, and it teaches a person to be respectful, open-minded, and tolerant.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I don't think I have a process...sometimes music comes first and I try to invent lyrics that fit the music, or vice versa. Some songs start with a great line, others start with a great chord progression. I have quite a few unfinished songs, some music with no lyrics and some lyrics with no music. It might be years before two of them come together in just the right way...other times, I'll get inspired and knock out a song in one hour. I just never know.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The one thing I would change is being paid fairly for streaming. Streaming does makes your music available for the world to listen to, however artists get paid pennies for streaming, as opposed to $15 or so per physical copy or album download. We cannot stop technology, nor can we fight the trends of the general population, but there must be a better way to be compensated for our work.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Stevie Wonder...he's probably the most incredible musician and songwriter on the planet.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We don't really rehearse...If I have a new song for my band to learn, I'll make a demo of it and email them the mp3, and say "learn it just like this". Then we just go for it onstage, cold!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Actually "This Season" was particularly difficult lyrically, yet ironically the chords are simple and never change through the whole song! I was trying to paraphrase my family's struggles without getting specific, as I always like my songs to have a broad meaning so that others can easily relate with their own experiences and feelings. The chorus was hard too, because it's a short time to sum up the whole song, and every word had to count.
What's coming up in the future? I'm excited to have released my first ever Christmas album "This Season" on Nov 29, 2019!
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Hamilton Loomis Website
Hamilton Loomis Store