By Michael Solender
Tim Morrison didn’t hesitate when asked why he refers to himself as a drummer, producer and composer in that specific order.
“I’ve been a drummer since the third grade in the school orchestra,” said Morrison, who is known professionally as “Cubby” a moniker reflective of nothing more than the necessity of quirky handles in the music business.
“I went to college and studied jazz drumming, toured professionally and recorded. Producing came along almost out of nowhere and ultimately took over.”
The origins of his career as a producer began years ago when Morrison and a musician friend found themselves creating electronic songs just for the joy of experimentation. The songs were circulated amongst a group that included record label execs and music industry types and took off instantly.
“All of a sudden I had tons of work and a lot of momentum in that world,” said Morrison. “For a long time I didn’t play drums, which was odd, because before that moment I spent almost 20 years playing drums.”
Today, Morrison is a well-established and in-demand music producer for artists, singers and rappers. He composes music for movie trailers, film, and commercials and is seldom home in his makeshift Charlotte studio as he bounces from New York to L.A. and points in between working with artist across the country.
“I’ve been passionate about music since I was a child and was influenced by my mother, who was a singer, and my father, who was an audio engineer,” said Morrison. “My main focus has been on creating pieces of music that no one has heard before.”
With a universe of digital sound packs at his disposal, Morrison eschews sameness in sound and says it’s the human voice he finds the most exciting and what fuels his creativity.
“What fascinates me so much about the human voice,” said Morrison, “is no two people sound exactly alike. What is interesting to me, is using the human voice as an instrument, because depending on the voice, it is never going to be an instrument anyone else has used.”
With his 2019 ASC Creative Renewal Fellowship, Morrison wants to learn different recording techniques for the human voice and apply that in classical and choral music settings.
“What happens if we record this choir in a different way and then bring this into my computerized world?” mused Morrison. “And how can I take that texture and turn it into something that is new?”
He dreams of using a single voice, recorded in multiple ways to make a large-scale choral performance with a sole performer.
“I plan to apprentice under Stuart White, a Grammy Award winning engineer, and learn more about the techniques of engineering and taking the recorded voice beyond what has been heard,” said Morrison.
Of all the hats Morrison wears, there’s one he feels most passionate about.
“One of my biggest roles in collaborating with others is recognizing I’m just there to support the song,” Morrison said. “My goal is to make the music as good as it can be.”